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Official Matador Dominoes Rules

Matador is a unique and challenging variant of dominoes that emphasizes blocking and strategic play. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the rules of the Matador domino game:

Objective: The objective of Matador is to be the first player to play all your dominoes or to have the lowest number of pips (dots) on your remaining dominoes when the game ends.


  • A standard double-six domino set (28 tiles)


  1. Players:

    • Matador is typically played by 2-4 players.

  2. Shuffling and Drawing:

    • Shuffle the dominoes face down.

    • Each player draws 7 tiles if there are 2-3 players, or 5 tiles if there are 4 players.

    • The remaining tiles form the boneyard.


  1. Starting the Game:

    • The player with the double-six, or if not available, the highest double, starts the game.

    • If no player has a double, the highest tile starts the game.

    • The starting tile is placed in the center of the table.

  2. Playing Dominoes:

    • Players take turns in a clockwise direction.

    • On their turn, a player must place a tile adjacent to one of the open ends of the layout.

    • In Matador, you do not match the ends by the number of pips. Instead, the sum of the pips on the adjoining ends must equal seven. For example, if the end of the tile on the table shows a 4, you can play a tile with a 3 at that end (4+3=7).

    • Doubles are special tiles in Matador. They act as wild cards and can be placed on any open end regardless of the numbers. However, once placed, they do not change the requirement for subsequent plays.

  3. Blocking and Drawing:

    • If a player cannot play a tile that sums to seven with an open end, they must draw tiles from the boneyard until they can play or the boneyard is empty.

    • If the boneyard is empty and a player cannot play, they pass their turn.

  4. Ending a Round:

    • A round ends when a player plays all their tiles or when no player can make a legal play.

    • The player who played all their tiles scores zero points.

    • If no player can play and the round ends, each player scores the total number of pips on their remaining tiles.


  • Players keep a running total of their scores from round to round.

  • The game can be played to a predetermined number of points, often 100 or 200.

  • The player with the lowest score at the end of the game wins.

Matador is a strategic and enjoyable variation of dominoes that requires players to think differently about matching and blocking. It offers a unique challenge for those familiar with traditional domino games.

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