KISSIMMEE, Fla. – For many decades, the game of dominoes has been part of Hispanic families, particularly those from the Caribbean.
“Every time I hear the sound of the rocks play on the table, I can hear my family playing and having fun,” said Gustavo Torres, a native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, a small town just outside of San Juan. “Domino is part of our life, the Hispanics. It’s part of our culture, family parties, Christmas.”
It’s those childhood memories and love for the game that led Torres to found the Kissimmee Domino Club in 2018, to honor his late father.
“I really miss him, but in his memory, I start this,” he said.
Every Thursday afternoon, members gather at El Matador restaurant in downtown Kissimmee.
“There’s some rules to try to make the best game, but there is also some luck about what you get in your hand. I personally think that 40% is luck, 60% is skills,” Gustavo said.
The game is believed to have originated in China, eventually making its way to the western world, where it became a significant part of the Hispanic culture, particularly in Puerto Rico and Cuba.
“You can sit at the table, you can share with some friends. You can laugh, you can tell stories, you can talk about life,” he said.
But when it’s time to get serious and go into full competition mode, players have to stay silent.
Gustavo said the club isn’t just for high-level players—anyone who wants to have a good time can join. The game, which consists of four players that make up two teams, combines strategy, memorizing tiles and teamwork. A single game can last anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes.
For information about the club, membership and events, visit the Edomiclub website.