Tournament Rules

A tournament is comprised of two sessions. The morning “round-robin” session determines which bracket a team shall play during the afternoon session. The championship and consolation brackets are each double-elimination (or WinNAdvance).


  • The game is “straight” 42. No low (aka nello), sevens, plunge, splash, or any other variation.
  • Available contracts: 0-6 or doubles as trump, and no-trump (aka follow-me, “Doubles-High”).
  • Scoring is by marks, not points, to 7.

Round Robin

A round-robin morning series of games shall be determined by random draw.


Two brackets will formed based upon round-robin team performance. A championship bracket shall be formed, and if enough contestants as decided by the judges, a consolation bracket shall be formed.

Teams shall be selected and seeded (ordered) as follows:

  • Teams with the highest win record shall be seeded first.
  • In the event of a tie, teams with the highest number of total marks earned shall be seeded first.
  • If still tied, teams with the least amount of marks scored against them shall be seeded first.
  • If still tied, team seed order shall be determined by the play of one hand, or drawing of one domino by each team, as decided by the judges (with input from the teams involved).


  • Games are to 7 marks. Teams shall be awarded all marks scored.
  • Game forfeits shall be scored 7-0.
  • Byes, if any, shall be scored 7-4. Byes shall occur in the initial bracketing.

Player Conduct

  • No deliberate slow play. Suggested bid time is 20 seconds and 10 seconds to play a bone.
  • Communication (aka Table Talk)
    • Players shall have no communication related to game play during game play. Communication includes:
      • verbal statements such as announcing a bone led, a bone played, the trump suit, who is winning the trick, how many points are on the table or still out, etc.
      • physical cues to their partner to indicate particular bones (such as left-/right-hand leads, crossing the arms, rubbing the nose, etc.)
    • Violations shall be considered a renege.
  • No eating, drinking, or smoking during play. Only bones and score pads may be on the table.

Spectator Conduct

  • Spectators may watch any game.
  • Spectators may not disturb players during game play.
  • Spectators may not comment on player actions or rule infringements during game play.

Game Play

Delay of Game: If a team is more than 5 minutes late after the official start time, the team shall forfeit that game.

Time Limit: Each round-robin game shall have an initial time-limit of 25 minutes. When time is called, the hand in progress shall be completed. A hand is considered in progress if one person has already bid. After hand completion, if the game is tied, one more hand shall be played to decide the game.

Reneges: A renege is an action that results in the loss of the hand (such as not following suit, playing out of turn, talking across the table, etc.). The hand is immediately over and the opposing team shall be awarded the mark(s).

Officials Request: If any player believes any rule has been broken, but the table disagrees, play shall stop immediately and a tournament official called to the table to render judgment.

Shake and Draw

Initial Shake: The initial shake shall be made by the player that draws the bone with the highest number of dots. If two or more players tie, the tied players shall repeat drawing until one player wins.

Drawing of Bones: Non-shaking team draws first, followed by the shaker’s partner and finally the shaker.

Positioning of Bones: Bones may not be held (except for initial viewing) and shall be lined up in front of the player in two horizontal rows stacked 4-3 or 3-4, maintained consistently from hand to hand and game to game. Bones may not be moved nor pushed together once play begins.


The player to the left of the shaker has first bid. Each player may bid once with the shaker having the final bid. Successive bids must each be higher than previous bids. The player with the highest bid wins the bid.

Bids are 30-42 or multiples of 42, where 42 is one mark. Bids over one mark (42) shall be in increments of one mark (42) each. A bidder may not bid more than two marks (84) unless a two-mark (84) bid has already been made. Successive bids over two marks (84) may only be in one-mark (42) increments.

The bid is ONE WORD only – pass, 30, 31, 36, 41, 42, two marks, 126, etc.

Bids are final – once a bid is made it cannot be changed. If a player bids out of turn, the bid shall not be changed. If the bid is no longer available when it becomes the turn of the player bidding out-of-order, the player shall pass.

There is no forced bidding. If all players pass, the shuffle passes to the next player.

If a bone is accidentally turned over during bidding, the opposing team member after the player turning over a bone shall immediately decide whether or not to re-shake. Should a re-shake occur, the same player shall shake.


Playing of Bones: Bones shall not be touched except to play. Players should not hesitate over one bone and play another. Bones should not be tossed, slid, whirled, slammed, etc.; rather placed directly in front of the player. If one bone is accidentally revealed during play, it shall be left face up and played at the first legal opportunity.

Declaring Trump: The bid winner shall declare the trump suit prior to the first lead. If no declaration is made verbally when played, the high side of the first domino led shall dictate trump.

First Lead: The bid winner shall lead the first bone.

Leads, Following Suit, Trumping: Any bone may be led at any time, including trumps. Highest end of bone (unless trump) indicates suit led. Players must follow suit if they can. Not following suit is considered a renege. If a player cannot follow suit, they may play any bone.

Playing out of Turn: Playing out of turn (lead or follow) shall result in a renege.

Trick Stacks: Each team shall keep only one set of tricks won. In the event of marks bids (42 or higher), tricks may be either single-stacked or double-stacked (alternating back and forth) – per choice of the bid winner – in the middle of the table. Opponents may choose the orientation.

Declaring Laydown/Made Bid/Set: Any player may declare a laydown, that they have the bid made, or their opponent set (usually in order to save time). However, if the opposing team challenges and can demonstrate any possible way the declarer could be incorrect, the declarer shall forfeit the hand. [Note: It is suggested that the player wait until they are in the lead and then lay their bones down in order of play. During a challenge, ONLY the “actual” dominoes held by the players may be used in the challenge, regardless of whose hand they are in (other than the bidders).]

Showing Bones: If a bid is made (or set) before all bones have been played, all remaining bones shall be turned face up allowing for inspection by both teams.