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Cards And Dominoes
Domino Euchre

--- On This Page --- Dominoes and Cubilete --

Domino Euchre, Domino Call-Ace Euchre,            Cubilete (dice), Domino Cubano

Euchre was the most popular social card game in the United States from the middle of the 1800’s to the end of the century. It’s the game for which the Joker was invented, probably by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Euchre means Joker.

Euchre is an easy but fun partnership game for four players. Hands are quick, at only five tricks each, so if you’re dealt a poor one you have but a minute or two to wait until you get another.

The game is simple, yet it has its subtleties. Players’ strategies often change as one team approaches the game point across hands. These shifts give the game a certain fascination.

Given Euchre’s popularity, it was a cinch that players adapted the game for dominoes. You’ll find dominoes add the slight twist that takes game play up a notch. 

We’ve reconstructed these rules from an old copy of Hoyle’s Standard Games from about 1900 published by Laird and Lee.  

Goal--

To win the game by being first to accumulate 5 points across as many hands as necessary.

The Deck and Players--

You can play domino Euchre as two or three individuals, but the game is by far best as a four-player partnership game. 

Use a standard 6-6 set of dominoes. If you aren’t familiar with the tiles, see our
quick introduction.

Dominoes are arranged in suits in the same manner as most other domino games that use the tiles as “cards” to play to tricks--

---Suit---

<--high                    Members                      low-->

     6’s

 6-6       6-5        6-4       6-3        6-2       6-1      6-0

     5’s

 5-5       5-6        5-4       5-3        5-2       5-1      5-0

     4’s

 4-4       4-6        4-5       4-3        4-2       4-1      4-0

     3’s

 3-3       3-6        3-5       3-4        3-2       3-1      3-0

     2’s

 2-2       2-6        2-5       2-4        2-3       2-1      2-0

     1’s

 1-1       1-6        1-5       1-4        1-3       1-2      1-0

  Blanks

 0-0       0-6        0-5       0-4        0-3       0-2      0-1

Each suit consists of 7 tiles. The key point is that the double or doublet is the highest tile in each suit.

Appoint one player “dealer” and shuffle all dominoes face-down. The dealer rotates clockwise in subsequent hands.  

Each player takes 5 tiles into his hand.

Bidding--

The dealer now turns one of the remaining unused dominoes face-up. The higher number on this tile is the proposed trump. If the turn-up is a doublet, the single number on its face is the proposed trump.

The player to the left of the dealer may either--

           *   Pass
           *   Accept the proposed trump as the trump suit
           *   Accept the proposed trump as the trump suit and say “I play alone”

If the player passes, the same opportunity passes to the next player (clockwise).

This process continues until either a player has accepted the proposed trump suit, or all four players have passed.

If all four players pass without anyone accepting the trump suit, the opportunity to make trump passes around a second time. This time each player may either--

           * Pass
           * State any suit (other than the initial proposed trump suit), that he
               will play with as the trump suit
           * State any suit (other than the initial proposed trump suit), that he
               will play with alone as the trump suit

If no one accepts a trump suit after two times around the table, the hand is thrown in, and the next person in clockwise rotation becomes the “dealer.”

The Trump Suit--

The trump suit is one tile longer than any other suit. Its highest tile is the doublet of that suit, and its second highest tile is the next lower doublet. For example, if 5 is the trump suit, the 4-4 is the second-highest trump.  From highest to lowest, the 5-suit trump tiles rank like this--

         5-5    4-4    5-6    5-4    5-3    5-2    5-1    5-0

The highest trump is called the right bower. The second-highest trump is called the left bower. If 5 suit is trump, these tiles are the 5-5 and 4-4, respectively.

In the case where the Blank suit is trump, the 6-6 becomes the left bower. So when blanks are trump, the trump tiles rank like this--

         0-0    6-6    0-6    0-5    0-4    0-3    0-2    0-1

All tiles in the trump suit are considered only members of the trump suit for the duration of the hand (even though singlets have another suit number on their face).

Play--

If the bidder won a bid to play alone, his partner lays his tiles face-down. Neither that player nor his dominoes have any further role in the hand. Whether played alone or not, the bid winner leads a tile to the first trick.

All players must follow suit to the first tile led to a trick. For any non-trump tile lead, the higher number on the first tile to a trick determines the suit for that trick.  Leading the 6-4, for example, means leading a 6-suit tile.  Any trump lead means that the suit to follow is the trump suit.

If you can not follow the suit led, you may play any tile you like.

If any trump tile(s) are played to a trick, the highest trump played wins the trick. Otherwise the highest tile of the suit led wins the trick.

The winner of each trick takes the tiles and places them face-down at his side prior to the next trick. He then leads any tile to the next trick.

Scoring--

If the side who won the bid wins 3 or 4 tricks, they made their bid. They win 1 point. If they win all 5 tricks, they win 2 points. If they don’t win at least 3 tricks, their opponents win 2 points.

Point scores are the same when a player plays alone, except that if he wins all 5 tricks, he wins 4 points.

Strategy--

Skill in bidding is important in Euchre. Remember the special role of the left bower when reviewing your hand.

The third and fourth players in bidding will want to be quite confident in their hands before making trump, as their partners have already suggested weakness by passing.

Playing alone is only advantageous if you can win all five tricks (see Scoring above). Only play alone with a “slam” hand.

Alternate Rules--

These rules are standard from original 19th century sources. But there are many rules variations for the card game Euchre you might try with the domino game. Some play a game to 7 points instead of 5. Most play that the lead to the first trick is by the player to the dealer’s left. If played alone, the lead to the first trick would be the player to the bid winner’s left. Thus, the bid winner may or may not be the person leading to the first trick. A few change the scoring for playing alone such that the bid winner scores 2 points for winning 3 or 4 tricks (instead of 1). Many play that the dealer may exercise the privilege of taking the turn-up into his hand if the proposed trump as accepted by the bid winner (in exchange for any other tile in his hand). A few play that the bid winner has this option.

More Information--

From the entry for “Domino Euchre” in Hoyle’s Standard Games, by Laird and Lee, 1908.  Also appears in the Everything Games Book, by Fitzsimmons and Liflander, 1996.

Call Ace Euchre game

on this page--
Domino Euchre, Domino Call-Ace Euchre, Cubilete, Domino Cubano

See above for the rules of Domino Euchre. In this Domino Euchre variant, there are no fixed partnerships.  Instead, prior to leading to the first trick, the bid winner declares another suit that will determine who his partner is for the hand.

The suit he declares cannot be the trump suit or the suit from which the left bower comes. For example, if the trump suit is 5, the bid winner must pick some suit other than the 5’s or 4’s suits.

No one responds to the bid winner’s declaration of who his partner is. Instead, players must figure it out for themselves during the play of the hand.

The result is that the holder of the partner tile knows that he is the bid winner’s partner, but no one else does -- including the bid winner -- until this tile surfaces during play.

Another possibility is that the bid winner is playing alone because he himself holds the partner tile. No one will no this but the bid winner.

A third possibility is that the partner tile is one of the several tiles not in play for the hand. In this case the bid winner will be playing alone but will not know it!

Scores are kept individually in Call Ace.  The points won by each partnership in each hand are awarded to both members of the partnership. The first player to win 5 points across hands is the Game winner.

Call Ace increases the “luck factor” in Euchre, but it also increases the fun factor. Try it for a change after you’ve tired of standard Euchre. The game works as well for five players as four.

cubilete_dice.jpc
Cubilete

on this page--
Domino Euchre, Domino Call-Ace Euchre, Cubilete, Domino Cubano

Cubilete is the “national dice game” of Cuba.  It and Domino Cubano (Cuban Dominoes) are probably the two most popular games in the country. Cubilete is easy and fun. It can be played by adults at parties or in bars, or by families or children at home.

Cubilete is for any number of players. It works best for 3 to 6.

The game requires five poker dice.  Poker die faces represent these ranks, from highest to lowest-- Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, and 9. Roll one die to see who goes first.

A player rolls the five dice up to three times in a quest to get 5-of-a-kind. After each roll, he just continues with those dice he cares too, leaving ones he wants to preserve over to the side. The player can stop rolling before his three roles is up, if desired.  

The only scoring hand is a 5-of-a-kind. Aces are wild and can be used to represent any value.

The goal is to win a total of 10 points across rounds.

The top three 5-of-a-kind scores are called carabinas. Here they are, along with the points they score--

     ---Carabina---

       ---Points---

5 Aces

             10

5 Kings (without Aces)

               5

5 Kings (including Aces)

               2

cubilete dice picture

If you score the (very rare) 5-of-a-kind in Aces, you score 10 points. The game immediately ends. You won!

If you score 5-of-a-kind in Kings without any wild Aces in the mix, you score 5 points and immediately win the round. You start the next round by rolling a new turn.

If you score 5-of-a-kind in Kings with some wild Aces in the mix, you score 2 points and immediately win the round. You start the next round by rolling a new turn.

If no one scores a Carabina during the round, the person who rolled the highest 5-of-a-kind from the list below scores 1 point for the round:

               5-of-a-kind       Queens
               5-of-a-kind       Jacks
               5-of-a-kind       10’s
               5-of-a-kind       9’s

Unless someone scores a Carabina, the player who rolls last in the round rolls first in the next round. 

Strategy--

While luck is key, Cubilete involves decision-making in knowing what to roll for and when. Unless you roll first in the round, your objective will be affected by what previous players have achieved. Obviously you will want to set your goal higher than their results in order to win the round. .

domino cubano game

on this page--
Domino Euchre, Domino Call-Ace Euchre, Cubilete, Domino Cubano

Domino Cubano is another great Cuban game. It’s played wherever Cuban-Americans gather -- at “domino plaza” in Miami, the Cuban Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, the Atlanta Cuba Club, and at the Cuban Festival in Houston every May. Along with the dice game Cubilete, Domino Cubano is considered the national game of Cuba. It is the most sophisticated form of “draw dominoes” -- it certainly proves dominoes is not a “kid’s game.”

The Game --

Cuban Dominoes is played by 4 persons in two partnerships, using a 9-9 set of dominoes. Unlike domino trick-taking games like 42 and Domino Euchre, this is a traditional domino game in which tiles are played to a layout of connecting tiles. After tiles are placed face-down and shuffled, each player takes 10 tiles. The remaining 15 tiles are set aside and are never used in the game.

The player holding the highest doublet starts the round. If no player holds a doublet (unlikely), tiles are thrown in and re-dealt. Play then continues counter-clockwise around the table, with each player in turn either playing one of his tiles by matching it to one of the two open ends on the layout, or passing.

A player must play a tile if he has one to play, otherwise he must pass. When passing, he does not draw any dominoes from the 15 out-of-play tiles.

Game End --

The game ends either when all tiles have been played, or when everyone is “blocked” and has no valid tile to play. Each side counts the total number of pips on the tiles left in their combined hands. The lowest point total wins.

More Information--

You can find more rules descriptions here and here.

If you read Spanish, there are several good books on the game. Try Reglamento Del Domino Cubano or Como Garnar Al Domino Cubano, both available
here

dominoe_park

A game in progress at Domino Plaza

dice_in_cup02

Cubilete

cuban_flag_dominoes

Cuban flag dominoes
from
CubanFoodMarket

cuban_dominoes_photo
Iceberg game

Has Moved -- click HERE for Iceberg

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