Advanced Dominoes Opening Moves: Gaining the Upper Hand Early


In the world of dominoes, the opening moves are like the first brushstrokes on a canvas, setting the tone for the entire masterpiece. A strong start can give you a significant advantage, while a weak or careless opening can put you on the back foot. Advanced players understand the importance of making strategic opening moves that not only maximize their own scoring opportunities but also disrupt their opponents’ plans. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of advanced dominoes opening moves, exploring strategies and tactics that can help you gain the upper hand early in the game.

The Significance of Opening Moves

The opening moves in a game of dominoes play a pivotal role in shaping the rest of the match. Here’s why they are so crucial:

  1. Setting the Tone: The opening moves set the tone for your strategy and approach in the game. They can dictate whether you’ll be playing offensively or defensively.
  2. Maximizing Scoring: A well-planned opening move can set you up for high-scoring opportunities later in the game. It’s like laying the foundation for a strong structure.
  3. Disrupting Opponents: A strategic opening move can disrupt your opponents’ plans and force them to adapt to your strategy, rather than pursuing their own.
  4. Board Control: Advanced players understand that controlling the board early in the game is essential. The opening moves can help establish your dominance and limit opponents’ options.

Tactics for Advanced Opening Moves

Let’s explore some advanced tactics for making strong opening moves in dominoes:

1. High-Value Doubles

High-value doubles, such as the double six (6-6), double five (5-5), or double four (4-4), are excellent candidates for opening moves. These doubles can serve as strong foundations for building scoring opportunities. Placing a double early can set the stage for you to build on it during subsequent plays.

  • Example: If you start with a double six, you have the potential to play a six on either end of the double, creating scoring opportunities for tiles with six pips.

2. Connecting High Pip Ends

Another effective strategy is to create a sequence by connecting high pip ends. For instance, if you have a tile with a three-pip end and another with a six-pip end, you can play them together to form a sequence of 3-6. This approach not only sets you up for scoring but can also make it challenging for your opponents to play their tiles.

  • Example: If you play 3-6, you can score by playing tiles with three or six pips on either end.

3. Creating Point Barriers

Point barriers are combinations of tiles that make it difficult for opponents to score. Advanced players often aim to create point barriers with their opening moves. This can involve playing tiles with high values on one end and low values on the other.

  • Example: Placing a tile with a one-pip end and a six-pip end side by side can create a point barrier. Opponents will struggle to play tiles with one or six pips, as these would be their highest-scoring tiles.

4. Blocking Opponents’ High Doubles

If you have information about your opponents’ tiles, such as knowing that they hold high doubles (e.g., double six), you can make strategic opening moves to block them from using these doubles effectively.

  • Example: If you know an opponent has the double six, consider playing a tile with a five-pip end next to your double five. This move prevents them from playing the double six for high points.

5. Avoiding Weak Openings

Advanced players recognize the importance of avoiding weak or vulnerable opening moves. Playing tiles with low pip values on both ends can leave you with limited scoring options and make it easier for opponents to control the board.

  • Example: Playing a tile with two one-pip ends (1-1) as your opening move might not set you up for scoring opportunities and could limit your options in subsequent plays.

6. Maintaining Balance

Balancing your opening moves is essential. While focusing on scoring and disrupting opponents, you must also be mindful of preserving your options for future plays. Playing tiles that have balanced pip values on both ends can help maintain your flexibility.

  • Example: Choosing a tile with a three-pip end and a four-pip end offers a balanced approach, as it allows for various follow-up plays.

7. Assessing Opponents’ Tiles

Advanced players pay close attention to the tiles their opponents play during the opening moves. This information can provide valuable insights into their strategies. Observing their initial plays can help you adapt your own strategy and remain competitive.

8. Planning Ahead

Advanced opening moves are not made in isolation; they are part of a broader strategy. As you make your initial plays, consider the bigger picture. Think about how your opening moves fit into your overall game plan, which should include both offensive and defensive elements.


In the world of dominoes, advanced players recognize the immense significance of the opening moves. These initial plays can set the stage for the rest of the game, influencing your strategy, scoring opportunities, and control of the board. By mastering the art of advanced opening moves, you can gain the upper hand early in the game, dictate the flow of play, and leave your opponents strategizing to catch up. The next time you sit down for a game of dominoes, remember the importance of your opening moves and use these advanced tactics to your advantage.

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