Poker, a popular card game, is played with multiple participants (no partnerships). Each player bets his/her hand on an individual basis without help from a partner. It is a game of skill, bluff, and chance.

Bridge is a popular four-player (partnered pairs) trick-taking card game. It evolved from Whist, an earlier card game with bidding and trumps. Each partnership in Bridge makes its understandings available to its opponents, e.g., bidding conventions and other signals.

Playing card games was considered sinful in many Christian homes in the 1880s, so some resourceful Texas boys adapted the rules of the card game Whist to a new domino game now called 42. (Playing domino games was not associated with gambling.)

Texas 42 is a trick-taking domino game that, like Bridge, was derived from the card game Whist. Four players (partnered pairs) play the game with bidding and trumps. Unlike Bridge, 42 partners do not have to share their bidding and indicating "understandings" with their opponents.

Michael Hilton, a former free lance writer and contributor to Texas Monthly magazine, describes Texas 42 as "a game of bluff, finesse, psychology, and calculated risk." That description is similar to Poker's description: skill, bluff, and chance.

Since "understandings" between 42 partners do not have to be shared with opponents in formal competition, there is ample opportunity for creativity. Some advanced partnerships capitalize on mutually understood indications when they play less experienced opponents.

Paul Proft, webmaster, E-mail
Home Page: www.texas42.net

Revised 10 Jan 2018

6 Feb 2018 Addendum: In 1907, a ladies' 42 club in Austin received a legal ruling on whether or not the gambling statutes were being violated when they got together to play 42 and a prize was awarded to the winner. The linked image shows the considerations and judgement. -PP

12 Jan 2020 Addendum: When comparing Poker and 42, one needs to remember that Poker is not a partnership game. Unlike 42, a Poker player bets and plays his hand without help from a partner. Any shenagins, e.g., dealing from the bottom of the deck or cards up a sleeve, had particularly bad outcomes when detected by other gamblers at the table in the Old West.

In the game of 42, "creative" and "unwitting" partners sometimes have subtle, privately understood bidding and indicating signals that they don't have to share with their opponents, nor is the acceptability of their methods defined in written rules. This advantage, however, is not always recognized by traditional players who believe signaling between partners is unethical. (See Fair Play Considerations.)

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Last add-on: 7 Jan 2018

Extracts, Visitor Comments, latest first, others welcome

☆   "42 is like football. NFL teams do not have to share their playbooks with opposing teams."

☆   "... you stated the reality without being too controversial. ... the poker analogy is a good one. ..."

☆   "... 42 is NOTHING like poker. ... I would never talk about poker and 42 in the same sentence."

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