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How Playing Cards Can Sharpen Your Dominoes Skills


Itís a little-known fact that the similarities between dominoes and card games make it easy for players of either style to crossover from one to the other. And while many players of games such as poker will scoff at the suggestion that the two have much in common, we, dominoes players, know different. And because both share a close link in style of play and the mindset required to play, learning how to play card games like poker can help you sharpen those dominoes skills.

Cards and Dominoes: The Similarities

First up, letís address the one thing that we all know, and thatís the fact that there are many dominoes games that follow rules similar to regular card games. These dominoes card games are quite popular, and if youíve ever so much as held a tile in your hand, then chances are you were playing one of these games.

The most popular is probably 42, also known as Texas 42, which is based on the card game High-Low Jack or All Fours. Invented by two young boys back in 1887, this game was a way to play their favorite game without getting into trouble with their parents for playing cards. Itís a game where you need to win tricks of tiles, and itís considered the state game in Texas.


Then there are the card games that find their roots in dominoes. These games such as Sevens are widespread, but for some strange reason, few people that play them understand their origins. Hence the scoffing we mentioned earlier. But you probably know enough about Texas 42 and Sevens already, so letís get down to those similarities.

For starters, thereís the numbers aspect. Totaling pips and the numbers on cards is something that we can all agree is quite similar, but it goes much deeper than that. In most card games such as poker, the combination of the cards you have is as critical as the value of each card; a feature of card games that we see in a variety of dominoes games, which use pairs and trumps.

But the most telling similarity between both card games and dominoes is the one of mindset. The need to plan ahead and think strategically is an ability that players of both games must possess. Unless youíre playing Snap, that is.

Strategic Mindset

Strategy (not luck) is a highly crucial aspect of many dominoes games; another fact that many card players are unaware. But try telling the winners at the Summer Slam Dominoes Tournament in Vegas last year that their winnings came through luck and youíll see how passionately dominoes players feel about the whole luck thing. Incidentally, thatís another thing that links both card and dominoes players: their understanding that winning is not based on luck.

Strategic thinking is the cornerstone of success in cards and for this reason, players who spend a little time at the card table will undoubtedly feel more at ease playing dominoes. Itís also known that players of games such as poker, in particular, are excellent with risk management. They understand how and when they should make a move and when to take the safe option as opposed to risking success on a single hand or in the case of dominoes, a single move.

The strategic mindset is not easy to foster though, and itís why card players sometimes play other mind games such as chess to improve their abilities. And while we all know the value of chess when it comes to giving your brain a solid workout, today, weíre talking about cards. So, which games should we be playing? 

The Games to Play

The rather clear choice is any game that uses whist. Spades is an excellent one to start with as it is quite simple in its gameplay. Itís a stripped-down version of Bridge with easier-to-follow rules and a simpler scoring system. However, to get the most out of the cards, youíll need to move up to something that requires a much higher level of strategic thinking, and while Bridge is an option, thereís only one card game that can hold a candle to the ultimate mind game of chess, and that is poker.

Many people are under the misguided notion that poker is a game of luck; a misconception that dominoes players are all too familiar. But like many dominoes games, poker is a game of skill and strategy. It can take years of practice to become a good player and even then, thereís always room for improvement.

When it comes down to it, there are many poker games from which to choose, with Texas Hold Ďem and Omaha Hi being two of the biggest right now. But in all honesty, it doesnít matter which variant of the game you choose as all require no small amount of skill to play and that strategic mindset we mentioned earlier.

Of course, starting out in the game can be a little intimidating, and so weíre by no means suggesting that you take a trip to the casino tonight. The best way to ease yourself into the game is by playing a few friendly hands at home. Doing so will allow you to become familiar with the rules and let you learn the game in a no-pressure environment.

If youíre bereft of poker-playing friends, then you can also opt to play online. With dozens of online poker providers, you can easily find games played for low stakes. Playing like this with actual money on the line (no matter how little) will change your mindset in a significant way. You will become much more aware of your opponentís moves and take much care with your own. And this is where you will sharpen those strategic-thinking skills.

So, whether your dominoes skills need improving or you fancy something different for a change, try taking up a card game such as poker. Not only will you see an improvement in your game, but who knows, you might even find that you enjoy yourself. Or better yet, you may even win a little cash.






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