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State domino tournament in Hallettsville draws young players

By Sara Sneath
Jan. 26, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 25, 2014 at 7:26 p.m.

Jordan Bludau, 11,  left, and John Bludau, right, 14, both of Hallettsville,  were the youngest of the 83 teams in Sunday's domino tournament in Hallettsville.

HALLETTSVILLE - Jordan Bludau, 11, of Hallettsville, gave a toothy grin Sunday afternoon after the second round of the 61st annual Texas State Championship Straight Domino Tournament in Hallettsville.

"Next victims," he said after he and his partner won the second setting.

Jordan and his cousin, John Bludau, 14, of Hallettsville, were the youngest of the 83 two-person teams in the tournament. John's dad, Matthew Bludau, and his partner won second place in the tournament in 2008. He said he taught his son how to play dominoes when his son was 4 years old.

"My whole family plays," Bludau said.

Bludau said he can't remember the first time John won against him, but now, the two break even.

"Sometimes, he wins. Sometimes, I win," he said.

Jordan said there is no real strategy to the game.

"You just have to be able to do math," he said.

Sunday was the cousins' first appearance in the tournament.

"We started playing dominoes a while ago, and we thought since we could play we'd give it a shot," Jordan said.

The tournament rules stipulate that players have to be 18 years old or have permission from the committee.

"They let me play when I was 17," said Joey Henke, one of the tournament judges.

He said the decision was made to allow the boys to play. The tournament has been getting smaller in the past few years because the older players have passed away and there aren't a lot of younger people playing straight dominoes, Henke said. He said college-aged players prefer 42, a faster-paced domino game.

"Thank goodness we have youngsters coming," he said.

John and Jordan lost in the third round of the tournament, but the boys plan to continue playing dominoes. Their dads said the boys are going to keep practicing for next year.

"They lost in the first setting and came back and won the second setting. I'm proud of them," Bludau said.



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