The Yahtzee scorecard contains thirteen boxes divided between two sections: the Upper Section, and the Lower Section.
In the Upper Section, each box is scored by summing the total number of dice faces matching that box. For example, if a player were to roll three "twos," the score would be recorded as 6 in the twos btaox. If a player scores a total of at least 63 points in these boxes, a bonus of 35 points is added to the upper section score. Though 63 points corresponds to three-of-a-kind for each of the six dice faces, a common way to get the bonus is rolling four (or five, often using a "Yahtzee as a joker") of a larger number so that fewer of the smaller numbers are needed (a player can earn the bonus even if he or she scores a "0" in an upper section box).
The Lower Section contains a number of poker-themed combinations with specific point values:
A certain combination can be scored in more than one appropriate category; e.g., a Full House can be scored in the Full House, Three-Of-A-Kind, or Chance categories.
On each turn, a player gets up to three rolls of the dice. He or she can save any dice that are wanted to complete a combination and then re-roll the other dice. After the third roll, the player must find a place to put the score (though he or she can choose to end the turn and score after one or two rolls, if desired). If the resulting combination of dice will not fit in any unused scoring category, the player must place a "zero" in one of the unused boxes. Each player's total score is calculated by summing all thirteen score boxes.
Yahtzees and Bonus Chips
A Yahtzee occurs when all five dice have the same value during one turn. Yahtzee is the most difficult combination to throw in a game and has the high score of 50 points. If a player scores one or more additional Yahtzees during the same game, that player is awarded bonus points and is given bonus chips that correspond to each additional Yahtzee that a player rolls. Bonus Yahtzees are worth 100 points each. Bonus chips are only awarded for subsequent Yahtzees if the first Yahtzee was placed in the 50-point Yahtzee score box. A player must still score in an empty box as per normal in addition to receiving the 100 point bonus.
Additional Yahtzees may be used as wild cards in the Lower Section (scoring full points in a lower section box, such as a long straight, despite not having the normally required dice) provided that the corresponding Upper Section box has been filled. For example, if a player rolled five threes (a Yahtzee in threes), the player could only use it as a wild card in the Lower Section if he or she already had a score in the Threes box in the Upper Section. If the Threes box was still open, the player must score 15 in the threes (sum of five threes).
In case a Yahtzee occurs after the Yahtzee box contains zero, the Bonus Yahtzee score is not awarded; but the wild card rule stated above still applies.
The original Yahtzee rules released in 1956 contain a discrepancy in the rule above. The booklet stated that additional Yahtzees must be used as Jokers in the Lower Section and does not allow for their use in the Upper Section. However, the booklet also declares the highest possible Yahtzee score as 375, which would require the placement of Yahtzees in the Upper Section. This problem was corrected when the game was re-copyrighted in 1961.