42 Terms and Definitions
(Terms you might hear in discussions about the game of 42.)


Ace
Basic 42
Bid
Blank
Bones
Boss trumps
Buried
Bye
Calf
Call in
Come
Convention bid
Count
Cow
Deuce
Dime
Dominos
Double
Draw
Drop
Elimination
Fair play
False indicator
Follow me
Forced bid
Hand
Helping hand
Honors
House rules
Indicate
Lay down
Lead
Low
Mark
Naked
Nel-O
Nickel
Offs
Opening
Overtrump
Partner
Pass
Pip
Play out
Plunge
Points
Power bid
Prompt bid
Pull
Pump-bid
Pure 42
Punt
Renege
Round Robin
Rules
Score
Set
Sevens
Shake
Show-bidding
Shuffle
Signal bid/play
Skunk
Sluff/Slough
Splash
Stack
Stopper
Straight off
Strength bid
Style
Suit
Take trick
Talk across
Throw off
Tiles
Tournament
Trey
Trick
Trump
Trump-screwed
Trump set
Two-trumping
Unload
Variations
Walker

42 (Texas 42): A domino game for four people (partnered pairs), women and men, similar to the card game Bridge (but less complicated), with bidding and trumps; played by young and old for fun and/or competition. Beerdaddy42 defines it this way: "Texas 42 is a bidding/trick-taking game like Spades but you can call your own trumps and dominoes are used as playing cards."
Ace: A domino with a single pip (dot) on one end, e.g., is the six-ace.
Basic 42: Plain ("pure," "straight," or "bare bones") 42 with traditional rules and no game variations (subject to individual and regional interpretation). Formal competition rules vary, but they normally specify exclusions.
Bid: The declaration of the number of points (tricks plus count) that a player thinks he and his partner can win in a hand. Bids vary from 30 to 41, one mark (42), to multiple marks.
Blank: A domino with no pips on one end (or both ends), e.g., is the blank-five.
Bones: Domino tiles.  (42 players sometimes refer to themselves as "boneheads.")
Boss trumps: Three or more trumps, including the double, which usually allow a player in the lead to pull out the other trumps, e.g., , or , or , etc.   (New term learned from TexasTinCup)
Buried: A domino in your hand with both ends protected from being pulled, e.g., the is "buried" if you also have another 4 and another 6 in your hand.   (New term learned from TexasTinCup)
Bye: In a tournament, a team advances to the next level of competition without having to play an opponent. This occurs when there is an odd number of teams. (See Q&A #54 for link to diagram.)
Calf: The third highest domino in each suit, e.g., the is the calf in the fives suit, next highest behind the cow (defined below). (Term learned from Beerdaddy42)
Call in: Lead a suit, especially trumps, to bring a particular domino out into play that could later jeopardize making your bid or your ability to set the opponents.
Come: When you're in the lead, and you need your partner to take the lead so you can unload your "off" domino(s), you "come" to your partner, i.e., lead a domino that you think he can take and win the trick.
Convention bid: A mutually understood bid between partners that indicates information about the bidding partner's hand.
Count: Count are dominos with face values divisible by 5:  , , , , and .  Each count domino is worth its face value in points.
Cow: The cow is the second highest domino in each suit, e.g., the is the cow in the sixes suit (also the fives suit), next highest behind the double; also referred to as the second highest trump, behind the double.
Deuce: A domino with a two pips on one end, e.g., is the double deuce.
Dime: A 10-count domino, e.g., the six-four.
Dominos (dominoes): The rectangular tiles ("bones") used to play 42. A set of double-six dominos has 28 tiles.
Double: A double has the same number of pips on each end. There are seven doubles in a set of double-six dominos: , , , , , , and . The double is the highest rank in its suit. Doubles may be declared a trump suit of their own.
Draw: After the dominos are shuffled to begin a new hand, each player picks (draws) seven dominos before beginning play. (The shuffler draws last.)
Drop: In the bidding process, when the last bidder (the shuffler) has to take the bid because the other three players passed, he has the bid "dropped" on him. When this happens, he has the option of going low.
Elimination: In tournaments, this process is used to "eliminate" lesser winning teams from the competition so that only the two top teams emerge to compete against each other for the championship. Single elimination and double elimination are the two most used methods. In single elimination, if you loose one game, you are eliminated from further competition in the tournament (only the winners advance). In double elimination, the winners advance, but the losers can still advance via a separate single elimination competition with other losers. The "top loser" plays the top winner for the tournament championship. (See Q&A #32 for links to diagrams.)
Fair play: Fair play is a subjective term.  Some 42 players believe indicating your double(s) during play or bidding 30 to indicate a helping hand are departures from the true spirit of playing "pure" 42.  Most agree that prearranged secret bidding and indicating signals between partners are unfair.  Others feel anything is fair game as long as there is no specific rule against it. (Examples of common and unfair practices are discussed in Fair Play in 42 Tournaments.)

False indicator: When your partner indicated he had a helping hand, and he can't follow the suit led, and he plays a domino that doesn't indicate he's holding the high domino in the suit he plays, his domino is a "false indicator."
Follow me: When a player gets the bid and doesn't want to call a trump suit (no trumps), he can say "follow me." This means the highest domino played takes each trick. (In one popular online game, "follow-me os-hi" means doubles are a suit of their own.)
Forced bid: When the players agree beforehand, the shuffler (last bidder) has to take the bid for at least 30 if the other players passed. See also "Low" (going low).
Hand: (1) A hand is the seven tricks played following each shuffle in a game; also, (2) the seven dominos held by a player.
Helping hand: A helping hand has doubles and/or count-dominos that can help a partner make a higher bid (sometimes indicated by a 30-bid when the other partner hasn't bid yet). (See also Strength bid.)
Honors: The five count cominos:  , , , , and .  (See also Count.)
House rules: These are the established playing rules defined by the hosting individual(s) or game director. Acceptable variations, if any, and penalties for indiscretions are spelled out.
Indicate: When a player cannot follow suit, he plays a domino whose high end indicates he has the high domino in that suit. His partner can then "come" to him in that suit (helpful in making a bid).  (More by Dennis Roberson)
Lay down: This is a hand that can't be set. The high bidder says he has a "lay down" hand and reveals his dominos to show that he would take all the tricks if play continued. (More Info)
Lead: The first domino played in a trick. It establishes the suit to be followed, be it trump or otherwise.
Low (Nel-O): A game variaton (called nello or nillo in some parts of Texas). When the bid is dropped on the shuffler, he has the option of going "low." If he goes "low," his partner doesn't play, and he must take no tricks to make his bid.
Mark: The scorepad annotation when a bid is made (or set). Each hand won or lost is a mark unless multiple marks were bid. Seven marks by either team wins a game. Scoring by points is optional. (More Info)
Naked: A domino in your hand is naked if it's not covered on both ends to protect it from being pulled, e.g., the is naked on one or both ends if you don't also have another 4 and another 6 in your hand.   (Contributed by TexasTinCup)
Nel-O: Also called nello or nillo. Same as going low (above).
Nickel: A 5-count domino, e.g., the four-ace.
Offs: Dominos in your hand that have little or no value in helping you or your partner make your bid. An off domino, especially count, can jeopardize making your bid since it is vulnerable to capture.
Opening: The first lead in the first trick of a hand. The high bidder always leads the first domino and calls trumps or other method of play at this time.
Overtrump: When you are unable to follow the suit led, you opt to trump in, and a subsequent player (who also can't follow suit) plays a higher trump than yours.
Partner: The person sitting opposite you at the playing table (your biggest asset in helping make your bid unless you have some mighty good standalone dominos).
Pass: You pass if you're not going to bid on your hand. Some players might "knock" on the table to indicate they pass.
Pip: Pips are the dots (or spots) on the faces of dominos that define their suit and rank.
Play out: Finish the hand, e.g., play the remaining dominos in a hand even if one of the players says he has a lay down hand.
Plunge: A variation to straight 42 in which a player bids "Plunge" (four marks minimum) when he has four doubles. His partner callls trumps and leads the first domino if they get the bid. (Thanks to Jerry in Burleson)
Points: There are 42 possible points in a hand: seven tricks (each trick is a point) plus the five count dominos (35 points). Each hand is scored as a mark unless multiple marks were bid. (See also score.)
Power bid: A power bid is one that forces an opponent to take on a significantly higher risk of losing by making it necessary for him to overbid you to win the bid. For example, by over-bidding 31, the opponent must take on the risk of losing a ten-count and being set. Click HERE for other break points and power bidding considerations.
Prompt bid: Prompt bidding is bidding in the higher ranges to indicate the strength of a helping hand to one's partner. This can be useful when the first opponent bids 30 or more, and you overbid him to indicate to your partner that you have a strong helping hand. This method of indicating a helping hand is questioned by many players because it requires a mutual understanding between two partners to be effective and might be considerd show-bidding by some. (See also "strength bid")
Pull: When you lead a domino to force another player to play a specific domino in his hand, e.g., sixes are trumps and all the sixes have been played except for the 6-5 and 6-4, you lead the 6-5 to "pull' the 6-4 from the player holding it.
Pump-bid: A possibly unachievable bid intended to make an opposition partner bid higher to get the bid, e.g., bidding 31 after a 30-bid to make a subsequent 32-bid by the 30-bidder's partner easier to set.   (Contributed by Beerdaddy42)
Punt: Lead an off domino in hopes your partner can take the trick and the lead.   (New term learned from TexasTinCup)
Pure 42: Basic, traditional 42 with no game variations or indicating between partners via bidding and/or play action on the board.   (Term learned from Tanzenmaus)
Renege: When able, but you don't follow suit when a domino is led, e.g., a six is led, you have a six, but you play something else. Reneging is a no-no.
Round Robin: In a tournament, each team plays every other team. Cumulative marks won by each team may be used to determine which teams advance to the play-off competition or the championship round.
Rules: Acceptable playing guidelines agreed on before the game begins. House rules define acceptable play. In the absence of rules, "basic 42" is the norm (subject to interpretation). Sanctioned tournament rules are defined by the National 42 Players Association (N42PA).
Score: The team who scores seven marks first wins the game. Marks are annotated on paper by spelling "ALL" (each letter segment is a mark). Scoring by points is optional. (More Info)
Set: When the high bid player team does not make their bid, they are set, and the opposing team gets the mark or marks, depending on what was bid.
Sevens: A variation to straight 42 in which a player bids one mark minimum, and the domino in each trick which has the number of pips nearest seven wins the trick. (This variation has no strategy.)
Shake: Shuffle. "Shake them bones" means "shuffle the dominos."
Show-bidding: Show-bidding is the practice of using one's bid to indicate specific dominos in or characteristics of the bidder's hand. The practice reportedly requires a prearranged understanding between partners. Most polled players believe prearranged bids are not fair play.   (Term learned from two Central Texas players.)
Signal bid (or play): Signal bids and plays are methods of communicating information about the dominos in your hand. It's similar to "show-bidding" except all four players are privy to their meanings before the hands are played.   (Learned from player in Alabama)
Shuffle: Randomizing all 28 dominos face-down by mixing them around on the playing surface prior to each player drawing seven dominos.
Skunk: A team is skunked when they lose a game 7-0 (win none of the hands).   (Contributed by TexasTinCup)
Sluff: A non-strategic domino you play/discard (sluff off) when you can't follow the suit led. Sometimes the high end of a sluff might indicate the suit of a double in your hand.   (Learned from player in Alabama)
Splash: A variation to straight 42 in which a player bids "Splash" (minimum 2-3 marks depending on house rule) when he has three doubles. His partner calls trumps and leads the first domino if they get the bid. (Thanks to Jerry in Burleson)
Stack: When the high bid is one or more marks, the dominos won in each trick are stacked face-up so only the last two tricks are shown.
Stopper: A stopper is a strategic domino in your hand that can take an important trick if a domino of the same suit is led by an opposition player.
Straight off: A straight off is an off domino whose pips on either end match none of the other suits in your hand, e.g., the trey-duece domino is the only trey and the only duece in your hand. (See also Offs.)
Strength bid: Strength bidding, a subset of prompt bidding, is bidding in the 32-34 range to indicate the strength of a helping hand to one's partner. This can be useful when the first opponent bids 30 or 31, and you overbid him in the 32-24 range to indicate to your partner the relative strength of your helping hand. This method of indicating a helping hand is questioned by many players because it requires a mutual understanding between two partners to be effective and might be considerd show-bidding by some. (Learned from a player in Austin)
Style: The manner in which one plays the game, e.g., some players incorporate the indicating style into their game, i.e., indicate their doubles when they can't follow the suit led.
Suit: A suit is the seven dominos with the same number of pips on one end, e.g., the sixes suit is , , , , , , ; treys is , , , , , , , etc. Doubles may also be declared a trump suit.
Take the trick (or lead): When you "take" a trick, you win the trick by having the highest domino played. You also "take" the lead and lead the next domino when you win a trick (implies a change in lead).
Talk across the table (or board): Talking about the dominos in play is a no-no. Chit chat is fine, but hints and verbal cues are not permitted in a "serious" game of 42. Most players consider it "talking across" when opponents use prearranged bidding and indicating signals to communicate what's in their hands.
Throw off: Get rid of (unload) an unwanted domino when you can't follow suit in a trick.
Tiles: Dominos.
Tournament: Organized competition, with specific rules, to determine the "best" 42 players among its participants, e.g., tournaments hosted by local clubs, online tournaments, and the state championship tournament held annually in Hallettsville, Texas.
Trey: A domino with three pips on one end, e.g., is the trey-deuce.
Trick: A round of play (the domino led and the three subsequent dominos played). There are seven tricks in a hand. Each trick taken is worth one point (plus any count-dominos contained therein).
Trump: The designated domino suit that outranks the other suits. If treys are trump, then all seven treys are trumps, regardless of their other ends. The other end only determines the rank of the domino in the trump suit. The double is highest. Doubles may also be declared as a trump suit of their own.
Trump-screwed: Similar to "trump set" (below). Someone on the other team has a large number of your trumps and/or at least one of the high ones.   (Contributed by q_kumber as learned from t_p82)
Trump set: Sometimes the trumps you call are too unevenly distributed. When an opposition player has more trumps than you, and you need to take all the tricks to make your bid, you are trump set.
Two-trumping: Bidding with only two trumps, e.g., or , etc. Most of the time all the trumps will be pulled on the first two leads or your partner could have the remaining trump(s).   (Contributed by TexasTinCup)
Unload: Same as "throw off" (above).
Variations: Optional rules agreed on before beginning a game, e.g., Plunge, Sevens, Splash, etc. (Some say "indicating" and the Nel-O option in a forced bid are variations to basic 42.)
Walker: A "walker" is the highest domino in it's suit currently still in play. For example, if you lead the deuce-blank, and all the other deuces have already been played, then the deuce-blank is a walker and will take the trick (unless trumped).



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