Categories: Gambling

The Domino Effect

Domino has long been a popular pastime, especially with children. It is a game in which players set up dominoes in a line or curve and then, by simply tipping the first one ever so slightly, cause all of the others to fall. The resulting cascade of rhythmic motion is called the domino effect, and it can also be applied to any actions that cause the rest to follow in an almost predictable manner, such as the chain reaction in a Rube Goldberg machine.

The name “domino” comes from the Latin word domina, meaning “heavy.” Unlike playing cards, which have a flat back, dominoes are designed with a ridge that visually divides their face into two squares, one of which displays an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” that identifies it, and the other of which is blank or identical to the pattern on the first side. The pips give the domino its value, which is reflected in its rank and weight; a domino with more pips than its counterpart is heavier, and thus more likely to collide with or block other dominoes as it falls.

In the game of domino, each player has a hand of dominoes and a boneyard where additional tiles are kept. When a player has no more dominoes to play, she must “knock” or rap the table and pass play to the opponent. Until she does, the other player must continue to play dominoes until the boneyard is depleted or the game reaches a point at which no further plays are possible.

Normally, the number of pips on each domino is enough to identify it, but some large sets use more readable Arabic numerals in place of pips. A domino has a value that can be used to calculate the rank and weight of a piece, and some games involve scoring by counting the pips in opponents’ hands.

The domino effect can also be seen in human behavior, as individual choices often have a ripple effect that can alter the lives of many. For example, when Jennifer Dukes Lee began to make her bed each day, it led to a change in her attitude about cleanliness and organization in other areas of her home. The result was a domino effect that benefited her and her family. Like the mechanical dominoes, human behavior is often unpredictable; it can be very difficult to predict what will happen next. But understanding the domino effect can help us understand how to influence our own behavior, as well as the behavior of other people.

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