J.B.'s Journal: Official State Domino Game

EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- "I've been playing all my life."

Once a week at the Senior Citizens Center in Mabank, you hear a clinking sound around small tables as they gather to play the domino game, 42.

"It's all about the number."

"It's an easy game to learn the basics, the rules, not many rules," Patsy Black said. "To learn the strategy is difficult."

"42" was created in 1887 by two North Texas boys who played a card game like bridge. Card games were considered sinful by their Baptist faith so they devised a similar game using dominoes.

"I prefer 42, it's not just luck, it's strategy," Black said. "I like to keep my brain working."

Players bid the number of points they hope to win.

"I'm going to try two, I'm going to try three."

The unofficial "National Game of Texas" is dying off but don't tell that to these devoted fans.

"The doctors says I'll make it to 100, but that's not that far off," Dollie Holland said.

Most learned the game as a child.

"Ever since I was big enough to get up to the table," Billy Webb said. "If I didn't play right had to sit in the corner and chew on old black dominoes."

"I don't remember not playing 42," Black said. "Some play for entertainment."

"Not just home sitting in the rocking chair, not me," Holland said.

But others want to win.

"Some of us never outgrow the competitive edge," Black said.

Serious 42 domino players travel throughout Texas the entire year just to play in tournaments; winning trophies, cash and the recognition as the best 42 player.

"It's a lot of fun," Webb said. "Good clean past time."

A game these East Texans plan to keep on bidding, until the last hand is played. 


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