MAH-JONGG
By Tom Sloper

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Column #31

American (2003 NMJL card). Every table plays a little differently. Everybody has little "table rules" that suit their liking. Today, Sophia got a very interesting deal.

The first hand she thought of was Run #5. The pung, 3D, and Wh also pointed to Run #6. And it wasn't altogether unreasonable to consider the 2003 and 2468 families. She passed 1C 7B W to Esther. From Wesley, she got 9D 1B 5C. She decided to forget about Evens, and passed 9D 1B 6C to Nora. In exchange, she got a pair of flowers and a 4B. What would you pass at this point?

Sophia decided to continue targeting Run #5 and Run #6. She had only two tiles to pass: 4C 6B. "Pause after the first left, please." Groans went up from the other players. Nora asked, "Why? You got a dream hand or something?"

Sophia merely answered, "The rules say I can stop the Charleston if I want. Hold on until I see what I get." She blind-passed, and got 1C 5B.

"I'm stopping." This news caused a general expression of misery to erupt from the ladies. Sophia offered two tiles to Nora (1C 5B) and got garbage in exchange. But she figured she was doing well.

"I'm Atomic," Nora announced.

"Huh?" asked Esther.

"You know, Atomic. Seven pairs, no jokers or flowers. Fifty cents if I make it."

"Anybody know what she's talking about?" Esther asked, looking at the card to no avail.

Wesley did. "Some folks call it Bionic. Either way, we don't play that way. We play straight NMJL rules."

Nora was incredulous. "Everybody plays Atomic. My mother played Atomic. It's the way the game is played." Wesley showed her the official rulebook.

"It's not in here. It's a table rule. If you want to use an Atomic rule, the whole table has to agree."

Nora was flabbergasted. A vote was taken. Esther thought it sounded like fun. Sophia said she didn't like deviating from the rules. Wesley said he was flexible, but told Nora, "The vote isn't unanimously in favor. We aren't playing Atomic."

Nora was clearly flustered and upset. But she calmed down... eventually.


Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.


Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.