How to Play Texas 42 With Dominoes

By Kate Lee

Texas 42 uses dominoes to play what is essentially a card game, with tricks and bidding. Although you can play with two to seven players, this works best as a four-player game with partners, similar to bridge. Although the players may not talk to each other or strategize during the game, they depend on each other for the final score. To play Texas 42, you’ll need a set of double six dominoes. These sets contain 28 dominoes and have the double six as the highest tile.

Place the dominoes face down on the table and shuffle them.

Have each player randomly draw seven dominoes. Place your dominoes on their sides in front of you, so that only you can see them.

Ask the player who has the domino with a blank on one half and a single dot on the other to bid first, or have the player to the left of the shuffler bid first. Take turns bidding or passing, going around the table clockwise. The bids must be from 30 to 42, and each bid must be higher than the previous bid. In some rules, a bid of 42 may be multiplied. A bid of 84, for example, would be the next bid after 42.

Have the highest bidder name the trump suit (zero through 6 or doubles) and play a trump domino. The rest of the players take turns playing a trump suit if they can, or any domino if they can’t.

Determine the winner of the trick by who has the heaviest trump, or domino with the most dots in the trump suit. A double domino is always the heaviest trump in a suit. For example, if 6 is the trump suit and the dominoes played are the 4-6, the 0-6, the 3-6 and the 5-6, the 5-6 domino is the heaviest and wins the trick.

Give the team that wins the trick 1 point if they met their bid. If not, the opposing team gets the point. Add five honor points for winning a trick that included the dominoes whose dots add up to five (the 0-5, the 1-4 and the 2-3) and ten honor points for the dominoes whose dots add up to ten (the 4-6 and 5-5).

Have the winner of the first trick lead the next trick. After the first trick, the leader may play a domino that is the trump suit or a non-trump to start. The other players must either play a domino with the highest number on the leading non-trump or a trump.

Continue playing the game for seven tricks. Add up the total score. The team with the highest total wins.

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