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Basic Rules to Play Yahtzee

Basic Rules to Play Yahtzee

Interested in playing dice games? Luck favors you every time you roll that dice? Or you just wanna try out a new game with your friends? Then Yahtzee is all you need to play. Plentifun explains the basic rules to play Yahtzee in simple terms along with winning strategies and a free printable score sheet.
Payal Kanjwani
They say luck favors only the prepared mind. So be prepared to win this game, mentally first and luck shall follow!

Yahtzee is an interesting dice game, created by Milton Bradley (now owned by Hasbro). In 1940, this game was first named as "Yatzie" by the National Association Service of Toledo, Ohio. Yatzie is a very popular game which is even the part of game set called "LUCK - 15 Grand Dice Games".
The game entrepreneur, Edwin S. Lowe, commercialized this game with the name "Yahtzee" in 1956.
Yacht, Generala, and Yogi are close cousins of Yahtzee.
A public domain verse to Yahtzee is Yatzy, which is popularly played in Scandinavia. But the rules of Yatzy differ a lot from those of Yahtzee; hence, they should not be mixed.
This game also has traces of Poker Dice and the Cheerio dice game.


The goal is to score the maximum number of points by rolling combinations of five dice.


The game consists of 13 rounds.
Each round will give you a chance to roll the dice and let you score in one of the defined categories. To qualify, you must score at least once in each of the categories, so that towards the end of the game, you may have to settle for scoring zero in a few categories. The score is determined by a different rule for each category, which is explained below. Each player's final score is computed by summing up all thirteen score boxes.


The Yahtzee scorecard contains thirteen boxes divided between two sections: the upper and lower section.

The Upper Section
In the upper score section, you total only the specified die face. Refer to the illustration below to get a clear idea. In these boxes, if a player scores a total of at least 63 points, a bonus of 35 points is added to the upper section score, when the game is over.

upper score yahtzee

The Lower Section
In the lower scores, you score a fixed amount defined by the category, or zero if you don't satisfy the requirements of category.

In this, 3 dice out of 5 should have the same face. The score is calculated as sum of all the dice faces.

three of a kind yahtzee

Similarly, Four-of-a-kind should have 4 out of 5 die faces the same. Score will be the summation of all the face values.

four of a kind yahtzee

Full House
A Full House is a roll where you have a combination of a 3 of a kind, and a pair (two cards same). Full house score is 25 points.

full house yahtzee

Small Straight
A small straight is a sequence of 4 consecutive die faces, and they fetch you 30 points.

small straight yahtzee

Large Straight
A large straight is a sequence of 5 consecutive faces, scoring 40 points.

large straight yahtzee

A Yahtzee is actually a Five-of-a-kind, i.e., all the dice faces are the same, and it scores 50 points. If you roll more than one Yahtzee in a single game, each additional Yahtzee roll will earn a 100-point bonus, provided that you have in store a 50 in the Yahtzee category. If you have not scored anything in the Yahtzee category, you will be devoid of bonus. If you have a zero in the Yahtzee category, the rule is that you cannot receive any bonuses throughout the game.

five of a kind yahtzee

Chance is the catch-all roll; a turn that will not fit in any other category, hence the name. You can roll anything and all you do is total all the die values, to get the score. If you're going lucky, Chance can be your key to recording a high score.

chance yahtzee

Maximum Score

The maximum possible score of this game is 375. You would get that by getting,
5 ones (5),
5 twos (10),
5 threes (15),
5 fours (20),
5 fives (25),
5 sixes (30),
Bonus Points (35),
5 sixes for 3-of-a-kind (30),
5 sixes for 4-of-a-kind (30),
A full house (25),
A small straight (30),
A large straight (40),
5 sixes for a chance (30),
Total: 375!

Minimum Score

The lowest possible score is 5. The dice value will be calculated by the Chance box by simply adding all values, so a score of five can be achieved, only in the case of 5 aces. Technically it is a Yahtzee, but the player may choose not to score it as one, or may be he can't if a zero was already present in the Yahtzee score box.


We can't calculate the probability of outdoing a given score in this game. Nevertheless, we can assess this by playing it a number of times, and observing scores achieved.

The probability of a Yahtzee for any three-roll turn: 0.04603, or roughly 1 in 22 attempts.
The probability of rolling a Yahtzee in the first roll of any turn: 1 in 1296.
The probability of a specific Yahtzee (e.g., all aces): 0.013272, or about 1 in 75 attempts.
The probability of a player rolling 13 Yahtzees in a game: 1 in 283 quadrillion (15 zeros).


Don't let go of an opportunity where you can get the bonus. Concentrate on obtaining as many fives and sixes as possible.

Free Printable Yahtzee Score Sheet

TOTAL of upper section
Full House
Small Straight
Large Straight
TOTAL of lower section

Hoping you are clear with how to play this game. So, what next? Let's roll it!