|By Tom Sloper
December 8, 2013
American Mah Jongg (2013 NMJL card). What would you discard?
1. Evens #5 (nine tiles). Discard 8B or 6D; keep 4D as joker bait. As explained in column 423, that's breaking up a pair midway through the game, on the chance that an opponent might call it and expose a joker for you to redeem on your next turn.
2. With this mess, go for numbers (the most numerous hands on the card) and lose a wind now, dragon later. Thinking not needed yet.
3. Consec. #1 and #2: 7 tiles each. The bams look disposable unless you want to consider risking #4, in which case don't throw 2B just yet.
4. Consec. #2 (nine tiles not counting J). Consec. #1 (seven tiles), or Consec #4 (also seven). You don't have any nines for Consec. #1, Consec. #4 is also weak, and Consec. #2 is always a good safe haven. Discard 7D or 8D (save 5B for joker bait).
5. W-D #3: 7. 10 tiles towards S&P #1 but it looks very unlikely. 10 tiles towards W-D #5. Throw 5B or 5C. If no neighboring dots come in, 5D can go out as joker bait.
6. Consec. #4: six tiles (not counting jokers). Like Nos. #2: ten tiles. Throw a seven.
7. It should be clear that 3C is just itching to be discarded. Don't spend any time thinking; get rid of it.
8. Sevens #1 (seven tiles), Consec. #5 (seven), or Like Nos. #1 (six). 7C and 9C are expendable in all cases.
9. Odds #2 or #3 (seven tiles each). Break up 5B now.
10. Evens #4 (nine tiles and jokers). 6D and 8C are expendable.
11. Odds #3 or #4. No-brainer: 4B is superfluous.
12. Six tiles (plus jokers) towards Odds #1, nine towards Odds #4. Odds #4 is clearly much stronger. The third 9C can go now; save 9B for joker bait.
Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.
Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.
Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules: http://sites.google.com/site/mahjrules/.
© 2013 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.