How to Play Dominoes Like a Pro


The domino is a small wooden or plastic block with blank sides and marked by dots resembling those on dice. It is used in a game of skill and strategy, where the player tries to lay down all of his tiles before his opponent does. The word domino is also used to describe a series of events that follow from one trigger, such as political instability or terrorism.

A domino is typically twice as long as it is wide, so that when it’s stacked the ends touch each other and form a square. The number of pips on each end (also called ends or vertices) determines the value of the domino. The more pips, the higher the value, and a double with a blank side is valued at zero.

In some games, a domino is played with the end of a tile touching another domino on one or more sides, creating open ends. The next tile placed must straddle these ends and either touch the first tile or have the same number of pips as that first tile to continue the line. If there are no open ends on a domino, it’s possible to stop play by “knocking” or rapping the table, signalling that it is impossible to continue.

Dominoes have a reputation for being a simple and entertaining game, but they can actually be quite complex and challenging to master. Whether you’re playing domino with friends or family, the key to winning is strategic planning. In order to be successful, you need to know what steps are necessary to complete the whole process, and how to build upon each step.

Lily Hevesh started collecting dominoes at age 9, inspired by her grandparents’ classic 28-piece set. She would often spend hours setting them up in straight or curved lines and flicking the first one to watch the entire chain fall, one after the other. By 15, she had amassed an impressive collection, and was posting videos of her domino creations online.

She now makes a living as a professional domino artist, producing spectacular setups for movies, TV shows, and even an album launch for Katy Perry. She makes test versions of each section of an installation, and films them in slow motion, to ensure that each piece works properly before putting it all together.

Domino effect is the term used to describe a situation in which one event leads to a chain reaction that influences subsequent events in a predictable way. This idiom was popularized by US President Dwight Eisenhower, who used it during a press conference to explain the spread of Communism in Indochina as an example of the “domino principle.” Today, the phrase is broader and can be applied to any situation in which one small trigger may lead to a larger chain of events.