How to win Monopoly, according to experts

Monopoly is marketed as a game, sure—we think it’s definitely one of the classic board games everyone should own. But anyone who’s played it knows that it’s actually more of an hours-long, high-stakes battle of wits. And it can sure be frustrating to play for hours on end and amass several properties…only to go bankrupt and lose. So how to win Monopoly? Is there a foolproof strategy to master Monopoly and win every time?

Well, of course, there’s no magical trick for how to always win at Monopoly. And there’s no one Monopoly winning strategy that secures your odds. But there are a few different strategies you can use that, when combined, vastly increase your chances. According to a couple of expert players—Flynn Zaiger and Dary Merckens—here’s how to win Monopoly.

Buy, buy, buy

This might be one of the tips for how to win Monopoly that you’ve heard before—buy everything you land on! Does this Monopoly winning strategy actually work? Well, Zaiger, who is the founder of the Tulane University Board Games Club, swears by it. “From the start of the game, it’s a good idea to buy as much as possible,” Zaiger told Reader’s Digest. “Unlike real life, in Monopoly, it’s rarely good to save. You don’t earn any interest from the money you have, whereas property you purchase will always have a chance to be bringing in dollars.”

And Merckens, who is the CTO of Gunner Technology as well as a Monopoly fanatic, agrees that it’s a good tactic for how to win Monopoly. The faster you can amass properties and start building houses, the better.

Focus on orange (and its neighbors)

While it’s good to buy as many things as possible, both experts agree that it’s particularly essential to focus on the orange properties. There’s a lot of complicated game strategy behind this, involving the probability of landing in certain spots. Merckens explains how the orange spaces are one roll away from several high-traffic spots, such as Jail, the Electric Company, and Charles Place. In addition to oranges, the nearby monopolies are also valuable properties to try for too. “Statistically speaking, the most common spaces on the board to land on are those between Jail and Free Parking, and Free Parking [and] Go to Jail,” Zaiger explains. “When given a chance, trade/build on those five monopolies: light blue, pink, orange, red, and yellow.” Even Monopoly pros actually might not know about this little-known rule that’s hidden in plain sight in the rulebook.

19 PHOTOS
Man has tons of different Monopoly boards
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Man has tons of different Monopoly boards
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
More Monopoly Board Fanes From Mike Mozart's Enormous Collection of Classic Vintage and Rare Monopoly Games!
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Buy houses…not hotels

Speaking of building, what you build—and don’t build—can make a big difference in your chances of winning. One of the most crucial tips Merckens stresses for a Monopoly winning strategy is to always remember that there are only 32 houses. “Once those 32 houses run out, nobody can build any more houses on any of their properties,” he stresses. “You want to be building houses right away, and if you ever get a monopoly, throw three houses on that sucker as fast as you can. You want to exhaust the supply of houses available.”

To win, you also want to be quick to get a monopoly (it is the name of the game, after all). “The first player to get a monopoly on the board has the best chance at bankrupting their opponents before they can do the same to you,” Zaiger says. “Building houses is essential to taking down the competition. Even if you don’t have a lot of money remaining, you should do everything you can, including trading and mortgaging, to get up to at least three houses on a property.” Once you do that, the other players will be paying vastly more once they land on your spaces.

As for hotels, though, Merckens believes that those are not good investments. “All you’re doing is putting more houses back into the housing supply,” he says. “Your primary goal should be to have all the houses on all of your properties, which effectively stops your competitors from building any houses on any of theirs.”

14 PHOTOS
Monopoly board game through the years
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Monopoly board game through the years
(GERMANY OUT) Germany - family playingthe board game 'Monopoly' on Christmas Digitally colorized. Original: image no 00105231 - 1961 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
APR 25 1984; Games; Monopoly tournament Close-up of Board; (Photo By John Prieto/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The gold Monopoly set created by American artist and jeweler Sidney Mobell, to mark the occasion of the 8th Monopoly World Championship in London, October 1988. (Photo by Derek Hudson/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - NOVEMBER 17: In this handout photo from the U.S. Air Force, a new version of the board game Monopoly is seen November 17, 2003. In U.S. Air Force Edition Monopoly, being introduced by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and scheduled to hit the shelves of base exchanges December 1, players will compete to control aircraft, rocket and satellite properties, and build air expeditionary squadrons and air expeditionary wings rather than houses and hotels. (Photo by Scott Elliot/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)
SEBASTIAN, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Morgan Hall (L), Luke Hall and their mother Kaci Hall play a game of 'Monopoly' with the use of flashlights since their house is without electricity after Hurricane Jeanne knocked out the power September 28, 2004 in Sebastian, Florida. Many people throughout the region are still without power. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Contestants play the first game on the world's largest Monopoly board, occupying an enormous 440 square metres (feet), at the Sydney Exhibition Centre to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the world's most popular board game, 12 May 2005. Since the game was invented by Charles Darrow in 1933, over 200 million Monopoly game sets have been sold in over 80 countries and printed in 32 languages. AFP PHOTO/Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
(Los Angeles, CA) (5/25/05) Monopoly  Art Deco edition. This year, to mark Monopoly's 70th birthday, toymaker Hasbro has issued a special Art Deco edition of the game. (Photo by Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 09: A SpongeBob SquarePants edition Monopoly game sits on display in the Hasbro showroom during the International Toy Fair Thursday, February 9, 2006 in New York. Hasbro Inc., the world's second-largest toymaker, expects sales to fall this year and will add more electronic toys as demand for Star Wars merchandise wanes. (Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 22: Monopoly games made by Parker Brothers, a subsidiary of Hasbro, are offered for sale at a Toys R Us store October 22, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Hasbro today reported a 62 percent rise in quarterly profit. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Classic board games, like 'Monopoly' are now in Hasbro's Express series with each in round 6-inch diameter plastic boxes. (Photo by John Mutrux/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
Hasbro Inc.'s Monopoly logo is displayed on the cover of a game box at a Target Corp. store in Rosemont, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release retail sales data on Oct. 14. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: A special edition London 2012 Olympic Games themed version of the Monopoly board game on March 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, CA - FEBRUARY 06: In this photo illustration, Monopoly game pieces are displayed on February 6, 2013 in Fairfax, California. Toy maker Hasbro, Inc. announced today that fans of the board game Monopoly voted in an online contest to eliminate the iron playing figure and replace it with a cat figure. The cat game piece received 31 percent of the online votes to beat out four other contenders, a robot, diamond ring, helicopter and guitar. (Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
500 euro banknotes are seen on a Monopoly boardgame as employees prepare envelopes with cash during a commercial operation of the Monopoly game, on January 13, 2015 in Saint-Avold, eastern France. Toy maker Hasbro celebrating the 80th anniversary of the iconic boardgame, offers real money inside some game boxes. Biggest price is over 20.000 euros. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HERTZOG (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)
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How to win Monopoly: Other tips

In addition to those big rules, Merckens offers a few more little strategies to combine for a Monopoly winning strategy. He says that you actually don’t want to be the banker: “It’s too distracting, and you’ll miss a rent payment at some point while you’re handing money out.” Another thing you don’t want to do? Buy railroads. “Except for the fourth railroad—you don’t want someone owning them all,” he advises. And finally, perhaps the most surprising tip: “Towards the end of the game, don’t be afraid to hang out in Jail,” Merckens says. “It might be the safest place to be and your competitors might go bankrupt while you’re chilling in prison.” Who knew?! Now that you’re an expert in gameplay, find out these little-known facts about your favorite games.

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