Index | Object | Landing on Property | Paying Rent | Chance and Community Chest | Go, Jail and Income Tax
Property Improvements | Wheeling and Dealing | Debt and Bankruptcy | Variations | History | Conclusions

How to Win at Monopoly

Monopoly: Go, Jail, Income Tax

Whenever you land on or pass GO you receive $200. This is one of the main ways that the bank infuses money into the game. $200 is no mean amount in Monopoly. It can buy 4 houses on the cheap properties or one house on Boardwalk. You can get to GO by the usual movement or by drawing a specific card in Chance or Community Chest. Overall, without the income from passing GO the game would take a lot longer to build to its final phases.

Four squares past GO lies the dreaded "Income Tax" square. Like real life it can be an onerous drain on your financial resources. It basically comes to 10 percent of everything you own or $200 whichever is less. If your strategy is working when you land on this square you will generally be forced to fork over the $200 you got for passing GO - which is included in calculating the tax, by the way, no matter where you started your turn. You are required by the rules to decide whether to pay the $200 or the ten percent of all your assets before you tally your assets. For this reason you should always have a pretty good idea of your financial position.

"Go to Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200." This series of phrases long ago entered the American lexicon. You often hear it when someone receives a sudden minor setback in a sports game or in life. In the actual game of Monopoly landing on "Go to Jail" can indeed be a minor setback, or it could be a godsend. A player can be sent to Jail in any one of three ways: land on the "Go to Jail" square, draw a Chance or Community Chest card directing him to go there, or roll doubles three times. On the third double the move is NOT completed, but the player goes "directly" to Jail. If you land on the Jail square itself, you are "just visiting". It is kind of a free space (like "Free Parking").

There are some general misconceptions about going to Jail. First, a player sent to Jail may still collect rents on his or her property and may even do property improvements on his or her turn. The average sentence to Jail is 3 turns. The player rolls the dice every turn to see if he or she gets doubles. Doubles gets the player out early (without paying the $50 fine), and he or she must move the number rolled on the dice. The player may pay $50 BEFORE his or her dice roll to get out. At the end of three turns the player MUST pay the fine and MUST leave Jail.

Early in the game when property is being purchased, if sent to Jail, get out as soon as possible to get back into the buying action. But after the property is bought up, it is generally best to remain in Jail as long as possible, as you still collect rents, and can trade and make improvements. At the same time, being in Jail, you are not wandering around the board where you are likely to land on the improved properties of others. In Monopoly players are sent to Jail fairly frequently.

All these trips to jail actually make the orange property group one of the most desirable on the board. New York Avenue, Tennessee Avenue, and St. James Place, if improved can garner considerable income from players just released from Jail. The chances of any roll landing on one of these three properties from Jail is 38%. This is better than a 1/3 of the time. By the same token, the "Go to Jail" square is going to prevent a certain number of players from moving down the expensive side of the board.

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