How to Play the Dreidel Game

Dreidel is a traditional game of chance, played with a top-like object called a Dreidel, that is spun by the players. There are four sides on it and the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, shin and hay are written on the sides. These are the first letters to the words ‘Nes Gadol Hayah Sham’. This is translated as ‘A great miracle happened there’. In ancient times, Jews used to play this game when going to study the Torah. They played it in order to fool soldiers and trick them into thinking that they were gambling. This is an easy game and with some guidance, you can learn to play it fairly quickly.

Things Required:

– Dreidel
– A few dozen tokens: buttons, coins or small candies (you can also use gelt coins)

Instructions

  • 1

    Get a Dreidel

    You need to get a Dreidel in order to play. For people living outside Israel, the letters are Nun, Gimmel, Hay, and Shin which indicates that a great miracle happened in Israel. Inside Israel, the four letters are Nun, Gimmel, Hay, Pey which indicates that the miracle happened in Israel.

  • 2

    Gather players

    Dreidel can be played with as little as two players. However, the more the players, the better the game is. You need to distribute tokens among the players, and are required to issue an equal number of tokens to each player. Remember that tokens can be any small thing such as nuts, raisins, pennies or even matchsticks. Besides these, gelt coins can also be used.

  • 3

    Ante up

    You are required to place one token in before spinning. Keep in mind that when the pot is emptied, all the players need to place one token in it.

  • 4

    Take turns in spinning

    You need to take turns spinning the Dreidel. A person wins, loses or draws depending on the letter which is up after spinning the Dreidel. Whenever Shin comes, you need to put one more token in the pot. If nun is the outcome, you are required to do nothing. In case Gimmel comes, you need to take all the tokens from the pot. If the outcome is Hay, you need to draw out half of the tokens from the pot.

  • 5

    Pass and play

    After your turn, you need to pass the Dreidel to the next player. Continue doing this until all the tokens in the pot are finished.

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