Signaling Rules in the Game of 42

Forty-two (42) was reportedly "invented" in Texas in the mid-to-late 1800s and was primarily a social game that was passed to other folks via word-of-mouth. Over the years, game variations and various cultural playing styles have evolved.

Thanks to the public internet in the 1990s, there has been much progress in carrying the game into the 21th century which now includes sanctioned 42 tournaments with standardized rules.

The following are rule extracts, past and present, that address signalling between partners in 42 competition.


☆ ARCHIVED RULES ☆

• The earliest official written rules known to this writer are contained in a 1955 publication by Richard Wall. His rules in "How To Play Texas 42" state the following:

In Texas 42, unlike many modern card games, there are no acceptable systems of bidding by which the strength of your hand is indicated to your partner. Signalling your partner by bids or in any other manner is against the rules.

• Rules were developed in 2005 by the newly formed National 42 Players Association (N42PA). This is from their official 2010 rules (archived in 2015):

Players shall not provide any physical cues or verbal statements (talking across the table) to their partner.

☆ ACTIVE RULES ☆

• Current Austin 42 Club rules state the following:

Any physical signals or cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Also, bids meaning specific information will not be tolerated. An example would be if a team agrees that each and every time they bid 30, they always have the double 5. Examples of physical signals could be taping dominos on table before being played, pointing dominos in certain directions intentionally as a strategy, encouraging your partner to bid or pass during the bidding cycle, etc.

• Current N42PA rules state the following:

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).

• The 2016 Hallettsville Texas State Championship 42 Tournament rules state the following:

Any form of signaling by or to a team will result in automatic disqualification.



The key words in the rules are signalling and signals. Technically, by definition, indicating is the same as signaling (synonyms); however, indicating doubles is not considered signaling unless there is prior private agreement or understanding between partners regarding their use(s) in competition. When partners use privately understood indicating methods that are not discernable by experienced opponents when first observed, then that can rightfully be considered signaling.

Another example of signalling would be if one of the sanctioned domino placement options (4-3 or 3-4) is used to indicate privately understood information between partners following the drawing of dominos, before bidding begins.

I welcome feedback from site visitors who might disagree or have something they wish to add. My only motivation in this matter is to enhance fair play in 42 competition via awareness of history and interpretation of the written rules, past and present.

Paul Proft, webmaster
www.texas42.net
16 May 2018


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