# How to Play Tic Tac Toe: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

Tic-tac-toe is a fun game that you can play anytime and anywhere as long as you have a piece of paper, a pencil and an opponent. Tic-tac-toe is a balanced game, which means that if both players use their respective abilities to the best of their abilities, there will be no winner. However, if you learn how to play tic-tac-toe and master some simple strategies, then you will not only be able to play the game but will also be able to win often. If you want to know how to play tic-tac-toe, read Step 1 to get started.

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### Part 1 of 2: Playing Tic-Tac-Toe

#### Step 1. Draw the board

First, you'll need to draw the board, which is made up of 3 x 3 squares. This means the tic-tac-toe board is three rows of three squares each. Some people play with 4 x 4 tiles, but that is for the more advanced players, and here we will focus on 3 x 3 tiles.

#### Step 2. Let the first player play first

While traditionally the first player plays with an "X", you can let the first player decide whether he wants to play an "X" or an "O". These symbols will be drawn on the table, in an attempt to draw the same three symbols in a row. If you are the first player, “the best thing you can do is draw your symbol in the center square.” This will maximize your chances of winning, as you will be able to make a row of three “X” or “O” in more combinations (4) this way than if you selected a different square.

#### Step 3. Next, it's the second player's turn to play

After the first player draws a symbol, the second player must draw the symbol, which will be different from the symbol used by the first player. The second player can try to block the first player from making three symbols in a row, or focus on making three symbols in a row himself. Ideally, a player can do both at the same time.

#### Step 4. Keep taking turns drawing each symbol until one of the players has drawn three symbols in a row or until neither player can win

The player who first draws three of his symbols in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins the game. However, if both players use the optimal strategy, there will likely be no winner because you will both block each other's chances of making three symbols in a row.

#### Step 5. Keep practicing

Contrary to popular belief, tic-tac-toe is not strictly a game of chance. There are several strategies that can help you optimize your skills and make you an expert tic-tac-toe player. If you keep playing, you'll soon learn all the tricks to make sure you win every game -- or, at least, you'll learn the tricks to make sure you never lose.

### Part 2 of 2: Become a Tic-Tac-Toe Expert

#### Step 1. Make the best first step

The best move, if you are the first player, is to draw a symbol on the center square. There is no other way. If you choose the middle square, you will have the highest chance of winning the game. And if you let your opponent choose that middle box, you will have the highest chance of losing. And you don't want that, do you?

• If you don't select a center square, your second best move is one of the four corner squares. That way, if your opponent doesn't pick the middle box (as a novice player might do), then you have a high chance of winning.
• Avoid checkered edges as a first step. Edge squares are four squares that are neither in the center nor in the corners. If you choose the edge box as the first move, you will have the least chance of winning.

#### Step 2. Respond accordingly if your opponent is the first player

If your opponent is the first player and doesn't choose the center square, you must choose the center square. But if your opponent chooses the center square, then your best bet is to draw your symbol on one of the corner squares.

#### Step 4. Use a three-corner strategy

Another strategy for winning a game of tic-tac-toe is to draw your symbol on three of the four corners of the board. This can optimize your chances of drawing three symbols in a row as you will be able to create diagonal rows or rows on the sides of the board. This will work if your opponent isn't completely in your way, of course.

#### Step 5. Play against the computer

If you want to improve your strategy and make sure you never lose, then the best way is to play as often as possible instead of memorizing a list of strategies. You can find tic-tac-toe games online against the computer that you can play and you will quickly be able to play tic-tac-toe without ever losing (even if you can't win).

#### Step 6. Level up the game

If you're feeling limited with a 3 x 3 board, then it's time to play a 4 x 4 or even 5 x 5 board. The bigger the board, the bigger the rows you'll need to make; for a 4 x 4 board, you must create 4 symbols in a row and for a 5 x 5 board, you must create 5 symbols in a row, and so on.