Rules of the Dreidel Game

 

 

A dreidel has four sides, each with a Hebrew letter written on it that has a specific meaning in the Dreidel game. The Hebrew letters - nun, gimel, hey, and shin (or pe in Israel) - are an acronym for the Hebrew phrase, "Nes Gadol Haya Sham," which translates to "a great miracle happened there" (or "here" in Israel).

 

In the Dreidel game, the four letters stand for a specific action in the game, and the players spin the dreidel to determin what will happen. For the Dreidel game, the letters stand for different Yiddish words, each with an instruction for the player.

 

To begin, every player starts with 10 betting chips, which can be a variety of things such as hard candies, peanuts, pennies, and probably the most common thing - chocolate gelt, which are chocolate coins. At the beginning of each round, the players each put in one of their betting chips. Each person has a chance to spin the dreidel, and the letter that faces up tells the player what to do.

 

Results of a dreidel spin:


•נNun - Means "nisht" in Yiddish, translated in English to "nothing." Nothing happens when the dreidel lands on nun, and the next player spins the dreidel.


• Gimel - Means "gants" in Yiddish, translated in English to "all." If the dreidel lands on gimel, the player who spun takes all of the betting chips from the center.


• Hey - Means "halb" in Yiddish, translated in English to "half." If the dreidel lands on hey, the player who spun takes half of the betting chips from the center (half + 1 if there is an uneven number of betting chips in the center.


• Shin - Means "shtel ayn" in Yiddish, translated in English to "put in." If the dreidel lands on shin, the player who spun puts a betting chip into the middle.

 

 

The game is played until only one person has all of the betting chips.