How to Play Jamaican-Style Dominoes

Updated April 17, 2017

Dominoes are small, flat, rectangular tiles usually made from bone, plastic, wood, ivory or stone. One side of each domino is blank, and the other side features two sets of pips, which are dots that represent numbers. There are dozens of types of dominoes games played the world over, often employing different rules for different regions. The Jamaican style of dominoes uses a double-six deck, which is a set of dominoes that range from a double-blank tile to a double-six tile (two sets of six pips on its face), and all the combinations of zero to six.

Seat four players around a table. Players sitting across from each other play as partners.

Place all dominoes facedown on the table.

Shuffle the dominoes thoroughly.

Deal seven dominoes to each of the four players.

The player with the double-six (two sets of six pips on the face) places this domino in the centre of the table.

The player to the right places any domino with a corresponding number of pips against the exposed dominoes in the centre. Dominoes can only play against one exposed domino, branching a long chain outward. For example, the second person to play needs to have a domino with a set of six pips to play against the double-six domino in the centre.

Continue playing dominoes with each player to the right taking a turn setting a domino on either side of the chain. If a player does not have a domino with the same number of pips as the exposed ends of the chain, that player must pass.

Win the hand by being the first player to run out of dominoes. If all the players pass through a complete round, the winner is the person with the fewest number of pips showing on his dominoes.

Win the "six-love" version of the game by winning six hands in a row.

Win the "straight six" version of the game by being the first team to win six hands.


Generally, the six-love version of Jamaican dominoes is the most common, but it can take a long time to play. Different options of winning include the straight-six method, or when both teams each win a hand having the next win be a tiebreaker to make the score 2 to 0. Traditional play has two pairs of partners. However, the "cut throat" variations allow for two to four players to play on their own. For two players, the opponents are each given 14 dominoes, or they start with seven each and replenish their hands from the remaining tiles. Three players are given nine dominoes each with the double-blank tile removed from game play.

Things You'll Need

  • Double-six domino set
  • Table
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About the Author

Kevin Carr has been writing for a variety of outlets and companies since 1991. He has contributed to McGraw-Hill textbooks for middle school and high school, written for the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio and has been a featured film critic for online publications including 7M Pictures and Film School Rejects. Carr holds a Bachelor of Science in education.