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Dominoes - Matadore Game Rules

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Dominoes - Matadore Game

Dominoes are pieces of ivory or bone, usually with ebony backs. On the face of each piece there are two compartments, in each of which there is found either a blank, or black pips or spots from one to six.

The dominoes are thus named: Double-Six; Six-Five; Six-Four; Six-Three; Six-Two; Six-One; Six-Blank; Double-Five; Five- Four; Five-Three; Five-Two; Five-One; Five-Blank; Double- Four ; Four-Three; Four-Two; Four-One; Four-Blank; Double- Three; Three-Two; Three-One; Three-Blank; Double-Two; Two- One; Two-Blank; Double-One; One-Blank; Double-Blank.

To Shuffle And Determine The First Pose.

Shuffling the dominoes (also called making) is done by turning them face downwards on the table, and mixing them about with the fingers in such manner as to prevent the position of any given domino being known. Each player has a right to perform this operation.

The right to the first pose, or turn to play (also known as the "down"), has next to be decided, and this is usually done by each player drawing and turning up one domino, and the holder of the lowest number of points having the preference. The dominoes thus used are returned to the pack, and again shuffled with the rest. Each player then takes randomly from the dominoes nearest to him the number appropriate to the game to be played, and these constitute his "hand". The remaining dominoes are called the stock.


Each takes three pieces. The leader poses. His opponent has to match with a piece containing the complement of Seven at one end of the piece posed-i.e., he must play a Six to a One, a Five to a Two, a Four to a Three, and vice versa. During the play, doubles only count the number of pips at one end.

There are four pieces (called Matadores), viz., Double-Blank. Six-One, Five-Two, and Four-Three. These may be played to any number already posed, with either end to either end, whether they match or not. They are the only pieces that can be played to a Blank.

The following diagram shows the way of posing at the Matadore game.

Although a Matadore may be played to any number, the converse does not hold. The opposing player can only follow with a piece making seven with one of the ends of the Matadore. Thus to Six- Ace a player must play either a One or a Six, to Five-Deuce either & Two or a Five, and so on. The holder of a Matadore may place it as he thinks best; his opponent can only play at the end exposed.

A player unable to match or pose a Matadore must draw until able to play; a player able to match or to pose a Matadore has the option of drawing or not, as at the Draw game. At least two pieces must be left in the stock. When the stock is exhausted all but two pieces, a player unable to match or pose a Matadore says, "Go," and his opponent must play if he can match.

In scoring, doubles count the number of pips on both ends, and the mode of scoring, and the alternate leading, is as at the Block game.

This game may be played by two, three, or four persons. When two play, there must be three pieces left undrawn, to prevent each from knowing exactly his opponent's hand. When more than two engage in the game, all the Dominoes may be drawn. The player who makes domino first counts the spots on the other hand or hands, and scores them towards game, which is one hundred or more, as agreed on before commencing the game.

If domino be not made before the drawing is ended, and a player cannot play in his turn, he must pass, and await his next turn to

play, but he must play if he can; the failure to do so deprives him of any count he may make with that hand.

If the game be blocked, and neither player can make domino, then the one whose hand contains the least number of spots wins, but his own hand does not count to his score.

The Blanks are very valuable at this game, the Double-Blank being the most valuable of all the Matadores, as it is impossible to make a Seven against a Blank; so that if you hold Blanks you may easily block the game and count.

When you have the worst of the game, and, indeed, at other times as well, guard against your opponent's Blanks, and prevent him from making them; which you may do by playing only those dominoes which fit with the Blanks already down.

Never play a Blank at the lead unless you have a Matadore or a corresponding Blank.

Keep back the Double-Blank till your opponent makes it Blanks all; you can then force him to play a Matadore, or compel him to draw till he obtains one. It is better to have a mixed hand.