DNFMOMD: Domino Effect

I’m such an old man, my favorite games are backgammon and dominoes. When my family gets together I can count on a late night hand:

We play with three superstitions:

1. Everyone has to put a hand in and swish the dominoes around before you take the set for your hand; this ensures good luck. If you don’t put your hand in you’ll have bad luck that round. Proper swishing technique illustrated here:

2. You can never touch the dominoes that go into the boneyard. The boneyard is made up of dominoes that due to the number of people playing, the dominoes in the set did not spread out evenly per person. If you get stuck and can’t play your turn you can then take from the boneyard, but you don’t want to do that because it will make you lose your place to go out (use all of your dominoes) first, and it will give the winner extra points at the end of the game (when someone goes out, all of the players lay down their unused dominoes and the total of those gets added to the score of the winner of the hand). Obviously I did something to anger the gods, as here I am picking from the boneyard (and I picked up all three!)

3. Finally, you can’t start a game by making points. Doing this will mean that you won’t do well points-wise for that hand. However I have seen people do this, and my cursory data suggests that the luck on this is just random(whether you make points or don’t) after starting the game off with some sucker points.