How to Play Yahtzee: How Do You Roll? How Do You Score? What Dice Do You Need?
What is Yahtzee?
Yahtzee is a dice game originally made by the E.S. Lowe Company from 1956 to 1973 until Milton Bradly, now a part of the Hasbro Corporation, bought out the E.S. Lowe Company. The game is based off several much earlier games like Poker dice, Yacht, Generala, and the Scandinavian game Yatzy. The game is played by rolling 5 dice and scoring the rolls against a scorecard. The winner of each round is determined by the player with the most points from winning Yahtzee dice combinations. For longer playing, the winner can be selected by total number of rounds won or overall highest point total over several rounds.
How to play Yahtzee:
You have three attempts (in Yahtzee, "rolls") to make a scoring hand. You begin by first rolling all five dice. From there you will select which dice you wish to save and which dice you wish to re-roll.
For example: Roll 5 dice. The roll is 3..2..2..4..6. You decide to try for the 2’s scoring position. Therefore, you lock the 2’s and will re-roll only the 3..4..6.
In deciding what to roll for, you will reference your score card, attempting to fill in each Yahtzee rolls selection space on your card. In a standard round you will only fill out each selection once. Each turn, a set of three rolls, must be followed with the closing of a Yahtzee scoring card space. If you are unable to score points, than you must place a zero in one of the currently open spaces. Turns continue until all spaces have been closed. Yahtzee Scoring:
How many rolls are in Yahtzee?
Each turn can use up to three rolls. You do not need to use all of your Yahtzee rolls to begin scoring. In theory, you could roll as few as 13 times in a round or as many as 39!
How many dice are in Yahtzee?
Typically, five six-sided pipped dice. (the dots are called pips)
What size are Yahtzee dice?
What is a small straight Yahtzee dice combination?
This is where you have 4 numbers in sequence. Ex. 1..2..3..4
What is a large straight Yahtzee dice combination?
All 5 of your dice in sequence. Ex. 2..3..4..5..6
Do you need to buy the game to play?
Not necessarily. The game can be played with any numbered D6 dice which feature the numbers 1-6. The score can be kept with a pen and paper if you have a good memory for the Yahtzee scoring system. Some players take to photocopying their score sheets. An example of the sheet is seen above. Others buy additional sheets.
How do you roll a Yahtzee every time?
You can’t! Unless you are using loaded dice (dice that roll a specific number each time) you can’t roll a Yahtzee every turn.
What are the odds of rolling a Yahtzee?
According to Thoughtco.com:
“The probability of a Yahtzee in one roll is 0.08 percent, the probability of a Yahtzee in two rolls is 1.23 percent and the probability of a Yahtzee in three rolls is 3.43 percent. Since each of these are mutually exclusive, we add the probabilities together. This means that the probability of obtaining a Yahtzee in a given turn is approximately 4.74 percent. To put this into perspective, since 1/21 is approximately 4.74 percent, by chance alone a player should expect a Yahtzee once every 21 turns. In practice, it may take longer as an initial pair may be discarded to roll for something else, such as a straight.”
Need a copy of Yahtzee? Get yours here.
How do you roll the dice?
For nostalgia reasons, I have to use a red cup when I play this dice game. That has long been an integral piece of hardware with the game. Sadly, the pack I purchased to write this summary came with this strange black coin purse-esk shaker. [pictured below] It works pretty well, but I miss the red cup! If I had to guess, I would say the shaker is sleeker and more easily packaged. That said, I can also see the shaker being more accessible for some dice rollers as it easily fits in hand and still holding all of the dice.
Back of the Yahtzee Box for reference:
Transparency Notes: The links in this article have one of three destinations: to a listing page on BrycesDice, to a online source, or to an Amazon sales listing. The Amazon links are linked to the BrycesDice affiliate account and bring in commissions to BrycesDice when purchased. BrycesDice is expanding daily, but some items are still out of reach. For that reason these outside links are created. I 100% approve of the game and ensure satisfaction with BrycesDice purchases. I cannot do the same for outside orders.
All pictures are registered trademarks of Hasbro. The photos featured in this post were taken for the express purpose of providing an educational tool on how to play Yahtzee. The pictures were derived from a game purchases on 10/11/2021 for the express purpose of writing this post.