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Texas Eighty-Eight

Also known as Texas 88.  This is a card-type domino game, which is a six player version of Texas 42, played with two sets of Double-Six dominoes and a score sheet.  Players play as two teams of three.


Players are arranged around the playing area as two teams of three with each position alternating between the two teams.

The two sets of dominoes are shuffled, facedown, and then each player is dealt nine tiles.  The remaining two tiles are known as the kitty and are left facedown on the playing area until after bidding.

The object of the game is to win tricks of tiles.  However, players must bid for the number of tricks they think they can win.  The hand begins with a round of bidding starting with the player to the dealer's left and then with players in turn announcing a higher bid until a limit is reached when no player will bid higher.  The lowest bid is 60 points which means the player who bids this thinks they can win at least 60 points together with their two partners.  Subsequent bids must be raised to a higher total in increments of 2 points a time up to a total of 88 points.  Once a bid of 88 is reached a player may then bid in multiples of 88 points which means they think that with their partners they will win all the tricks with all the available points.  That is 176 points, 264 points, or 352 points.

The winning bidder looks at the two tiles in the kitty and may swap one, both, or neither of the tiles with dominoes from their hand, but he must replace any "count" tiles (tiles bearing a total of 5 or 10 pips) in the kitty with non-"count" dominoes from their hand.  They don't have to reveal any of the tiles in the kitty, either before or after swapping any, although he may if he wishes.

Once the bidder has been decided, he announces the trump suit.  The trump suit will rank highest over all the other suits, as tricks are played.  Tricks are played with the highest bidder playing a tile and then with subsequent players in turn playing a tile, with the highest ranked tile played, taking the trick.  Players must follow the lead tile with a tile bearing the same lead suit, if able.  If a player doesn't hold the lead suit, they may play a trump suit if they wish, with the highest ranked suit, taking the trick  Doubles are only regarded as a separate suit when they are bid.  Because two domino sets are used, there are two of each tile, and the first tile played, wins, when there are duplicates.  Tiles generally rank as listed in the table below, ignoring the declared trump suit.

Suit Rank Tile Rank (From High to Low)
Doubles 6-6 5-5 4-4 3-3 2-2 1-1 0-0
Sixes 6-6 6-5 6-4 6-3 6-2 6-1 6-0
Fives 5-5 5-6 5-4 5-3 5-2 5-1 5-0
Fours 4-4 4-6 4-5 4-3 4-2 4-1 4-0
Threes 3-3 3-6 3-5 3-4 3-2 3-1 3-0
Twos 2-2 2-6 2-5 2-4 2-3 2-1 2-0
Ones 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

The winner of a trick, leads in the next trick played.  The turn of dealer passes to the next player in turn for each new round.

Each of the tricks won, scores 2 points to the winning partnership, regardless of "count" tiles.  The tiles bearing ten pips, score 2 points for the players winning the tricks with those tiles.  Tiles bearing five pips, score 1 point for the players winning the tricks with those tiles.  The 10s and 5s tiles are known as "counters".  Each round of tricks played, scores a total of 88 points, which is where the game gets its name from.

A number of rounds are played as described, and the first triple-partnership to score 500 points, wins the game.


There are no Nell-O, Plunge, or Forced Bidding variations to Texas 88, unlike Texas 42.

Scoring by Marks

As an alternative to scoring standard points, players may score Marks.  This is the most commonly used variation to the basic game which is often used for tournaments to speed up play.  One Mark is scored for each game won, regardless of the points bid or scored, except if a bid of 176, 264, or 352 was made then the winning partnership scores one Mark for each multiple of 88.

The first partnership to score seven or more Marks and be at least two Marks ahead, wins the overall game.




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