How to Play Yahtzee: Rules, Gameplay & Scoring

Yahtzee Rules

Yahtzee is a dice game played with family and friends that relies on probability, strategy, and a fair amount of luck.

For beginners, the Yahtzee rules, gameplay, and scoring may appear complex at first. However, once the player has familiarized themselves with the game, winning a match may be easier and more achievable.

The Object of the Game

The game’s goal is to roll the dice and fill out each category in the scorecard to get a high score after 13 rounds.


Before starting the game, choose a player who will take the first turn. Some selection methods include selecting the youngest player, oldest player, or the one with the highest dice roll.

Each player is then given a score sheet with their name written on it. The sheet contains 13 Yahtzee categories that the player must fill out by the end of the game.

After the first player has cast the dice, the play continues in a clockwise fashion.


The following items are needed to play a Yahtzee game:

  • One Yahtzee dice cup
  • Five dice
  • 10 Bonus chips
  • 80 Scorecards

Number of Players

Two players or more can participate in a game of Yahtzee.

How to Play Yahtzee

Clockwise from the starting player, players take turns rolling the dice. There are 13 rounds in the game, after which all the categories on the Yahtzee scorecards should be completely filled.

At the start of a game’s turn, the player rolls all five dice. During their turn, they may reroll some or all of the dice two more times.

After the roll, the player writes their score in a category of their choice on the scorecard.

Their goal is to fill out all 13 categories in the player’s score sheet.

Once the player has written their score, their turn ends. Afterward, the player to the left starts their turn to play.

Game Play

Once the game has started, players roll the dice in turn to get the best possible score. They may use the Yahtzee dice cup to roll the dice more conveniently.

There are a total of 13 rounds and 13 categories in Yahtzee. Players score one category per turn, so all categories should be filled out at the end of the game.

Players must make the first roll using all five dice. If the player decides to reroll a second or third time, they may pick any or all of their chosen dice.

Once the player makes their last roll for the turn, they must write the score in the category of their choice on the scorecard.

After the last round, the player who scores the highest total number of points wins the game.

Game Turn

In each turn, the player rolls five dice and scores one category of their choice on the scorecard.

If the player gets their desired dice combination on the first roll, they may score that dice roll immediately. Otherwise, they may proceed with a second roll.

At this point, players may opt to set aside the dice they are satisfied with and reroll the rest. They may also roll all the dice again.

If the player casts the third roll, they have to record the score in their chosen category whether the combination is satisfactory or not.

Scoring Rules

The scorecard has 13 scoring boxes: six in the upper section and seven in the lower section. These boxes are the following:

Upper Section

The upper section is composed of six boxes labeled “Aces,” “Twos,” “Threes,” “Fours,” “Fives,” and “Sixes.”

When scoring the upper section, the player only counts and adds the dice with the same number as the chosen category and writes the total in the appropriate box.

For example, if the player chooses to score “Aces,” they only count the dice with ones. Thus, a combination of 1-1-1-3-6 adds up to three points in “Aces.”

If the player chooses “Threes,” a 2-2-3-3-5 combo adds up to six points.

Lower Section

The lower section boxes contain various combinations and are played as indicated:

Three of a Kind

If the dice show at least three of the same number, the player fills out the “3 of a kind” box.

For example, a 2-5-5-5-6 combo qualifies as a three of a kind and scores 15 points.

Four of a Kind

This category is similar to three of a kind except with four dice of the same number.

For example, a 3-3-3-3-5 combo scores 12 points under four of a kind.

The player may score this combo under three of a kind, depending on their strategy.

Full House

The player must roll a three of a kind and a pair. A full house has a fixed score of 25 points.

For example, a 1-1-1-4-4 qualifies as a full house and automatically scores 25.

A full house also qualifies as a three of a kind if the player chooses to do so.

Small Straight

A small straight is any sequence of four numbers, such as 1-2-3-4-6 or 2-3-4-5-5. The fifth die can be any number.

Small straight combinations are worth 30 points.

Large Straight

This is a sequence of five numbers, such as 1-2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-6. A large straight combo is worth 40 points.

Players may play the large straight as a small straight, depending on their strategy.


In this category, players score by adding all the dice regardless of the combination. For instance, a 1-2-4-6-6 gives a total of 19 points.


This category is considered five of a kind, such as 2-2-2-2-2 or 5-5-5-5-5. Players who roll a Yahtzee earn a fixed total score of 50 points.

Those who roll more than one Yahtzee earn 100 bonus points for each additional Yahtzee. Thus, if a player rolls five Yahtzees, they get 450 points (50 points for the first Yahtzee and 400 points for the other four).

Scratch or Dump Scores

You can choose to fill out any category on the scorecard even when the dice combination does not match. In this case, you place zero points in that category.

For example, the player places a 2-2-3-4-6 combo in an open lower section box, such as the three of a kind category. Since the dice do not meet the required combination, the player writes zero points instead.

Special Yahtzee Scoring

Suppose the player rolls a second Yahtzee and they already scored the first one in the scorecard.

In this case, the player receives a 100-point bonus in the Yahtzee category and earns a chance to place a score in a vacant category. In effect, this game feature is like an extra roll within the player’s turn.

One exception to this provision is when the player used the Yahtzee box as a scratch and received zero points. In this case, the player no longer gets the 100-point bonus on the second Yahtzee combination.

Afterward, whether the player receives a Yahtzee bonus or not, the Joker rules come into play.

Joker Rules

This game rule applies when the Yahtzee box in the player’s scorecard is already filled out, and the player gets another Yahtzee combo. In this case, the subsequent Yahtzee acts as a joker, and the score is placed in another category.

The method to writing the score is as follows:

  • If there is an appropriate upper section box not filled, the player must place the score there.

For example, if the player rolls 3-3-3-3-3 and the ‘Threes’ category is not filled, the player writes the score there.

  • If the matching upper section category is filled, the player chooses a vacant category and places zero points there.

Suppose the player rolls 2-2-2-2-2, and ‘Twos’ is already filled while ‘Fours’ is still vacant. The player fills out the ‘Fours’ box with zero points.

  • In the ‘three of a kind,’ ‘four of a kind,’ and ‘chance’ categories, the score depends on the total of the die faces. A 4-4-4-4-4 combo scores 12 points in a ‘three of a kind’ box, 16 in a ‘four of a kind’ box, and 20 in a ‘chance’ box.
  • If the player fills out the ‘full house,’ ‘small straight,’ and ‘large straight’ boxes, the score is fixed at 25, 30, and 40 points, respectively.


If the total upper section score reaches 63 points or higher, the player receives a 35-point bonus.

If you roll additional Yahtzees after the first one, you receive a 100-point bonus. The player then takes a bonus chip then places a checkmark in the Yahtzee bonus box.


Based on a five-die throw, there are 7,776 total possible combinations. Based on this number, the probabilities of the following combinations to show up are as follows:

  • Three of a kind: 15.43% (1,200 ÷ 7,776)
  • Four of a kind: 1.93% (150 ÷ 7,776)
  • Full house: 3.86% (300 ÷ 7,776)
  • Small straight: 46.30% (3,600 ÷ 7,776)
  • Large straight: 9.26% (720 ÷ 7,776)
  • Yahtzee: 0.08% (6 ÷ 7,776)

How Do You Win?

Players win when they fill out all 13 categories in the scorecard and earn the highest score among the other players.

End of the Game

The player that has the highest total score after 13 rounds wins the game.