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  • Is this a valid Nine Gates, part 3

    >From: Leon U
    >Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:12 PM
    >Subject: re: chuuren poutou
    >Thanks for clarifying
    >Yes 555x 999x 111c was what I was trying to portray the hand i set up was 11133555678999
    >And I believe I have mayb it was about another function but ill will sumbit a complaint about the functions

    Good idea.


    Is this a valid Nine Gates, part 2

    >From: Leon U
    >Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 1:30 PM
    >Subject: re: chuuren poutou
    >For the hand composition even as I set an open pon it still registers. An example I just entered that's Spit out as a chuuren poutou would be open pon of 5 man and 9 man concealed pon of 1 man concealed chi of 678 man and a pair of 3 man ppurposely doing so leaving out the two man and any kans the hand is atill registered as nine gates. May it jus be an improper function of the riichi calculator app?

    Hi, Leon. You wrote:

    For the hand composition even as I set an open pon it still registers.
    Then that's incorrect. The hand is supposed to be concealed.

    open pon of 5 man and 9 man concealed pon of 1 man
    What? You are not speaking clearly. Did you have 555x 999x 111c (where X=exposed and C=concealed)?

    concealed chi of 678 man and a pair of 3 man ppurposely doing so leaving out the two man and any kans the hand is atill registered as nine gates. May it jus be an improper function of the riichi calculator app?
    Clearly incorrect. Have you tried contacting the app's creator?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Halloween, 2013


    Is this a valid Nine Gates hand?

    > From: Leon U
    > Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 11:15 AM
    > Subject: chuuren poutou
    > my mahjong question refers to the yakuman nine gates and its composition. on wiki and most relevant searches I see that this hand composition pertains to a pon of 1 and 9 and all the simples inbetween. Is this yakuman constricted to this one set up or is allowed to be consider a yakuman if you make a chinitsu of the one suit with a concealed or open pon of 1 and 9.
    > my question derives from an app im using called riichi calculator that allows me manipulate tiles to form hands and it spits out the fu fan yaku and han etc. when I form this hand with chinitsu while still having the triplet of 1's and 9's in the suit it registers it as a chuuren poutou. is this correct or is this misleading?.

    Hi, Leon. You wrote:

    this hand composition pertains to a pon of 1 and 9 and all the simples inbetween. Is this yakuman constricted to this one set up or is allowed to be consider a yakuman if you make a chinitsu of the one suit with a concealed or open pon of 1 and 9.
    No. The hand must be concealed -- no open pung allowed.

    when I form this hand with chinitsu while still having the triplet of 1's and 9's in the suit [Riichi Calculator] registers it as a chuuren poutou. is this correct or is this misleading?.
    I don't know, Leon. I would need to see what hand you entered into your Riichi calculator. Take a look at FAQ 25. The hand must be pungs of ones and nines, plus all the simples, plus one more of any tile in the suit, to qualify for Chuuren pouto.


    This is just one way it could be made (duplicate fives). It could also be made with any other tile duplicated - or even a fourth terminal.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Halloween, 2013


    Please make a mah-jongg game for Apple

    >From: Frank C
    >Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 6:23 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Have you thought about an app so we can play the wonderful game on line/
    >Had it , miss it...yes????
    >And for Apple.

    Hi, May.
    If you can get me three or four hundred thousand dollars, I can get that game made for you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Halloween, 2013


    Stop the random from constantly changing the Traditional layout every time I start a new game.

    > From: Norma B
    > Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:32 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Stop the random from constantly changing the Traditional layout every time I start a new game.

    Lady, you're talking to the wrong guy. If you've got a complaint with a tile-matching game, you need to contact that game's publisher (like it says in Frequently Asked Question 24). Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). I can't do anything about how any computer game works.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Halloween, 2013


    Looking for mah-jongg software

    > From: Frank C
    > Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:27 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > whenI used a PC I had a disk where I actually played the game. It was fun and kept me on my toes.
    > KNow anyone who has developed the game for both Mac and Windows.
    > mayc45
    > May G

    Hi, May.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 5. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 30, 2013


    How the NMJL designs the card, part 3

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2013 8:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: In response to “How the NMJL designs the card” and “lindaz” email on 10.22.2013 – she mentions that an exposure of a pung of 9’s or a pung of W’s will readily reveal which hand is being played. I agree with the pung of W’s but a pung of 9’s could be either WINDS/DRAGONS #3 or Odds #1.
    >I enjoy your website. Marsha

    Hi, Marsha.
    Actually, W/D #3 or 369 #1. But point taken, a pung of nines is not a one-and-only single-exposure giveaway.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 27, 2013


    Shopping in Japan

    > From: Jawaad M
    > Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2013 7:17 PM
    > Subject: Mahjong in Tokyo
    > Hi Tom,
    > I was reading your wonderful FAQ about Mahjong in Tokyo. I've been playing the game here now for a few years (mostly to get along better with my father-in-law).
    > I think it may be of some benefit to your readers to know about Don Quijote. It is a ludicrous store, in which one can find nearly anything; frankly it is usually so overcrowded with merchandise that one would surely perish should there be an earthquake. However, besides the costumes and other assorted junk, they happen to have quite a few decent Mahjong sets. I've had good luck buying Mahjong sets from there; they are usually a good value, and they have a range of prices.
    > They have a website too.
    > http://www.donki.com/index_en.php
    > I hate sounding like an advertisement, but I definitely would recommend visiting it if one is coming to Tokyo.
    > Sincerely yours,
    > Jawaad M

    Very nice, Jawaad. Looks like they have quite a lot of locations. Not only Tokyo.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 26, 2013


    ... my ivory set, part 5

    > From: john f
    > Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 12:49 PM
    > Subject: Re: Still interested in old ivory mah jong sets in the US?
    > Tom,
    > Here are the photos as promised. Note the odd phrase printed on the buckle "OPEN-THE-OWN", any ideas what that's supposed to mean? (see pic 03). I read through the FAQ 7 series. Great info about the sticks and chips. Thanks again.
    > John

    Hi John,
    The set could have been made in the 30s, 40s, or 50s (possibly later, but doubtful it could be in such sad shape if it's any newer than that). My guess would be 40s, based on the decrepit condition of the case – possibly 30s.
    As for the writing on the latch, my guess is that it's trying to indicate which way the case is right side up (my guess is that "own" is supposed to be "down" -- that's Chinglish for you).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 25, 2013


    ...my ivory set, part 4

    >From: john f
    >Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 7:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: Still interested in old ivory mah jong sets in the US?
    >I'll send you some photos of the case tomorrow. Thanks for your help Tom. My family and I truly appreciate your help and the site you have put together. This just dropped in our laps and we had no idea what to do with it. This site helped us a lot.
    >John


    Interested in seeing my ivory set? (Part 3)

    > From: john f
    > Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 4:10 PM
    > Subject: Re: Still interested in old ivory mah jong sets in the US?
    > Thanks again Tom. Your assistance has been invaluable. I will read the FAQ 7 series for more info.
    I wonder if you might estimate the age of the set given the info I have provided? Thanks again.

    Hi, John.
    It's hard to estimate its age without seeing the case. And I need to know if there are any paper materials in the set. I've seen only the tiles and the bits.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 24, 2013


    Interested in seeing my ivory set? (Part 2)

    > From: john f
    > To: Tom Sloper
    > Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:45 PM
    > Subject: Re: Still interested in old ivory mah jong sets in the US?
    > Thanks for the post Tom. I have attached several photos of the set and what we believe is evidence that it may be ivory. Notice the chevron pattern on the top of two different pieces in the photos, and then there is one piece with some very beautiful etching that shows the grain. The entire set was kept in a black leather satchel that was entirely lined. Included with the tiles were bone dice sticks and what I assume are betting chips.
    > A couple of oddities about the set that I wonder if you might have covered in one of your facts, is the fact that even though it looks like an American set (it has both Roman letters and Arabic numerals, it has 144 tiles like the Chinese and Japanese. It's like a hybrid of some kind.
    > I hope that I have used your marvelous site appropriately and that my notions about the set are confirmed. Any guidance or opinion you would willing to offer are greatly appreciated.
    > best,
    > John





    Hi, John. You wrote:

    we believe is evidence that it may be ivory. Notice the chevron pattern on the top of two different pieces in the photos, and then there is one piece with some very beautiful etching that shows the grain.
    Your tiles do appear to be ivory. The ends of the tiles with the crosshatching -- if you feel those with your fingers, do they feel smooth? You don't feel saw marks? If they feel smooth (the crosshatching is internal to the material, not just on the surface), then they probably are ivory. What surprises me is the discoloration or staining visible on some of your tiles. The ivory tiles I've seen before are pearly white (like piano keys), not browned like that.

    A couple of oddities about the set that I wonder if you might have covered in one of your facts, is the fact that even though it looks like an American set (it has both Roman letters and Arabic numerals, it has 144 tiles like the Chinese and Japanese. It's like a hybrid of some kind.
    There's nothing unusual about that. It's not a "hybrid" of any kind. The set was not designed to play modern (post-1970) American mah-jongg, or Japanese riichi-dora mah-jongg, or Vietnamese mah-jongg; it was designed to play Chinese mah-jongg, which is and has been one of several popular variants outside of China ever since the 1920s. Read FAQ 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D.

    Included with the tiles were bone dice sticks and what I assume are betting chips.
    Those round discs with writing on them [I thought were] wind markers [but I was wrong]. Your set includes not only sticks but also chips (your scoring bits are "hybrid"). See FAQ 7D.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 24, 2013

    [Bracketed text added later after re-examination.]


    Do I have to have a natural tile? Is an all-jokers set legal?

    > From: Alisan A
    > Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:45 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Can a player use all jokers for a pung, kong, quint in a hand to Maj. WE are all fairly new at this and didn't know the answer but allowed it this time.
    > Thanks for all your information, it's been most helpful.
    > Regards,
    > Alisan

    Hi, Alisan.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19L. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 24, 2013


    How the NMJL designs the card, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:31 AM
    >Subject: NMJL card
    >Tom, thanks for your quick response. Very interesting insight on how the yearly card is designed.
    >Thanks, Linda


    Interested in seeing my ivory set?

    >From: john f
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:13 PM
    >Subject: Still interested in old ivory mah jong sets in the US?
    >Hi Tom.
    >I recently inherited a set from my grandfather who was an American Guerillero during World War 2 in the Philippines. According to him, he acquired the set while there. Your site has been tremendously helpful. Thank you for that. In any case, turns out the my grandfather's set is more than likely ivory and I wondered if you were interested in seeing it. Thanks again.
    >Best,
    >john

    Sure. If it really is an ivory set, it would be good to have an example to show my readers. I have only seen and touched two genuine ivory sets -- and I own them both. Real ivory sets are rare enough that people generally haven't even seen one.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 23, 2013


    How the NMJL designs the card

    > From: "lindaz
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:33 AM
    > Subject: yearly NMJL card
    > Hi Tom,
    > My MJ group and I are curious about how the hands in the annual NMJL card are decided. In the 2013 card we see that an exposure of a pung of 9's or a pung of W's will readily reveal which hand is being played. In previous years our group rarely played a "winds" hand because most exposures were easily identified by opponents. Maybe some of this is unavoidable in the decision-making process. Do you have any info about the NMJL's yearly strategy? Do you ever think that maybe YOU could design a better card? (I think you could!)
    > Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    From what I hear from my friends at League HQ, each new card is playtested for months before going to print. I imagine they are aware of single-exposure giveaways. I've been teaching multiple intermediate classes recently, and find that it's news to most intermediate players that such things exist. The existence of single-exposure giveaways is not necessarily a fatal flaw in the card. Some players don't pay attention, and some wouldn't notice.
    The sort of dissatisfaction you imply is normal about this time of the year. The League issues a card once a year, and I find that grousing about the card always starts about 6 months in (even when it's generally perceived as a "good" card). I don't know if I would want to be the one in charge of creating something every year that would inevitably arouse such ire! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 22, 2013


    Backwards numeral 6, part 2

    >From: Janis
    >Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg
    >Wow, what a quick response! Thank you very much! I am looking forward to more time on your website, and again, I am amazed to see such an informative and helpful website! You are appreciated!
    >Janis K


    Which ruleset should I teach, part 2

    > From: Leon U
    > Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 8:14 AM
    > Subject: Re: Teaching questions
    > thank you for replying back, i do plan on teaching both variations since the changes are minor and i would have my students understand the full spectrum of the game. any other changes are and house rules and requirements will come up. but i wasnt sure, since they have the ema, and you stress the fact of teaching by regulations and not just house rules, i got concerned maybe that japanese riichi was so different from ema. Then i realized its not that much different once i looked into the context of the rules. my only concern left would be possible scoring rulings, shall i still incorporate the payments for pure and impure yakumans that lead to single and double yakumans or should that hold off till the end. last but not least, furiten i read up on the rules since theres variation on this as well. i was just curious about it since im hearing many different things. i understand the concept of not being able to claim your winning tile if it were to be one that you have previously discarded. but my question is about a version where if your in furiten for one tile ie 1 you have 23 in you hand your still considered furiten and cannot claim the tile 4 for a ron. only tsumos. could you clarify this for me please? or is this the same rule and im missing something >.<.
    > thank you for all your help, ps i purchased a copy of your book loving it so far ^^.

    Hi, Leon. You wrote:

    i wasnt sure, since they have the ema, and you stress the fact of teaching by regulations and not just house rules
    I teach my students the official rules when there are official rules in effect, and I also warn them that they'll encounter house rules. And who's to say which Japanese rules are "the" official rules? If you are in Europe, then the EMA rules is the way to go. If you are in Japan, then teach the rules prevalent in the local parlors. If you're not in Europe or Japan, then teach them whichever way you prefer to play, and tell them about the other ways.

    shall i still incorporate the payments for pure and impure yakumans that lead to single and double yakumans or should that hold off till the end.
    I usually teach in context with play. I would tell the students that there are even higher-scoring ways to win, and that they should get a good book (the most readily available one in English is Jenn Barr's book). Or I'd buy the books (hopefully at a discount) and sell them to the students. I don't teach every conceivable detail that the students might or might not encounter.

    my question is about a version where if your in furiten for one tile ie 1 you have 23 in you hand your still considered furiten and cannot claim the tile 4 for a ron. only tsumos. could you clarify this for me please? or is this the same rule [as furiten]
    Yes, that's part of the furiten rule. See Jenn Barr's book, pp. 78-79.

    i purchased a copy of your book loving it so far ^^.
    I'm glad. I'm sorry, though, that it probably won't help you much with teaching riichi/dora majan.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2013


    Which ruleset should I teach?

    > From: Leon U
    > Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 1:22 PM
    > Subject: Teaching questions
    > Mr tom
    > So ive been having problems finding players in my style so i found a lot of players that ive been playing wright patterson n nationals with that are interested in learning riichi. My question is would it it be more efficient to teach the japanese riichi ruleset or the ruleset of ema riichi. The differences pertain but not limited to using red doras, tanyao being open and or closed, and a 2 yaku requirement after 5 repeaters on the dealer

    Leon, I apologize for letting your question go unanswered for four days! I just realized now that I had let it fall through the cracks.

    I don't see why you think you have to choose one of those two slightly different variations to the exclusion of the other. Both are variations on the Japanese game. Anytime a player sits down at someone's riichi table, the host must explain the house rules. So it's part of your job as a teacher to tell your students what to expect. You have to let your students know about the most common variations. I would teach the Japanese rules with red fives, open tanyao (kuitan), and the 2-han rule, and make sure the students know that at some tables the rules vary. Play one or two games with different rules, so the students see how the changes impact play.

    If you teach one ruleset to the exclusion of others, students will come to think that the way you taught them is "correct" (implication: other ways are "incorrect"). And if you never mention other ways of playing, you do your students a disservice.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2013


    Backwards numeral 6

    > From: Janis
    > Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2013 7:45 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg
    > Thank you for such an informative website! I am following your instructions in identifying my grandmother's pieces. I know she loved to play, but unfortunately it was not something she shared with me but I can now appreciate her passion! I have discovered an odd bit about this set. I know the white dragons are my blank tiles. I have 148 pieces (8 blank). At some point red stickers where applied to the blanks, I will leave them on for now. It appears to be a 1920s set of cowbone and bamboo...Looks like the one you have on the web site. The interesting 'oddity' is the number '6' on the bams is a backwards 6 (which is not available on my keypad!) and it isn't the 9, have those.
    > Does this increase or decrease the value? Just a joke. I really am curious if the backwards 6 has any story or history. I am going to post it for sale somewhere, but still have my homework to do thanks to your website! While I might enjoy learning to play...not sure about that.
    > I have yet to count and identify the 'sticks' or what they are made of, or the other bits and pieces. It has a nice wooden box, slide top, with chinese characters on it.
    > Thanks again, glad I found your website! Who knows, maybe I will be drawn to this game, from growing up playing Pinochle, no one left to play with.
    > Janis K
    > Sebastopol CA

    Hi, Janis. You wrote:

    The interesting 'oddity' is the number '6' on the bams is a backwards 6 (which is not available on my keypad!) and it isn't the 9, have those.
    > Does this increase or decrease the value?
    Increase. I've also seen South wind tiles with a backwards S.

    Thanks again, glad I found your website!
    So am I!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 20, 2013


    Column #580

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Friday, October 18, 2013 2:29 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg comment is:
    >I think that another bit of information would be helpful in your Oct 13th strategy column. If Player A redeemed the joker first, then picked up the discard, it would appear that she would have a valid MJ as she would have the required tiles of 7 bams and jokers to make a kong.
    >However, the rules state that you can only redeem a joker AFTER either drawing from the wall or calling for a discard. Therefore, she cannot redeem the joker, then pick up the 7 bam to make the kong and, as you stated, would not have MJ.
    >Many players believe that the order in redeeming a joker does not matter, but this scenario shows that it does matter.
    >Bee

    Okay, cool, Bee!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2013


    Please point me, part 2

    > From: Diana B
    > Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 7:33 AM
    > Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Thank you soooo much for your help! Have a great early start to your weekend:-)


    Column 577

    > From: "lindaz...
    > Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 7:12 AM
    > Subject: column # 577, Sept 1
    > Hi Tom,
    > On problem # 4, I would have considered 7 Hands ( 4's and 3's). There are 5 tiles toward the hand and the Charleston has not started. I would have passed N, White, 6B and saved any 3's, 4's, or 7's. I'd appreciate your comments, please.
    > Thank you, Linda


    4. Pair 3Ds and 4Cs. Think Consec., pass high numbers and winds. Translation: pass N 7C 7B.

    That sounds good too, Linda.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 17, 2013


    Please point me in the right direction.

    >From: Diana B
    >Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 1:15 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello. I am looking for a very high-quality mah-jongg set. I would also like the case to be of high-quality. Our original set was a circa 1960s Taiwanese set. Unfortunately it was lost in a house fire, over the past 10 years we have purchased five sets, all disappointing. I would like the tiles to be heavy and dense, not prone to chipping. Maybe made from ivory or bone? Please no American or western style, as my mother is Taiwanese. This set will get heavy use and I am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day!

    Niihau, Diana. You wrote:

    I am looking for a very high-quality mah-jongg set. I would also like the case to be of high-quality. Our original set was a circa 1960s Taiwanese set. Unfortunately it was lost in a house fire
    You should be able to get another set just like the one you lost. You should look on eBay, under Toys & Hobbies / Games / Board & Traditional Games / Mah Jong / Pre-1970 (you can also browse the 1970-Now section of Mah Jong on eBay, too). If you live in a large metropolitan area, you should be able to go to Chinatown and browse sets with all your senses (including touch).

    over the past 10 years we have purchased five sets, all disappointing.
    That doesn't tell me anything about the sets you purchased. It only tells me that you have very particular requirements.

    I would like the tiles to be heavy and dense,
    The heaviest/densest tiles are Japanese tiles. Modern Chinese sets are made in a variety of sizes, some of them pretty large (larger tiles are heavier than smaller tiles). Have a look in Frequently Asked Question 7A. (Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this .) The densest plastic used in mah-jongg tiles is the plastic used in Japanese and modern American sets; see FAQ 7C3 (and FAQ 7C).

    not prone to chipping.
    All tiles are prone to chipping.

    Maybe made from ivory
    It's going to be extremely difficult to find genuine ivory tiles. Sellers always say their bone tiles are "ivory" and unless you know how to tell what the tiles are, you can be gypped very easily. Read FAQ 7C2 (and FAQ 7C). Genuine ivory tiles are rare and extremely expensive. It's been illegal to import ivory since 1989. Ivory sets rarely come up for sale anymore.

    or bone?
    Bone sets have bamboo backs, which means that the backs of the tiles are rounded. They don't stack nicely like plastic tiles do. I don't recommend bone sets for regular play, but some people prefer them for their authentic feel. Bone sets are not "heavy and dense," either.

    I am hoping you can point me in the right direction.
    If eBay or Chinatown are not to your liking, read FAQs 7J, 7K, and 7M. (Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this .) Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 17, 2013


    How to obtain a copy of the diagram about the walls?

    > From: Adele B
    > Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 6:47 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: I understand there is a diagram that teaches how to know which wall to move when completing a wall. I would be interested in how to obtain a copy.
    > Thank you
    > Adele B

    Hi, Adele.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19Q. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    Oh... another way to see those diagrams is to scroll down until you get to the post entitled "Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused! (FAQ 19Q)" From: KJ N., Sent: Tuesday, August 27
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 16, 2013


    Chad Valley scoring chart?

    > From: Jose
    > Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:01 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I have heard that Chad Valley produced a scoring chart but cannot find any info. Do you know if this is still produced or if there is an alternative. We follow the British Mah-Jong Association rules as laid out in their book ‘Know the Game' Mah-Jong’.
    > Thanking you in advance for any help you can give.
    > Josephine A
    > Leader, Sale U3A, Mah-Jongg Group

    Hello, Josephine. You wrote:

    I have heard that Chad Valley produced a scoring chart
    Yes. Back in the 1920s during the mah-jongg craze, a lot of companies produced scoring charts (score cards) for the Chinese Classical rules. Some companies made wooden tile racks, with doubling tables on the bottom.

    Do you know if this is still produced
    I sincerely doubt that the Chad Valley company still exists. And there is not much of a market for CC rule charts today, since other variants of mah-jongg are more popular. CC scoring charts are often offered for sale on eBay (or should I say, I saw a lot of them for sale on eBay when I was in the market for mah-jongg items). You don't need to single-mindedly pursue the Chad Valley chart -- any Chinese Classical scorecard you might find on eBay would be essentially the same as what Chad Valley made back in the day. But you'll probably find that there is a slight difference between CC scoring and British scoring.

    or if there is an alternative. We follow the British Mah-Jong Association rules
    Print-it-yourself scoring charts have been available online for some variants, such as Majiang Competition Rules and Japanese Riichi/Dora Majan -- there should be links to those (assuming those charts are still available) in FAQ 4B. But I don't know if you will find a readymade print-it-yourself chart for British rules. There might be something in FAQ 4B, but you'd have to have a look (you can get to the FAQs above left). Australian rules are essentially the same as your rules; if you find something for Australian scoring, look at it and see if it's what you want. And do look for Gareth Saunders' site -- he's in the UK, and might have something there.

    You may have to make your own chart. Take the tables from pages 21 and 22 and put those on one page of your chart, and on the back you can put the tables from pages 46 and 47. Print them out on your home printer. It should be a fun project!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 16, 2013


    Can she redeem a joker and call the player dead in the same play?

    > From: Debbie V
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 6:30 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I could not find this question.
    > During a players turn she exchanges a tile for a joker from another players rack and then proceeds to call that person dead. Can she take the joker and call the player dead in the same play?
    > Thank you,
    > Debbie V

    Debbie, nobody has ever asked this before!

    Can she take the joker and call the player dead in the same play?
    It depends. At first when I read your question, I thought "what chutzpah, waiting to call someone dead until after she'd taken the dead joker!" But then I realized, I don't have all the facts.

    Read FAQ 19AA - there are several ways a player can rightly be called dead, and you didn't tell me which reason was the basis of the death challenge in this case. And now read FAQ 19P - a player might have made herself dead by the fact that her second exposure shows her hand cannot be made, in which case any jokers in that second exposure may not be claimed. At first, I assumed this is the case you were talking about, but I realized that I actually have no reason to believe this.

    If my initial assumption is right, and the joker was not available for redemption, and the player knew this, then she was trying to get around the rule by making sure she first redeemed the joker before issuing the death declaration. And that's not kosher. If the player was dead because of that exposure, that joker was not available, especially if the challenger was planning to say "you're dead." The kosher test is this: could she say you're dead first, and then redeem? If so, then it would be kosher. Do read FAQ 19P.

    But to get back to your initial question: Yes, a death challenge can be made anytime -- during someone else's turn, during one's own turn, in conjunction with other plays... the rules do not specify when a death challenge may or may not be issued.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 15, 2013


    Is this a fake Royal Depth Control set?

    > From: Esther S
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 2:51 PM
    > Subject: Royal depth control mahjong set?
    >I just bought this set on eBay. It was advertised as a Royal Depth Control catalin set. The label in the case says made in USA. A& L mfg co. Inc ny.
    >It is in good shape and has all the pieces but I am having a hard time verifying its age and value and whether it is, in fact, a royal depth control set.
    >I can't find any set online that has this type of white dragon. The set came with a bunch of extra flowers, 2 blanks and 2 big joker tiles. Four if the flowers are different from any I have seen and from most of the ones in the set. I was wondering if some tiles were added from other sets.
    >Any info you can give me on age and value would be appreciated. Pictures of dragons and flowers attached. Set includes 15 standard flowers. 4 different flowers. 2 blanks. 2 big jokers.
    >Thank you!
    >Esther S

    Hi, Esther. You wrote:

    I am having a hard time verifying its age
    It dates to the early 1960s, since it has two big jokers. Read column 509. You can click the purple column banner atop this page. Column 509 is the #1 "Frequently referenced column" listed in the main frame on the columns page.

    and value
    You said the set is in "good shape," but I don't know if you're aware of the significance of the phrase "good condition." I see lots of places where paint has worn off the tiles, so "good" isn't far off. You seem to be concerned about whether or not you overpaid for the set. I don't know what you paid for it, but I'm guesstimating its value at somewhere around $110.

    and whether it is, in fact, a royal depth control set.
    It's a RDC case, so I don't see any reason to doubt that the contents go with the case. If you want to know about manufacturers, please read FAQ 19U. You can click the FAQs above left.

    I can't find any set online that has this type of white dragon.
    They look perfectly normal to me. I don't know what you see as a problem with them.

    The set came with a bunch of extra flowers, 2 blanks and 2 big joker tiles. Four [of] the flowers are different from any I have seen and from most of the ones in the set. I was wondering if some tiles were added from other sets.
    That was standard practice back then. Read FAQ 19AI.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 15, 2013


    Age and maker, part 2

    > From: "spyder70@
    > Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:28 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Dear Tom:
    > Thank you for your quick response to my request. I appreciate your help concerning this matter. I had already used your links to check on this tiles. Funny, I could not find any tiles that matched the tiles I sent picutres of to you. Thank you for your service to the Mah Jong community.
    > Sincerely,
    > Alex W

    You're welcome, Alex. I appreciate your coming back and saying thanks (you might be surprised how many people don't).


    If I touch it, is it mine?

    > From: Janet M
    > Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 9:57 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: I played in a tournament yesterday and the hostess said if a tile is touched, it is yours. Another person said this is not a National Mah Jongg rule. I DO know that the hostess is allowed to make her own rules and I agree with what she said but not sure if this is a NMJL rule or not. Which is it? Thanks.

    Hi, Janet.
    As you say, a tournament organizer is free to set the rules at her tournament. For the official rule, read Frequently Asked Question 19AM. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 13, 2013


    Age and maker of this set?

    > From: "spyder70
    > Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 8:16 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Dear Tom:
    > Thank you for the great service you provide to the Mah Jong collectors. I have read all your articles and you have made me a better informed collector. My Grandfather left me a Mah Jong set, he was a US submariner stationed in China Philippines and Japan from 1920's thru 1947.
    > My question is can you help me determine the manufacturer and date of this Mah Jong set inherited from my Grandfather?
    > The set contains 148 pieces.:
    > 36 Dots
    > 36 Bams
    > 36 Craks
    > 16 Winds
    > 12 Dragons
    > 8 Flowers
    > 4 Blanks
    > The tiles are made of Blakelite and measure exactly: 1/2" thick, 1 3/16" Tall, 7/8" wide.
    > The accessories comprise of a coffin with four Chinese dice, four player tokens, a ring and about 100 counting sticks made from bone or ivory.
    > What makes this set unique, is the carrying case. It is made of a hand carved Rosewood box, which measures 16 inches wide, 9 inches tall and 3 inches thick. To retrieve the tile tray you slide two hidden panels from the box to slide (a side panel and the bottom panel) the tile tray out from the bottom of the carrying case, once you lie the case on it's side. The tray only holds 144 pieces in the main bay while the blanks and accessories are in two smaller compartments. The handle is hand carved with a dragon head on each side, while the front and back show Chinese Ocean going Junks. The tiles are near mint condition with no paint smears and show little wear. Three hand carved trays came with the carrying case. I believe he purchased this in Japan where they play three player Mah Jong and he was with the occupying forces after the war. But he also occupied China after the war too!
    > I took your advice and have reviewed hundreds of tiles, looking at the Number 1 on the Bams, Dots, and the flowers and cannot find anything close in design to this Mah Jong set, though, Ruttgames does come close on some tiles. I have seen hundreds of carved carrying cases, however, they are all square boxes with trays sliding out of the front of the box.
    > Thank you in advance for your help concerning this matter. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I have attached recent photos of the Mah Jong set for your review and files.
    > Sincerely,
    > Alex W

    Hi, Alex. Your two questions for me are:

    the manufacturer
    I am not an expert on manufacturers. You would need to try the Mah Jong Museum and CHarli's website. There are links to both in FAQ 4a, down by the bottom. My guess is China, based on the dragons and the chips and the carved box. That type of tile usually comes in a cheap box, and does not usually come with bone chips and a dice coffin. Some craftsman probably carved the box and added chips and dice to enhance the resale value of the set.

    and date
    Tiles of that type are hard to date. Most likely 1940s to 1960s, but could be later, and could be earlier. Based on the history that you know, I'd say it's reasonable to believe that your grandfather did acquire the set during his time in the Orient, and that the set dates to his time there. Most likely post-war.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 13, 2013


    Why is situation B kosher yet situation A isn't?

    > From: E M
    > Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 11:15 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > 1) I am playing a hand that needs four 7 Bams. I have two and also have a 6 Crak on my rack I wish to discard. The player across from me has two 6 craks along with one joker on her rack.
    > The player to my left discards a 7 Bam. Can I call for the 7 Bam and in the same play replace the joker with my 6 Crak and thus rack the 7 Bam run I need?
    > I have been told I can not do this but am having trouble understanding why not as this play that happened to me recently was legit:
    > 2) It was near the end of the game, only a few tiles remaining. I needed two tiles to Mahj (needed to complete a run of 3 or 4 tiles) the tile I needed to discard was a flower. Player to my right had a run on her rack that included two 5 Bams and a joker. She discarded a flower and it was called for by the player on my left. She racked the flower with two more and a joker.
    > My turn: I selected my tile and it was a five Bam! I replaced the flower for the joker to my left and the five Bam for the joker to my right and thus had the run I needed for Mah Jongg.
    > I am having trouble understanding why one action is o.k. and the other not o.k.
    > Thanks a lot!
    > Sincerely,
    > Emily M

    Hi, Emily. You wrote:

    The player to my left discards a 7 Bam. Can I call for the 7 Bam and in the same play replace the joker with my 6 Crak and thus rack the 7 Bam run [sic] I need?
    I believe you are saying you want to expose a pung, then redeem a joker, then change your pung to a kong. No, you can't do that. Read Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19.

    I selected my tile and it was a five Bam! I replaced the flower for the joker to my left and the five Bam for the joker to my right and thus had the run [sic] I needed for Mah Jongg.
    > I am having trouble understanding why one action is o.k. and the other not o.k.
    Because in the first case, you didn't have the full price necessary to call the discard for exposure, while in the second case, you picked lucky. Picking a tile is free, but taking a discard requires you to pay a price. See FAQ 19M.

    Also, forgive me for being picky. You used the word "run" in a non-standard way. The proper term for an exposable grouping is "pung," "kong," or "quint." If you just want a word that lumps those all together, you can use the term "exposure" or "set" or "group." The word "run" has numerical connotations (that's why you see it only in one section of the NMJL card). See column 463, "What's In A Word, part 3."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 12, 2013

    P.S. This Q&A inspired this week's column (#580).


    Mah-Jongg Q+A-need help

    > From: Kamal Salam <mom.salim@hotmail.com>
    > Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 1:29 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A-need help
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hello dear
    > Thanks for this help and facility--
    > I have question
    > --do I have son in the USA where I lived in between 1975-1980
    > because I heard whispering to my mind 6 years ago.
    > your response are highlly appreciated

    Well, you did have a son in the USA, but he emigrated to Kukuland 5 years ago. Did the whisper happen to mention that he played mah-jongg?


    Column 579, problem #4. No, wait, column 578

    > From: Cinda V
    > Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 8:07 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: #579 – #4. Why not go for #1 under 2013?

    >From: Cinda V
    >Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 8:09 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I mean column #578

    Hi, Cinda. You mean this one?...

    The reason I didn't consider 2013 #1 with that (column 578, problem #4) is that it has no winds, and there's a pair of sixes, and a goodly number of even numbers. I think you must have had another problem in mind. #3 in column 578, perhaps?...

    For that one, yes, 2013 #1 would be a reasonable option.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2013


    Oops, can I redeem my own joker after I've ended my turn?

    > From: Louise D
    > Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:47 PM
    > Subject: M/J question
    > a player called for a seven crack. she exposed 3 seven cracks and a joker, then discarded. after she discarded, she said --oops I didn't meant to put the joker in my exposure, I had the fourth seven crack in my hand. I said she couldn't change it since she already discarded. But, could she then exchange the joker for the seven crack on her next turn?
    > Louise

    Hi, Louise.
    Read FAQ 19M and FAQ 19AF. You know where the FAQs are. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    In the case of part of the question you asked (your situation touches upon 2 or 3 questions), you can read the back of the NMJL card (leftmost pane, the paragraph about jokers).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 10, 2013


    Shouldn't that person be called dead? (part 2)

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 6:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Regarding the "shouldn't the player be called dead?" Sharon also did not indicate that the other South had been thrown. If it is still available, that joker is also available to the player with Souths and one dots.
    >Again, love your site!
    >Belinda

    Hi, Belinda. You wrote:

    Sharon also did not indicate that the other South had been thrown. If it is still available, that joker is also available to the player with Souths and one dots.
    Yep! As was noted in the postscript.

    Again, love your site!
    Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 10, 2013


    Shouldn't that person be called dead?

    > From: Sharon C
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 4:31 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > My game is pretty savvy and we follow all the rules. There is an exposure 4 Souths (with a joker) 3 natural one dots BUT 3 norths get thrown to the table as well as the last one dot…(call that pushing a hand)
    > Another hand had a replaced joker exposure and there is one on the table. This accounts for 3 visible jokers
    > Player would need a minimum of 3 jokers for the Norths and 3 jokers for the one dots…total 6 jokers…Shouldn’t that person be called dead?

    So you're saying that she needs 6 jokers, and there are only 5 available to be gotten. But what about that other hand with a... what did you call it, "replaced joker exposure"? Are you saying that that joker has already been redeemed by someone? If so, then isn't it in the realm of possibility that she (the known joker holder, the redeemer) might yet expose it?
    You haven't convinced me that the Souths-and-ones player can rightly be called dead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2013

    P.S. And what about the fourth South? She with the S kong could possibly pick the fourth South and redeem her own joker. So you see, the "not enough jokers" death challenge can be very tricky.


    Grr!! My hand is heavenly!!

    > From: Mary Ann E
    > Sent: Friday, October 4, 2013 5:38 AM
    > Subject: second pass
    > Grrr!! Suppose I have been dealt Mah Jongg. Am I obliged to do the second pass? Or can I call Mah Jongg?
    > mae
    > Rochester NY

    Hello, Mae.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19BJ. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Your words are self-contradictory. You say you were "dealt Mah Jongg," but then you say you don't want to do the second pass. If you really were dealt a heavenly hand, you wouldn't want to do even the first pass! Anyway, read the FAQ and you'll see what I mean.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 4, 2013


    FAQ 19AG, 19AH (no matter what Yelda says)

    > From: Dorothy D
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 1:13 PM
    > Subject: Optional pass after stopping the Charleston
    > Hi,
    >In a game last night, I stopped the Charleston. For the optional pass, I said "three." Another player, new to our group, adamantly informed me that you cannot stop the Charleston if you have three tiles to pass.
    > I can't find this written anywhere, so as you note in the FAQ, it's probably not a rule... but she has been playing MUCH longer than I have, so I wanted to check.
    >Is there any difference in the Optional pass when it occurs after the first rather than the second Charleston?
    >Many thanks!
    >Dorothy D

    Hi, Dorothy.
    Actually, this is covered in FAQ 19 -- it's FAQ 19AG and 19AH. In the title I picked for this Q&A, I mentioned "Yelda." See column 387 if you want to know what that's all about.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2013

    P.S. - You should not be surprised if somebody kvetches when you stop the Charleston, then offer three in the courtesy pass!


    Frequently Asked Question 19E (3rd Q)

    > From: Arlene D
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:22 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > can you pick up a 2013 tile for mahjong? how about NEWS?

    Hi, Arlene
    You've asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. Actually, 19E is 3 questions, and you've asked the 3rd one. You can read the first two 19E answers if you want, of course -- but your answer is the 3rd one. If you do read the first two, you'll understand why the three of them are all lumped together.
    To get to FAQ 19, scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2013


    Wrong tile count, part 2

    >From: Sue W
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 8:31 AM
    >Subject: Re: not enough tiles
    >Thank you

    You're welcome, Sue.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2013


    Wrong tile count after the Charleston

    >From: Sue W
    >Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 5:34 PM
    >Subject: not enough tiles
    >If a player finds that she only has 12 tiles after the charleston (she forgot to take her last tile), can she take it then or is she dead?
    >thx
    >sue

    Hi, Sue.
    See rule 9 of the official rulebook, page 18 (or look in my book, rule 92 on page 60). "It depends" on circumstances you didn't mention. If the dealer has discarded her first tile, the 12-tile player is dead. If the dealer has not yet discarded, only the player at dealer's left is permitted to take the last tile on the end of the wall to fill out her hand and stave off death. If the player is not seated at dealer's left, or if the dealer has discarded, she's dead (but not until someone else calls her dead -- see FAQ 19AC).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2013


    The eBay mah-jongg group

    > From: Tripp S
    > Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 6:10 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Dear Tom,
    > Is the Ebay Mah Jong group still existent? I can't find it. Maybe it ceased...
    > Thanks for all you do!

    That group moved to Facebook and changed its name, Tripp.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19AJ

    > From: "marysydneymc
    > Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 7:08 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: on 2013 card does second hand in 2013 section have to be 2013 4 ones and 4 threes or can last set be four twos?
    > Mary S

    Hi, Mary.
    The parenthetical does not say that the kong of 3s can be anything else. Read FAQ 19AJ. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2013


    Today's column, yesterday

    > From: "krrrad
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:34 PM
    > Subject: Column #579
    > Hi Tom,
    >Re #10, it can't be like numbers #2, since that is a concealed hand. If I see three red dragons displayed, I'm calling her (or him!) dead. Love your column- keep up the good work! May the tiles always be with you too. Karen

    Hi Karen,
    I just found your email when I was cleaning out my spam folder.
    Belinda got the thanx in the column (see below), but you deserve a hat tip too.
    Your email would have beaten hers out, if not for being mistaken somehow for spam. I shrug my shoulders at spam filters. :op
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 30, 2013


    Today's column (#579)

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 4:31 PM
    > Subject: Column #579
    > Tom,
    > In reviewing your #579 column, I have the following observations:
    > #3-wouldn't 8C, 9C and 8B & 9B also be hot?
    > #5-If she were doing like numbers, she is dead as that is a concealed hand, so G and soaps are safe discards, correct?
    > #10-again, not like numbers as she would be dead, so soap isn't really hot. If odds number 2, hot tiles should be 5B and 9D instead of 5D and 9B?
    > Love your website and strategy column, I've learned so much!
    > Belinda

    Hi, Belinda. You found some of my... [cough] intentional... flubs in today's column:

    Absolutely right! Isn't it a good thing I put these flubs into the column? It exercises your brain that much more that way!

    Doh! I mean, ding ding ding!

    Right again! I made these changes to the column. Ain't the Internet grand? God job, Belinda!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2013


    Question on estimate, part 6

    >From: Jacqueline M
    >Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 2:10 PM
    >Subject: Re: Question on estimate
    >Thanks for the update, I didn't realize you wanted the other pictures, which is why I put them in a photobucket.com link. Here are the other pictures that indicate what I am talking about re wear on the box.
    >Jacqueline

    That's not a "small amount of rust," Jacqueline. I have to downgrade the previous estimate to about $100. Rusty hinges, no scoring chips, ugly joker treatments. The best thing about the set is that it has 4 original "big jokers." So you might get more than $100 for it, if the buyer is willing to work on the jokers and the rust, and buy scoring chips to fill out the set. If you do the restoration yourself, it could sell for up to $150.
    Oh -- and I hope it comes with two good dice, too.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2013


    Question on estimate, part 5

    > From: Jacqueline M
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 1:40 PM
    > Subject: Re: Question on estimate
    > OK, I don't get it. You asked me to post a picture and provide more detail, which I did...
    > I still see my original request. I had thought that you would update it and since I've provided additional information use the update. Is there something I've missed?
    > Jacqueline

    Hi Jacqueline.
    If you don't see your new answer, then you need to "refresh" or "reload" the page to see the most recent posts. Or use a different browser, like Safari, Chrome, IE, Firefox; one that hasn't been to my site before (this is especially a problem for AOL users, apparently).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2013


    Question on estimate, parts 2, 3, and 4

    > From: Jacqueline M
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 9:34 AM
    > Subject: Re: Question on estimate
    > Thanks for your reply. The tongue-in-cheek was fun too!
    > I have taken your advice, and have arranged the tiles per your request.
    > Let's start again....LOL.
    > I have a complete set of 152 pieces. They are from the 60s. I believe the material is bone. On the inside of the case is a small plaque that says "Gonzer Co. Jewelers, 24 Walnut Street, Newark 2, NJ Opp. Fed Bldg. Post Ofc. I have 5 racks. All are in very good condition. The only blemishes are that I don't have the betting chips and there is a small amount of rust on the locks, but they do work.
    > A full set of pictures can be seen at...
    > http://s1166.photobucket.com/user/luvzlyfe/library/Mah%20Jongg
    > Thanks again for all your help, Jacqueline
    >
    > From: Jacqueline M
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 9:37 AM
    > Subject: Fwd: Question on estimate
    > Correction - I believe tiles are bakelite and not bone. But, of course, would appreciate your expert advice!
    >
    >From: Jacqueline M
    >Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 9:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question on estimate
    >OK - not enough coffee this morning - 3rd time's the charm...Thanks for your reply. The tongue-in-cheek was fun too!
    >I have taken your advice, and have arranged the tiles per your request.
    >Let's start again....LOL.
    >I have a complete set of 152 pieces. They are from the 60s. I believe the material is bakelite. On the inside of the case is a small plaque that says "Gonzer Co. Jewelers, 24 Walnut Street, Newark 2, NJ Opp. Fed Bldg. Post Ofc. I have 5 racks. All are in very good condition. The only blemishes are that I don't have the betting chips and there is a small amount of rust on the locks, but they do work. Attached are a picture of the tiles.
    >A full set of pictures can be seen at...
    >http://s1166.photobucket.com/user/luvzlyfe/library/Mah%20Jongg
    >Thanks again for all your help, Jacqueline

    Hello, Jacqueline.
    From what I can tell, you are asking:

    Bakelite, not bone?
    Yes.

    Estimate?
    Very hard to do with the limited information you gave me, and the one picture you sent me (I don't click on links, as I said in the FAQ and above). You say everything is "very good," which, according to the Very Good condition definition in Frequently Asked Question 7H, means: "Item has a few defects that any normal person would notice upon close examination. All defects must be noted."
    The defects you told me about are that you "don't have the betting chips and there is a small amount of rust on the locks." I see an important blemish you didn't mention -- the ugly way four flowers have been converted to jokers. Somebody will have to do some work on those, and sticker them nicely. So I don't know what other blemishes you didn't mention. The set might sell for around $110, more or less.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2013


    Column 578

    > From: C.G S
    > Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 10:05 AM
    > Subject: RE: Column # 578
    > Hi Tom,
    > I was working on this lesson and questioned your decision on # 6.
    > Odds #6 is also a doable hand since there are 8 tiles + 2 J. Why wouldn't you suggest that this is also a potential hand? There are more tiles for this selection than the other ones that you suggest. I know the odds are greater that you won't make it because you can't call for pairs, but you never know till you try. I'm interested why you don't even consider it.
    > Thanks for your response.
    > C.G.

    Hi, C.G.
    The main reasons for not pursuing that one are the complete absence of any 1Bs in the hand, and the existence of three flowers that cry out to be used. It's also plausible that I couldn't go into that one due to the word count (my formula for determining word count is based on image size and how it would look in a newspaper column space). But let's assume instead that I totally overlooked that one.
    Dropping Like Nos. is still the right thing. Blind-passing the 1Cs would be bad for Odds #6; passing Fs would be bad for Odds #3; but if I wanted to go for Odds #6 I'd have no choice but to pass Fs, or blind pass 3, and probably not stop the Charleston. Passing 3 Fs would not be a good idea, of course. Very tough choice!
    Good call, C.G.!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2013


    Western mah-jongg, special hands required

    > From: suzanne a
    > Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:00 PM
    > Subject: Western - specifically: "Special Hands Required".
    > Hello,
    > Do you know of any sites I can reference for information on the Western version of Mahjong "Special Hands Required"?
    > I have devoured all three Thompson & Maloney books and, while they are very good as far as listing and graphics of the Special Hands, I can find in them no real instructions setting out the rules of this peculiar (sub)version of the Western game.
    > Many thanks in anticipation of your help,
    > Suzanne.

    Hi, Suzanne.
    I do not know of any such sites, but you can try FAQ 4B. A listed Western site might include the info you seek.
    But let's consider books, not only websites -- unless you're asking me to play "special websites required" in this Q&A. (^_^) There is a mention of the "only special hands" variation in the Strauser & Evans book.
    As for the instructions you seek, I would think none are needed (to me, the name is self-explanatory). A player is permitted to make special hands only. If a player declares mah-jongg and the hand is not in the agreed list of special hands, then that's a false mah-jongg, which is penalized the usual way you treat false mah-jongg.
    Scoring for winning special hands is per the special hands list -- scoring for incomplete special hands (for non-winners) is per the usual scoring described in your T&M books.
    If you need rules beyond those principles, then see FAQ 14 (links above left) - the requiring of special hands is not so much a documented "version" ("variant") as it is a "table rule," so the rules governing table rules apply.
    But I have to wonder why you ask. Perhaps you're intrigued by the idea, and want to suggest it to your mah-jongg group?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 25, 2013


    Question on estimate

    > From: Jacqueline M
    > Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 8:21 AM
    > Subject: Question on estimate
    > I am looking to sell my late mother's Mah Jongg set. From your article, I've determined it was made around 1962-66. I have all the pieces and they are in excellent condition.
    > I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could help me with...
    > (1) I have taken pictures of each number and symbol, as well as the case (inside and outside). It's a total of about 15 pictures.
    > (2) If the set is posted on your website, do you give a valuation at that time?
    > (3) If the set sells from your website, what percentage do you take as a commission?
    > (4) Is it permissible to sell on multiple sites in addition to your own (ie EBay, Etsy)??
    > Thanks for your help.
    > Sincerely, Jacqueline

    Hi, Jacqueline.
    Please don't send me 15 pictures. That's surely more than I need. Look at the other valuations below and see what kind of photos I use as my key images.
    When else would I give it? I couldn't give it before. And why would I wait until some time later? Check out the other estimations below.
    I don't take a commission.
    I have no reason to object (and you're the first in over 10 years to suggest such an idea to me). I highly recommend you use eBay instead of my site (or in addition to it). I never heard of etsy until you mentioned it just now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2013


    Player B destroyed the wall. What to do?

    > From: "jhanthorne
    > Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 5:52 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Two of us have checked your FAQ’s and can’t find this situation.
    > A player called for a tile and said Mah-jongg. Before taking the tile or exposing anything, she changed her mind and said that she didn’t need the tile.
    > Player B, after hearing Player A say mah-jongg, started looking through the unused wall looking for the tile she needed. She has now seen most of the tiles left in the wall.
    > What to do? Is Player B dead for looking at the tiles in the unused wall?

    Hi, jhanthorne,
    The reason you can't find every possible weird thing that someone might do in my FAQs is because my FAQs only list frequently-asked questions, not weird-confluence-of-events questions. But although this isn't in the FAQs, it is in my book (page 62 at the bottom).
    Player A said mah-jongg erroneously, which led someone else to destroy the wall, ruining the game for the other two players. A and B are both dead, and player B must pay the two surviving players 25¢ each (value of the lowest hand on the card). Offhand, I do not recall the place where I saw the NMJL issue that rule in writing -- but they did.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 23, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19AA

    > From: Doris F
    > Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 5:26 PM
    > Subject: dead hand
    > if an opponent has exposed enough of her hand that everyone knows what she is doing, and there is only one hand that it can be and she needs 2 dragons, but there are 3 on the board, can her hand be declared dead?
    > Thank you.
    > Doris F
    > doajm35

    Hi, Doris.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AA. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 23, 2013


    Pick, redeem, mahj!

    > From: Gretchen S
    > Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2013 8:47 PM
    > Subject: Mah jongg question
    > Can a player draw, then make an exchange for a joker using that joker to call mah jong?

    Good morning, Gretchen.
    "Pick, redeem, mahj" is a classic move. Please read Frequently Asked Questions 19M & 19AN. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 22, 2013

    P.S. See also column #497, involving two cases of "pick, redeem, mahj."


    Change of heart - misnamed

    > From: Anita C
    > Sent: Friday, September 20, 2013 6:30 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player has a discard in his/her hand and calls 5 bam, the tile does not touch the table, but the player wants to recall the tile. Isn't the rule that if a player says a tile, it is a payed tile?
    > Another scenario, a player has a 5 bam and a 5 dot in her rack, she calls a discard of 5 dot, but lays down a 5 bam. She actually wanted to discard a 5 dot. What happens?

    Hi, Anita. You asked:

    A player has a discard in his/her hand and calls 5 bam, the tile does not touch the table, but the player wants to recall the tile. Isn't the rule that if a player says a tile, it is a payed tile?
    Welcome to my website. You have asked the "change of heart" FAQ: Frequently Asked Question 19AM. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've landed at the FAQ #19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question.

    a player has a 5 bam and a 5 dot in her rack, she calls a discard of 5 dot, but lays down a 5 bam. She actually wanted to discard a 5 dot. What happens?
    That one's FAQ 19A and 19B. And see FAQ 19AY, as long as you're asking about such things.. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ #19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2013


    I am surprised you haven't given me better information about my set already

    > From: Agentsnake RR
    > Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:41 PM
    > Subject: mah jongg set question
    > Hi,
    > I am surprised that I can't find answer to this mah jongg set question. My friend has just loaned me her parents old mah jongg set. It is a cute set and trying to figure out what it is made of (yes, I have read your fact, but eyesight not great). It is a small tile set from Tukiyama Industry (I can only find a bit of stuff on it on ebay or etsy.com). It was bought in South Africa in the 70's, or perhaps the 60's. There is actually still cards from 1977 in it! It has small tiles that are opaque and the betting ivory sticks clink - not plastic sounding.
    > Have you any idea what they would be made of?
    > Thanks, Sara

    Hello, Sara. You wrote:

    I am surprised that I can't find answer to this mah jongg set question.
    I am surprised that you are surprised!

    from Tukiyama Industry
    So it was made in Japan, presumably.

    There is actually still cards from 1977 in it!
    That doesn't tell me much. What kind of cards? You mean National Mah Jongg League cards, for playing American-style mah-jongg?

    It has small tiles that are opaque
    "Opaque" is normal and expected. This doesn't tell me much.

    the betting ivory sticks clink - not plastic sounding.
    "Clink" sounds plastic to me. Sticks are usually made of bone or plastic (almost never ivory) -- Japanese sticks from the seventies would be plastic. Plastic sticks "clink" and bone sticks make a sound more like "tick."

    Have you any idea what they would be made of?
    Not without pictures, I don't. Have you tried looking at the Mah Jong Museum collection for clues? http://www.mahjongmuseum.com/ Or CHarli's museum site? There's a link in FAQ 4A.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2013


    The frequently asked "change of heart" question

    > From: stephani l
    > Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:57 AM
    > Subject: Changing one's mind
    > Quoting Elaine Sandberg's "A beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg" under the subtitle Calling and Exposing with X Hands:
    > "If you make a mistake . . . . you can correct your error and change your Exposure. If you simply change your mind, you may take your Exposure back and replace it in your hand. . . .but once you discard, you cannot change or correct your Exposure."
    > I've been playing at a Sr. Center with people who say once you've placed an Exposure on the flat of your rack, you can't change it.
    > Who is right? I like Sandberg's version, but don't let me influence you.
    > Thank you,
    > Stef

    Stef,
    I'm surprised that you have not found the answer in FAQ 19. You've been here enough times to know that answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ #19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 19, 2013


    Which cards make a definitive record of NMJL play changes? (part 2)

    > From: Karen S
    > Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 8:00 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Tom - Thank you so much for the information in the question regarding Which cards make a definitive record of NMJL play change. The information was extremely informative, and also directed me to more info in your Column #509, which I had missed in first trying to find information on my own. Could you please answer some follow-up questions? In article #509, you said:
    > “In the 1920's, the standard mah-jongg set came with 8 flowers and 0 jokers (8F/0J). From the founding of the National Mah Jongg League 70 years ago (in 1937), the NMJL treated flowers as jokers (wild flowers). Beginning with the 1943 card, more flowers were added to increase the luck ratio and to allow for more challenging hands.”
    > When flowers were treated as jokers, did they have all the same properties we think of as being associated with jokers – could they replace any tile, could they be used in a pair, could they be retrieved when exposed, etc (subject to rules at the time)? Once jokers were introduced, did the flowers lose their status as wild cards right away? If there was a period of time when both flowers and jokers would have been wild cards, did all have the same properties, or did jokers have any special “powers”?
    > Thank you again for being such a great resource and for being willing to share your knowledge with rookies like myself.
    > Karen

    Hi, Karen. You asked:

    When flowers were treated as jokers, did they have all the same properties we think of as being associated with jokers – could they replace any tile
    Yes.

    could they be used in a pair
    Take a look at FAQ 19S. It may not be a perfect answer, but it's what I have.

    could they be retrieved when exposed
    I saw on the 1943 card that flowers could not be discarded. The 1954 card says discarding flowers is allowed, but they can be claimed only for a "bouquet" hand - flowers couldn't be passed in the Charleston, and bouquet hands have to contain only the prescribed number of flowers. I realize I didn't answer your question. I think you were asking about redemption (not handling of discarded flowers). In checking my notes just now, I didn't find anything about redemption. Did you check the timeline in FAQ 11H? Your email today didn't mention it.

    Once jokers were introduced, did the flowers lose their status as wild cards right away?
    Yes, it appears so.

    I checked the 1971 card (since that was the year the card switched to an 8F/8J standard) and found: "IMPORTANT CHANGE: A hand made without a joker is NOT paid DOUBLE. When a player picks her OWN Mah Jongg tile, all players pay double the value of the hand. When a player Mah Jonggs on a discarded tile, DISCARDER pays the winner double the value of the hand. All other players pay single value. STANDARD BASED ON 8 FLOWERS and 8 JOKERS." The jokerless double was clearly reinstated sometime later.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 19, 2013


    Which cards make a definitive record of NMJL play changes?

    > From: Karen S
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 8:14 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I am fairly new to the game and would love to play some of the older NMJL hands to see how the game has progressed historically – what it was like with no jokers, some jokers, major rule changes, etc. I have seen older cards on eBay, but they present challenges: 1) I don’t know what years incorporated significant changes and can’t see enough in the images to know what to buy, 2) I’m not really concerned about possessing the actual cards given my limited budget and the prices of the vintage cards, am just seeking information, and 3) I would rather purchase the information, if it is available, through a resource that funds NMJL. Do you know of any place where I can obtain a brief history of the major changes in the rules, and see the hands that may have been played under those rules? Even an indication of which years’ cards to try to obtain would be helpful. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
    > Karen

    Hi, Karen. You asked:

    I don’t know what years incorporated significant changes and can’t see enough in the images to know what to buy
    Take a look at FAQ 11H. Ignore everything before 1937.

    I would rather purchase the information, if it is available,
    I doubt that money is necessary, or will help you, obtain the information.

    through a resource that funds NMJL.
    I do not understand your words.

    Do you know of any place where I can obtain a brief history of the major changes in the rules, and see the hands that may have been played under those rules?
    No, I don't (other than the milestones I put in FAQ 11H). And see Column 509, too.

    Even an indication of which years’ cards to try to obtain would be helpful.
    I think you would be fine with any card between 1937-1942, then each different card up through 1949, then any 24-flower card, any 22-flower card, any 20-flower card, any 2-joker card, any 4-joker card, a 6J/8F card, a 6J/10F card, a 6F/8J card. Then a card from the seventies, any card from the eighties, any card from the nineties, and any card from the 2000s, and any card from this decade.

    May the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 18, 2013


    What if 3 players go dead? (v2)

    > From: Phyllis B
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 3:34 AM
    > Subject: dead hands
    > How many players must have live hands in order to continue the game, had a situation where only 1 player had a live hand. I thought the game ceases in that situation.
    > please advise,
    > thanx, phyllis

    Hi, Phyllis.
    Of course the game has to stop. It would be very silly for 3 people to sit around watching while one player picks and discards until something happens.
    Before you ask me the expected follow-up question, read the August 10 version of this question, below ("What if 3 players go dead?" and "What if 3 players go dead? (part 2)," asked by Shirley M).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 18, 2013

    P.S. READ THE BACK OF THE CARD.


    What fabric works well as a table cloth?

    > From: "Jeanne_H
    >Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 11:58 AM
    > Subject: Q&A Bulletin Board
    > I see beautiful embroidered table covers sold at mah jongg game days, but it is almost impossible to shuffle the tiles on those suede-like covers. What fabric has anyone used that works well for the mah jongg tiles?

    Hi, Jeanne.
    I haven't seen these embroidered table cloths of which you speak, but I can imagine that anything suede-like would not be good. And certainly, embroidery would be problematic. Any smooth linen tablecloth, without bumpy threading or embroidery, should be good. It's best if it's a fairly heavy material. You could also put a linen tablecloth atop a suede padding.
    One time I was teaching at my students' home, and they didn't have a suitable tablecloth for the hardwood table. What we did was use some flat bedsheets, folded for thickness. That worked fine.
    This is such a great question that I'm going to add this to the Tables FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 16, 2013


    My new apps, part 2

    > From: Marcee Kleinman
    > Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2013 11:34 AM
    > Subject: RE: Follower of yours on Sloperama would love your feedback
    > Tom,
    > Thank you for your reply and for the etiquette education. Just so you know, for some reason I did not receive the email you sent me last year raising the issue about the forum post. I most certainly would have responded. I need to look into why I didn’t receive it.
    > I am surprised that you are willing to even consider including my new posts after that. Why would not ask me to remove the post or for some other remedy?
    > In any case, I appreciate your honestly with me and for being so gracious.
    > Marcee.


    My new apps

    > From: Marcee Kleinman
    > Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2013 12:18 PM
    > Subject: RE: Follower of yours on Sloperama would love your feedback
    > Tom,
    > Thank you again for adding a link to the Mah Jongg Groove app from your website. The app is selling great in many countries! If you like, I’d be happy to add a link to your website from my support sites. Just let me know.
    > I have since published two more Mah Jongg apps and would love it if you would include these posts in your “Other Excellent Mah-Jongg Sites” section.
    > Play American Mah-Jongg with a bettor and want to keep track of which player was bet on? "Mahj Bettor" is available in the iTunes App Store.
    > Play American Mah-Jongg with a variety of table rooms and want to keep track of which rules you are using? "Mah Jongg Mojo" is available in the iTunes App Store.
    > Thank you again,
    > Marcee Kleinman

    Marcee, I remember that just after our exchange last year (which we conducted via private emails rather than on my mah-jongg Q&A bulletin board), you went on the rec.games.mahjong newsgroup and hijacked a 14-year-old thread in which people had once asked about the rules of American mah-jongg, and you posted this:

      news:rec.games.mahjong
      Subject: jewish rules of majjong --> NMJL rules & strategies
      Thread started: 5/20/1998
      Last post in thread: 5/25/1998

      >From: mar...@gmail.com
      >Date: 20/09/2012
      >In the past, my Mah Jongg group had lost track of which pass we were on. But we found an iPhone app called the Mah Jongg Groove that helps us keep track of which pass we are on. It's a really great app! You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-groove/id528492695?mt=8 or learn more about it here: https://www.facebook.com/MahJonggGroove

    It really bothers me when people shill their own products surreptitiously, saying they "found" something that they themselves had created. And, as an internet forum moderator, it bothers me when people hijack unrelated threads. And it bothers me when people "necro" long-dormant topics. Combining a hijack with a necro with a misleading stealth advertisement is therefore triply bad, and is indicative of poor character, not a simple lack of understanding of net etiquette. I treated you with respect last year, conducting our conversation in private, but any respect I had for you went down the drain when you posted the way you did on the newsgroup. I recall emailing you to complain about it at the time, and that I never got a reply.

    Last year I did put a link to your product in both FAQ 4a and FAQ 5, but I think now that it really only belongs in FAQ 5. I have put your two new blurbs in FAQ 5. But you didn't provide them to me in post-ready form, so people will have to search the app store to find your apps.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 15, 2013


    How unusual

    > From: Linda D
    > Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2013 11:13 AM
    > Subject: Black Tile Mah Jong Set
    > I inherited my grandmother's mah jong set. I am in the process of organizing it for appraisal as you suggested. However, I was wondering how unusual black catalin tiles are ... usually, I see white or ivory colored tiles.
    > Many thanks for your time and consideration.
    > Best regards,
    > Linda D

    Linda,
    Are black tiles unusual? Yes.
    Considering all the black tiles, are catalin tiles unusual? Yes.
    The real question is whether or not your tiles are really catalin. I don't think you are doing yourself a favor asking questions that can lead you up the garden path.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 14, 2013


    Hong Kong, part 2

    > From: Babette S
    > Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 10:32 PM
    > Subject: Re: playing Mahjong in Hong Kong
    > Hello Tom,
    > thank you for the link and your reply. I am unfortunately not currently in Hong Kong to peruse the yellow pages but happy to report that the club manager at Dynasty Court (in mid-levels) is going to rent us a room and set-up for the day. Problem solved.
    > By the way I am also from LA (westside)- and always looking to play Hong Kong style MJ when I back in town. I don't know any people that play HK style but will check your site for any mention of that before I head there.
    > As well I spend a lot of time in San Diego for work and hope to connect with a group to teach/play HK style- which I prefer over Western at the moment.
    > I want to elevate my game and hoping that your book will provide me with some tactics for doing so, as my HK friends are SHARKS.
    > Best and thanks for all your efforts and helpful information.
    > Babette

    Hi, Babette. You wrote:

    I spend a lot of time in San Diego for work and hope to connect with a group to teach/play HK style- which I prefer over Western at the moment.
    You should write a post for my Find Players board, and a teacher listing for FAQ 4a.

    I want to elevate my game and hoping that your book will provide me with some tactics
    My book discusses MCR (the official Chinese tournament rules), not HK rules. I recommend Amy Lo's book for HK style.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 14, 2013


    How to use your antispam device?

    > From: "jpsc102697
    > Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 7:37 AM
    > Subject: avoiding spam when sending email address
    > Dear Tom:
    > I'm not quite sure how to use the bobSPAMmeNOT@earthlink.net or DONTtomster@SPAM.MEaol.com when sending my email address.
    > Do I post my own email address immediately AFTER these addresses?
    > Thanks!
    > Suzanne

    Hi Suzanne,
    You're referring to my "how to protect yourself from spam" page. I wrote that a very long time ago when people could post directly on my boards. The spammers kept bombarding my boards with bogus posts, so I had to change my practice here. Now all posts just come to me and I manually put them on the site. So you really don't have to worry about spamproofing your email address. Just email me your bulletin board post, and I'll put it up, and I'll spamproof it as best I can. These days what I do is replace the @ symbol with a mah-jongg symbol or a playing card suit symbol. Like this: mahjonggsloperama.com. Humans look at that and (hopefully) figure out that they have to replace the with an @ symbol. If the spambots have already figured out how to collect addresses despite that, then you'll get spam (actually, you'll probably get spam no matter what you do).
    So fuhget aboudit and just send me what you want posted. I'll take care of it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, September, 2013

    P.S. I have now deleted that old outdated advice. I was not able to find any links to that old page, so I wasn't able to delete any dead links. If anyone finds a broken link, please do let me know so I can remove it.


    Hong Kong

    > From: Babette S
    > Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:19 PM
    > Subject: playing Mahjong in Hong Kong
    > Hello,
    > there are a group of us (4 women) that are looking to find a place where we can play Mahjong for the day. I have been to a club in Sheung Wan called the Sun Rise club 4/F 40-50 Des Voeux Rd a while back and it was ideal. they had tables in rooms and served the meal in your room. each room has a private toilet. while a bit smokey- it was fine overall.
    > I cannot find any evidence of the Sun Rise Club and hoping you might know of some establishments that will provide a room and table along with a meal so that we can play for the day? Megan's kitchen is another- but it's Hot Pot and quite expensive for our purposes.
    > Any thoughts?
    > thank you!

    Lei ho ma, Babette.
    It's been more than 10 years since I scoped out mah-jongg parlors in Hong Kong (as described at http://sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.htm). I recommend you open the yellow pages, and look under M for mahjong. Then start calling, or make a list of addresses and check them out in person. Sorry, but that's the best advice I can give you.
    I wish you luck with your quest! If you want to share your findings here, I'm sure my readers would love to read them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2013

    P.S. I should have mentioned that I have one parlor listed in FAQ 7M (http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/wheret.htm).


    One player doesn't want to play for coins, part 2

    > From: Mary Ann MacCartney
    > To: Tom Sloper
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:43 PM
    > Subject: Re: Gambling in Mah Jongg
    > Bless your cotton socks! Thank you for such a quick reply. It is appreciated.
    > Mary Ann M
    > cell +1 [deleted]
    > skype mm[deleted]

    Actually, I think these are rayon. I'll consider the cotton ones blessed, though.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    9/11, 2013


    Bakelite Mahjong Set

    > From: William H
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:19 PM
    > Subject: Bakelite Mahjong Set
    > Hello,
    > I got an old incomplete Bakelite set in an auction a few years back. It sat forgotten collecting dust until recently. Now I'd like to sell it, but I'm not sure of it's age/value etc. I've enclosed a picture of the tiles, the set also has 4 tile racks, scoring tokens(all colors except green), and a leather bound wooden case that's seen better days. If you could give me some info on it, I'd appreciate it.
    > Thank you,
    > Lucas H
    > PS The count on the tiles is as follows
    > 36 dots
    > 36 craks
    > 36 bams
    > 16 winds
    > 9 dragons
    > 133 total

    Hi, Lucas. You asked me two things:

    not sure of it's value
    Value is all about condition. You didn't give me much to go on, but your set is clearly missing a lot of pieces, and that tells me what I need to know. I can't tell you for sure how much you would get for it, but I'm guessing you'll get more for it if you sell it in parts rather than as one incomplete crummy set. Sell the loose tiles in one sale. Sell the racks in a separate sale. Sell the case separately. Sell the chips as a bag of chips. Who knows, you might be able to get $70-80 if you sell it that way (but maybe no more than $40-50 if you sold it as one crummy incomplete set). Just guessing.

    not sure of it's age
    Me, too. It doesn't matter, does it? It would matter if the set was complete and in better condition. But it's not, so it doesn't.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    9/11, 2013


    One player doesn't want to play for coins

    > From: Mary Ann M
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:31 AM
    > Subject: Gambling in Mah Jongg
    > Dear Tom,
    > I read with great interest your website section on mah jongg rules. I am hopeful you might have some wisdom for our group. We have around 40 players but on any given week it is usually from 8-16 players. We do not play tournaments and I was say it is a friendly open group with a range of skill levels. We generally mix up the tables so everyone has an opportunity to play with others.
    > This week, a player announced after the first game had been played she would no longer gamble. (She has played for 3 months without objecting so I don't believe it is a religious issue.The game continued with her not paying when she lost or accepting money when she won. The other players continued to gamble. Ours is $5 pie group and this is the first time this issue has arisen.
    > Some of our players are miffed and don't feel it is fair to have different rules applying to different players at the same table. Is there a good way to manage this?
    > Any wisdom you can share would be appreciated.
    > Thank you,
    > Mary Ann M
    > cell +1 [deleted]
    > skype mm[deleted]

    Hi, Mary Ann.
    Your question puts me in mind of the question From: Jean D, Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 6:22 AM entitled "They're forcing me to play for money," below.
    My initial reaction when I read your email today was, "tell her she's out" because she's disrupting the group's harmony, but then it occurred to me that you might all be playing at a senior center or a country club or something, and that if you just kick her out, she'd go complain to the center or club management, and then a whole brouhaha would erupt. "I'm shocked, shocked!, to learn that gambling is going on in here," the management would say, and they'd forbid any more mah-jongg at all. Could happen that way, maybe even likely that'd happen if you just kick her out.
    So, assuming that kicking her out of your game goes against harmony, the most harmonious thing to do is to set up one more table. Put a sign on that table indicating that the table is for free games (a $0 pie, no coins in other words). Tell her that's the table where she can play. Maybe nobody else will want to play at her table, but that's not your problem -- it's her problem. If nobody joins her at her table and she decides she wants to play at another table, then she'll just need to bring $5 in coins. Who knows -- maybe some other players will want to play at her table. Me, I would be happy to play with no coins, but I'm weird. Most people think it's more fun if coins are involved, for some reason.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    9/11, 2013


    List of exceptions

    > From: stephani l
    > Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:21 PM
    > Subject: Question
    > Hi Tom,
    > Is there anywhere in your FAQs where you list the exceptions allowed a player when claiming the last tile for MahJongg?
    > I feel like I've heard many of these exceptions; e.g. when playing a concealed hand, you may claim a discard for the last tile for MJ.
    > I'd like to know what they all are, see them all in one place.
    > Thank you, Stephani

    Hi, Stef.
    Here's my list: "Mahj trumps everything."
    Seriously, though. I have not made such a list. If I tried to make one for you, it would take at least a couple of hours (combing through the FAQs and/or my book), and I would probably still miss something. I think a list like that would be just a different way of organizing the rules. I think the way I organized them in my book is pretty good (but yes, it does leave something to be desired sometimes) -- and I know that the way FAQ 19 is organized totally sucks. In FAQ 19, they were just listed in the order that they've come up in answering people's questions here.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2013


    Can I redeem a joker and discard, part 2

    >From: Gretchen S
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:29 AM
    >Subject: RE: Exchange for joker
    >thanks


    Can I redeem a joker and discard the joker?

    > From: Gretchen S
    > Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2013 8:11 PM
    > Subject: Exchange for joker
    > If I draw, then exchange for a joker, can i discard that joker calling it the same as previous discard or does it have to go in my hand?

    Hi, Gretchen. You wrote:

    If I draw, then exchange for a joker, can i discard that joker
    You can (there's no rule that says you can't), but why would you want to? See * note below.

    calling it the same as previous discard
    Yes, it's a good idea to say "same" (or even the name of the previous discard) when discarding a joker.

    or does it have to go in my hand?
    There's no rule that says it has to -- but you're sure to raise a ruckus if you just discard it. People will start asking you why (and if you play with Yelda, she'd tell you "you can't do that").

    * Let's get back to your idea of discarding a redeemed joker. There's only one reason I can think of to do that -- to prevent anybody else from taking it. But that would only be a viable plan if the exposure is a pung with one joker. If the exposure is a kong with one joker, and you have the fourth tile, you can just discard the fourth tile, and nobody can take it to redeem for that joker (if you don't know this, read FAQ 19G).

    If the exposure is a pung with one joker, then there are two redeemable tiles somewhere in the game - if you get one of those two, then using it to redeem that one joker would effectively prevent anyone else from getting that joker. But at what cost? If the exposure-owner is not showing any other jokers, you might be making her jokerless. Your trying to keep a joker from others might wind up costing you (and everyone else) double, if she wins with no jokers in her hand.

    So if this is why you wanted to discard a redeemed joker, it's a questionable strategy.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 9, 2013


    Do we still do the courtesy if somebody stopped the Charleston?

    > From: stephani l
    > Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2013 4:13 PM
    > Subject: Question
    > Hi Tom,
    > When a player stops the Charleston after the 1st Left, can people still do the optional pass if their opposite agrees?
    > Thank you,
    > Stef

    Hi, Stef.
    That question is answered in FAQ 19AH.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 8, 2013


    Kong Qs

    > From: Isabelalocsin G
    > Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2013 6:38 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > What will happen if a player with kong forget to get his replacwment tile and discard 1 tile already

    > From: Isabelalocsin G
    > Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2013 6:42 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > We are playing mahjong with news and its is xonsidered as kong, question is what if we forget to get replacement tile and discard 1 tile can we cancel it?anytime we like?

    ¡Hola Isabelalocsin, you wrote:

    What will happen if a player with kong forget to get his replacwment tile and discard 1 tile already
    Then that player is "dead" -- that means (since you are not playing American-style mah-jongg) that he or she continues playing but cannot declare mah-jongg.

    We are playing mahjong with news and its is xonsidered as kong
    I don't know what kind of mah-jongg you play (you did not tell me -- I only know you are not playing American-style mah-jongg). But no matter what kind of mah-jongg you play, NEWS is not a kong. If you are holding EWS and somebody discards N, you cannot say "kong" and expose it (unless that's the last tile you needed for mah-jongg).

    what if we forget to get replacement tile
    You do not need a replacement tile if you form a NEWS. I wish I knew what kind of mah-jongg you play! See FAQ 2B. The FAQ links are above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 8, 2013


    Western flower gardens

    > From: Craig M
    > Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2013 4:58 AM
    > Subject: Western Mah Jong
    > I am a member of the Quad Cities Western Mah Jong Divas
    > some uncertainty about Flower Gardens
    > 1. Do we still honor the east wind double and double dice double when someone gets a flower garden? In the book it says that everyone gives the person 1000 points, then the tiles are removed from play until the next game. One person in our group was east wind, had double dice, and demanded 4000 points from each of the other players
    > 2. When 3 people play, there are no North wind tiles-does that mean there are no flower gardens possible, or, a flower garden is now 1,2,3- we have people who lean each way.
    > thank you for your assistance. Shirley M, Moline, Illinois

    Hello, Shirley. You wrote:

    Do we still honor the east wind double and double dice double when someone gets a flower garden?
    No. It's a bonus score. It doesn't end the hand (when you announce a flower garden, you don't win -- the game is still continuing). It's a flat 1,000 points, even if the dice roll was double, even if the gardener is East, even if it's a blue moon, and even if it's the second Tuesday of the second month.

    In the book
    Which book? I checked three books: Thompson & Maloney (The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated -- I didn't check any other T&M book), Strauser & Evans (the Revised Edition, with my material added), and Eleanor Whitney. Whitney and T&M use the term "bouquet." S&E use the term "flower garden" and do mention this 1,000 points as you mention -- so maybe you're asking about the Strauser & Evans book, Mah Jong, Anyone?

    When 3 people play, there are no North wind tiles
    None of the 3 books I checked agrees with you on this. Again: which book are you using as your bible? What I found in checking the books is that one wind (either S, W, or N) is removed from play, to correspond with the vacant seat at the table -- and the vacant seat shifts during the course of a round, so the previously removed wind is now back in play, and a different wind removed.

    does that mean there are no flower gardens possible, or, a flower garden is now 1,2,3
    In the books I checked, there's no mention of also removing two flower tiles. All flowers, therefore, remain in play. And a flower garden (or bouquet) is still four tiles (still just as hard to get as in the 4-player game).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 8, 2013


    Column 577

    > From: stephani l
    > Sent: Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:25 AM
    > Subject: MJ
    > Hi Tom,
    > You say, "I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it!"
    > On your Sept. 1st weekly column, #7 problem, you say W-D #3 has 6 tiles. I can only see 5 tiles. Are you being cagey or am I being
    > lazy?
    > And thank you muchly for the MJ font link!
    > Gratefully,
    > Stef

    Well done, Stef! You are right, and I have made the change to the column, with a tip o' the hat to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 5, 2013


    Value of Mahjongg set

    > From: "kcmrose
    > Sent: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:24 PM
    > Subject: Value of Mahjongg set
    > Hi Tom,
    > I play Mahjongg at our senior center. A volunteer there has a 1961 set that has been in her closet for almost 50 years. She bought it new in 1961, and does not want it anymore. I told her I would go online and see what it is worth. If it isn't that much, she can just give it to the center. Otherwise, I would like her to be able to get something for it. It is a beautiful set. The ones we play on are so different than hers!! It was made in the U.S. It has a tag in the case that says: Royal Depth Control (RDC) Genuine Catalin Hand Painted. It is a complete 136 tile set. 2 Jokers, 24 flowers, 2 blanks, 2 dice. It has 5 racks (24 chips) each rack. They are in very good cond. because they have some black spots on the brass holders. The case has brass hinges and latch, which also have the black spots, so is in very good cond. Tiles are in excellent cond. The tiles are 1 3/16"H, 7/8"W, 7/16'D. I will try to send you the pictures. They are a little bigger than you asked for, but I don't know how to re-size them. I know they aren't very much bigger. The camera is an old one.
    > Thank you for your time!!
    > Carol

    Hello, Carol. You wrote:

    It is a complete 136 tile set.
    I think you need to count again. There are more than 136 tiles there. (^_^)

    in very good cond. because they have some black spots on the brass holders [and] brass hinges and latch ... Tiles are in excellent cond.
    Per FAQ 7H, if "any normal person would notice the defects without having to look for them," then the condition of those items is not "very good." It's only "good." The photo of your case shows that the lining is separated from the interior at one corner. You didn't mention that in your description.

    I told her I would go online and see what it is worth.
    Your photo shows important information that you omitted from your description of the set (you did not mention the "That's It" or the two sets of four cards from the early sixties), which can add significant value to the set, depending on condition.

    If the set's buyer is going to use it in play (for modern American mah-jongg), she would need to sticker some flowers to make more jokers. Over all, the set looks like it's reasonably attractive, without being extraordinarily desirable. It's worth under $200.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 5, 2013


    My new book

    > From: claire fine
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:54 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg 2013 How to Play and Win
    > Hi Tom: I just published a book on American Mah Jongg and unlike other books it doesn't just address how to play but how to sharpen your game using the 2013 card. It has "baby hands" "almost baby hands", handswitches, quizzes, and includes some of the more obscure rules of Mah Jongg. It is short and concise and illustrated (in color for the handswitching) It is available onAmazon as a Kindle and also in paperback. I would appreciate your including this in your resources. The Table of Contents is broken down very finely so it could be a great textbook for a teacher. Please use the clairefine at msn.com if you wish to contact me. Sincerely, Claire Fine

    Good luck with your book, Claire! I'll add a listing to FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Sept. 4, 2013


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