Seven-Toed Pete

Introduction

This game is a member of the Fives family of domino games in which scoring or playing a double entitles the player to an extra turn. Seven-Toed Pete has also been used as an alternative name for Seven-Card Stud Poker, but there is no relationship between the games beyond the fact that in both cases the players' hands consist of seven cards or tiles.

In the "East Coast" version of Seeven-Toed Pete described on this page only one double is used as a spinner, so the layout develops as a four-armed cross. On the West Coast of the USA, Seven-Toed Pete is generally played with all doubles as spinners, and is sometimes called Race Horse or Horse Race. This is described on a separate page.

Equipment

The game uses a double six domino set and four players. Chips are a good way to keep score.

The Deal

The size of the hand is seven tiles each. There is no boneyard.

The Play

The first player in the first hand is determined by lot. In the following hands, the lead rotates. The lead player must place a double or a scoring tile ([0-5], [1-4], [2-3], [4-6], [5-5]); if the player does not have such a tile in his hand, the lead passes to the next player.

The players must match the ends of the tiles on the table. Doubles are turned crosswise. The first double, and only the first double, played is used as a spinner. The usual rules for placing tiles on a spinner apply. That is, the first and second tiles played against the spinner must be placed against a side, then the third and fourth tiles must be placed against the ends.

A scoring play is one that makes the ends of the layout add up to a multiple of five. Both ends of a double at the end of an arm of the layout count towards this total. Doubles (including the spinner) cease to count as part of the total when both sides have been played on.

If a player cannot play a tile at all, he must pass his turn.

Whenever a player plays a double or makes a scoring play, he takes another turn. If this new turn is another scoring play, the player takes further turns until a non-scoring play is made. If a player plays their last tile and it scores or is a double, that player is said to be "washed up", and play continues among the other players.

Play ends when the game is blocked (no one can play), or when a player dominoes by playing their last tile which is not a double and does not score.

Scoring

As in All Fives, players score the total of the ends of the layout if this is a multiple of five, and the winner (the player who dominoes or the player with the lowest total pips on his remaining tiles when the game blocks) scores the totals pips remaining in the opponents' hands. Usually these scores are divided by five (rounding the end score to the nearest five before dividing) so that for example a player would score 3 for making the ends of the layout total 15, and 7 for winning if the opponents had a total of 33 pips in their hands.

Variations

Jowe Celko describes a variation in which there is no score for making the ends of the layout total a multiple of five (the player simply takes another turn), and the winner (the player who dominoes without being washed up, or the player with fewest points if the game is blocked) simply scores one chip. Apparently, players who were washed up also take a chip each. If no one dominoes, the player who has the smallest number of pips on the tiles left in his hand when the game blocks is the winner and takes a chip. If two or more players have the same low score, then they each get a chip. The first player to reach a certain number of chips is the winner.

It is possible for four players to play as partners.

It is also possible to play a two- or three-player game. In this case each player takes seven tiles and the remainder form the boneyard. A player who is unable to play while there are tiles in the boneyard must draw until able to play. This also applies to the first player, who must draw if he holds no scoring tile or double. A player who plays his last tile which scores or is a double must draw from the boneyard until he obtains a tile to play as his extra turn. When the boneyard is empty, players who are unable to play pass as in the four-player game.

Comments & Strategy

This is a very fast paced game and one player can domino is his turn if he has the right. If you are used to another game in the Fives family, you will have to unlearn the desire to make high multiples of five in favor of making extra plays that will get you to domino as soon as possible.