42 Tips & Tricks for Beginners

NOTE: The following tips are not rules. There are experienced 42 players who might take exception to some of them. These are, however, suggestions worthy of consideration. Beginners will learn for themselves as they gain experience what works best in given situations. - Paul Proft, 18 Sep 2018
• If a domino is led, and you have the double and the next highest domino in the suit led, play the second highest domino to take the trick (unless trumped) and lead back the double to take the next trick (unless trumped).

• If it's your lead and all the dominos in a suit have been previously played except for the domino in your hand, lead it. It will be a "walker" and take the trick (unless trumped).

• If your partner won the bid and he leads a domino and you can't follow the suit led, sometimes it's wise to trump in (if you have a trump) and take the trick. That way you can take the lead and help your partner clear his hand of "off" dominos.

• If your partner won the bid and leads or plays a domino that you believe will win the trick, play a count domino (if you can) to help make his bid.

• Your partner can help you make your bid. Sometimes you can lead an off domino, and he can take the trick and lead the next domino and take any count (or other offs) you play.

• Try to protect both ends of your count dominos so they can't be pulled by your opponents. For example, if you have the 6-4, keep another six and another four (if you can) so your opponents can't pull your 6-4.

• Lead trumps early in the hand to pull them out of your opponents' hands (so they can't trump in later).

• Sometimes it's wise to lead an off domino early in a hand when the opponents are more likely to follow suit.

• If the 6-4 is the highest six in your hand (and the higher sixes haven't been played yet), it's usually safe to lead a lower six, especially if your 6-4 is protected on both ends (so it can't be pulled on a subsequent six or four lead).

• If an opponent bids 30, he might be indicating to his partner that he has a good helping hand (doubles and/or count), and he wants his partner to bid higher.

• If the 30 bid has already been taken, and an opponent bids between 32 and 34, he might be indicating to his partner that he has a helping hand (doubles and/or count) and wants his partner to bid higher.

• If an opponent cannot follow the suit led, and he throws off (sluffs) a double, he might be indicating to his partner that he has the next highest domino in the suit of that double.

• If an opponent cannot follow the suit led, he might play a domino to indicate to his partner that the high end of his sluff is the suit of a double he holds in his hand.

• If your partner has the bid, and he leads a domino suit that you can't follow, and you have no indicators to play, then try to play a domino that he can't come to (or play a count domino if he's going to win the trick). This minimizes his responding to a false indicator.

Situation: You have the 5-5 in your hand, and it is the only 5 in your hand. Your partner has the bid, and it really doesn't matter what trumps are at this point. When is the best time to give the 5-5 to your partner?

(Jerry Whitney's comment is in red following each choice)

        a. As soon as you can.
        (NEVER, unless you have 6-5!!)

        b. After you have given me your other count first.
        (NEVER! unless your partner is playing his last trump and you're sure he doesn't have a five off.)

        c. When the 10 points will make the bid.

        d. When the last trump is played.
        (ONLY if you know that your partner does NOT have a five off. You play it when you know your partner is going to catch it.)

        e. Hold it until the last lead is led.
        (If you know by what you've seen played and what is in (on the board) that there are some critical fives still out. Cause if your partner didn't have a bad off, he would have turned it over. Now if all the fives are in except for the 5-5 and one other, you could play 5-5 on the trump and the other five would walk if your partner had a five!)

More tips:
        • Tony Sanders (archived)
        • Facebook 42 Strategies Group (open to all 42 players)

• Have a 42 tip or trick to share?  Suggestion?  Comment?  Send e-mail.

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