Notes updated 14 Oct 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 first 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 Texas42.net, a domain gifted to me in 2006 by my son in Austin. I parked it at 50megs.com 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