Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 | 8:57 p.m.
If You Go
- Where: Las Vegas Hilton
- When: Saturday Nov. 15, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- National Domino Federation
- Admission: Free to watch, $250 to enter.
More than 100 of the best Domino players from across the Americas are in Las Vegas this weekend to battle it out at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Between 120 and 150 participants are expected to compete for $50,000 in prizes.
Domino players of all ages have traveled from across the Americas – including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Panama – to vie for the title.
“We have around six or seven world champions of Dominos here in Vegas,” tournament organizer, Ricardo Arias, said.
The group of accomplished players includes the 2008 world championship winner, Julio Tronconi, and the 2007 World Domino Open victor, Thomas Ortiz.
Tronconi, who won his designation in May at the World Domino Championship in Orlando, came from Caracas, Venezuela, hoping to claim a second championship title. Meantime, Ortiz traveled from his home in Tijuana, Mexico to defend his title.
First place in both the Open’s individual and team divisions fetches $10,000. The prize purses shrink the further down from the finish you go, but a ninth place result is still given a cool $1000.
Not too bad for two days of playing Dominoes.
The game has been part of Arias’ life for as long as he can remember. He said his father taught him how to play while growing up in Mexicali, Mexico, when he was about five years old.
For him it was more than just a game; it was a way of life.
“You grow up playing Dominos,” he said.
Today he believes Dominoes is the most popular game in the world – even more so than baseball, soccer or even football – because it is a game anyone can enjoy, regardless of age or physical ability.
“It’s a table game that permits people to socialize and anyone in the world could play it,” he said.
While Dominos is a game to most, Arias takes it very seriously. Beyond organizing the Vegas-based tournament, he also active with both the International Federation of Dominos and the Mexican Domino collective, Federación de Domino de la Republica Mexicana.
Arias acknowledged the troubled economy put a damper on this year’s tournament but he hopes to expand the event next year as economic conditions improve.
Now in its third year, the bilingual two-day competition gets underway tomorrow at 9 a.m. Each competitor is guaranteed at least 11 games, which range in length from as little as five to as many as 30 minutes long.
The final match-ups will be played Sunday starting at about 4 p.m.