The Official Rules of Dreydl

Dreydl Spinning Hannukkah

**Official Dreidel Game Rules**

The dreidel game, a cherished tradition during the Festival of Lights, is played with a four-sided spinning top adorned with Hebrew letters - Nun (נ), Gimel (ג), Hey (ה), and Shin (ש). These letters form the acronym for "Nes Gadol Haya Sham," meaning "A great miracle happened there."


The goal of the dreidel game is to accumulate the most tokens or gelt by the end of the determined game duration.


  1. Each player begins with an agreed-upon number of tokens (usually 10-15).

  2. Participants sit in a circle, creating a communal atmosphere reminiscent of familial gatherings.

**Initial Ante:**

Before the game begins, each player contributes one token to the central pot. This establishes a communal starting point.

**Taking Turns:**

Players take turns spinning the dreidel, initiating the sequence of events based on the letter facing upward after the spin.

**Dreidel Letters and Their Actions:**

  1. **Nun (נ):** Stands for "Nisht" or "Nothing." The player does nothing for this turn.

  2. **Gimel (ג):** Represents "Gantz," meaning "All." The player takes the entire pot.

  3. **Hey (ה):** Stands for "Halb," translating to "Half." The player takes half of the pot (rounded up in case of an odd number).

  4. **Shin (ש):** Represents "Shtel," meaning "Put." The player contributes one token to the pot.

**Special Rules:**

  1. **Empty Pot Rule:** If a player spins Gimel and the pot is empty, they still receive one token from each player. This keeps the game dynamic even in lean times.

  1. **Center Jackpot:** To infuse excitement, players may agree to a rule where the central pot grows when it is empty or has only one token. In this case, each player adds one token to the pot.

  1. **Winning the Game:**

   - The game continues until a predetermined end time, or one player accumulates all the tokens.

   - Alternatively, set a target number of rounds or spins, and the player with the most tokens at the end of that period claims victory.


Players are encouraged to introduce personal variations or house rules to add creativity and excitement to the game. These can include assigning special actions for specific spins or altering the distribution of tokens.

The dreidel game, with its simple yet engaging mechanics, serves as a delightful and inclusive tradition during Hanukkah celebrations. As participants spin the dreidel, laughter and anticipation fill the air, creating lasting memories of shared joy and festive camaraderie.