Updated: 8 Sep 2021

The 42 Community

The 42 community consists mostly of 42 players who learned the game in Texas or from Texans. It all started in the 1880s in or near Garner, Texas. The game spread to other communities via word-of-mouth. The playing rules varied from community to community, but the core game (straight 42, no variations) moved forward.

The internet made its public debut in the 1990s. The National 42 Players Association (N42PA), a 42 club, was founded in 2005 to advance the game nationwide and to promote straight 42 as the standard for tournaments it sanctions.

The N42PA has its own rules and by-laws. It sanctions open 42 tourneys that play by the straight 42 format. This provides a pool of sanctioned tournaments in which its members can collect qualifying points for competing in its closed annual national championship tourney.

This graphic is my view of the composition of the 42 community. If others have suggestions how to make the graphic more representative of the 42 community at large, I sure would like to hear from you.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ THE 42 COMMUNITY ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

In closing, a very wise and seasoned 42 tournament director in East Texas once said that 42 is not about tournaments, but, instead, tournaments are about 42. (Pretty profound if you think about it.)

Paul Proft, e-mail


Prior to the public internet in the 1990s, the 42 community was a diversified collection of 42 players, mostly is Texas homes and localities. There were few, if any, written rules prior to 1955 how the game should be played. Word-of-mouth advertising spread the game to other communities.

There was little or no organization in defining the rules of play, so variations crept into the game, e.g., Plunge, Splash, Nel-O, Sevens, forced bidding, etc. I have no records showing when the first formal 42 tournaments were played; however, the first Texas State 42 Championship tourney occurred in Hallettsville in 1981, some nine years before the internet became public.

The internet provided a big boost in connecting 42 players. Websites addressed 42 for online viewing, and Dennis Roberson's book, Winning 42, was published and advertised online in 1997. In 2005, the N42PA was founded. (Mr. Roberson was a co-founder.) Its charter was (and still is) to promote the game and to sanction tournaments that play by the straight 42 format (no variations).

The N42PA was successful. It allowed and encouraged straight 42 tournaments to be sanctioned. This helped the N42PA so it would have sanctioned tournaments its members could compete in to qualify for competition in its annual Tournament of Champions (TOC). It certainly helped social players widen their scope in formal competition, and their numbers grew accordingly.

The founding N42PA leadership was in North Texas, spread to Central Texas, and is now in multiple regions of Texas. It is a highly visible organization in the 42 community. It is recognized as promoter for open santioned tournaments and online news and standings in the 42 community at N42PA.org and Facebook.

Some look to the N42PA for leadership in the 42 community so all open sanctioned tournaments play by standardized, well defined rules, and also serve as a guide for non-tournament players and other organized competitions that wish to play by the straight 42 format.

PP, 20 May 2020

22 July 2020 add-on: If you are interested in participating in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA club, you will find supplemental information here.

22 August 2020 add-on: 42 rules history (extracts).

2 Sep 2020: Link added: Outreach in sanctioned tournaments

8 Sep 2021: Link added: N42PA synopsis

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