Common Mistakes to Avoid in Dominoes for Beginners

Dominoes, a game of strategy, skill, and sometimes, a bit of luck, has been captivating players for generations. For beginners, the journey into the world of dominoes can be both exciting and challenging. As you set out to master this classic game, it’s essential to be aware of common mistakes that new players often make. Recognizing and avoiding these errors can significantly improve your dominoes experience. In this guide, we’ll identify some of the most prevalent mistakes and provide guidance on how to steer clear of them, ensuring that your dominoes journey is as enjoyable as possible.

Mistake 1: Ignoring Tile Balance

The Error: Beginners often overlook the importance of tile balance, which involves managing the distribution of numbers and doubles in their hand.

The Fix: Pay attention to the numbers on your tiles. Aim to have a mix of different numbers and doubles in your hand. A well-balanced set of tiles provides more flexibility and options for play.

Mistake 2: Missing Opportunities to Score

The Error: New players sometimes miss opportunities to score points in games like All Fives, where points are awarded for matching open ends that are multiples of five.

The Fix: Keep an eye on the open ends and calculate if they add up to a multiple of five. Take advantage of these opportunities to score points and give yourself an edge in the game.

Mistake 3: Playing High-Value Doubles Too Early

The Error: Beginners often play high-value doubles like the double-six or double-five too early in the game, limiting their strategic options.

The Fix: Save high-value doubles for later in the game. These tiles can be powerful for blocking opponents, creating chains, or securing the starting move. Using them strategically will give you an advantage.

Mistake 4: Failing to Block Opponents

The Error: New players may not pay enough attention to blocking their opponents. Blocking is a crucial aspect of dominoes strategy.

The Fix: Be strategic with your plays and look for opportunities to block your opponents. Force them to match specific numbers and disrupt their progress. This can give you a significant advantage in the game.

Mistake 5: Not Planning Chains

The Error: Beginners often play tiles individually without planning chains of matching tiles. Chains can open up more opportunities for plays.

The Fix: Think ahead and consider how your moves can lead to longer chains of matching tiles. Creating chains not only helps you go out first but also limits your opponents’ options.

Mistake 6: Ignoring the Boneyard

The Error: New players sometimes forget to utilize the boneyard, which is a pile of unused tiles that can be drawn from if you can’t make a move.

The Fix: Don’t hesitate to draw from the boneyard when you can’t make a play. It can provide you with tiles you need to keep the game going and can be a valuable resource.

Mistake 7: Rushing Your Moves

The Error: Beginners might rush their moves without carefully considering their options. Impulsive play can lead to errors.

The Fix: Take your time and think through your moves. Consider the implications of each play and how they may affect the overall game. Thoughtful play can lead to better results.

Mistake 8: Ignoring the Board

The Error: Some new players focus solely on their own hand and ignore the layout of the tiles on the table.

The Fix: Pay attention to the board and your opponents’ plays. This will help you make informed decisions and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Mistake 9: Not Adapting to Game Variations

The Error: Beginners may not adapt their strategies to different domino variations, assuming that the rules are the same in all games.

The Fix: Familiarize yourself with the specific rules and strategies of different variations. Each variation may require a unique approach, so be prepared to adapt.

Mistake 10: Forgetting to Learn from Experience

The Error: New players may not take the time to review their games and learn from their mistakes.

The Fix: After each game, take a moment to analyze your plays and consider what you could have done differently. Learning from your experiences is a crucial part of improving as a domino player.


Dominoes is a game that rewards strategic thinking, careful observation, and adaptability. By recognizing and avoiding these common mistakes, beginners can enhance their gameplay and enjoy a more fulfilling experience. Whether you’re aiming to go out first, score more points, or simply have a good time with friends and family, these tips will help you on your journey to becoming a skilled domino player. So, gather your tiles, put these lessons into practice, and get ready for hours of enjoyable dominoes fun. Happy playing!

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