Updated 20 Apr 2018

Some Methods Used to Indicate Doubles (or Lack of) in 42
(Sluff = Slough = Domino discarded when player can't follow the suit led.)

Commonly used and accepted traditional methods:
1. Sluffing a double to indicate next highest domino held.
2. Sluffing a domino whose high end indicates double held.

Methods requiring pre-game understandings:
3. Sluffing a domino whose low end indicates double held.
4. Sluffing a domino whose high end indicates double NOT held.
5. Sluffing a domino with both ends indicating doubles NOT held.

Some partners don't indicate at all, adding a sixth variable to the mix.

The first method is deducible. One would not normally sluff a double unless he also holds the next highest domino in that suit.

The second method is commonly practiced, but false indications can occur with unexpected results.

Polling indicates the last three methods are considered unfair play because they require pre-game "understandings" between partners.

Paul Proft, E-mail


1.  As of 7 Apr 2018, the linked Official N42PA Rules for sanctioned 42 tournaments state the following (indicating doubles not specifically addressed):

"Any physical signals or cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Examples include tapping dominoes on the table before being played, pointing dominoes in certain directions intentionally as a strategy, encouraging your partner to bid or pass during the bidding cycle, etc. Also bids meaning specific information will not be tolerated. An example would be if a team agrees that every time they bid 30, they always have the double 5, or they always have at least 3 doubles, etc. An agreement for a bid to mean non-specific help is permissible (but frowned upon by some players)."
If show bids are not acceptable in sanctioned tournaments, why are show indicators (private methods) and show placements acceptable? It seems they all require private agreements or understandings between partners that disadvantage their opponents when first observed in a game.

I welcome feedback from the leadership of the N42PA and its members in regard to my comments above. Perhaps I'm missing something in my analysis of the status quo, and you can help set me straight. If you wish to respond anonymously, that's fine. I will not post anonymous comments, nor will I be able to determine the identities of the senders. Pertinent email extracts, however, will be posted anonymously unless specifically requested otherwise. - PP

2.  Questions from active tournament player (with webmaster answers):

Q.  "Which opinion and view holds more weight and credibility regarding 42 tournament play and rules? An opinion and view of a specific 42 rule based on a 'poll'? Or the same opinion and view of a specific 42 rule based on actually attending and participating in said 42 tournament?"
A.  Both have merit. Polling can indicate how participating players feel about specific issues. When 15% believe private agreements between partners is fair play in indicating doubles, then rules are appropriate to approve, disapprove, or regulate the practice. One does not have to participate in tournaments to understand the need for fair play in 42 competition.
Q.  "How can you define, apply and enforce rules regarding 'indicating' when every domino 'indicates' some form of information on every trick played?"
A.  Agreed. Every domino played does, indeed, indicate some form of information on every trick played. My comments on private understandings about irregular practices for indicating doubles are posted above and in the following document: www.texas42.net/indicatingSuggestion.html.
3.  Proposed preamble: Preamble to organized tournament rules.

(Social players in non-tournament games may play by whatever rules they agree on, e.g., variations, etc.)

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