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(Frequently Asked Questions)

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16. The NMJL Card

1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
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  3b. 1920s Books
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  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. My name is Tom Sloper. Welcome to my mah-jongg Q&A Bulletin Board. Here you can ask questions about Mahjong (you can also ask about Hanafuda or Go-Stop). You will get answers here on this board (usually the same day). But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and PLEASE scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.

PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon pointing to it, or just click this.) PLEASE READ THE FOREGOING!

  • If you have a question about the NMJL card, please read FAQ 16. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon: pointing to it.)

  • PLEASE do NOT ask ANY computer-game support questions here. Read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support. (See links at left.)

  • If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.(See links at left.)

    Email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome. And don't ask me to click links, either. Give me all the information in your email.


    To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

    After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.

    No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply.

    For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.

    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.

    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).

    This is an information exchange, not a social site. I'm not a programmer, and to keep spammers out, I had to go low-tech. Due to the actions of spammers, I had to remove the ability of visitors to post here without my involvement. As a result, all users' posts now have to go through me, and I when I post them, I omit email addresses (with exceptions as stated above). I learned from bad experiences that many (if not most) posters want their contact information to be kept private. Please do not ask to be put in touch with other people who've posted here, if their email addresses are not shown here. Please don't put me in that uncomfortable position.

    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about the League's card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.

    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!

    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.





  • There ought to be a rule against table talk

    >From: Rhendy R
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We have a player that always says things like "I didn't get any jokers again or do you have any jokers." Is there a rule about this type of table talk?
    >Thank you.
    >Sent from my

    Hi Rhendy,
    There is no written rule in American mah-jongg. If she did this in a tournament, though, she'd be warned (assuming someone complained to a judge). There is a written rule against this in some Asian forms of mah-jongg. There really ought to be a rule against it in American, too. Isn't it unbelievable that some people think it's a good idea to exchange information about jokers like that? I guess those people just rack it up to "sharing" - or they just enjoy kvetching so-o-o much!
    Of course when she says such a thing, you either remain silent or say, "why on earth would I tell you that?" You could also try the Marge Simpson approach. Marge Simpson says: "This can be fixed with a little gentle nagging."
    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
    July 30, 2014


    If I'm playing a concealed hand, part 2

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:08 AM
    >Subject: Re: Re: question on concealed hand
    >Thank you!


    What if two players go dead in a 3P game?

    >From: Powers K
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:44 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >You’ve been kind enough to answer a question for me in the past which was very helpful.
    >Can you tell me what to do when there are 3 players; one of the players declared mahj jongg in error, the second player ended up with 12 tiles so hand was dead. What does the third player do? Continue to play on their own to have a possible mahj, or is the game considered over?
    >Thank you,
    >Karin P
    >Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust - See more at: http://www.justfeelgreat.com/...
    >Never squander an opportunity to tell someone you love and appreciate them.

    Hi, Karin.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BW (two players going dead in a 3P game is the same thing as three players going dead in a 4P game, as I told Cathy C on July 8, below).
    You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    July 29, 2014


    Value of my set, part 2

    >From: garabed k
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Re: consulting/appraisal services regarding mah-jongg sets
    >Hello Tom,
    >Many thanks for your comments. The situation is clarified and simplified!
    >Best
    >DK

    You're welcome, David.
    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
    July 29, 2014


    A thank you note

    > From: Carol G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:52 PM
    > Subject: a thank you note
    > Thank you for your columns on singles and pairs. I know they will help me play better and consider playing this part of the card.
    >Carol

    I appreciate the note, Carol!
    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
    July 28, 2014


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:20 AM
    >Subject: question on concealed hand
    >When playing a concealed hand, am I allowed to replace a joker with the needed tile on another player's exposed tiles if I have the needed tile?
    >Karen G

    Hi, Karen.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BD. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    July 27, 2014


    What is "an honor pair waiting on a two way call?"

    >From: JANICE W
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 3:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q
    >On page number 185, the chicken hand in Chinese mahjong, what is "an honor pair waiting on a two way call?" Thank you, Jan W
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi Jan,
    Actually, it's "A three-suit hand with an honor pair" (comma missing here, my bad), "waiting on a two-way call." The honor pair is not waiting two ways (that's not possible). See the illustration below the description:

    See the 3B-4B combination at the right? It's waiting two ways: 2B or 5B would complete the chow (and the hand).
    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
    July 24, 2014


    Value of my set?

    >From: garabed k
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 8:07 AM
    >Subject: consulting/appraisal services regarding mah-jongg sets
    >Greetings Tom Sloper!
    >I have read a good bit of the information on your website about mah-jongg sets, and would like to engage your services for an appraisal or simple evaluation of the set which I believe has been in my family for a long time.
    >I enclose some photos. There are 157 tiles, 119 sticks, dice, etc. It looks to me like a standard (if there is such thing) bone-and-bamboo set from the 1920s. The tiles have the shallow dovetail described in your FAQ page. The back of the holders is inscribed “Carter’s Improved Scale and Doubling Score,” and “Series 107 Copyright 1923 by The C & G Company, San Francisco, Calif.”
    >I appreciate your attention to what must be a very familiar task and request.
    >Best wishes,
    >David K

    Hi, David.
    As I wrote in FAQ 7H, condition is everything. You didn't tell me the condition of your items (and I can't determine condition from photos alone), so I have to assume they're just "Good." And I have to assume that this is everything. There is no wood box, no paper booklet, and no wind indicators or mingg cylinder (just the black mingg lid). So the set is woefully incomplete. It's a set of tiles, racks with score tables, sticks, a complete dice coffin, all in Good condition. Your question is value. I'd say perhaps $50 or thereabouts -- far less than a typical (and complete) standard 1920s set.
    The one bamboo tile doesn't belong with the set, and has no value.
    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
    July 24, 2014


    Custom designs, part 3

    >From: Nathan L
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:30 AM
    >Subject: A rock and roll mahjong design...
    >Hi Tom,
    >Still obsessed. Still playing with designs. Still trying to figure out a way to get some of them made. Here's my rock and roll set. On the left is a close up of the back of a tile, and a line of nine tiles in proportion to the box.
    >Nathan

    Cool, Nathan. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! - Tom


    NMJL member tiles

    >From: Sherry M
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Member tiles
    >Tom,
    >I have recently been collecting Bakelite tiles that are stamped with National Mahjongg Member tile. The ones that I have found are either red or yellow, have a hole in them for a keychain, and a couple have decoupaged flowers on them. I have asked NMJL about them and originally they replied, “WE HAVE NEVER SOLD THOSE!”. I sent them a photocopy of my tiles and was rewarded with a reply that yes indeed NMJL had sold them but when, why and for how long was unknown. (Wouldn’t you think they would have records SOMEWHERE regarding them?)
    >The last tile I bought I asked the seller if she had had any information regarding them. She told me that they were sold with mahj sets through the NMJL and these were attached to the case of the member that had purchased them. She dated them during WWll and the profits were donated for the war effort. I have recently bought a vintage set from the early 30’s and in it were 3 member tiles! Along with the 3 member tiles, there was also 2 blank Bakelite tiles with the exact same decoupaged flower on them.
    >So…was wondering if you have ever seen them and if you have any additional information regarding who long they were sold for and where?
    >Thank you!
    >Best regards,
    >Sherry M

    Hi, Sherry. You wrote:

    (Wouldn’t you think they would have records SOMEWHERE regarding them?)
    Not necessarily. I used to work at Atari. When I joined, the company had been bought and sold twice. I had more information about their products than they did. Then I worked at Activision. The company was bought and sold while I worked there, and a lot of "records" were being thrown away - I snagged some from the trash, and wound up being a repository of company history afterwards. The NMJL has been around a LOT longer than that. They would need someone who dedicated herself to archival storage, and that's not a top priority for businesses.

    She dated them during WWll and the profits were donated for the war effort. I have recently bought a vintage set from the early 30’s and in it were 3 member tiles!
    That's great information you got there!

    Along with the 3 member tiles, there was also 2 blank Bakelite tiles with the exact same decoupaged flower on them.
    I explained the deal with those flower tiles in FAQ 19-AI and column 509.

    was wondering if you have ever seen them
    Just pictures.

    and if you have any additional information regarding who long they were sold for and where?
    No, sorry. You know more about them than I do.

    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
    July 23, 2014


    Where was the St. Louis tournament held?

    From: lydia west
    Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:44 PM
    Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    Location (St. Louis, Missouri):
    My kind of mah jongg is: AMJL
    I am looking for the last venue in St. Louis, MO, for a AMJL tournament. A Mah Jongg Director from New York who holds two tournaments in Florida every spring asked me to find the last location. She held a tournament in Southern Illinois in October, 2013, and likes the Midwest. Does anyone know the location of the last tournament in St. Louis?
    Lydia
    Westnest2charter.net

    Not me, Lydia! Maybe a reader will know, and will email 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
    July 22, 2014


    Column 612, part 3 or 4

    >From: Nancy G
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 3:58 PM
    >Subject: July 20 column with S&P hands
    >Dear Tom
    >Yes, it would make me and probably Belinda happy if you would do a column using the same tiles as July 20 column but suggest hands from parts of the card other than S&P. I hope it would make you happy, too. Many thanks.
    >Nancy

    Absolutely, it does! I don't have to come up with new tile combinations!
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Column oopsie

    >From: Lori
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 1:24 PM
    >Subject: July 20th strategy
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm sure this was one of your obvious errors to see who's paying attention! In hand #4 you state that the 9C should be passed and the only 9 in the hand is a 9D.
    >Lori P

    Very good, Lori! You passed the test. (:p) I'm fixing that flub right 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
    July 21, 2014


    Delete! Delete!

    >From: "[email name withheld]
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 1:39 PM
    >Subject: Re: Racking
    >Hi Tom,
    > Can you please take my question and your response off of the questions and answers. I didn't realize this would be public knowledge and I am concerned this could hurt someones feelings.
    >Thank you,
    >[name withheld]

    [name withheld], I cannot afford to spend all my time giving free private answers to mah-jongg questions. Free answers are displayed on this bulletin board (that's the "price" of the free answers). Want private answers? Say so in advance, and pay me! I've deleted your name, but that's as far as I can go. You should have checked out the rules here before asking me a question. As it says above:

      Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.

      No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).

    As for hurting the other lady's feelings, it's not the worst thing in the world if she comes here and recognizes herself in your question -- after all, she'll have an answer to a thing that's been bugging her for a long time!
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Must I place a picked tile in the rack?

    >From: "[email name withheld]
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 10:18 AM
    >Subject: Racking
    >hello,
    > There is a woman who plays in my may jongg group that insists the only way a discarded tile becomes dead is when the next person picking racks the new tile picked. She went on and on about how it is a rule you MUST rack. She quoted a beginners mah jongg book (which you endorse and she added that) on the definition of racking. The definition includes nothing about having to rack....just a strong suggestion. Racking makes sense if are a beginner or you want more time to think about the tile. I don't rack and many in this group do not rack. The woman who insists on racking talks incessantly and writes down all moves. I believe she distracts herself. I pick and put down immediately. Most people in the group play that way. She lost out on some tiles and then claimed I am playing wrong. The mah jongg card states in rule #5 under Standards based on eight flowers and eight jokers:
    >5. A tile may not be claimed for Exposure or Mah Jongg after player next in turn has picked and racked or discarded a tile.
    >So does one have to rack?
    >Thank you,
    >[name withheld]

    Hi, [name withheld]. You wrote:

    There is a woman who plays in my may jongg group that insists the only way a discarded tile becomes dead is when the next person picking racks the new tile picked.
    So, according to her, if the person declares mah-jongg, the last discard is still alive? And according to her, if the person discards instead of racking, now there are two live discards? Clearly she is wrong.

    She quoted a beginners mah jongg book (which you endorse and she added that) on the definition of racking.
    So now I have to agree with every single thing Elaine Sandberg said in her book. I don't think so - I reserve the right to cherrypick which things in that book I agree with. In my own book, and here on my website (in my FAQs), I set forth my views on racking very succinctly.

    does one have to rack?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 19-BL. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!

    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
    July 21, 2014


    Using jokers when playing a goulash hand? (Western/British/Australian mah-jongg)

    >From: "besterolhc
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 11:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A simple one for us learners. When playing Goulash can you use the joker and one other tile in your hand to form a Pung from the discard?
    >Eg You have a 6 Bamboo and a Joker. Can you pick up a 6 Bamboo from the discard fro the person before you?
    >Regards
    >Laurie

    Yes, Laurie. You may. I guess you are playing by Thompson & Maloney rules, using jokers only during goulashes?
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Column 612, part 2 (or part 3, depending on how you look at it)

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 7:56 PM
    >Subject: July 20th column
    >I love your column, gives great advice and makes me think if I would do the same or maybe go another avenue, depending on my level of risk taking I think I would probably do the following for
    >#7 as there are nine tiles for Consecutive run #6, not as risky as the S&P, but a lower payout, I guess it would depend on how I felt, lucky or not
    >#10 as there are also ten tiles for Consecutive run #6, not as risky and you already have your pairs, but requires passing 4D and both 5Ds, I'd go for that unless I had no pie left, then I'd go for the S&P!
    >Thank you Tom,
    >Bee

    Cool, Belinda! This gets me a start on column 613, when I'll revisit the same deals without the S&P!
    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
    July 20, 2014


    But I practically never go for S&P, so... (Column 612)

    >From: Nancy G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 3:44 PM
    >Subject: July 20 column
    >Tom
    >In today's strategy column on what to pass during the charleston, almost all the hands you suggested were S&P hands. My group is made of rather new players (only been playing a couple of years), and we practically never do any of those hands because they are too hard for us since we cannot use jokers, and we cannot pick up discards.
    >I see how these hands could work, but I also saw many hands on the card in other sections that could use jokers and discards. Some of those suggestions for the same hands would be helpful.
    >I enjoy the columns, and I think I am leaning a lot from them.
    >May the tiles be with you.
    >Nancy

    Hi, Nancy.
    Today's column was in response to a request:

      >From: Carol G
      >Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:43 PM
      >Subject: help on Singles and Pairs
      >Perhaps you can have a column showing hands before the Charleston which might be a good choice for a Singles or Pairs hand. Or, give a choice of hands and reasons why a Singles or Pairs might be the best way to go.
      >I never go in that direction because I just don't think about that part of the card.

    So, I guess my next column could be a response to your request, if I can figure out what it is! I think it's "repeat the same deals but don't go for S&P this time"? (^_^) Would that make everybody happy?
    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
    July 20, 2014


    What kind of paint should I use? (FAQ seven oh)

    >From: Lisa
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Painting the tiles
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have a vintage set and I am pretty sure the tiles are Bakelite by the looks of what I've seen online. I would like to touch up some of the tiles with a little paint and a very fine brush. The only information on the type of paint to use that I have found anywhere is a little modeling paint. There might be more than one type but I would think a tiny bottle of glossy enamel modeling paint might be correct. Is this right? Will you be able to email the answer back?
    >Thanks very much,
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa.
    I have not yet touched up the paint on any of my tiles. There are discussions of paints in FAQ seven oh - you can link to FAQ 7o above left. I would think model enamels should be fine, but you should see what others have said in the FAQ.
    And no, I do not email answers to mah-jongg questions. Maybe I should -- I could charge for that added service, say $25 or $30 a pop. Thanks for the idea!
    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
    July 20, 2014


    What is a "follow-up tile"? (NMJL p.28)

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2014 9:12 PM
    >Subject: NMJL rule about "follow-up tile"
    >Hi Tom,
    >On p. 28 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, it says, “A follow-up tile should be named by the discarder. If it is for Mah Jongg, the second discarder pays double value.”
    >What is a “follow-up tile?”
    >Thanks,
    >Lynn M

    Hi, Lynn.
    I don't remember reading that before. If I read it before, it seemed self-evident so I didn't make special note of it. They're talking about a player discarding the same tile as the previous discard. Imagine that a player needs 2D for mah-jongg but she's not paying attention, or another player is using the pickandrack technique -- a player discards 2D but our poor lady misses her chance. Then the next player in turn discards 2D -- perhaps she says "two dot," or perhaps she says "same" (it doesn't matter which, both are kosher) -- so the lady who missed her chance gets a second chance. When she says "mahj," the one who owes double to the winner is the second discarder. Following up with "same" discard is not a guarantee of safety.
    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
    July 20, 2014


    Can I redeem a joker for mah-jongg?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 1:59 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >If someone has a joker exposed and someone else has the tile to take it and it gives them mah jong, can they do it?

    Hi, Mary.
    Yes, you can. It's called "joker redemption."
    Of course, that would only work after you'd started your turn by taking a fourteenth tile into the hand (one could not be mah-jongg with only thirteen tiles). Read FAQ 19M (you can link to the FAQs above left). Also read FAQ 19AN.
    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
    July 18, 2014


    Can I claim a redeemable tile, part 2

    >From: Peggy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I guess I'm thick, but since I used it for a mah Jongg I'm confused by your FAQ. I did read your FAQ but am still not sure about this particular situation.
    >Peggy-Jo...Sent from my iPad

    Peggy, FAQ 19G-2 says (color and underlines added):

      A2: Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.

        When a joker or a redeemable tile has been discarded, the usual response is to tear out your hair and scream to the heavens, "Oh! I wanted that!" Because the players who've witnessed someone discarding a joker (or a redeemable tile) have zero other options. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

    She discarded a West. You needed a North. You want to claim a W for mah-jongg when you need a N - while taking the W for redemption is not permitted. You say you took the W "for a mah-jongg," but I say you took it for joker redemption.
    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
    July 16, 2014

    Original reply edited after the fact.


    Can I use a chow to form "sisters" with one set, and then use that chow to form "sisters" with another set, and then use those other two chows as "sisters" with one another?

    >From: Beverly C
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have three chows, each crack, bam, and dot, 4, 5, 6. I understand “sisters” which counts as 1 point, but would the three also count as another point, or two points (crack, bam; crack, dot; bam dot)
    >Thanks for your years of support.
    >Bev Cox

    Hi, Bev. I assume you are describing three "similar" chows, like this:

    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant you play, so I can't give you a definite answer. You might want to have a look at FAQ 22, though, and see if the "combine-just-once" principle applies to your variant. After you've read FAQ 22 (section 10.1.5.5), please do come back and tell me which variant you play (and which book/author you use as your mah-jongg bible), so I can give you a more definitive answer!
    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
    July 16, 2014


    Can I claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Peggy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:25 PM
    >Subject: situation that came up - rules confusing
    >Hello again Mr. Sloper. I had a situation playing Mah Jongg the other day and couldn’t find the rule written clearly enough for my addled brain to understand.
    >I was “on call” for Mah Jongg, needing only a North or a Joker to win. I had an exposure of three Wests and one Joker, (i.e. a Kong of Wests). The player to my left, a newbie, missed the opportunity to swap a West for my Joker and discarded it. It was my turn, so I then called for the West and redeemed my joker to Mah Jongg – was this legal? I told them at the time I wasn’t sure and would check. We weren’t playing for money, as I was teaching 3 newbies. I don’t want to teach them incorrectly.
    >Please advise! Thank you!
    >Peggy A
    >When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world….

    Hi, Peggy. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19G-2. I assume you know how to get to FAQ 19.
    If the wording of the FAQ is unclear, please tell me exactly which wording is unclear so I can improve 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
    July 16, 2014


    Evaluation

    > From: Gene B
    > Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:01 AM
    > Subject: Evaluation
    > Tom,. Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my set.... I found this set at a auction and want to sell it on EBAY. I have never played the game but now after some research I'm a lot more interested in playing the game myself.The following information is yours and please feel free to use it any way that you want. It took me a few hours to give you all the details that you ask for and I hope that I did a good job. So here goes at giving you my best description of this set.....
    > #1. There is one pair of small dice that are not regular size. I see no flaws at all in these and are in fine or excellent condition. Do you know what these are made of? I did not want to test these in fear of damaging them.
    > #2. There is 58 RED chips, 38 dark Blue chips, 29 Green chips with one of them being a different color light green, 34 White chips, and 35 more White chips/tokens that are different then all of the other chips .The different white chips have the words Mississippi State Tax Tokens on them. Some of these are a little warped. All of the other chips are in fine to excellent condition.Is there any value to these types of chips/tokens?
    > #3. There is a total of six racks in all. Three of the racks (the darker ones) have the words MAH-LOWE N.Y.C ASHRACK on them. Two of them are of a light brown color and seems to be some kind of plastic. One of them is a light green and says pat pend on it. They all have stickers on them with numbers all the way across them. There's 2 smudge marks on one of the stickers but is still able to be read. All seem to be in fine to excellent condition. Do you know what these are made of? What do the stickers mean?
    > #4. There is a total of 154 tiles. The basic 136-tile set is complete. It has 8 flowers, and 10 jokers. 5 of the jokers have a red sticker that says Big Joker on them. 3 of the jokers had the words DIRECTIONS Lift jokers off backing and place on tiles. NATIONAL MAH JONGG LEAGE INC 250 West 57 St. New York N.Y 10019 I couldn't resist from curiosity to see what was behind one of those and found a #5 with a person figure on it . There is a small brown box that holds 8 of the jokers that is in pristine condition. There are two more jokers that have what looks like red nail polish on them spelling the word joker. These two tiles are of the same color but seem different since they are more squared then all of the rest. So I don't think they came with the original set. These tiles are in fair to excellent condition. The defect being that some of the tiles vary in color from tile to tile. Was it a mistake to remove that sticker? Should I replace all the stickers with nicer newer ones? Would that increase the value of the set? Are these tiles made of Bakelite or Catalin? I was afraid to do the test in fear of damaging them?
    > #5. The container is a dark brown wooden box covered in a leather type alligator material 19 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 4 1/2. All of the metal on the box works just fine closing and opening ect. There is wear on the corners and a 2 inch tear on the leather on the side. It does show some scuffs and marks here and there. The leather on the handle is very worn on each edge. The inside of the box looks pristine. But since the outside is as worn as it is I would say that the box is only in good condition. How much should I try selling this Mah-Jongg set for on EBAY? Is there anything that I can do to increase the value of this set before trying to sell it?
    > Tom, Thank you again for your time and May The Tiles Be With You........... Doyle "Gene"

    Hi, Doyle Gene. You wrote:

    Do you know what these [dice] are made of?
    They look like plastic to me.

    Is there any value to these types of chips/tokens?
    I assume you're asking about the tax tokens? The tax tokens do have value, but not to a mah-jongg player. I assume a previous owner added them in to use as extra chips.

    Do you know what these are made of?
    I assume you are asking about the racks, which appear to be Bakelite. The odd thing is you say some of your Mah-Lowe racks are marked with the name "Ashrack." Some previous correspondence made me believe that Ashracks were supposed to have ashtrays (see my Sets Wanted board). And I don't see any ashtrays in your set.

    What do the stickers [on the racks] mean?
    They look like scoring tables for the Chinese Classical game. They have no meaning for players of any other form of the game.

    Was it a mistake to remove that sticker?
    Don't worry about it.

    Should I replace all the stickers with nicer newer ones?
    You can do that.

    Would that increase the value of the set?
    Pretty stickers are better than cruddy old stickers, assuming the buyer of your set will use it to play the modern American game (and not just as a collectible).

    Are these tiles made of Bakelite or Catalin?
    Yes. I believe the set would usually be referred to as a Bakelite set, but (if I believe what my friend told me in FAQ 7C3) the tiles might actually be Catalin.

    How much should I try selling this Mah-Jongg set for on EBAY?
    As is, in the cruddy beat-up case, I think it's worth maybe $90. But if "Ashrack" sets are rare or desirable, then perhaps it's worth more, but I don't know how much more. You might want to check CHarli's site (see FAQ 4A) and see if she has any information on the set.

    Is there anything that I can do to increase the value of this set before trying to sell it?
    If the case is original to the set, and if the whole set (with the exception of your two odd jokers) is a Mah-Lowe Ashrack set, AND if Ashrack sets are rare (as some on eBay have said), then you shouldn't do anything to it. But if it's a Frankenstein (put together with parts of different sets), then it might be the thing to do to put it in a nicer case. Maybe remove the scoring charts from the racks and polish the brass, polish the chips, discard broken or damaged chips (nobody uses the chips today). But the cost of those improvements might not reap you a price that compensates you sufficiently (beyond the unimproved set's price). And I had a set in a case like yours (my set was not like yours, but my case was like yours, and also in not-great condition), and I sold the set and case without doing any improvements to the case.

    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
    July 15, 2014


    I'll bet you didn't know about "killer rabbit" joker tiles

    >From: swarren l
    >Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 11:41 AM
    >Subject: fyi
    >Hello Tom,
    >I know how old my set is; I purchased it on a visit to Amsterdam, Holland about 1970, although that doesn't tell me when it was made. The face of the sliding cover has green chinese lettering. No instructions.
    >My set is in a wooden box with sliding top and included plastic sticks with dots for scoring, four green plastic coins for seating, four tiny dice, two die with some blank faces. The tiles seem to be bamboo and plastic, and the images are inked, and are very susceptible to water making the image run. Only one red dragon is seriously blurred.
    >What seems different about this set is the jokers which are white rabbits with the word "Joker" on each tile. However there are no white dragon tiles, and the set had eight blanks. I use the blanks as jokers and the "killer rabbits" as White Dragons.
    >You do not picture "rabbit joker" tiles on your websiite. So if you ever get another question about "killer rabbits" you have an answer.
    >swarren l

    Hi, Swarren.
    While it's true that I may not have put up any photos of rabbit jokers, I actually do own a set that includes them. It's in the same type of box you describe (sliding top type). Mine are bone and bamboo, though, not plastic and bamboo. You said:

    However there are no white dragon tiles, and the set had eight blanks. I use the blanks as jokers and the "killer rabbits" as White Dragons.
    It's not true that there are no white dragons. Four of your blanks are your white dragons. Please see FAQ 7E. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    I wanna be certified

    >From: Veronica K. C
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 6:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How does one become a certified mah Jongg instructor?

    Hi, Veronica. Please read Frequently Asked Question 26. You can link to the FAQs 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 6:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah jongg
    >What purpoe do the numbers on flowers have? Thank You Mary Ann

    Hi, Mary Ann,.
    In Chinese mah-jongg, the numbers correspond to the seat positions of the players seated around the table. At the end of a hand, flowers add to the score depending on whether the number on the flower corresponds to your seat position. If East has flower #1, he gets extra score. If South has flower #2, he gets extra score, and so on. I'm guessing you don't play Chinese mah-jongg (since you asked), so you don't need to know that!
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    How do I order the large print grey visual aid book?

    >From: sandra t
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:24 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How can I get a number to order 2009 lge.print book (grey) visual aid book.
    >Sandy

    Hi Sandy,
    I don't have a phone number for the Wright-Paterson Mah Jongg Group, but I do have the address - see Frequently Asked Question 4A. You can link to the FAQs 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    Can I expose a 201x or use a joker in it?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah jong question
    >Is the 201x in the game considered a grouping? If so, can you use a joker in it, or call a tile to complete the group? Thank You, Mary Ann

    Welcome to my website, Mary. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 9, 2014


    Where's the FAQ about a cheating bettor?

    >From: Jackie B
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One of my fellow players picked up
    >The bettor to place her bet and
    >Realized the person before her
    >Cheated. She said she bet on the
    >Winner but the bettor indicated
    >Someone else was bet on.
    >What FAQ deals with how to handle
    >This situation. I have several ideas
    >But wanted to check it out with you
    >First. FYI- I did check the FAQ's
    >First but cannot find what
    >I'm looking for
    >Thank you so much
    >Jackie

    Jackie, this is not a frequently-asked question, so there is no FAQ. When picking up the wind indicator ("bettor") and realizing that the bettor had claimed winnings wrongly, you would of course just say, "hey, wait a minute, this says you bet on Betty." And of course the previous bettor would then say, "oh, did I? Oops, I'm sorry! What do I owe everybody?"*
    * Or she might say "doesn't 3 mean Betty?" To which you reply, "No, Betty is 2, not 3. We discussed this before." And she'd say "Oh my poor widdle brain, it simply can't handle numbers or remember anything. How much do I owe everybody?"
    ... Or you could take her out behind the woodshed and put a bullet through her [widdle] brain. (Although the police, not to mention the mah-jongg gods, are unlikely to see things your way.) Now I'm wondering what "several ideas" you were entertaining.
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 9, 2014


    Something about old set, part 2

    >From: leonor f
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 9:10 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah jongg old set
    >Thanks so much for your prompt reply.
    >I checked on the sticks and they are made of bone. I guess the set is newer. Anyway I think my son will enjoy it.
    >Thanks again,
    >Leonor

    Newer? Hard to be sure. Just say it's from the twenties (it probably is).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    What if 2 go dead in a 3-player game?

    >From: Cathy C
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >3 people are playing. 2 players have dead hands. Does 3rd person keep playing out or does game end (wall game) OR does 3rd player automatically win?
    >Cathy

    Hi, Cathy.
    It would be silly for one person to play all by herself. Having 2 go dead in a 3-player game is exactly the same thing as 3 going dead in a 4-player game, so please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BW. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 8, 2014


    Something about old set

    >From: leonor f
    >Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 11:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah jongg old set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I bought a set for my son and would like to be able to tell him something about it
    >; and if it's worth something. I have only seen a similar one in Charli's page, so I think it might be special. I would really appreciate anything you might tell me about it.
    >Here are the Checklist questions:
    >1. It is complete
    >2. It is in good condition with the following problems:
    >a. Dots are faded and one stick is broken
    >b. Need cleaning, but I am afraid to do it. Does not smell.
    >3. The set is made of bone and bamboo
    >4. I bought the set from an elderly Scottish Lady. I have a feeling it is from the 20's but am not sure.
    >5. Dimensions are:
    >a. 1 cm H x 3 cm L x 2.2 cm W
    >b. The bone is .5cm high
    >6.
    >a. 36 dots
    >b. 36 bams
    >c. 36 craks
    >d. 16 winds
    >e. 16 dragons (4 red, 4 green, 4 blank)
    >f. 8 flowers
    >7. It has 120 sticks (one broken)
    >a. 2 handmade dice
    >b. 4 wind indicators in cylinder (very faded)
    >8. Container is of Rosewood with beautiful hand-made engravings of children playing. It has 5 drawers.
    >a. Front panel has two girls dancing.
    >b. Back panel two children flying a kite.
    >c. Side panels a boy serenading a girl inside her house.
    >d. The top is a two headed lion that seems to be guarding a pineapple?
    >e. Door has a primitive opening mechanism (has to be pulled down and pressed at the bottom to open)
    >9. The container has a few chips. One side of the lid is cracked and chipped. The door's nail cut through the wood.
    >10. No instruction materials
    >11. Craks have the older design.
    >12. -14 Please see pictures.
    >Thank you so much again for anything you can tell me.
    >Leonor

    Hi, Leonor. You wrote:

    would like to be able to tell him something about it... appreciate anything you might tell me about it.
    I don't know what to do with "anything" questions. I do better with focused questions.

    I think it might be special.
    As you seem to have guessed, the only special thing is the box. I don't have a box like that in my collection, but I've seen pictures of a number of them. I suppose it adds a little to the set's value.

    and if it's worth something... 2. It is in good condition
    "Good" condition isn't great. If the whole thing is in only "good" condition, then it's probably worth only around US$100 or less (value deducted for condition and missing parts, and value added for the fancy carved box).

    I have a feeling it is from the 20's but am not sure.
    I'm not, either. Might be 30s instead. Those counting sticks look plastic - if they're original to the set, then that makes the set younger, not older. They might be late additions. In fact, there's a chance the tiles might be artificially aged to make the set seem more valuable.

    16 dragons (4 red, 4 green, 4 blank)
    You should recheck your math. (^_~)

    2 handmade dice
    Not as many as there should be, and no coffin.

    Container is of Rosewood
    If you say so! I don't know woods.

    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 8, 2014


    Sorry for your loss

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 6:01 AM
    >Subject: Sorry for your loss
    >Tom,
    >So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. We will say a prayer for both if you.
    >Bee

    Thanks, Bee.


    Donation with condolences

    > From: valerie m via PayPal
    >Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 10:38 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > PayPal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from valerie m
    > Receipt ID: ###########
    > The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    > View the details of this transaction online
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $25.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: #########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: valerie m
    > Message: I'm sorry to hear of your loss, Tom. Valerie M
    > Sincerely,PayPal

    Valerie, my heartfelt thanks for the kind thoughts and the donation. My father passed on the 4th of July at age 88.
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 7, 2014


    If East rolls doubles...

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 9:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If East rolls doubles and wins that game,does everyone pay her double? Also if doubles are rolled, does that player that won get paid double? (even if it's not the dealer who won)
    >Ann

    Hi, Ann.
    You and your group are using a made-up rule, so you get to figure out all the details among yourselves. Read Frequently Asked Question 14. You can link to the FAQs 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
    July 2, 2014


    My mah-jongg set has an unexpected number of flowers and jokers. What's up with that?

    >From: maregrant
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:37 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I just got my first Maj Jongg set today and inventoried my tiles. I have 16 flowers plus 3 blanks and two extra jokers. Should we be playing with only 8 or all 16 flowers? I think my group has been playing with 16. Is that wrong?
    >If it's 8, why did they include 16 in with the rest of the tiles? The extra jokers and blanks were packaged separately.
    >THANKS, M.

    Hello, M. You wrote:

    I just got my first Maj Jongg set today and inventoried my tiles.
    Good! Many people don't bother to count their tiles, and then get all puzzled when the walls don't add up right. Good for you, intentorying your tiles. Way to go!

    I have 16 flowers plus 3 blanks and two extra jokers.
    Two "extra" jokers, you say. Does that mean you have a total of two jokers in your set? You gave me a total number of flowers and blanks, but categorized your jokers as "extra." That's not confusing at all! :op

    Should we be playing with only 8 or all 16 flowers?
    At this point I need to know which kind of mah-jongg you play. See Frequently Asked Question 2B. (You can link to the FAQs above left.) Some variants do not use any flowers. Korean mah-jongg uses four flowers. Singaporean mah-jongg uses twelve flowers. Most variants use eight flowers. If you play American mah-jongg, you can look on the back of the NMJL card, and read the all-capitals sentence near the top of the left pane. ... And you can read FAQ 7B (the FAQs are above left).

    I think my group has been playing with 16. Is that wrong?
    If your group has been playing before today (today is when you say you received your new set), you've been using another person's set - so you could simply ask that person how many flowers you've been using.

    If it's 8, why did they include 16...?
    For a complete answer, read FAQ 19-S, FAQ 19-AI, Column 311, and Column 509. You can link to the FAQs above left, and you can get to the columns by clicking the purple banner atop this page.

    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
    July 1, 2014


    Is there a rule that says where you can look at your picked tile?

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 5:17 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Dear Tom,
    >Is there an "official" area to bring your tile when it's your turn to pick a tile from the wall? Does it have to reach your rack, pass your rack?
    >Lou

    Lou, there is no "rule" about where you can look at your picked tile. But it's a very bad idea to look at it where another player can see it. Rules are enforceable - but you can't do much about a player's dumb habits.
    I teach the game, and I have difficulty turning off the teacher side of me. When I see that a player looks at her tile in such a way that I can see it, I might mention to her that I can see her tile. (If she's a snippy kind of person, she might just reply, "well, don't look!")
    If she persists in letting me see her tile after I've mentioned that I can see her picks, and it's starting to bug me, I might go so far as to speak, one time, the name of the tile she picked - "Oh, you got a One Bam this time." But that's me, and I would do it only to show her one last time the real-world folly of her bad habit, and I would not want it to escalate into disharmony so I would stop mentioning it thereafter (and would still make a mental note of what she picks and lets me see).
    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
    June 30, 2014


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (FAQ 19G)

    >From: Bonnie M
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 5:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player uses a joker to make 4 like tiles. Another player throws down that same tile but doesn't recognize she can replace the joker. Can another player call that tile and replace the joker with the called tile.

    Hi, Bonnie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19G. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    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
    June 30, 2014


    When to go for S&P?

    >From: Carol G
    >Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:43 PM
    >Subject: help on Singles and Pairs
    >Perhaps you can have a column showing hands before the Charleston which might be a good choice for a Singles or Pairs hand. Or, give a choice of hands and reasons why a Singles or Pairs might be the best way to go.
    >I never go in that direction because I just don't think about that part of the card.
    >Thank you for your column as it has helped me become familiar with the card each year.
    >Carol G

    Hi, Carol.
    I guess it's time to do a Charleston column soon. And I will keep in mind S&P when I do 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
    June 29, 2014


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. FAQ 19AY doesn't help.

    >From: Nancy C
    >Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:07 AM
    >Subject: Clarification FAQ [19]AY
    >Miscalled tile - Player A discards a 2 bam calls 2 crack, Player B is looking at her rack hears the call and immediately says "hold, mahjong". However needs a 2 crack not a 2 bam. Now what? A lengthy discussion of FAQ [19]AY took place with several different points of view and the "harmony" was a bit shaky.
    >Thanks in advance for your clarification
    >Nancy C

    Hi, Nancy. You wrote:

    Miscalled tile
    The term "miscalled" might mean two different things. It might mean "misnamed" or it might mean "erroneously claimed."

    Player B is looking at her rack hears the call and immediately says "hold, mahjong". However needs a 2 crack not a 2 bam. Now what? A lengthy discussion of FAQ [19]AY took place with several different points of view...
    Why isn't FAQ 19AY good enough? It says:

      Q1: She misnamed her discard. Someone wanted it for mah-jongg. What now?
      A1: The hand is over. The misnamer must pay four times the value of the hand to the player who wanted the tile for mah-jongg. No other players need pay. Deal and play the next hand.

        For further reading:
        RDWW - p. 61 (rule 95), p. 97
        NMJL - p. 17 (rule 6)

    I think that's very clear, and not in the least open to misinterpretation. Where is the confusion? I don't understand. You can look in the official rulebook on page 17, or in my book on pages 61 or 97 if that isn't enough...? Or you can send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the League and ask them for the ruling. If it's just that some people (like the misnamer, for instance) don't like the rule, well, that's just sour grapes, doncha think?

    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
    June 26, 2014


    Two people say mah-jongg at the same time - who wins?

    >From: Doris J. B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: the person to the left of me discarded her tile. My turn next and I did not need her tile I had mah jong and yelled out. Person to the left of her called out also for her discarded tile mah jong. Who wins?

    Hi, Doris. What you did doesn't make sense, unless you picked a tile from the wall before you said mah-jongg.
    I assume what you're asking me is, "one person said mah-jongg with a picked tile at the same moment another person said mah-jongg on the live discard - who wins?"
    I believe the answer would be, "next person in line from the discarder wins." You can also check FAQ 19H, but the precise question you're asking isn't exactly in there...
    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
    June 2, 2014


    Column 606

    >From: "matzger
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 3:28 PM
    >Subject: May 25 column
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can number 12 really be consecutive 2? You show three 6 dots with four 8 dots; seems to me that the four 8's would have to be in a different suit for consecutive 2. Sorry to be so late with this question.
    >Valerie M

    Hi, Valerie. That image shows three 7-dots (not 6-dots) with the four 8-dots. If it was three 6-dots and (let's say) four 8-bams (a different suit, as you said), then that couldn't be Consec. #2 - it would have to be 9B, not 8B, to fit Consec. #2. Thanks for writing anyway - I'm delighted that you're reading my column!
    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
    June 25, 2014


    What if the caller speaks exactly at the split second that the wall tile touches the next player's rack?

    > From: Bernie M
    > Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:55 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player called for a discarded tile and another player picked a tile and racked at the same time. What do you in the case of a tie?

    Well, Bernie, then I ask myself how quickly the next player made her move. Did she hurry to pick and rack so as to ensure that she got the wall tile (trying to prevent anyone from stopping her)? Or, did she pause a beat so as to give other players a chance (thus the caller had hesitated a little too long)? If the former, let the caller have the discard. If the latter, the caller hesitated too long.
    I wish the National Mah Jongg League (I assume you're asking about American rules) would issue a rule similar to the 3-second rule used in Majiang Competition Rules. Three seconds is a verifiable, measurable amount of time.
    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
    June 25, 2014


    What if three players go dead?

    >From: Connie H
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If 3 players hands are dead does the 4th player win and what does she get paid?

    Hi, Connie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BW. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    June 25, 2014


    Found this at Goodwill

    >From: Dakota W
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:38 PM
    >Subject: Questions about a Mah-Jongg Tile Set
    >During a recent trip to a GoodWill Outlet I stumbled upon an incomplete set of what I think is a bone and tile Mah-Jongg Tile set. I am very unfamiliar in this area and any help validating that it is indeed that or an idea of a price range is greatly appreciated. There was a wooden box that came with it, but I was unable to salvage that as it had been crushed by a microwave. Any help or advice would be helpful as I am still trying to research the set online.
    >Thanks,
    >Dakota W

    Hi, Dakota. You asked:

    any help validating that it is indeed ... an incomplete set of... a bone and tile Mah-Jongg Tile set
    Yes, it is an incomplete bone and bamboo mah-jongg set.

    or an idea of a price range
    It depends on the buyer. A vendor who sells replacement tiles might give you $15-20 for the lot. A collector who has a set that needs a replacement for a missing tile might give you $4-5 for the one tile he or she needs. A player who wants four blank tiles to add to her set so it can be used to play American mah-jongg might give you $40 for four of those blank tiles (the blank tiles are the most prized, because they can be engraved). My recommendation is to post it on eBay and take whatever you can get.

    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
    June 25, 2014


    Where was it made, part 2

    >From: Sarah V
    >Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg (I gave it my best to follow your instructions!)
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you so much for the courtesy of a reply! I very much appreciate your time.
    >All the best,
    >Sarah


    Where was it made, and how much should I ask for it?

    >From: Sarah V
    >Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg (I gave it my best to follow your instructions!)
    >Good morning Tom Sloper,
    >I hope this finds you doing well. I found your website and contact information while I was researching what sort of Mah-Jongg set I have. I am writing to you for an evaluation, my intention is to sell the set I have.
    >My questions:
    >--Can you tell where in the world this set was made?
    >--Can you tell me what you think a good asking price is for the set?
    >Information that I have, per your instructions:
    >My set contains:
    >---144 tiles (36 Dots, 36 Bamboo, 36 Cracks, 16 Winds, 12 Dragons, 8 Flowers, 4 Blanks)
    >From my research, the Bamboos are "barbed", the set has Arabic numbers, the Red Dragon symbol is for the word "center" in Chinese.
    >The tiles are made of bone and bamboo (I could see the Haversian system with streaking).
    >They measure: 3cm (H), 2cm (L), 1.3cm (W)---the bone part of the width is 1cm.
    >I think the set was made before 1960 because there are no jokers.
    >Excellent condition for all tiles
    >---40 scoring sticks worth 10pts
    >---10 scoring sticks worth 5pts
    >---61 scoring sticks worth 2pts
    >---46 scoring sticks worth 1pt
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining.
    >---2 dice
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining.
    >---6 wind indicators (2 large, 2 med, 2 small)
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining and some chipping along the edge.
    >---Wood Case (Rosewood, 5 drawers, brass embellishments on corners + drawer pulls + carrying handle)
    >Good to Excellent condition. It looks like I am missing a slat that would slide down over the drawers. However, the brass and wood are all in very good condition.
    >--This set does not contain any written, paper material.
    >I am including some photos to illustrate what information I have gathered. I have done by best to provide you with the right vocabulary and information you requested, however, if I have missed something you need, please let me know.
    >Thank you kindly for your time,
    >Sarah V

    Hi, Sarah. You did a good job describing your set and stating your questions! You wrote:

    I think the set was made before 1960 because there are no jokers.
    I think it was made in the 1920s because that type of set was made in the 1920s.

    6 wind indicators (2 large, 2 med, 2 small)
    Actually, those aren't all wind indicators. Some of them are lids for the cylindrical container (mingg) for wind indicators. It looks like you're missing the cylinder itself. You have two North discs and two East discs. If they are not marked West and South on the other side, you're missing two discs. And you have two extra discs and an extra mingg lid.

    . It looks like I am missing a slat that would slide down over the drawers.
    You sure are. We call that part the "front."

    where in the world this set was made?
    China.

    what you think a good asking price is for the set?
    Since you don't have the paper materials or the box front, you're missing the dice coffin (the little wood box that contains the dice), you're missing the mingg cylinder and two discs, and some of your sticks are unattractively smeared, the value is only a part of what a complete comparable set would be worth. You might want to see if you can buy the missing parts from one of the vendors in FAQ 4a so you can sell a more complete set. As it is, you might get $60 or $70 for it. If you get a front and a coffin and a mingg cylinder and the missing discs, you might get $80-90 for it ($100 if it also had the original instruction booklet, but it's not a certainty what instruction booklet originally came with it, and you could mislead someone with the wrong booklet, so don't try to fill that gap).

    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
    June 20, 2014


    When is a tile considered down?

    >From: Connie H
    >Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player starts to lay a tile down and says 9, (which is a crack) and realizes that there is a a kong of 9 cracks with two jokers exposed on another rack. She had the tile touching to table but never set it down, when she sees the jokers. When is a tile considered down?

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19A. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    Juneteenth, 2014


    What if I'm dealer and I have a complete hand after the Charleston?

    >From: Judi I
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:52 PM
    >Subject: How do I score this?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I met you during a lesson you gave at The Hideaway Club in La Quinta a few years ago and would love your input on how to score a hand I won on recently. I was east and we had just finished the charleston when I realized I had mah jongg.
    >Thoughts?
    >Judi I

    Hi, Judi. Nice to hear from you again.
    This hand is not "heavenly hand" - that is when the dealer has mah-jongg before the Charleston even begins. I wrote about "heavenly hand" in column 476, and in FAQ 19BJ. You can read columns by clicking the purple banner above, and you can link to the FAQs above left.
    But to get back to your situation - it scores double from everyone (it counts the same as self-pick).
    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
    June 18, 2014


    I need six enrobed tiles

    >From: Jill S
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:39 PM
    >Subject: Enrobed Tiles
    >Greetings Tom, I recently got my grandmother's mah Jongg set. It is so lovely. I have been searching all over for 6 tiles to complete the set. According to CHarli, it is a "met set". Do you have any suggestions for me? The NY Mah Jongg League and CHarli did not have a match. Many other collectors do not have a match either. Perhaps you have some suggestions.
    >Thank you,
    >Jill Sandler
    >jillsandlergmail.com

    Hi, Jill.
    The problem with rare sets like yours is that replacement tiles for it are even rarer. I'm posting this on my Tiles Wanted bulletin board - up top you'll find a link to Matthew Shin's website. If he can't help you, you should try Johni Levene's Facebook group, "Mah Jongg Collectors Assn." You'll have to join Facebook, and you'll have to ask to join her group. If Matthew and Johni can't help you, I don't think anyone can.
    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
    June 18, 2014


    Can you call a tile to complete a singles kong?

    >From: Barbara O
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 3:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you call a tile to complete a singles kong? For instance: 2014?
    >Barbara O

    A "singles kong," eh? (^_^) That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    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
    June 17, 2014


    What happens to that particular joker on the dead player's rack?

    >From: Robin O
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:42 AM
    >Subject: seeking clarification on one of your FAQ answers
    >Hi Tom -- In FAQ 19 P you address the question of redeeming jokers from dead hands. Members of my group have read your answer but drawn different conclusions about a recent situation. Could you clarify for us?
    >A player called for a tile and exposed a kong of twos with 1 joker. In a subsequent turn, the same player called for a tile and exposed a pung of wests. Her hand was then declared dead since the only hand with that combination of tiles (Winds-Dragons #5) is supposed to be concealed.
    >Some in our group feel that this situation is covered by the general rule: the joker in the first exposure should remain available since it was a valid exposure when it was made and the hand was declared dead later in the game.
    >Others feel that since both exposures were from a hand that should have been concealed, the cause of death was "exposure of a concealed hand" and therefore all of the tiles should be returned to the rack as per your list of more specific rules and rule 3b of the official rule book.
    >We would appreciate your insight --
    >Thanks!!
    >Robin

    Hi, Robin.
    FAQ 19P says (italics added):

    • Jokers which were exposed properly are valid for redemption. If you make a kong, nobody has enough information about which hand you're making, so you can't be declared dead on the basis of that exposure alone. Any jokers in that kong are live, and stay alive even if you are declared dead later.
    • Jokers which were exposed improperly are not available for redemption. Let's say that your first exposure was a kong of fours (with a joker) and your second exposure was a kong of dragons (with a joker). Let's say that the card does not have a hand that allows kongs of fours and dragons (let's imagine that the hand is clearly not anywhere on the card). Anybody could now declare you dead, based on your improper second exposure. Any jokers that had been exposed PRIOR to the blunder (the jokers in the first exposure) are still valid for redemption, but any jokers exposed in the course of making the blunder (the jokers in the second exposure) are dead. All portions of the hand exposed erroneously are to be returned to the sloping front of the rack, including and especially the now-dead jokers.

    So let's look at the example you cited. Player made two exposures (on different turns), and let's say she used jokers in both of them:

    On the 2014 NMJL card, the kong of twos is a legal exposure. But she made an illegal second exposure (the pung of wests), and was called dead for it. Therefore, the W pung must be returned to the sloping front of the dead player's rack - the west joker is now unavailable for redemption (nobody can even see it anymore, once the pung is returned to the sloping front of the rack). The kong of twos remains on the top surface of the rack (because that's the NMJL rule per the 2007 newsletter, and that's what it says in FAQ 19P), so the joker in that kong remains live and available for redemption.

    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
    June 17, 2014


    Should you say "call," or are other ways acceptable?

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:03 AM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your website! I've spent a lot of time on it already. One question I don't see is What is the correct etiquette for calling a tile? Should you say, "Call" or are other ways acceptable? Thanks.
    >Jan and Maury in MN

    Hi, Jan. English is a flexible language. What you can say includes (but is not limited to): "call," "take," "I'll take that," "I want that," or even just "gimme."
    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
    June 17, 2014


    Called me dead but I'm not. What now?

    >From: Stacey S
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:06 AM
    >Subject: Calling a Hand Dead
    >Hi, Tom...what if a player calls another player dead and she is not? What is the penalty or pay out or what happens?
    >Thanks...Stacey

    Welcome to my website, Stacey. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AB. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    June 17, 2014


    How old is it?

    >From: Tabatha J
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 7:17 AM
    >Subject: mahjong set
    >Checking date on mahhong set.....amber butterscotch bakelite catalin? looks like amber bakelite?....unusual flowers or gold fill embedded into tiles?.......plz help...and i agree to publishing and all i read it ...thx so much!

    Hi, Tabatha.
    I think it was made in the sixties. So it's about fifty years old, plus or minus a decade. (Possibly as old as the forties.)
    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
    June 17, 2014


    Thanks

    >From: Rita H
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 7:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank You so much for answering my question. I did look at the 19 FAQ first but I guess I just missed it. Sorry.
    >Rita


    Dead and deader

    >From: Dale P
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 4:15 PM
    >Subject: two questions about going dead
    >HI Tom,
    >I've read your section on going dead don't see an answer to either of my questions. I've also scanned your newsletters, but you've been at this for some time, and I may have missed an answer some time back - if so sorry in advance.
    >Question #1:
    >East claims a Flower that is discarded by South then exposes a kong of three Flowers and a Joker and discards properly. North exchanges a Flower tile for the exposed Joker from East's rack before either claiming a tile from the table or drawing a tile from the wall. South calls North dead for too few tiles.
    >Q: Does the Joker exchanged by North stay in North's dead hand or does it go back to East's rack where it may be claimed by the other remaining players? It seems to me the joker was claimed illegally and therefore should remain in play but I can't find a clear answer.
    >Question #2:
    >I've read your section on calling yourself dead, and I understand that it's not legal to call yourself dead.
    >Q: Today a player discovered she had too many 15 tiles and called herself dead. I reminded her that she can't legally do that, and she said she had read that she could if the reason was the wrong number of tiles. Did I miss this memo?
    >Thanks again for your help.
    >Best,
    >Dale P
    >Miami Beach

    Hi, Dale. To answer your questions:

    Does the Joker exchanged by North stay in North's dead hand
    Yes. North made a play. Admittedly, it was a bad play, but the play was made. As a result, she's dead, and what she did remains done did. (En Français: "c'est un fait accompli.")

    she said she had read that she could if the reason was the wrong number of tiles. Did I miss this memo?
    Didn't you ask her for her source? Show her your source (the official NMJL bulletin for 2005, and probably other years since, or, second best, my book on pages 64 and 101), and ask her to show you her source. The one who can show the rule in writing has proven her point. After a player tries to call herself dead, anyone else can simply look and see if she's demonstrably dead or not, and if she is, then just call her dead - she won't mind.

    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
    June 16, 2014


    Was Ms. Right wrong?

    >From: Edward M
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 3:50 PM
    >Subject: calling attention to a disgard
    >Hi Tom, It seems every week after our Mah Jongg session I have to forward a rule to my teammates about something they question. Today something happened that is not covered by the rules and I wondered your opinion of this action.
    >I discarded a tile ( a 3 Dot) naming it as I placed it on the table. The player to my right asked the player to my left if she did not want this tile? (I don’t believe the player to my left had any tiles on her rack) But she said, “I don’t know, let me look and think about it for a minute” She studied her tiles and declared she did want it and this is the tile that gave her Mah Jongg.
    >This seemed very irregular to me (in fact I have never seen this done) that is one player urging another to consider a discard as a needed tile. In fact couldn’t we all do this? Is there a rule? I did just re-read them and didn’t find anything about this action.
    >Thanks Tom, love your site!
    >EMily m
    >p.s. I have the most boring film on You Tube about a Mah Jongg game and this must be some indication of how nice Mah Jongg players are as no one has said anything mean!

    Hi, Emily.
    There is no written rule against asking a player "are you sure you don't need that?" But it's bad strategy, and it can make half the players at the table upset (harming the game's harmony). I assume your Ms. Left is a novice player, your Ms. Right is a kind person, and knew that the discard was Left's mahj tile (based on Left's exposures).
    When I'm teaching, I sometimes do what Ms. Right did. But when I'm in a regular game, I would only do what Ms. Right did if poor Ms. Left was clearly struggling or going through some awful life circumstances and needed a morale boost. There is no written rule against it. It should normally not be done (and certainly never in a tournament), but sometimes a supportive friendly group will not object. In Chinese Official rules, this is not permitted - it's called "giving information," and the player who does it would be penalized. But you don't need to know that, since you're not playing Chinese Official (so forget I said anything).
    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
    June 16, 2014


    Can a 25 cent win really become a whole dollar??

    >From: Rita H
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 2:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We play Mah-Jongg for money. When a person picks a tile themselves that gives them Mah-Jongg the payout is double. 25 cent hand = 50 cents
    >If a person gets a Mah-Jongg without any jokers the payout is double. 25 cent hand = 50 cents
    >My questions is: When a person picks a tile that gives them Mah Jongg and it is joker less is the payout double twice? Meaning the 25 cent hand will now = $1.00??
    >Thanks for your help
    >Rita

    Yes, Rita. Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19W. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    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
    June 16, 2014


    On stopping the Charleston

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 9:44 AM
    >Subject: Stopping the charleston
    >My thoughts on stopping the charleston, for what those thoughts are worth!
    >Many players will stop the charleston if they have two hands going and cannot decide which to continue and which to throw away. Of course as soon as you throw one away, you get more tiles for that hand rather than the hand you kept. But sometimes it is best to just choose and deal with the consequences.
    >Others will stop the charleston if they have three or less tiles to pass.
    >From a strategy point of view it might still be worth passing those three, but if you get one or two tiles you need on that second left, you will now have to pass across tiles that you need, the last pass you can always blind pass all three if necessary. You may also get the tiles you passed across back in the optional.
    >Sometimes it is better to stop the charleston, if you have a very good hand simply because you may not get any more tiles, while continuing may only help the hands of others. I think most people just go with their intuition, sometimes stopping and sometimes not. It has been my experience that when I have few tiles that go together, my hand will fill in on its own and quite often will win with that horrible hand. As you stated it is the players choice to stop or continue and part of the game. That is one factor that makes this game so challenging. My advice is that players should sit back and enjoy the game, don't fret over it.
    >Bee

    One thing you said, Bee:

    it might still be worth passing those three, but if you get one or two tiles you need on that second left, you will now have to pass across tiles that you need, the last pass you can always blind pass all three if necessary. You may also get the tiles you passed across back in the optional.
    Highly unlikely. Consider: you pass three tiles to your opposite, then she passes three tiles to her right (your left). In the optional courtesy pass, the player at your left is the one who's likely holding those tiles you passed across, and she might just exchange those with her opposite (your right).
    The "second across" is The sticky pass, if you do not stop the Charleston. I tell my novice students that, but they usually don't get it until they come back for the intermediate class.

    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
    June 16, 2014


    Official Chinese Mahjong

    >From: Rohn
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 12:09 AM
    >Subject: 2 ?s about official chinese mahjong
    >1.In a recent game of Official Chinese Mahjong we had a disagreement about going out on a replacement tile. The person who declared mahjong had picked up a discard that completed a kong and then drew a replacement tile from the dead wall which completed his mahjong hand. 2 of us believed that this made it a self-drawn mahjong which meant the other 3 should give him points but one person argued that the rule was unclear and that the person whose discard gave him the kong should have to give points and the others only owed 8 points. I argued that drawing from the dead wall is the same as taking from the wall, who was right?
    >2. who gives up points when mahjong is won by robbing the kong? I thought it was the person who was robbed because if the tile was a discard then it would be claimed by priority, and that the only way then would be that the tile was drawn from the wall and was being added to a melded pung. Same person believed that it could be done on a discard that was being added to a pung. Who is right?
    >Thank you Rohn

    Hi, Rohn.

    The discard didn't give the player mah-jongg; the replacement tile did. Consider a string of standing dominoes with a little bell at the far end. You touch the first domino, and they all fall over, and the last domino rings the bell. Which domino rang the bell (who pays extra to the winner)? The domino that rang the bell was not the first one, or any in the middle of the string; it was the last one.
    I don't know which book your group uses as its guide, but in my book, this (Out with Replacement Tile) is fan #46 (page 152). The wording in 46.c. answers your question. It says, "May not combine with Self-Drawn (implied)." That means that picking a kong replacement tile IS self-pick, but you just don't get to add an extra 1 point to the score count (since you get 8 points for winning on kong replacement). Although you don't get the extra 1 point, since it IS self-pick, then the full payment is due from every other player.

    In my book, this (Robbing the Kong) is fan #47 (page 152). It says in 47.c. at the top of page 153, "Treated as win by discard." Your friend says that a pung can be promoted to a kong with a discard? See rule 50 on page 136 of my book: an exposed pung may be promoted "only when the player self-picks the fourth tile (a discard may not be taken for this purpose)."

    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
    June 16, 2014


    How do we deal with serial Charleston stoppers, redux

    >From: Carol P
    >Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2014 1:07 PM
    >Subject: re: 2nd Charleston
    >It seems to me that many players (especially "new" players) automatically say"no" to a second charleston because they just don't want to think about it. That is their right, of course, but . . . .
    >Is there a "rule of thumb" about whether or not a second charleston would be a good choice. Someone once told me that if a player had a specific number of tiles they might still pass, they should opt for the second charleston. Is that true? If so, what is the specific number?
    >Are there any other guidelines about when to agree to a second charleston?
    >Thanks for your help

    Hi, Carol. To respond to what you wrote:

    It seems to me that many players (especially "new" players) automatically say"no" to a second charleston
    Really? I have not observed such a thing.

    That is their right, of course, but . . . .
    Ah, there's that "but." Let's forget the "but" and remember that it is the right of every player to stop the Charleston if she so chooses.

    Someone once told me that if a player had a specific number of tiles they might still pass, they should opt for the second charleston. Is that true? If so, what is the specific number?
    Strategy does not have hard and fast "rules" governing what any player "should" do, without regard for circumstantial vagaries. It doesn't work like that. I'm sure your friend has strong ideas as to exactly how many tiles one "might still pass," and how many different options one should go for. But those ideas are her strategies - not any hard and fast rule. Strategies and rules are separate things.

    Are there any other guidelines about when to agree to a second charleston?
    Sure, every player has different ideas about this. Read columns 493 and 494 (click purple banner above), and see the response I gave to Lisa K, who asked "How do we deal with a serial Charleston stopper?" on Saturday, June 7, below. And again, don't forget that it is every player's right to stop the second Charleston if she wishes. The other players do not have to "agree." That's the rule.

    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
    June 15, 2014


    Can I combine Mixed Double Chow with Mixed Triple Chow?

    >From: Bob K
    >Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:54 PM
    >Subject: question
    >If one goes out with a Mixed Triple Chow worth 8 points,
    >can a Mixed Double Chow also be counted?
    >thanks

    Hi, Bob.
    I assume that the Mixed Double is fully contained within the Mixed Triple (that you are trying to use two chows for one fan, and add a third one to them both and use them also for a second fan)? Look at rule 10.1.5.1. "Prohibition against implied inclusions" in FAQ 22. You can click the FAQ 22 link above left. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question.
    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
    June 12, 2014


    Tell me anything about my new set, part 2

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:21 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Well Tom, I have not yet read your entire wealth of knowledge about Mah Jongg, though I have accessed what you suggested. I have yet to find any reference to a set entitled "Mah Chung". Since you appear to be the expert in all things Mah Jongg I was hoping you could enlighten me about this odd item. Thank you so much.
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa.
    I still don't know what it is you want to know. Something about the set's name, or its manufacturer? And what is it that you think is "odd" about it? What is it you need "enlightenment" about exactly? I don't have information about specific sets, or manufacturers, if that's what you're looking for. You might find that kind of information on www.mahjongmuseum.com, or www.charli.org.
    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
    June 11, 2014


    Tell me anything about my new set that I don't have yet

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom. Pleased to meet you. I am new to the Mah Jongg world and recently purchased a set in a wooden box with front sliding panel that says Mah Chung and Made in China. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I have not received this item yet so I can't give more information until then. Thank you so much.
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa. Welcome to my site. You wrote:

    Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Sure. Just tell me what information you want. But before you ask me a question, please look for the answers in the Frequently Asked Questions. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg sets are found in FAQ 7.

    May the tiles be with you soon.
    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
    June 11, 2014


    What's the title of the official NMJL rulebook?

    >From: Fern H
    >Sent: Monday, June 9, 2014 1:36 PM
    >Subject: NMJL rulebook
    >Sorry to contact you rather than the NMJL but they don't do e-mail!
    >You frequently refer to the NMJL rulebook. I wanted to buy a copy and so looked carefully at their website. The only book I could find was "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Is that really what the rulebook is called?
    >Thanks,
    >Fern H

    Yes. 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
    June 9, 2014


    This week's column

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, June 8, 2014 7:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Column 608, #14, wouldn't another hot tile be 8B?
    >Bee

    Yup! Good 4 U, B.! Wonder why your email was in my spam folder. Oh well, at least I found it eventually.
    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
    June 9, 2014


    This week's column

    >From: Gay L
    >Sent: Monday, June 9, 2014 11:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello Tom,
    >I’m a beginner at Mah Jongg. I have been reading your column which is a great help. ( I also purchased your book, you are the expert for sure.) In the latest column #608 the defense question #13, could it also be consecutive #1? I would be watching for 1, 2 and 4 dots with the 1 & 2 dots being “key”. ??
    >I look forward to your response and your future columns.
    >Thank you,
    >Gay L
    >This message and any files transmitted with it may contain legally privileged, confidential, or proprietary information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are not permitted to use, copy, or forward it, in whole or in part without the express consent of the sender. Please notify the sender of the error by reply email, disregard the foregoing messages, and delete it immediately.
    >P Please consider the environment before printing this email...

    Good job, Gay! That, er, "intentional" error is now corrected, thanks 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
    June 9, 2014


    When can I redeem a joker? - Can I redeem a joker after I take a discard for exposure, and then add that joker to that new exposure?

    >From: Veronica H
    >Sent: Sunday, June 8, 2014 11:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >First, I would like you to know that I bought your book and it has answered many questions raised during MJ sessions.
    >I am asking a question by citing an example:
    >East displays a segment of her hand - 8D-J-J-8D.
    >South discards a 7B.
    >West has an 8D in her hand and two 7Bs. Can she call for the 7B and then display two 7Bs, exchange her 8D for a Joker and then display Joker and the fourth 7B?
    >I did not find this in your book and it came up the other day during a MJ session.
    >Thanking you in advance for your help. I will check your website for an answer.
    >Sincerely.
    >An Avid Mah Jongg Player
    >Roni

    Hi, Roni.
    In my book, see the following rules:
    - Rule 58.a. on p. 52
    - Rule 86.a. on p. 58
    - Redemption rule #1, on p. 91
    ... put those all together, and you get the rule as stated right here on my site - see FAQ 19M. You can click the FAQ 19 link 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
    June 8, 2014


    Today's column

    >From: Dale P
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 11:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In your most recent column #608 6/08, 2014. Hand number 12 is dead. It's concealed. It is the hand you say in your notes, but if anyone plays 3 wests on this card they are dead. Right?
    >Also couldn't hand #4 be either Evens #3 or #4?
    >Thanks for your weekly columns and insights. Love it.
    >Dale P
    >Miami Beach

    Right on both counts, Dale. The column is all patched up now, thanx 2 U!
    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
    June 8, 2014


    The maj tile wasn't completely named

    >From: Arlene S
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 9:35 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Tom,
    >Here is what happened this past week at the maj table.
    >A women had an East in her (physical) hand, about to discard it on the table. She said Essssss (t was not spoken, or did not sound like the complete word...), she looked around, realized another player had a West exposure, and instantly the woman with the West exposure called "Maj."
    >The East tile had not hit the table and the discarder began to pull it back to her rack. The discarder argued that she could bring it back since it had not left her hand, completed the whole word, or touched the table.
    >There was enough time for the rest of us to hear "Esssss" very clearly and obviously enough time for the player to call "Maj". Yes there was tension at the table and yes I did read through your Q&A board but could not get this actual situation described.
    >closest I came to it: A: No. When a tile is "down," it is too late for the discarder to take it back. If you've said its name, you must put it on the tabletop and take your hand off it.
    >I guess it comes down to, for us, does the whole tile name have to be said?
    >Your site is incredibly helpful and informative. Thanks in advance.
    >Arlene ? S

    Hi, Arlene.
    Okay, so the discarder should have looked before discarding, and the winner jumped a tad quickly. But the operant principle here is "maj trumps everything" (Philosophy 5f in FAQ 9). The fact is, the winner said "mah-jongg." So even though the discard was arguably not completely named, it's too late for backsies. Saying "that was an invalid mah-jongg call because whatever" doesn't work - too many hard feelings can result, and the game cannot go on (the erstwhile winner is at an extreme disadvantage now, and the unwise discarder has to kill her own hand, so the rest of the game (if continued) would be about the other two players only).
    She won, and that's that. Pay the lady and redeal.
    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
    June 7, 2014


    How do we deal with a serial Charleston stopper?

    >From: Lisa K
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 5:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Etiquette
    >Hello,
    >Can you please explain how to educate someone (who almost always stops the Charleston pass after the first left) to figure out how not to stop the pass? It is causing quite a lot of animosity in my game, as we all really like the woman who does this.
    >Thank you,
    >Lisa

    I'm afraid that the one who needs to be educated is you, Lisa. Your habitual Charleston-stopper already knows "how not to stop the pass." She already knows that all she would have to do is not say "I'm stopping." She also knows that the rules permit her to stop the Charleston if she wants. I presume that she also knows that she is making people upset when she does so (I presume that it has been mentioned to her, more than once), and that she persists in stopping the Charleston anyway. Therefore, I really do not believe it is she who needs "education."
    You, however, don't understand that people cannot be made to change. They have to first want to change, before any change can happen. I remember Marge Simpson once advising a young bride that her new husband "can be fixed with a little gentle nagging." Well, I don't know if that'll work on your wallflower or not. I'm mindful of another old saying: "You can't teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." Nagging your friend to stop the Charleston less might just irritate her and increase the disharmony.
    And does your group understand that most of the time nothing much changes in the second Charleston? How many times have you heard the kvetch, "Oy - same old crap going around again"? That's what one hears a LOT during the second Charleston. So if one is counting on miracles in the second Charleston, one is engaging in overly optimistic wishful thinking. Yes, sometimes something new and interesting can happen in the second Charleston, but that's not very common. I think this is something your play group needs to be "educated" about.
    It's interesting that despite all the "animosity," you all really like your Charleston-stopper. There is hope that your group can find some harmony. Your wallflower needs to understand that while she is free to stop the dance, the others can get upset (so she should only stop it infrequently and when she has a solid need to do so). Your group needs to understand that anyone is free to stop the dance, for any reason and for no reason, and that it's infrequent to actually get a game-changing tile in the second dance. You might want to share column 494 with your group and get a conversation going.
    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
    June 7, 2014


    How much is my set worth?

    >From: LUKE <lukespoard
    >Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 11:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I'm just after an evaluation on my mahjong set they are bone and bamboo tiles there are 146 of them and there are sticks and dice made also of bone the box is a carved wooden box with 2 Buddhas on the handle

    Hello, Luke.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 7H. Click the FAQ 7H link above left. 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
    June 7, 2014


    How do I contact them

    >From: "abbymayesaol.com"
    >Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 9:35 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi, I saw the posting regarding 3 players in the Spring City, PA area looking for another person. How do I contact them. Thanks for your great site.
    >Abby

    Hi, Abby.
    Do you mean the post on http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/findplayer-archive1.htm from August 15, 2010? Took me a while to find it - and I didn't find any other posts mentioning Spring City anywhere on my site. There was an email address in that 2010 post. Did you try emailing it? I didn't see any mention of three players in that post.
    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
    June 6, 2014


    The column's mobile icon , part 4 - was: "It's hard to see the tiles and the answers" (June 4) and "Why no mobile-friendly columns anymore?" (April 2)

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:33 AM
    >Subject: mobile icon
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your answer to Jeanne's question on 6/4 regarding the mobile icon has helped me a lot. I had the same problem she did and I also thought the icon was only for mobile use (I'm pretty ignorant on computers). Thanks to you both!
    >Linda

    I'm glad the information about the mobile icon was helpful for you, Linda. I think I should change the column template to make it clearer to all readers of future columns how it works.
    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
    June 5, 2014


    It's hard to see the tiles and the answers, part 2

    >From: Jeanne C. F
    >Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:28 AM
    >Subject: my email yesterday
    >Dear Mr. S. – thank you for your answer to my question yesterday. I assumed that little icon was for mobiles only, and since I don’t access your column on my phone, (nor do I check it every week) I ignored it and probably missed an explanation when you introduced it.
    >It’s great and of course takes care of my complaint very nicely.
    >Gratefully,
    >Jeanne F

    I'm glad that helps, Ms. F.!
    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
    June 5, 2014


    It's hard to see the tiles and the answers at the same time

    >From: Jeanne C. F
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:17 PM
    >Subject: format of article page
    >Dear Mr. Sloper - I have a continuing difficulty with your article pages, wherein you show a number of hands, pungs, whatever, with a question posed on each of the sets of tiles. – Namely – one can’t look at the row of tiles and read the answer to the question at the same time. The space between top and bottom of the article portion of the screen is not large enough (high enough) to see both at the same time. This makes it harder to understand the answer to the question posed. Am I clear on this?
    >Maybe it would be clearer if I said you can’t see all the tiles and all the answers at the same time. Reading the answer without being able to see the tiles at the same time – not so good.
    >Perhaps you could have the screen formatted to show the entire layout and your whole set of answers to your question full screen – eliminating the introduction at the top of the page, and your list of columns.
    >I hope you catch on to what I’m trying to say here.
    >I’ve learned a lot from your website and your book and your FAQs–just hope you can make it easier for us fans to catch on to the question/tiles/answer piece.
    >Best wishes.
    >Jeanne F

    Hi, Jeanne. You wrote:

    one can’t look at the row of tiles and read the answer to the question at the same time.
    Sorry you find that inconvenient!

    Am I clear on this?
    Absolutely.

    Maybe it would be clearer if I said you can’t see all the tiles and all the answers at the same time.
    It was clear enough the way you said it the first time.

    Perhaps you could have the screen formatted to show the entire layout and your whole set of answers to your question full screen – eliminating the introduction at the top of the page, and your list of columns.
    You can click the little mobile icon instead of the worded link when you go to read a column, or when you're in the column, you can click the little mobile icon. Clicking that icon makes the nav frames go away (the column itself is then full-screen). Maybe that would help?

    I hope you catch on to what I’m trying to say here.
    Absolutely. Got it. You communicated everything very clearly. And I hope the Mobile interface solves the problem for you, or at least improves it. The mobile icon has been there since January 1st (before that I used a text link that says "Mobile" to do the same thing - since April 2012). Please let me know if this makes the column easier to read 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
    June 4, 2014


    Can I exchange a joker for a natural tile (can I reverse-redeem a joker)?

    >From: Cherie M
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:14 PM
    >Subject: American Mahjongg Q
    >Tom,
    >American Mahjongg Question
    >Can I redeem a tile from someone else’s tray, using a joker to replace a non-joker tile, in order to complete a pair?
    >Example: Someone has exposed a three 6 bams. Can I use a joker to redeem one of her 6 bams to complete a pair in my hand, concealed or not a concealed hand.
    >Thank you,
    >Cherie

    Hi, Cherie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AL. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    June 4, 2014


    Column 590, part 3

    >From: Mary E
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 6:08 PM
    >Subject: non-joker exposure
    >AHA!! NOW she gets it. Sometimes I need to be playing to understand what's being said. Sorry, sorry, sorry!
    >Thanks for your patience!
    >Mary

    No prob, Mary.
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Can I put a taken discard into my hand?

    > From: cheryl S
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:47 PM
    > Subject: American Maj Jongg
    > hello there Tom, have read a lot online rules and questions. I need
    > your help to clarify something.
    > 5 tidbits first:
    > 1. 60 years old
    > 2. MBA
    > 3. Retired Banker
    > 4. no MJ aspirations other than more wins than others
    > 5. The Bronx (Riverdale, New York)
    > When it's my turn, can I pick up the tile just discarded and put in my
    > rack without exposing?
    > I used to play that way but someone said it is "calling" and must expose
    > even if it's my turn and want what the player to my left just threw out
    > (in lieu of picking from the wall)
    > HELP and much thanks. Cheryl from the Bronx

    Hi, Cheryl
    I guess you must have looked at my video game career advice bulletin board (http://sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm) before you came here to this board to ask me your mah-jongg question. I only need those "5 tidbits" when people are asking me for career advice (I don't need to know all that to answer mah-jongg questions!). (^_^) You asked:

    When it's my turn, can I pick up the tile just discarded and put in my
    > rack without exposing?
    No, never!

    I used to play that way
    Really? That has never been permitted, in any form of mah-jongg!

    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
    June 3, 2014


    Column 590, part 2 (was: Waylaid to the spam folder)

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:07 PM
    > Subject: re previous question re column #590 question #3
    > Hi, again, Tom,
    > I understand now what you are saying. My confusion (& I think Dennis's) lied in the wording of 'in an exposed set'. That past tense of 'exposed', to me, meant one already upon the rack, not one requiring a discarded tile to then make an exposure, whereas, one already upon the rack wouldn't need to have a non-joker, right?
    > Tricky indeed, Master Tom!! Like I said before, keep my brain cells firing, kind sir.
    > Mary

    Hi Mary,
    The only way to make an exposed set (prior to declaring mah-jongg) is to claim a discarded tile and put up some tiles from your hand with it (one is never permitted to simply expose a set from the hand prior to declaring mah-jongg, unless claiming a discard).
    The taken discard has to be a natural (non-joker) tile. And it will stay that way (reverse redemption is not permitted). Therefore, any exposed set (prior to declaring mah-jongg) must include at least one non-joker.
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Can you use flowers, part 3

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 1:23 PM
    > Subject: Flowers
    > Thank you. You answered my question. I was interpreting (any) to be any tile. My mistake. Will use flowers where flowers are indicated from now on. This is such a fun game to play.
    > Anita Frost

    I'm glad we got that straightened out!
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Donation

    > From: "service@paypal.com"
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:28 AM
    > Subject: You have a new automatic payment profile for Anita F
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > A new automatic payment profile for Anita F has been created. Here's the automatic payment profile information:
    > Customer name: Anita F
    > For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Automatic payment details
    > Amount paid each time: $5.00 USD
    > Billing cycle: Monthly
    > Payments start: Jun 3, 2014
    > Help Center | Security Center

    > From: "service@paypal.com"
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:12 AM
    > Subject: You received a payment
    > PayPal
    > You received a payment
    > Jun 3, 2014 10:12:15 PDT
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > You received a payment from Anita F for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Subscription details
    > Amount received: $5.00 USD
    > For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Amount paid each time: $5.00 USD
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    > Please don't reply to this email. It'll just confuse the computer that sent it and you won't get a response.
    > Copyright © 2014 PayPal, Inc. All rights reserved. PayPal is located at 2211 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95131.

    Wow, Anita. That's very generous. I hope you will continue to find my site helpful.
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Waylaid to the spam folder (re: "The latest column")

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 7:58 PM
    > Subject: column 606/ #8
    > Oh wow, Tom.......it WAS too darned late!! I saw those 2s as 3s!! (Too much time on the computer no doubt!!). That's why I drew the wrong conclusion. Sorry 'bout that! :)
    > Again, thanks so much for your tremendous website. Don't know what I'd have done without it, esp. now with the teaching thing!
    > Regards,
    > Mary Edgar

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 2:05 PM
    > Subject: question re column #590
    > Hi, again, Tom,
    > I like to give my students a quiz after the 3rd session and was looking thru your columns for other things when I spotted the quiz in this column #590. I question your answer key at number 3. I believe 'b' to be the correct response and also that the asterisk after the letter 'a' should be after the answer to question # 4. Is this correct?
    > Your columns and FAQs and strategies are more than good for keeping the brain cells working, just like the game itself!!
    > Thanks for everything!
    > Mary Edgar

    Hi, Mary. I don't know why your two emails got waylaid into my spam folder. Just found them today. Sorry about that! On Friday you asked:

    the quiz in this column #590. I question your answer key at number 3. I believe 'b' to be the correct response
    That's a tricky one -- see the way I worded the question (italics added for emphasis):

      3. You must have a natural tile (a non-joker) in an exposed set of identical tiles (pung, kong, quint).
          a. Real rule
          b. Apocryphal (not a rule)
          c. Deprecated (used to be a real rule)

    It says there must be a non-joker IN AN EXPOSED SET. And this is true. Dennis questioned this in January (that exchange has fallen off the bottom of this board, and can be seen at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive29.htm). I told him: "Think about how an exposed set is created. You'll see that it's not possible to make a lone exposed kong made of all jokers (without a natural tile in the finished exposure)... [since] The rule is that you can never claim a discarded joker!!!"

    and also that the asterisk after the letter 'a' should be after the answer to question # 4.
    No. The asterisk says you can't claim a discarded joker, which is the explanation for the answer to #3 being (a). The answer to 4 is (c), and I didn't feel it necessary to add an asterisk for that. It used to be a rule that a player could pick up the most recent natural when the next discarder discards a joker and says "same" - but the NMJL retracted that rule a long time ago.

    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
    June 3, 2014


    Can you use flowers to make pairs, etc. (part 2)

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 7:29 AM
    > Subject: Flowers
    > Good Morning,
    > Thank you for your reply. I realize that where it says F(flowers) on the card flowers are to be used, but what about where it says any pair or just shows PPP, KKKK or QQQQ and says any in the parenthetical. That is where our disagreement is. I understood that any meant any.
    > Thank you,
    > Anita

    Hi, Anita. You wrote:

    what about where it says any pair
    Are you looking at the National Mah Jongg League card, or are you looking at some other card? Because I don't see anything like that on the NMJL card.

    or just shows PPP, KKKK or QQQQ
    Those examples aren't helping me understand what you're asking, since the letters P, K, and Q are never used in any hand on the card. Can you pick one specific hand on the 2014 NMJL card and show me where you think flowers might be used even though it doesn't say F there?

    and says any in the parenthetical.
    The word "any" is usually qualified, like "any suit," or "any number." There's no place on the card where it says "any tile," or implies "any tile." The only place where you can use flowers is where you see F on the card. When you see F on the card, the only tile you are allowed to use is a flower. The word "any" never allows substituting another tile for a flower, or a flower for another tile. I'm sorry if my book seems to you to be ambiguous on this point.

    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
    June 3, 2014


    What about the Charleston, when there are three players?

    > From: Hellen M
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 5:26 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing American Mahjong with only 3 players, what do we do about Charlestons?

    Hi, Hellen. Please read FAQ 13A and column 532. You can click the FAQ 13a link above left, and you can click the purple column banner atop this page. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    June 2, 2014


    Grandma's set: valuation

    > From: Ellen O
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 1:42 PM
    > Subject: Grandmas set valuation
    > No racks, 144 tiles plus. 5 blanks, 1 die, 83 tokens asst colors, condition is good, dimensions are 7/8" x 1 1/2" x 1/2" thick, bone with bamboo backs, 8 flowers, no jokers, ornate wood box with no front door, no papers or instructions, 1 bam is peacock in pix and crack is also in pix.
    > Thank you for your time!
    > Tim &Ellen O

    Hi, Ellen.
    You did not send me a photo of all the pieces of your set. You say there are 149 tiles, but your photo shows only 144 of them. I assume that some of them don't match perfectly. I see that your grandma stickered some as extra flowers (thus your photo does not show your blank white dragons). I'm confused, since you say there are 8 flowers but in the photo I see 12 flowers (4 of them stickered).
    You say there is no front panel for the box, and the condition of everything is only "good." It's missing stuff and has extra stuff added, so it's not worth what it would be if it was complete. You might get $60 or 70 for 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
    June 2, 2014


    Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 11:38 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg flowers
    > Good Day to you.
    > Have really enjoyed your book The Red Dragon & The West Wind. Bought it to help my group learn this wonderful game. We do have one point of disagreement that I am not quite certain about. Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.
    > In one illustration you show flowers as a Sextet. Just want to be sure all of our group is on the same page. Thank you for your time and expertise.
    > Anita F

    Hi, Anita. I'm delighted that you have my book. Today you wrote:

    Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.
    In American mah-jongg, you can - in Chinese mah-jongg, you can't. I'm going to assume that you're asking about American mah-jongg. American mah-jongg is played using a card (a list of hands, not provided with my book). Just look on the card, and see if you see any hands with "F" in them. The F indicates that flowers must be used. Usually pairs or kongs (only rarely as pungs or sextets).

    In one illustration you show flowers as a Sextet.
    I assume you mean the one on page 77. You see that the representation of the hand says "FFFFFF" and so on -- that should tell you that when you see F on the card, you have to use flowers.

    Look on the 2014 card - the last three hands in the 2014 section. Two hands there contain FFFF, and one contains FF. I think it should be obvious that one would have to make a kong or pair of flowers in order to make those hands. When I was writing the book, I did not want to use any actual hands from any actual NMJL card, so as not to get in trouble with the League - so I made up a sextet hand. The easiest tile to make sextets from is the flower, since there are eight of them in the deck.

    But I get the point that I apparently never explicitly discussed the use of flowers in the book. I'll put it in my list of things to change if and when I do a second edition.

    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
    June 2, 2014


    What would Tom do?

    > From: Donna
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 9:39 AM
    > Subject: The hand that got away!
    > Hi Tom,
    > Played in a tournament yesterday and had to make a decision on which way to go, either 2,4,6,8 #5 or Consecutive #7. I was sitting with the following:
    > 2D 6D6D 7D 8D8D8D RR GG JJJ
    > I usually try to avoid needing a pair, but since I was closer to the Consecutive and it was very early in the game, I chose this hand. As luck would have it, I pulled in 2 more jokers which of course I couldn’t use. Someone got Mah Jongg before I could pick one of the 7Ds, all which were in the wall. Would you have played the hand this way?
    > By the way I won first place - -my first big win!!!!
    > Thanks,
    > Donna

    Hi Donna, you wrote:

    since I was closer to the Consecutive
    A LOT closer! For the Consec. hand you have to get rid of only one tile, but for the Evens hand you have to get rid of three.

    I pulled in 2 more jokers which of course I couldn’t use.
    You could use one (throw the 2D), and you have to discard the other since you need 7D for mah-jongg.

    Would you have played the hand this way?
    Yes. Congrats on your win!

    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
    June 2, 2014


    2 things: MCR and Chen Yumen

    >From: Ray H
    >Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 3:27 AM
    >Subject: MCR 2014 rules
    >Hi Tom,
    >I plan to go through the 2014 MCR ruleset released recently and compare it to the previously issued rules (dated 2006 I think) to see if any notable changes have occurred; but I wondered if perhaps you had already done this? (For other readers, the 2014 ruleset is linked in FAQ22!)
    >If you wish, I'll send you the results of my comparison.
    >One thing I have noticed is some clarification and additional examples in Appendix 1 (which now shows examples for most Fan). This has included and corrected at least some of the issues raised in your errata.
    > (Again for other readers, the errata is also available on at http://sloperama.com/tour/rulebook.htm...would be useful in FAQ22 too, unless I missed it!).
    >For example,
    >Your errata included;

    >The older ruleset showed;

    >And the 2014 ruleset now shows that two terminal chows are excluded hence agreeing with the errata;

    >On a different tack, do you have a high-res image of the biography of Chen Yumen shown on FAQ11c (the left hand part of the image)? I wanted to see if anything useful is written therein, but the image is too low-res to make out the characters. If you do have, could I possibly have a copy? (I know this was photo was taken quite a while ago, so it's a rather hopeful long shot!)
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

    I wondered if perhaps you had already done this?
    I glanced through it but didn't see anything noteworthy. I didn't spend a lot of time with it.

    If you wish, I'll send you the results of my comparison.
    Sure, that would be great.

    One thing I have noticed is some clarification and additional examples in Appendix 1 (which now shows examples for most Fan). This has included and corrected at least some of the issues raised in your errata.
    I'd forgotten I had collected errata of that ruleset.

    would be useful in FAQ22 too, unless I missed it!).
    I agree, so I added that link there this morning.

    the 2014 ruleset now shows that two terminal chows are excluded [from Four Shifted Chows] hence agreeing with the errata;
    Good.

    do you have a high-res image of the biography of Chen Yumen shown on FAQ11c
    That's a scan I made from the booklet of the Display Hall of the Birthplace of Mahjong, in Ningbo's Tianyi Pavilion. The image in the booklet is very small. Here's a new scan I made just this morning:

    That's the best I can do. I don't know if my scanner can do better than 200 dpi, and I don't think a photo I might take with my phone could do any better. As far as I can tell without a microscope, it appears that the tiny characters are illegible on the printed page. You would need to go to Ningbo and ask to see what they have on Chen Yumen (and I wish some bilingual person would do just that)

    In closing, I ask that you don't again send me pictures of text. Not only are your pictures small and hard to read, but worse, it was a pain in the butt to retrieve them from your email and post them here as pictures interspersed among the lines of your email. Much better to simply type the text one wishes to quote.

    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
    June 2, 2014


    What's the deal with those other cards?

    > From: Sara Z
    > Sent: Sunday, June 1, 2014 1:41 PM
    > Subject: American mah jong cards
    > Hi Tom,
    > I’ve been an NMJL mahj player for the past 7 years or so, and like most who play the game, I love it!
    > Our group has always only ever used the NMJL card (plus I play the online game as well), but I have noticed lately that there are two other alternate cards available, one by the AMJA
    > and one from Marvelous Mah Jong.
    > What is the difference with these two cards relative to the NMJL card which I believe is the gold standard?
    > I think the second one is more of a fun variation and adds more hands to play with for variety, but I’m not sure about the AMJA card.
    > I was thinking to purchase one of these cards as a gift to my group, just to mix it up a bit, but I’m unsure what these cards and hands are like.
    > Any information you can offer me would be appreciated.
    > Thanks,
    > Sara

    Hi, Sara. You wrote:

    I have noticed lately that there are two other alternate cards available
    Yes, as I discussed in FAQ 7i.

    What is the difference with these two cards relative to the NMJL card
    The hands are different. Have you never heard players start kvetching (around October or November) that the current card is getting boring?

    I was thinking to purchase one of these cards as a gift to my group, just to mix it up a bit, but I’m unsure what these cards and hands are like.
    You would need to buy four of them, of course.

    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
    June 1, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Mary E via PayPal
    > Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:05 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary E
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Mary E. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $25.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Mary E
    > Message: Wish it could be more but will try to help out here and there when I have extra! :)
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Mary,
    Thank you very much!
    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
    June 1, 2014


    The latest column

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:28 PM
    > Subject: column #606
    > Hi, Tom,
    > I think, in the latest defense column #606 that with item #8 there is another hand that could be represented by the tiles.......that would be odds hand #4 (it's too doggone late to be thinking about the 'hot tiles' though....sorry. :)
    > Mary E

    Good morning, Mary.
    That hand (a pung of twos in one suit, and a kong of fives in another suit) has twos in it, so I don't see how it could rightly belong in Odds. I'm guessing it was too doggone late last night to be thinking about the NMJL card. (~_^) Or maybe you were looking at a different puzzle.
    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
    May 30, 2014


    Column 605

    > From: "lindaz
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:46 AM
    > Subject: column #605
    > Hi Tom,
    > For column # 605, problem 10-- I think odds #2 is also a possibility. I really enjoy your quizzes!
    > Thanks, Linda

    Very good, Linda! That's another of those things I... um, intentionally... missed so a sharp-eyed reader like you could point it out. Double gotcha in that column. It's fixed 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
    May 28, 2014


    How does the color-coding work on the NMJL card?

    From: Suzan
    Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:10 PM
    Subject: Question re: 2014 card
    Hi Tom
    On Winds-Dragons hands 4 and 5 we have one player insisting that the pair must be bams, the pung only in craks and the kong in dots. Is this correct?
    Thank you, Suzan

    Well, Suzan, it might be correct that you have a player who says that - but what she says is incorrect! She does not understand how the color-coding works on the card. Read the back of the card, and read Frequently Asked Question 19-BY and FAQ 19-J. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    May 27, 2014


    Your comments on this ivory set

    > From: Rob
    > Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 8:20 PM
    > Subject: ivory set
    > Your comments please one complete set needs valuation located in Asia, it is identified as Ivory.
    > I have seen it is beautiful.
    > Under magnification there are no tell tale sign of being bone.
    > Came from a remote location and is left over from World War Two as far as we have been able to find out of its origins

    Hello, Rob. You asked...

    Your comments please
    As of Feb. 11, it is illegal to sell ivory items across state lines, and anyone who sells an ivory item must obtain a special certificate from the federal government based on proof that the item was not imported after it became illegal to import ivory into the United States from another country. So, if you are contemplating buying that set, don't. If you are contemplating selling that set, don'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
    May 27, 2014


    What does "racking" mean?

    > From: alyce t
    > Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 7:59 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > The question is concerning the "racking" of the tile-- Can it be over the rack, allowing any player to call for the tile or completely in the rack?
    > Thank you
    > Alyce T

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AD. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or 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
    May 26, 2014


    Column 605

    > From: "matzger
    > Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 12:27 PM
    > Subject: May 18 col. #605
    > Hi Tom,
    > First of all, THANK YOU for your super columns. My question, in example 6 (a pung of 6 cracks with a kong of 9 dots exposed), couldn't that exposure also point to a consecutive #2 hand? Couldn't it be 6pung, 7kong, 8 pung and 9 kong? You list only 369 #2 as a possibility.
    > If you've already answered this in your Q and A, I apologize. I'm sitting in my car in the Mt. Shasta area and was not able to open your Q and A site.
    > Gratefully,
    > Valerie M
    > Piedmont, CA

    Very good, Valerie! That's one of those things I... um, intentionally... missed so a sharp-eyed reader like you could point it out. It's fixed 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
    May 25, 2014


    My new custom case, part 2

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 9:39 AM
    > Subject: Re: More Mahjong madness
    > Heya Tom,
    > Actually, now that I measure them, they are 38mm. They were advertized as 40mm on ebay. It was listed as, "Professional Chinese Mahjong "Fortune Blessing" Large Tile Set Case" and showed the attached picture.
    > That case looks pretty fancy, but it was very flimsy, and felt like it was going to fall open every time I picked it up by the handle. So I took a trip out to Harbor Freight in North Hollywood and picked up their smallest tool case. It does need a little padding around the edges, but they fit without it. They just rattle around a little bit. And the Chinese letters are spray paint. I made a little stencil and sprayed them on.
    > I've attached a pic of the inside of the new case too.
    > Thanks again!
    > Nathan

    Very nice, Nathan. Looks like you don't have trays for your tiles inside the box. That might help with the rattling. Surely there were trays in your original flimsy case (you could use those for a dimension guide anyway, if they're too flimsy to be practical).
    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
    May 23, 2014


    Dealer's hand complete after the second pass (British/Australian/Western rules)

    > From: Wendy O ...@... .au
    > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:12 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Our group plays goulashes after a dead hand. Recently one of the players was able to call Mah Jongg after the second exchange of tiles. We couldn’t decide whether that was OK and that player should be declared the winner of that hand, or whether we needed to continue with the exchange once more, although it meant that player spoiling her hand. I can’t find a definitive answer in any of the rule books, or in any of your FAQ’s. My feeling is that the exchange can be stopped at any time if a Mah Jongg hand has been achieved.
    > I would much appreciate your reply. We love our Mah Jongg. (from Wendy)

    Hi, Wendy. Nice to hear from Down Under. You wrote:

    one of the players was able to call Mah Jongg after the second exchange of tiles.
    She must have been the dealer. No other player has 14 tiles at that point, so this is possible only with the dealer. In the following, I refer to the passing of tiles as the "Charleston" (not sure if your group is familiar with that term; some authors use different terms). The goulash refers to the whole hand (which begins with a Charleston) played after a hand that nobody won.

    We couldn’t decide whether that was OK and that player should be declared the winner of that hand, or whether we needed to continue with the exchange once more, although it meant that player spoiling her hand.
    Unlike American mah-jongg, the variant you play has no governing body - no organization or committee you can contact and ask for a ruling. If neither Thompson, Maloney, Strauser, Evans, Headley, Seeley, nor Robertson can be consulted, then I guess I'll have to do. All I can do is look to other mah-jongg variants and try to figure out "what would they do." The closest thing to a goulash in the mah-jongg world is the American Charleston (used in both National Mah Jongg League and Wright-Patterson rules - and the Wright-Pat game is more similar to the rules you use in Australia). Unfortunately, the situation you describe is so utterly rare that neither rule set specifies what should happen in this case.

    I wrote to the president of the NMJL and got her ruling (in writing, in a letter) on what should happen if the dealer's hand is complete right after the deal (before the Charleston begins) - the dealer wins in that case. She declares mah-jongg and no passes occur at all. But, per the NMJL rules, the first two passes of the Charleston are compulsory. If the dealer's hand is not complete, she must pass three tiles (the first pass). And the second pass is mandatory also (regardless of the hand's completeness). Blind-passing is permitted on only the third pass (in both NMJL and W-P) - that's a procedure in which, instead of removing tiles from one's own hand to give to another player, one takes tiles being passed from a neighbor to add to the tiles being given away to the other neighbor.

    Based on the foregoing, it would seem that the dealer in your case (having passed twice) can declare mah-jongg. HOWEVER... blind-passing is not discussed in any of the British or Australian books I checked, so your group probably doesn't recognize this rule, and this may not give us an answer.

    In NMJL play, the ruling authority says that a dealer whose hand is complete after the first pass of the Charleston must pass three tiles -- and yes, that would mean breaking up a complete hand. So this would seem to argue against your dealer. But that's NMJL (the oddball of the mah-jongg world). Maybe we should look to Asia for a moment.

    No Asian game uses this "pass three" mechanism or anything like it. In most Asian variants, whenever you have a complete hand, you can declare mah-jongg. (There are exceptions when playing a game with a minimum score requirement.) In Asia, a dealer whose hand is complete on the initial deal may declare "heavenly hand" and earn a very high score. And a player who can win on a dealer's first discard may declare "earthly hand" and earn a high score. Then there's "the hand of man," in which a player wins by discard during the first go-around (before the dealer's first regular pick from the wall). In my opinion, these three ways of winning are as close as we can get (in Asian forms) to dealer wins during a western Charleston.

    Based on the Asian way, in my opinion, it's wrong to force a dealer to break up a complete mah-jongg hand during a Charleston. (Although in NMJL, the oddball variant, the dealer would have to do just that, if her hand was complete after the first pass, since that's what I got in writing from its president). In the absence of written rules forcing a dealer to break up the hand, in my opinion, the dealer should be permitted to declare the win. Max Robertson notes that the Charleston makes the game much easier, and since it is possible for a dealer's hand to become complete during the process, we can see why.

    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
    May 23, 2014


    My new custom case

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 2:06 AM
    > Subject: More Mahjong madness
    > Hey Tom,
    > A trip to the hardware store, then a trip to the art supply store and, viola! I've got a box sturdy enough and cool enough to carry my ridiculously heavy new 40mm set.
    > Nathan
    > No need to post this if you don't wish to, but I thought it might amuse you.

    Hi, Nathan.
    That looks like a really good case. 40mm, you say? I didn't know they made tiles that big! The biggest I knew of were 36mm (Vietnamese tiles). Where did you get 40mm tiles?
    But to get back to the matter of the case. When you got the tiles originally, they probably came in one of these flimsy vinyl cases...

    Those are ridiculous (the handle can tear right out of the vinyl). I can understand the manufacturers wanting to save money, but it does make our job harder as owners, trying to come up with a case that's the right size and is sturdy enough, and doesn't look like crap. You did a nice job decorating the outside -- is that tape? And I have to wonder if you had to apply padding or space fillers inside.
    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
    May 23, 2014


    I want to complain but I can't find an email address

    > From: "sandbuckee
    > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:22 PM
    > Subject: Complaint
    > I have a complaint that I would like to lodge directly to the board of the N M L >
    > I can not find the officers' email address(es) Do you have it ?
    > S
    > Stefanie B

    Hi, Stefanie.
    Another thing you can add to your complaints is that the League doesn't do email. Use snailmail. Their address is on the card. If you want a reply, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Oh, and the president's name is Ruth Unger (see? Right there on the front page of the most recent newsletter).

    Happy complaining!
    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
    May 22, 2014


    2014 #2 again

    > From: Heather D
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:24 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > On the 2014 card there is some confusion in the 2014 section. Can the second hand be 222 bams, OOO, 1111 4444 cracks?
    > Sent from my
    > Heather

    Hi, Heather.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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
    May 21, 2014


    Does the other claimant get to take the tile now?

    > From: B <b4kopolos
    > Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 8:10 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Player A and Player B both called for my discarded tile. Player A called for Mah Jongg. However when she revealed her tiles she realized that she needed my tile for a kong and the discarded tile only created a pung. We called her dead.
    > Now player B said that because Player A could not use the tile, she should be entitled to it. We felt Player B could not retrieve the tile, since Player A had already placed it on her rack.
    > Thanks for your opinion.
    > Barbara A.

    Hi, Barbara.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-i (see the answer to the follow-up question).
    You can link to the FAQs above left. 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!
    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
    May 19, 2014


    Value of trays and sticks, part 2

    >From: Ronald E
    >Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 5:20 PM
    >Subject: Re: Link not active - my PC assumed

    Hi, Ron.
    That rack looks pretty beat up. You say you only have three of them. And I'm guessing those are your multiple sticks. I'm guessing you can get maybe $10 or $15 for the lot.
    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
    May 18, 2014


    Value of trays and sticks

    > From: Ronald E
    > Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 2:29 PM
    > Subject: Link not active - my PC assumed
    > Question for value on 3 ea. Black Flip trays and multiple sticks of the Doubling Scale #406 by M. S. Cowen & Co.
    > Labels in all tress do show ware as do the cases. Thank you for your guidance and suggestion as to selling price
    > and possible like to sell at.
    > Ron Metro-East St. Louis, Mo.

    Hi, Ron.
    You haven't given me enough information, and you didn't send me any pictures of your items. I'm not sure what you have and what condition it's in - see FAQ 7H (you can link to the FAQs above left). You wrote:

    3 ea. Black Flip trays
    Trays aren't worth much. Are you talking about racks, like this one...?

    That's called a "rack," not a tray. Here's a picture of some types of trays...

    If you're talking about racks, then the fact that you have just three of them is a problem. They're supposed to come in fours. See FAQ 7D.

    and multiple sticks
    "Multiple" is a little vague. Like it says in FAQ 7D, a 1920s set usually came with:

    • Two 500-point chips each player. (total: 8)
    • Nine 100-point chips each player. (total: 36)
    • Eight 10-point chips each player. (total: 32)
    • Ten 2-point chips each player. (total: 40)

    If that count doesn't match what you have, then you're missing some. Or of course, you might have Japanese sticks instead of Chinese (different count, as per FAQ 7D).

    of the Doubling Scale #406 by M. S. Cowen & Co.
    I'd need to see a picture, and you'd need to tell me the condition. There's a condition description in FAQ 7H.

    Labels in all tress do show ware as do the cases.
    You'd have to be more specific about the wear before I can be of any help.

    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
    May 18, 2014


    My grandchildren

    > From: Shar T
    > Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 5:50 PM
    > Subject: Age for learning
    > Hi Tom,
    > My grandchildren have an interest in learning MahJong - what age would you recommend to be the earliest to learn?
    > They are self-directed home-schooled children ages 10, 12, 14.
    > Thank you.
    > Shar T

    The earliest? Probably 8 or 9. If your grandkids can handle rummy or Monopoly or backgammon, they can handle mah-jongg.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Elaine Sandberg

    > From: "kettenis
    > Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 2:28 PM
    > Subject: Elaine Sandberg
    > ----- Forwarded Message -----
    > Dear Mr.Sloper,
    > After my wife and I enjoyed Elaine Sandberg's book for which you wrote
    > the foreword, we wanted to express our appreciation. Sadly, we found
    > that her website "American Mah Jongg for Beginners" was not working
    > properly, and then learned that she had suffered a stroke in 2013. Now
    > we are hoping she is doing better and would like to send her a Get
    > Well note. Can you give me an update on her condition and a contact to
    > send our card or e-mail?
    > Thank you so much,
    > Albert

    Hi, Albert.
    I'm sorry to say that I don't know what Elaine's condition is now. I sympathize with your quest, but I do not give out contact information. I have forwarded your email to Elaine's daughter so that she can respond to you directly, if she so chooses.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Origins, part 17

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 8:59 PM
    > Subject: Primary source
    > > Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) [China] The game of shi pai evolved into dominoes, known as xuan he pai, in the 2nd year of King Hui Zong's reign. Poetry was no longer part of the game, and the 32 dominoes' 227 pips were intended to represent constellations. A trick-taking game, dou tian jiu (Heaven's Nine), is still played today. Today the dominoes are known as tian jiu pai. Rules for this game can be read athttp://www.pagat.com/multitrk/tiengow.html. Source: John Low, in a Nov. 2005 newsgroup post, and backed by the MJM, who states these facts a bit differently...
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.htm
    > Where does John Low and MJM(MJM is book of mahjong museum in Chiba,Japan right?) get their primary sources?

    I have no way of knowing that, Darren.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Origins, part 16

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 6:49 AM
    > Subject: Tien Jiu Pai
    > >The most popular tricks game that developed using "Xuan He Pai" was called "Dou Tian Jiu", which means "FIGHTING SKY/HEAVEN'S NINE". "Xuan He Pai" today is usually called "TIAN JIU PAI" due to the past huge popularity of "Dou Tian Jiu".
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11b.htm
    > Tien Jiu is Tian Gow right? Do you know when does the earliest reference of Tien Gow/Tien Jiu appear in China?

    Darren, you wrote:

    Tien Jiu is Tian Gow right?
    Yes. Mandarin --> Cantonese.

    Do you know when does the earliest reference of Tien Gow/Tien Jiu appear in China?
    See FAQ 11H.

    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
    May 16, 2014


    Several times a year, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

    WANNA SEE MORE MAH-JONGG Q&A?
    CLICK HERE to go back in time and read older Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!
    CLICK HERE to return to the present and see the latest Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!


      Color key


        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
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        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Red = a forbidden technical support question about a computer game. Or any question that makes ME unhappy.
        Orange = a weird or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment, one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


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