Yahtzee game rules – how to play yahtzee the game

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Welcome to the world of Yahtzee, a classic dice game loved by many! If you’re new to the game or need a refresher, I’m here to guide you through the rules. So grab your dice and let’s get started!

The goal of Yahtzee is to score the most points by rolling five dice and creating specific combinations. To begin, I’ll explain the different scoring categories you can aim for. There are fifteen boxes on the score sheet, and each one represents a different combination you can make with your dice.

Let’s start with the upper section. In this section, you’ll find categories like ones, twos, threes, and so on, up to sixes. Your score for these categories is simply the total value of the dice showing the corresponding number. For example, if you roll three dice showing twos, your score for the twos category would be 6.

Moving on to the lower section, you’ll discover more exciting scoring opportunities. Here, you’ll find categories like three of a kind, four of a kind, full house, small straight, large straight, yahtzee, and chance.

The three of a kind category requires at least three dice of the same number. The score for this category is the sum of all the dice. For instance, if you roll 3, 3, 3, 4, 6, your score for the three of a kind category would be 19.

To score in the four of a kind category, you need at least four dice of the same number. Like with three of a kind, your score is the sum of all the dice. Let’s say you roll 2, 5, 5, 5, 5. Your score for the four of a kind category would be 22.

A full house is when you have three dice of one number and two dice of another. In this category, you score 25 points.

A small straight is a sequence of four dice, like 1, 2, 3, 4, or 2, 3, 4, 5. Score 30 points for a small straight.

A large straight is a sequence of five dice, like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Score 40 points for a large straight.

Yahtzee! This category is achieved when all five dice show the same number. You score 50 points for this incredible feat. If you roll multiple yahtzees in a game, you’ll earn additional bonus points.

Lastly, we have the chance category, which allows you to score the sum of all the dice. This category gives you more flexibility and can be a great backup plan.

During your turn, you have three rolls to create the combination you want. After the first roll, you can choose which dice to keep and which ones to reroll. You can reroll any or all of the dice up to two more times. Once your three rolls are complete, you must choose a category to score in, even if it’s a zero.

The game continues with each player taking turns and scoring in different categories until the score sheet is filled. At the end, the player with the highest total score wins!

Now that you know how to play Yahtzee, gather your friends and family, and engage in this thrilling dice game. May the dice be in your favor!

Did you know that Yahtzee has been around for over six decades? It was created back in 1956 by Edwin S. Lowe and was published by Milton Bradley. Yahtzee is a game that brings people together, whether for a fun family game night or a relaxing evening by yourself.

Now, let’s dive into the rules of this classic game. And if you’re looking for another dice-rolling game to try out, I highly recommend Farkle.

Getting Ready to Play Yahtzee

To start off, each player will need their own scorecard. To determine who goes first, everyone takes turns rolling all five dice. Whoever gets the highest total will be the first player, and play will continue clockwise.

What’s Inside the Box

Yahtzee game rules - how to play yahtzee the game

When you open up your Yahtzee game, you’ll find a few different things inside.

  • A rulebook for Yahtzee
  • Sheets for keeping score
  • Five dice
  • Plastic markers
  • A cup for rolling the dice


When it’s your turn, you have three chances to roll the dice and try to get the most points from different combinations. After three rolls, write your score or a zero on your scorecard in the right column. If you’re happy with your first roll, you can also choose to stop there.


Roll all five dice. You can either choose to end your turn and write down your points, or you can set aside the dice that you want to keep and roll the rest again.


When playing the game, you have the option to roll one or more dice during the first roll. You don’t have to announce which combination you’re aiming for because your strategy might change after the second roll. Once the second roll is complete, you have the choice to either stop and calculate your score or roll the dice again.


In the third roll, you have another chance to roll all or some of the five dice. After this roll, you must decide whether to assign yourself a score or mark it as zero. Once you mark your score, your turn is finished, and it’s the next person’s turn to play.


Yahtzee game rules - how to play yahtzee the game

Hey there! Let’s talk about how to play this cool game called Scorecard. It’s a game where you fill in boxes on a scorecard based on the numbers you roll. The scorecard has 13 columns, one for each round in the game. It doesn’t matter if you score zero on a round, you still have to fill in a box. The scorecard is divided into two sections, the Upper Section and the Lower Section.


Aces (Ones): Add up all the ones you rolled

Twos: Add up all the twos you rolled

Threes: Add up all the threes you rolled

Fours: Add up all the fours you rolled

Fives: Add up all the fives you rolled

Sixes: Add up all the sixes you rolled

How to Score in the Upper Section:

Let’s say you rolled three 3s, one 2, and one 4. You can choose to score these rolls as a 9 in the threes box, a 2 in the twos box, or a 4 in the fours box. It’s up to you!

The goal of the Upper Section is to score a total of 63 points or more in any combination. If you achieve this, you’ll get a bonus of 35 points. How cool is that?


This section is all about getting three or more of the same number on the dice. It’s the place where I can score points for rolling three of a kind or more.

If I manage to roll three or more dice with the same number, I score the total of all five dice in this section.

But wait, there’s more! If I don’t roll three of a kind, I still have other options to score points. I can score the total number in the upper section or the total of all dice in the chance section.


This section is all about getting four or more of the same number on the dice. It’s where I can score points for rolling four or more of a kind.

If I manage to roll four or more dice with the same number, I score the total of all five dice in this section.

But that’s not all! Even if I don’t roll four of a kind, I still have other options to score points. I can score the total in the three-of-a-kind box or chance box. I can even score them in the upper section.


In Yahtzee, scoring a Full House means you have three of one number and two dice of another. It’s always worth 25 points, regardless of the numbers involved.

But there are other ways to score as well. You can add up the values of the three dice and score in the 3 of a Kind category, or you can score points by adding up all the dice and placing the total in the Chance box. You also have the option to score in the Upper Section.

Now let’s talk about the Small Straight. This is worth 30 points. To score a Small Straight, you need to have four sequential dice. It could be a 2, 3, 4, 5, or any other sequence that counts as a Small Straight. It doesn’t matter where the straight starts or ends, as long as it meets the criteria. And remember, a Small Straight is always worth 30 points.

Another scoring option is to replace a Small Straight score in the Chance box instead of a Small Straight box.

Lastly, we have the Large Straight. There’s no fixed point value for a Large Straight, so how much it’s worth depends on the scoring system you’re using. To score a Large Straight, you need to have five sequential dice. For example, if you roll a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or any other sequence, it counts as a Large Straight.

So there you have it. These are the different scoring options when it comes to Full House, Small Straight, and Large Straight in Yahtzee. Make sure to choose your scoring strategy wisely and aim for the highest point totals to win the game!

Cool! Let’s talk about the large straight first. It’s worth a whopping 40 points. How do you score it? Well, all you need is five dice in sequential order. For example, if you roll a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and any other number, you’ve got yourself a large straight! It doesn’t matter if the sequence starts with a one or a two, it’s still worth 40 points. Pretty neat, huh?

Here’s an alternative scoring option: If you’re playing and you happen to roll a large straight, you can score it in either the small straight box or the chance box. So you have some flexibility there.

Let’s move on to Yahtzee!

This one is a biggie. Yahtzee is worth a whopping 50 points! So, how do you get those points? Well, you need to roll five dice that all show the same number. It’s called a 5 of a kind. Once you score a Yahtzee, here’s the cool part: every additional Yahtzee you roll after that earns you a bonus. Talk about luck!

Now let’s look at Chance.

Chance is a pretty simple category. It’s all about luck, baby! You get to score the total of all five dice in the chance box. This is handy when you can’t seem to score in any other category and you definitely don’t want a big fat zero on your scorecard.

And finally, the Yahtzee Bonus.

This is an exciting one. If you’re lucky enough to score a Yahtzee, you get a bonus! Every additional Yahtzee after the first one earns you even more points. So keep rolling those dice and aim for multiple Yahtzees!

So, here’s the deal. If I manage to roll a Yahtzee, that’s when things get interesting. You see, I get rewarded with a 100-point bonus. Pretty neat, right? I even get to grab a bonus chip and check off the Yahtzee bonus box. Now, here’s the really cool part. After my first Yahtzee, I can keep earning those sweet bonuses. There’s no limit, baby! I can rack up as many Yahtzee bonuses as I want. But here’s the catch, if I’ve already doodled a big fat zero in the Yahtzee box, I’m out of luck. No more bonuses for me. I can’t cry over spilled milk, so I just gotta move on and fill in one of the 13 boxes using the Joker Rules.


Let me break it down for you. If I’ve filled in all the boxes in the Upper Section, then I have to start scoring in the Lower Section. Each category in the Lower Section has its own point values, like for example, a Small Straight is worth 30 points. So, I add up the total of the five dice I’ve rolled and enter that score in the appropriate section. Simple as that!

In Yahtzee, there’s a special rule known as “Joker Rules.” Let’s say I roll five dice and they all show fives, but I’ve already scored zero in the Yahtzee box for fives. However, I’ve also scored fives in the upper section. This is where Joker Rules come into play. They give me the opportunity to open any box in the Lower Section and score it with the numbers I rolled. So, even if I’ve already scored in a box, I still have a chance to score again. For instance, if the Large Straight Box is open, I can mark 40 points in it.

Now let’s talk about the probabilities in Yahtzee. Depending on your strategy in the game, the probabilities can change drastically. If you’re aiming for the most Yahtzees, your chances of winning will be different from someone who’s going for even scoring.

The chance of rolling a Yahtzee in a single turn is 4.61%, which means you’ll get one Yahtzee in every 22 turns on average. However, if we consider the odds of rolling a Yahtzee in a single roll, they drastically decrease to 0.077%.

Lastly, let’s discuss the highest score possible in Yahtzee.

Did you know that the highest score you can achieve in Yahtzee is 1575? It’s quite a feat, but the odds of actually rolling a Yahtzee every round and getting such a score are incredibly slim, about 0.000000000000000043797% to be exact. So, it’s safe to say that it’s pretty much impossible.

But what about the lowest possible score?

You might be thinking that the lowest score in Yahtzee would be 0, but that’s not the case. Thanks to the chance section, the only way to achieve the lowest score is by rolling five 1s and scoring them in chance. So the lowest score possible is actually 5.

Now let’s talk about average scores.

The true difference between playing with an optimized strategy and aiming for high scores is reflected in the average scores of the game. A player who optimizes their turns and makes strategic choices can score an average of 255 points. On the other hand, a player who focuses solely on trying to get Yahtzees will typically score around 172 points on average.

So, how do you end a game of Yahtzee?

Once all 13 columns are filled by you and all players, the game comes to an end. Now, it’s time to calculate your score in the following manner:

Upper Section: Add up the scores in your Upper Section and write the sum in the corresponding total score box. If your score is 63 or higher, you get a bonus of 35 points. Don’t forget to include this bonus when calculating your total score.

Lower Section: Tally up the scores in your Lower Section and write the sum in the corresponding total score box. Remember to add 100 points for each check in the Yahtzee bonus box.

Grand Total: Combine the sums of your Upper and Lower Sections. This final total represents your overall score for the game. The player with the highest total wins.


Hey there! Want to play a game of Yahtzee all by yourself? It’s a cool way to challenge yourself and beat your own high scores. Check out our awesome compilation of the 12 best solo board games!


How Many Dice Are There in Yahtzee?

When you play Yahtzee, you use five dice for each turn.

How Many Rolls Do You Get In Yahtzee?

In a game of Yahtzee, you have 13 rounds to play, and in each round, you can roll the dice up to 3 times.

What Is the Highest Possible Score in Yahtzee?

In the standard Yahtzee rules, the highest score you can ever achieve is a whopping 1,575 points.

Where Does the Word “Yahtzee” Come From?

Let me tell you an interesting story about the origins of the game. The creators of the game were actually a couple who used to play it on their yacht. When they decided to sell the rights to the game, the company wanted to make sure that its original essence was preserved in the name.


Did you know that there are different variations of the game? In some versions, players have to complete the upper section before they can start scoring in the lower section.


If you’re looking to play Yahtzee online, you should check out Solitaried.com. They offer free online gameplay in both single-player and multi-player modes.


Are you ready for a supersized version of Yahtzee? Then you should definitely try Yardzee! It’s a giant game designed to be played outdoors. If you’re interested in other fun giant games, our site has an article that covers some more options.

By the way, my name is Amber, and I’m a writer and gaming enthusiast based in Austin. I consider myself a gaming master, and I also have a great love for dogs, plants, and all things D&D.

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