Guesstimating the Number of Active 42 Players in Texas
New guesstimate(s): 6 August 2012

My definition of an active 42 player is someone who plays 42 at least once a year. In a recent Facebook posting, I asked this question: "How many active 42 players do you estimate reside in Texas?"  Nobody ventured an estimate, so I decided to post this document to generate some discussion on the subject. My guesstimate is there are fewer than 50,000 to 100,000 active players in Texas. Here are my assumptions and rationale, with caveats, for these numbers.

Last year, after analyzing polling data and assuming a correlation between my 42 web site stats and the number of 42 players in Texas, I estimated there were approximately 10,000 active 42 players in the state. The median (middle) guesstimate by 23 other 42 players (from a previous e-mail poll) was about 108,000. Thinking my 10,000 guesstimate might be too low, I reexamined the polling data and site visitor stats at Google Analytics.

Polling results last year indicated 36% of 6,300+ participants were active 42 players in Texas. Applying that percentage to the number of unique visitors to my 42 web site since December 2006 (around 89,000), it indicated about 32,000 could have been active 42 players. Subtracting 25% returning visitors yielded about 24,000 who might have been active players.

Assuming only one-fourth of the active players in Texas visited my 42 web site in the last five years, that quadrupled the guesstimate to about 100,000 (96,000 rounded up). This is considerably higher than the 10,000 I originally estimated using a more conservative set of assumptions. (More than two-thirds of Texas residents use the internet.)

Most 42 players reside in the eastern half of Texas, from San Antonio eastward and northward. Not as many live in the western and southern parts of the state. If 100,000 players were evenly distributed throughout all 254 Texas counties, there would be an average of almost 400 active players per county. This average seems too high and makes me think an estimate of 100,000 active players in Texas might be overstated.

Estimating there were 150 unsanctioned and sanctioned 42 tournaments in Texas last year, each attended by an average of 30 different players, there would have been a total of 4,500 different participants. If 10% of all 42 players had competed in tournaments (from previous polling), that would indicate there were 45,000 active players in Texas. Rounding this up to 50,000 suggests a 100,000 estimate is still too high.

Perhaps a guesstimate between 50,000 and 100,000 might be reasonable for the number of active 42 players in Texas. Or maybe my original 10,000 estimate might have been in the ballpark. (Some pretty savvy and connected 42 players went with the lower numbers.)

There's really no practical way to determine an accurate count, but it would be interesting to read the rationale for other estimates, higher or lower, for the number of active 42 players in Texas. If you feel so inclined, send me an e-mail, and I'll show your estimate and comments as an anonymous posting below. (Remember, the key word is "active.")

Paul Proft
21 June 2012

New Guesstimates and Comments

SUMMARY TABLEHighestLowest Median
Guesstimates 8-22:7,800,0003,00072,250
Guesstimates 1-6:100,00040,00070,000
22. Resident of East Texas: "I think there are probably 3,000 folks in Texas that play once a year... if you count those who play at the kitchen table during holidays with the family and such like that."

21. Resident of East Texas: "Every Monday night a group of us meet to play 42 ... We have anywhere from 4 to 7 tables with an average of 5 tables."   (Note: Estimating there are fewer than 1,500 communities in Texas, with as many as 28 active players (seven tables) per community, that would yield about 42,000. Add that many more for the metro areas, and that would indicate there are fewer than 84,000 active 42 players in Texas.   - PP)

20. Location not provided: "I am relatively young, and I think if I asked 100 random adults under the age of 40 if they played 42, fewer that half would say yes (I suspect 20%-30%)."   (Note: This estimate equates to 5,200,000-7,800,000, or 2-3 out of ten, that are active players in Texas, not including players 40 years old and older.   - PP)

19. Resident of East Texas: "I can respond for several of my friends who will not have access to responding to your survey. We play at least once a month. There are 12 of us who play in the East Texas area. I know of many more, but these 12 play on a regular basis."   (Note: Estimating there are fewer than 1,500 communities in Texas, with an average of 12 active players per community, that would yield less than 18,000. Add that many more for the metro areas, and that would indicate there are fewer than 32,000 active 42 players in Texas.  - PP)

18. Resident of Northeast Texas: "I believe there are probably about 30% of Texans that know how to play..about half of that amount are active players."   (Note: This estimate equates to about 15% of the Texas population, or about 3,900,000, active players in Texas.  - PP)

17. Resident of Northeast Texas: "There are over 1000 municipal governments in Texas. Conservative estimate might be 10,000 churches with average of 20 42 players= 200,000. At least 4,000 lodges with 10 42 players = 40,000. 2000 senior centers with all 42 players = about 200,000. Plus maybe another 50,000 players around the State = 490,000 players total. I could be off 100,000 or so but who's counting. My bare bones minimum would be 70,000."

16. Resident of Southeastern Texas: "I believe that there are approximately 850,000 active 42 players in Texas. I think it would be higher if we didn't have so many transits from other countries. I personaly know a lot of 42 players, but I'm looking at the big picture."

15. Resident of Southcentral Texas: "... I would bet that anyone who had family that ever played is still playing. My grandparents played and we have taught our great nieces (age 11) to play so that is 5 generations. I would randomly guess that over 100,000 people currently play."

14. Northeast Texas resident: "I've played with about 20 different people in the Dallas area in the past year. I'd guess that represents roughly .4% of the total players in Dallas. So that yields 5,000 for this area. Population of TX = 25.7m / population of Dallas = 1.2m x 5,000 players in Dallas = 107,083 42 players in TX."

13. Location not provided: "There are over 1300 players on 42 on-line sight. Most of them are in Texas. These are the active members. I know other groups, such as churches that play doing social events. Some don't play on line because they don't understand playing with someone you don't know. There are towns that still have 42 playing at the square on weekends, some towns have 42 parlors that play everyday of the week so my estimate for Texas is fifteen thousand players that are active."

13. West Central Texas resident: "I am an active estimate is 12,589 active players in Texas."

12. Northeast Texas resident: "I would say that approx. 26% (2,985,196 of white people play), 3% of blacks (242,566), and 1% or less of Hispanics and other backgrounds (106000) 3,333,762 of the 26,403,743 Texans play."

11. Central Texas resident: "Belong to 42 natl. Players Ass. There must be at least 50,000 players. A lot of players play at church or Sr. Cters."

10. Northeast Texas resident: "Until proven wrongly, I'll still assume ..." (10,000 is a good estimate).

  9. New Mexico resident: "I would guess anywhere between 50-75,000 players."

  8. Northeast Texas resident: "I would guess the number is somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000."

  7. East Texas resident: "I believe the number could be higher than a lot of folks would speculate. Speculation is all I can imagine anyone can provide. I don't foresee there being enough data bases to extrapolate anything useful."

  6. Less than 200 players attend the annual Texas state 42 championship tournament in Hallettsville. If there are 500 times that many active 42 players who don't participate, that would indicate there are fewer than 100,000 active 42 players in Texas.  - PP

  5. If there are 10,000 players who play online at the popular interactive 42 web sites, e.g., and, and three-fourths of them reside in Texas, that would indicate 7,500 Texans play 42 online. Assuming ten times that many active Texas players do not play online, that would indicate there are perhaps fewer than 90,000 active 42 players in the state of Texas.   - PP

  4. Less than 200 players are members of the Facebook 42 group. If there are 500 times that many active players who are not members, that would indicate there are approximately 100,000 active 42 players, of which an estimated 75,000 (75%) reside in Texas.  - PP

  3. During my civilian career in the Air Force, there were about 2,500 employees I worked with in a large aircraft hangar complex. During lunch breaks, there were a lot of straight dominos and card games going on. I knew only eleven 42 players (0.44%) in the workplace. Applying this ratio to the population of Texas (rounded to 0.5%), excluding children and minorities least likely to play 42 (50%), that yields an estimate of about 65,000 active players.  - PP

  2. If only one in 50 tournament players is a member of the N42PA (about 100 active members), that would indicate there are about 5,000 tournament players nationwide. If most of them reside in Texas, that would be less than 5,000 tournament players. If tournament players comprise only 10% of all active players, that would indicate there could be fewer than 50,000 active players in Texas.   - PP

  1. If only one in 100 active players signed up in the 42 Players Directory (about 500), that could indicate there about 50,000 active 42 players worldwide. If 75% are in Texas, that would yield a number less than 40,000.   - PP

NOTE: Estimates 1-6 above in italics, listed highest to lowest, are mine and are included just to get the discussion started. - Paul Proft, South Texas

Other Guesstimates and Comments (Archived)

The following are representative sample extracts from the e-mail polling results last year (2011). It was a private survey of more than 300 experienced 42 players who might have had an opinion on the number of active 42 players in Texas. ("Active" was not defined.) Fewer than 30 of the addressees responded. The estimates received ranged from 800 to 1,000,000. The sampling was too small and the range too broad to yield meaningful statistical analysis.

  "Texas population is 25,000,000. I think 2%, ... estimate of 500,000 is realistic, if not low."

  "I would guess at least 150,000. There are 1208 cities in Texas. I would think it would average out to at least 100 per city. There has to be thousands in Houston and Dallas alone. Then, I would add 30,000 for the rural areas."

  "I estimated by population in metropolitan areas as opposed to non-metropolitan. There are 25 million people in metro my guess is 200,000 are at least proficient enough to play. In non-metro 3 million people. I estimate at least 1% have a working knowledge , or about 15,000. However if you divide my great expections by 2 you would probably have a more accurate number. 100,000 and 7,500 = 107,500 total."

  "It would be interesting to know how many people actually play 42 in Texas. I'd guess it wouldn't be over ten thousand. I'll put my estimate at 10,000 but suspect that may be a little on the high side."

  "I'm not sure where they're all hiding, but my guesstimate would be in the 7,000+ range. I also feel that the greater percentage of players (because of age) are not computer savvy or more would surface."

  "I would think more like 6-7000 that play on somewhat of a regular basis ...weekends with family and friends reunions ...picnics ....any type of get togethers.....Plus look at all those that play online..."

  "I probably know 10 or 12 people that can play 42 but don't play often enough to remember the rules. So if you mean Active as playing more than once a year I'd say 5000."

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