Texas State 42 Champions - 2009

 Ronnie Nolte  Jerry Whitney Jerry Whitney (left) and his playing partner, Ronnie Nolte (right), are the winners of the Hallettsville 2009 Texas State 42 Championship Tournament. Jerry, a former Texan, resides in Clovis, NM. Ronnie was from Hardin, Texas.

Ronnie learned how to play 42 in 1964 at SHSU in Huntsville, Texas. In later years he met Jerry at church and discovered they had a mutual interest in playing 42. Jerry was in charge of recreation at DuPont at the time, and he invited Ronnie to be his playing partner in an upcoming 42 tournament. Ronnie and Jerry teamed up as partners and won the 2002 tournament. That was the beginning of a winning partnership.

Between 2003 and 2007 they won several other 42 tournaments and, in 2009, they won the big one in Hallettsville. Ronnie credits his partner with much of their success: "I am extremely blessed to play with one of the best partners I have ever run into. While we do take our lumps from time to time, it really is amazing how well we read each other. Jerry is the real hand and I just fly by the seat of my pants mostly, and he usually bails me out! We really don't use any preconceived strategy, but we both read dominoes very well and try to adapt to situations."

3 Aug 2013 Update: Jerry Whitney and his partner, Eddie Smith, won the 2013 New Mexico State 42 Championship tournament. This is the first time on record that a 42 player has won the title in two different states. (Jerry also won the Texas 42 championship in Hallettsville in 2009.)   - PP

The following comments were provided by Jerry who most graciously agreed to my posting them. Thanks, Jerry and Ronnie, for sharing with others in the 42 community.

- Paul Proft, webmaster, April 2009

Commentary by Jerry Whitney
Cochampion of the 2009 Hallettsville State Championship 42 Tournament


I went to live with my Dad when I was 12 years old in Dumas, Texas. My Dad and stepmother played 42 every Saturday night and sometimes on Sunday with neighbors, friends, and a few relatives. Every now and then I would get to partner up with someone for a few games.

After high school, I ended up moving to Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston, and went to work for DuPont. At DuPont, lunch break was your own time. So we played 42 every day at lunch for 30 minutes, and that lasted 36 years.

During my time at DuPont, I became president of the Recreation Association. Every year we sponsored a Bar-B-Q cook off and the folks that attended wanted a 42 tournament during the cook off. So, I purchased 12 sets of dominoes and every year at the cook off we had a 42 tournament.

In 1996 we moved north of the city to live in the country about 5 miles from Hardin, Texas. That is when I met Ronnie Nolte, my partner at Hallettsville. Ronnie and I met at church and became good friends. Needing a partner for a local tournament, I asked him to be my partner. Ronnie and I hit it off great. He was an excellent player and we just complemented one another when it came to playing 42.

After that tournament we began going to all the local tourneys in the area, winning 1st or 2nd at many. Then local festival committees started contacting me about organizing tournaments for their fund raisers. Although many offered to pay for my services, I never charged anything for organizing the tournaments. My fee was to be able to play in the tournaments and compete for the trophies and/or prize money like everyone else.

I enjoyed the tournaments so much that I began organizing a few tournaments on my own as fund raisers for local senior citizen centers where many of the players came from anyway. Since it was a fund raiser, most local businesses were willing to sponsor trophies, prize money, and door prizes. Then all the entry fees went to the seniors. The seniors would sell food and drinks at the event to help raise funds. Since all were fund raisers, local newspapers and radio stations would advertise for free. So I used every available resource to advertise the tournaments within a 50 mile radius of the event.

After organizing several tournaments, 42IPA and N42PA both contacted me about sanctioning my tournaments. Not being knowledgeable about these organizations and how they operated, I was reluctant about using them. One of the reasons was we had to use their rules of play. I felt like the local players would have a problem following the strict rules. Since that time, I’ve found that their rules are designed to put all players on an equal playing field during tournament play.

I retired from DuPont in May 2005. All our children were grown and had moved away from that area. After living without electricity for 18 days during hurricane Rita, we got an offer from our daughter (who had been living in England for four years for the U.S. Air Force) to move to Clovis, NM where they were going to be sent when they came back to the states. With the opportunity to be near family again and three grandchildren, my wife and I decided to move.

After moving to Clovis in October of 2007, I quickly found that Clovis had a 42 league called the Curry County 42 League with a active membership of 50 teams. I called, they had an opening, so I joined. The league was formed during a time of the year when farmers and ranchers had some free time because of the cold: second week of December, play two weeks, off for Christmas, then back at it in January, finishing off the season with a tournament the last week of February.

My First year with the Clovis league, I teamed up with a new partner and we were the high scoring couple at the end of the season. First weekend of March, with gas at $4/gallon, three of the League team members, including myself, drove one car 610 miles to Hallettsville, Texas to the Texas State 42 Championship. That year, Ronnie and I didn’t even get into the championship round. Consolation for us, and we got taken out quickly. The best part of Hallettsville is you get to play for two days! Whether you're in or out of the tournament play, you can always find a team that wants to play, and that is the REAL reason we came. So you can play 42 ALL day on Saturday.

I joined N42PA while at Hallettsville and they immediately voted me in as the Open Tournament Director. When I got back, my first action in my new position was to start doing what I do best: “organize a tournament.”

I decided that New Mexico needed their own state championship, so I went to work organizing that event. The first weekend in August of 2008, the first annual New Mexico State 42 Championship became a reality. The event was a total success! Everyone that attended said “they had a great time and would see me at the next one.” I had 19 sponsors with some great door prizes. We had 19 teams at the Warm up and 28 teams at the championship. A Texas team won the championship!

On October 18th, I organized a fund raiser tournament in Farwell, Texas for the Senior citizens. Eleven teams played. I was then asked to be one of the team captains of the Curry County league and got a new partner again. We won 2nd place in our group (#3) at the end of the season tournament. During the time the Clovis league was in their season play, I organized another fund raiser tournament for the Texico, NM senior citizens on January 24th. Thirteen teams played.

Then we went back to Hallettsville, where I met and played with my ole faithful partner Ronnie Nolte. I told him going in that we were going to win and he said ok. We started playing at 8 AM that morning and lost one game in the round robin. Won every game in the championship finishing up the day at 11:30 PM that night!

I’m presently working on two more tournaments. Tri-State 42 Championship in Amarillo, TX on May 15 & 16 and the 2nd Annual New Mexico State 42 Championship July 31 and August 1, 2009 in Texico, NM.  (Update: Jerry advises these two tournaments were successlly completed, and he's currently planning the third annual tournaments for both events; also the first Alien Country Championship tourney in Roswell. - PP, 24 May 2010)

My next project is to organize a National 42 Championship (target: 2012)! Anyone interested in assisting? I also have a list of people that I send out announcements about upcoming tournaments or send out results of the last tournament. Anyone interested can contact me via .


My philosophy: 42 IS JUST A GAME! The worst you can do in a 42 game is 2nd Place!

The most important point: 42 is a partner game! Let me repeat that! 42 is a partner game! You can’t play the game without one. Your partner is vital to your winning each hand and ultimately the game. I would be willing to say that you can only play without a partner at best 0.10% of the time. The other 99.90% of the time, you need your partner!

The second most important point: You have to watch what is played, when it is played, and who plays it! This is talking the talk of 42. What you play and when you play it is very important to your partner and to the opposition. The opposition is trying to figure out what to hold for and how to set you and your job is to outwit them. It takes two people to get the job done, they are called partners. Trying to fool the opposition could leave your partner holding the bag. Don’t unnecessarily confuse your partner. DO NOT EVER keep your partner guessing about what you are doing! Your job is to keep the opposition guessing! Don’t forget your opposition can read dominoes TOO! Partners working together as a TEAM make it all happen.

Third most important point: You got to bid to win! Winners are usually the ones that do the most bidding. Can you win by setting your opponents? Absolutely! But, the bidders will win more hands/games by bidding than you will by setting. Don’t be afraid to bid your hand. Remember, it is only one mark! And I’d rather play my hand than let you play yours! With a good partner 70% of all hands are make able!

Fourth most important point: I like a competitive game. If you are a competitive player, it makes the game more interesting. If I can help anyone to learn the game better, that’s my goal! Most players know the basics of the game. Some things you will learn if you play the game enough, that’s called experience. Other things need to be highlighted so that you see them. I just help to fine-tune what they already know. A lot of players have a hard time taking advice even if it will improve their game. If a person is open to learn, I want to help a player become more competitive with some common sense suggestions.

Fifth most important point: Have fun!

I also like to see our young people learning the game. I never impose an age limit on the players at the tournaments I organize. I want to encourage the youth to play always. Our youth are the future of the game. Older players are dying out. The youngest player I ever played against was 9 years old. He and his grandpa beat us in a tournament game. When I lived in Hardin, Tx, we regularly played against two brothers 11 and 14 that were very competitive. They came from a whole family of 42 players and knew the game very well. Grandpa and Grandma teamed up with each of them at almost every tournament.

I also encourage the ladies to participate in the tournaments. There are many outstanding players that are women. Not to brag, but my wife is one of them. She has only been playing a few years and basically taught herself at ccdominoes.com . She enjoys the game and is very competitive! She and I have the trophies to prove it!

So, as you can see, I always encourage young and old to learn to play the game. I enjoy just playing, win or lose is ok. I will partner up with anyone experienced or those just learning the game, just to play. Remember between two teams, 2nd place is the worst you can do. It’s just a game! There is always the next game! HAVE FUN!

Jerry Whitney
April/May 2009

The following is the content of a handout that Jerry Whitney, tournament director, provided to the 42 participants in the second annual New Mexico 42 championship tournament, 31 July-1 August 2009:

Legal and Illegal Indicating Definitions

42 is a partner game of skill, strategy, and teamwork. The true challenge, excitement, and reward of winning is based on the best offense, defense, bidding, setting, and risk taking of two players against two opposing players with no advance specific information about anyone’s hand.

Indicating is a practice that has been part of the game for a long time. Every play made during the game is indicating to your partner and your opponents something about what is or is not in your hand. It is important that all players at the table understand what is legal and what is considered cheating!

Players will try to indicate to their partners when they are unable to follow suit, which doubles they're holding. The two most common ways are: playing the actual double to indicate that they are holding the next highest domino in that suit or playing a domino that the high end indicates the double. Players trying to indicate a double or high domino in their hand during play cannot be considered unfair or cheating, because a player may play any domino he wishes if he cannot follow suit.

So what does the 30 bid mean? When players bid 30, it means different things. Such as: that it is the highest bid they feel they can make, they have several doubles, or they have doubles with some count, but the most popular general definition is that they have some help and you as their partner should overbid them if possible.


Prearranged “signal bidding” or “show bidding,” physical cues, or pre-arranged tip-offs of any kind to your partner during the bidding process is considered cheating and will not be tolerated. These are cues given to your partner before his bid in order to tell him you have a specific domino or type of domino in your hand (such as you have the double-four, or some other domino, or you have “x” number of doubles, etc.). Every bidder is expected to make his or her bid without knowing any specific dominoes or types of dominoes in his partner’s hand, period. Any pre-arranged physical or audible signals of any kind given to your partner during play is also considered cheating and will not be tolerated. Any person or persons caught cheating will be disqualified immediately and could forfeit their right to play in future tournaments.

When all players are aware of what indicating is, it minimizes a team having an unfair advantage. Indicating can be used both for and against you. If your partner can’t lead to the domino you are indicating to, then it tells the opposing team which dominoes NOT to lead. So, indicating tells all players something about the hand and does not guarantee the winning of the hand. Use it at your own risk.

Acknowledgements: Dennis Roberson, Paul Proft, Dave Goodgame

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