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By Tom Sloper

January 13, 2008
Column #348

American Mah-Jongg (2008 AMJA card). While the NMJL issues its new card in April, the AMJA always issues its new card in January. Let's do some Charleston exercises with the hot-off-the-press 2008 AMJA card. What 3 tiles would you pass?

1. Two pairs: threes and sevens. I'd go for an Odds hand. The 2C and 8C also work towards a Run hand, so I'd hang onto those. Wouldn't pass both winds at once; 1B, E, G.

2. The 6D pung and R pair look like a great start for Even #3. I need to get soaps and 8s in craks, though. A lot of evens in this hand. I'd start with 7B and 3D. 2D fills out my first pass since no hand needs it.

3. Reasonable start for a 2008 hand. Too bad there aren't any eights, but some may come in during the passing. I wouldn't pass all nines at once. 4C, 1B, 9D.

4. At first glance it looks like nothing. But this is just three tiles away from Word Game #4 ("R1NG 410 580 1357," the AMJA phone number). I'd pass 8C, 2D, S, and be ready to stop the Charleston halfway through.

5. Odds #4. Pass 3C 7B R. Sure thing no matter what.

6. A good candidate for a NEWS hand or a Word Game hand ("SEE R0WS" or "FR1ENDS"). Don't need any of those number tiles. Pick any three to pass.

7. Just as with the NMJL card, this clearly suggests a Run hand, probably #2. There are four possible discards: 1D 4B 8B 9B. Pick three to pass.

8. An awesome start for Math Medley #2 (FFFF 3333 + 4444 = 07). Five possible discards: 3D 7B 8B N R. I'd pass 3D, 8B, and either N or R.

I hear the usual grumblings every year about this time: "When's the new card coming out?" or, "I'm tired of this old card." But of course, we all have to wait until April for the new NMJL card. In the meantime, the AMJA card can provide a fun change of pace.


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

Question or comment about this column? Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

Haven't ordered the 2008 NMJL card yet? Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, can be ordered through AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the booklet from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

Jay Firestone of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles has posted a nice video about a young man (himself) learning to play American mah-jongg. You can see it at

© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.