Webmaster's note:

Ron Lee hails from Oklahoma and resides west of Houston. I've been following his Facebook postings, and he has impressed me as an engineer with an analytical mind for the game of 42. I invited him to share his experiences and observations with the 42 community. Thank you for sharing, Ron.  - PP

Commentary by Ronald (Ron) Lee

I learned ‘trick-catching’ dominoes by playing 4-handed (with partner) Moon with folks while growing up in little towns in Oklahoma. My dad would require each raked trick be stacked (four dominoes in each separate stack, with the lead domino on top). My dad thought that showing the raked dominoes like we do in ‘42’ to be too easy to keep track of what was played. (My dad thought that was a ‘sissy’ way to play!) I was a teenager at that time.

Starting in the year 2000, (I was 57 years old) my second wife’s family would have 8-decks of cards and 2-sets of double-six dominoes on the dining room table for every gathering. We played about a dozen different games of Canasta and about a dozen different games of dominoes (‘42’ being but one). The requirement was that the losers of any card or domino game must name the next different game to be played. Thus I got to play about a single game of ‘42’ at each family gathering. I was always struggling with the bidding and the count dominoes in ‘42’.

Shorty, after my second wife’s passing I found myself playing ‘88’ three days a week with the ladies at an assisted living facility in Katy, Texas. I was the score keeper and by saving all the used score sheets I discovered that after playing 40-50 hands of ‘88’ per day for about 3-years, the win/loss was 50%/50%. One day a fellow from Fulshear, Texas, showed up and asked if any of us ‘88’ players would like to play ‘42’ at his church every Wednesday night. I jumped at the opportunity. This was in the year 2012. (I was 69 years old)

Starting in 2013, I was playing Sunday afternoons with the Houston 42 League lead by Katie Campbell. My partner from church and I decided we would try to play in a tourney at Texas A&M campus early in 2013. Jackie Phillips, upon learning we plan to play tournament ‘42’, said to me that the tourney players ‘indicate’. Jackie Phillips proceeded to give me a 10-minute lesson in ‘forward indicating’. I then showed my partner how to ‘forward indicate’.

My church partner and I won the Texas A&M - N42PA sanctioned tournament beating Terry Pogue and Leslie Houston once that afternoon and beat them again at the final table. We won all matches that day in that tournament. Forward indicating was our only ‘arrow in our quiver’! Nothing can ‘sink-the-hook’ deeper than winning a tournament. I think I have played in every N42PA sanctioned tournament since.

At this point, I believe the very best players ‘listen to the dominoes’ when each domino is played. The dominoes ‘speak a language’ to these best players. These very best players do not care if they get the bid or not; they can set equally well as they can make their bids.

My primary goal in learning the game of ‘42’ is to listen to the language spoken by the dominoes during the play of ‘42’.

My secondary goal would be to figure out why the very best ‘42’ players cannot seem to teach their game. As an example to this I might add, a famous golfer named John Daly (who could hit the golf ball long and straight) could only say, just ‘grip-it and rip-it’. That was his only teaching advice.

The teaching response I get from the best ‘42’ players is – ‘It is all situational’.

Ronald Lee – N42PA Member
15 November 2018

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