Notes updated 19 Nov 2018

Commentary by Paul Proft


A longtime online 42 correspondent suggested I write about my background and the history of my 42 website(s). Here it is, updating and replacing the old commentary linked at the bottom of this document.
- PP, August 2018  

I was born in East Texas, near the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana border. Both my parents played 42, but I did not learn the game until 1985, at work in San Antonio, playing during lunch breaks. I was intrigued by the game. Our group practiced signal bids (now called show bids), known to and accepted by all in our group. Little did we know then that show bids would later become labeled as cheating in tournaments.

The internet became available to the general public in the 1990s, and in 1997 I posted the playing rules (that I had learned in San Antonio) online for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law in New Mexico. Others in cyberspace also visited my website. Some sent email stating that using the 30-bid to indicate specific information about the bidder's hand was cheating, and indicating doubles was either cheating or bad form.

The National 42 Players Association (N42PA) was established in 2005, and standardized tournament rules were published for the various playing cultures throughout the state of Texas (and beyond). The original N42PA charter sought to standardize the rules for competition in sanctioned tournaments without taking away "any control or traditions from existing groups."

Over the years, I upgraded my hosting server to accommodate, a domain gifted to me in 2006 by my son in Austin. I parked it at and began adding history, surveys, demographics, and commentaries about the game. The first official pre-N42PA 42 rules I became aware of were by Richard Wall in his 1955 booklet on How to Play Texas 42. I posted them at my website in 2011.

Since 2010, site visitors have opened discussions on private communications in 42 competition. Wall's booklet stated that signaling of any kind was against the rules. The original 2005 N42PA rules stated physical cues and "talking across the table" were no-nos. (The N42PA rules have since been rewritten and address bids that communicate specific information and optional placement of dominos after the draw.)

General rules of fair play are open to individual interpretations. This is what makes 42 such an intriguing game. When players from diversified social cultures come together to compete, various subtle indicating tactics come into play. The partnerships that effectively analyze play action at the table certainly benefit from their observations. And, of course, 14 complementary dominos in a partnership are very helpful, too.

Paul Proft, webmaster

Proft Notes:
1.  This document replaces the original document posted more than ten years ago.
2.  Click the link for the 30-year evolution of my 42 website(s) from pre-internet notes to
3.  After 20 years of observations and feedback from social and tournament players, I posted a summary of my views on modern/advanced playing practices in the game of 42.
4.  Q: Why am I not a member of the N42PA?.  A: I retired from USAF as a civilian engineer in 2000. During my career, I had enough TDY to last a lifetime. Travelling outside of San Antonio to participate in multiple sanctioned tournaments does not appeal to me, but I have the utmost respect for the players who do participate.
5.  Observations:
     During the last few years, following the loss of the original domain, I have noticed an increased interest in tournament 42 and a strong leadership in Central Texas. Prior to that, players were vocal about private indicating practices between partners, and polling results showed most participants thought private signals between players were not fair play. Now, it seems, players are mum on this topic.
     It is perplexing that some noteworthy players and leaders have ignored opportunites to address this topic. Not sure why, unless it is considered politically incorrect to question the status quo, or there is no valid defense for allowing the practice to continue without some sort of definition and regulation in the official rules. (If you wish to comment anonymously on this, use the anonymous mail form.)
     I sure am interested in why a blind eye is turned on private indicating signals between partners, and why few players openly defend it. If you feel so inclined, you might want to contribute a commentary expressing your views for linking at
6.  Afterthought:
     I'm an old guy from The Silent Generation, but I still think young, even if I don't fully comprehend the thinking of the modern generation(s). No big deal. My parents didn't fully understand my interests and beliefs when I was growing up, either. It must be a generational thing. (I'm currently retired, doing hospital volunteer work.) - PP

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(Includes Jim Cannon, my early-on 42 mentor)

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