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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg, and get answers, usually within hours!
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  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


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  • Regarding the 2017 NMJL card, and the "Like Numbers" section:
    You may use "ANY like number."
    The League says so in their FAQ.
    Note that the section is called "Like Numbers," not "Ones."
     
    For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16.

    Some rulings from the League, part 3

    >From: Linda L L
    >To: Barney G; Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:13 AM
    >Subject: NMJL
    >Good morning, Guys.
    > I just got off of the phone with Joy at National Mah Jongg League headquarters asking for a verification of the correction for my September 19 letter the line that reads "If player C does...," should read " If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles..."
    >She stated again they are working on updating the Mah Jobgg Made Easy book, and they have also started work on the 2018 card. She said the book will have all updates/ rule changes, and, except for the annual bulletin, there isn't any other way to know what other letters have gone out across the country.
    >That's all the trouble I'm stirring up today! Have a great afternoon wherever you are. Some of us out here on the west coast will be busy playing Siamese Mah Jongg. ?????????
    >?????????
    >Linda L. L

    >From: Barney G
    >To: Linda L L
    >Cc: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: NMJL
    >Funny. I missed the typo - although I knew what she meant. Thx Linda. Enjoy the day !
    >??????

    I'm still missing something.
    The League's last "what if" scenario doesn't make sense in the context of Linda's question. Player C has already exposed some 1-dots with a joker. "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead." What does this mean, did Player C take Player A's joker and give Player C a joker? How's that make her dead? I can see this in an entirely different scenario - if Player C had 1-bams with a joker, and Player A handed her a flower and got a joker in exchange, then yes, Player C has an illegal exposure and can be called dead. Perhaps that's what the last "what if" scenario is referring to.
    The big news here is that the League is going to incorporate all their rulings into a revised rulebook. That'll be a huge benefit for the players.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 28, 2017


    Some rulings from the League, part 2

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:28 PM
    >Subject: My Letter to NMJL
    >Here is the letter I sent to NMJL:
    >Thanks for your previous comments!
    >Keep on mahjing!
    >������⛩
    >Linda L. L

    >From: Linda L L
    >Date: Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:28 PM
    >Subject: My Letter to NMJL
    >I forgot to say Donna E and I think NMJL made a typo - that last line should likely read: If players C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes your tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead.
    >"doesn't" bring the operative word. I'll call NMJL tomorrow to get that corrected.

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:36 PM
    >Subject: NMJL Response
    >Help ! Now I see my own typos.
    >Third time will be a charm!
    >"If player C does (sic) realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead."
    >Does should be doesn't.
    >������⛩
    >Linda L. L

    Good morning, Linda! Let me get this straight: In the League's second letter below, the last "what if" scenario, you're saying, ought to read: "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead."
    In any case, The Player A in your letter to Joy clearly made a blunder in placing her tile on the discard floor. The fact that she had taken the wrong tile out of her hand simply confounds the blunder (now she hasn't only wasted a redeemable tile - she's wasted a joker). In a tournament, her turn would definitely be over. But in a home game, the League's response in their second letter below seems to indicate, the players can try to rectify the error if it's realized immediately.

    If Player C (the holder of the joker exposure) realizes Player A's mistake, the League is saying, she can just say to Player A, "don't put that on the discard floor, silly! Give me a 1-dot and the joker is yours." (Again: this assumes a home game, not a tournament.)
    But the League's last "what if" scenario doesn't make sense in the context of your question. Player C has already exposed some 1-dots with a joker. "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead." What does this mean, did Player C take Player A's joker and give Player C a joker? How's that make her dead? I can see this in an entirely different scenario - if Player C had 1-bams with a joker, and Player A handed her a flower and got a joker in exchange, then yes, Player C has an illegal exposure and can be called dead. Perhaps that's what the last "what if" scenario is referring to. But there are too many if-what-ifs to be certain.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 28, 2017


    Some rulings from the League

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:27 PM
    >Subject: NMJL Letters
    >Hi Tom, thought you might be interested in what NMJL had to say about my most recent questions. Please feel free to use them as you see fit. Do you have an reaction to either?
    >Thanks for all your hard, consuming work! Linda
    >����️��️⛩
    >Linda L. L

    Hi, Linda! Thanks so much for sharing those. You asked for my reactions:
    As for the ruling on picking from the wrong end of the wall: I had not realized that I'd never addressed the question, either in FAQ 19 or in my book. The closest thing I found was a correction in the errata (accessible from the RDWW page on my site), in talking about taking tiles during the deal:
    P. 59 - Rule 90.c. is wrong. If the wrong wall is used, game is thrown in. Note, though, that if someone made mah-jongg while the wrong wall was in use, the win is honored. Source: 1997 and 1999 bulletins.
    I see that I need to address picking a single tile from the back end of the wall, in both FAQ 19 and in my errata. I can't say that I knew, before, that this was a death penalty. All I can say now is: "good to know."
    Putting a tile on the table and saying "give me that joker, please" - I have long taught my students not to do that. And I say in FAQ 19-M not to do that.
    As for Player C and Player A and some mistake someone made, I don't know what question is being answered, so I can't really respond. If it's about a player giving a joker-holder the wrong tile to exchange for a joker, then it's up to the joker-holder to make sure she's getting the correct tile. If it's about a joker-holder giving the wrong tile to a joker-redeemer, it's the responsibility of the recipient to make sure she's getting a joker. But now I've spent two "if" sentences that may have no bearing whatsoever on the question! So don't read those two sentences.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 27, 2017


    Eighteen Monks, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 1:10 AM
    >Subject: Eighteen Monks - how's it possible?
    >Hi Tom,
    >The Eighteen Monks hand referred to by Liz B is indeed a hand in some Asian variants of Mahjong, certainly in Singapore. It is known as 十八羅漢, Shiba Luohan (or Sap Baat Lo Han depending on local accents), which means "eighteen arhats". An arhat is (in this case) one of the original followers of the Buddha, hence can be thought of as a monk.
    >This is certainly a hand that you dont want to deal the winning tile into, as if you do you pay all the points (and I think it's a limit hand too, so it'll cost you dearly).
    >You may see the hand expressed as:
    >18 Arhat
    >18 Luohan
    >18 Lohan
    >Or (as in Liz's example) 18 Monks
    >The hand is made just as Liz described, 4 Kongs and a Pair.
    >Best Regards
    >Ray

    Thanks for that information, Ray!
    I'm more familiar with the name "Four Kongs." In Japanese, suu kan tsu.
    四槓子
    四槓
    四杠
    The Mahjong Wiki, I see, lists the term "18 Buddhas."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 21, 2017


    Eighteen Monks - how's it possible?

    >From: liz b
    >Cc: nita
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:05 AM
    >Subject: Re: just a ton of appreciation
    >one off the wall question, and i have searched with no luck, so i
    >implore you.
    >winning hands that have more than 14 tiles? have you ever heard of
    >one called Eighteen Monks?
    >four kongs and a pair of eyes?
    >inquiring minds really want to know. i cannot imagine a better resource
    >than you!

    Hi, Liz!
    Interesting question. I never heard the term "Eighteen Monks" before, but I'm familiar with Four Kongs hands, from Asian forms of mah-jongg. In Asian mah-jongg, a kong is treated like a glorified pung. The tile count in a hand can go over fourteen when there's a kong in the hand. You may be familiar with how in checkers, one piece can be "kinged" or "crowned" by stacking two checkers - the two-checker stack is treated like one piece. In Asian mah-jongg, the typical hand is "four sets and a pair (of eyes)." The set can be a chow or a pung … or a kong. Chows and pungs are sets of three, and the fact that the kong is a set of four necessitates taking an extra tile into the hand so that one can still have "four sets and a pair," whenever a set is a kong. See FAQ 20-D.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2017


    Just a ton of appreciation

    >From: liz b
    >Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2017 9:06 AM
    >Subject: just a ton of appreciation
    >from me and so many friends who live in the love of this game.
    >your explanations and sense of humor make learning new ways irresistible!
    >thanks for being you.

    Thank YOU, Liz! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 17, 2017


    Looking for cleaning tips, part 2

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 6:02 PM
    >Subject: Re: Pung Chow Set
    >Thank you....I did read your post. I just was not sure if Pyralin can be cleaned with alcohol.

    Sorry, Ruth - I honestly don't know. I haven't tried everything in that FAQ. If alcohol is safe on Bakelite and catalin, then I imagine it's safe on Pyralin. I don't even know if alcohol is safe on paint! Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 15, 2017


    Looking for cleaning tips

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 5:11 PM
    >Subject: Pung Chow Set
    >Hello,
    >I just purchased a Vintage Pung Chow set made of Pyralin. Please let know what to use to clean the tiles with. Can they be polished? What would I use?
    >Thank you for your time.
    >Best,
    >Ruth B

    Hi, Ruth! All the cleaning tips I've collected are in FAQ 7o ("seven oh," not "seventy"). You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left. Good luck! And I guess it's pointless to add… May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 15, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v7.0

    >From: "kayc103
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:29 AM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Question 1: the 2017 card shows Like Numbers as 1111 and 2222, says any 2 suits, with no mention that it incudes any like numbers as did the 2016 card. Does it mean that only the numbers 1 and 2 are applicable?
    >Why are flowers numbered? Very confusing..---looks like the 1 Bam. For example if you're doing 3's, 6's, 9's do the flower numbers have to somehow coincide?
    >Thank you!
    >Kay C

    Hi, Kay! You asked:

    the 2017 card shows Like Numbers as 1111 and 2222
    I don't follow you. I don't see any twos in the Like Numbers hands on the 2017 card.

    Does it mean that only the numbers 1 and 2 are applicable?
    If you scroll up a short distance, you'll see the answer right there. You can also find the answer in FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Why are flowers numbered?
    See FAQ 19-CB. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!

    if you're doing 3's, 6's, 9's do the flower numbers have to somehow coincide?
    Nope! The flower numbers are meaningless in American mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017


    Is she rude, or just unwittingly inconsiderate?

    >From: Rosemary R
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 9:21 AM
    >Subject: Is this rude?
    >Tom, I am currently playing Maj twice a week, On Monday's I play with 4 or 5 women...depending on who shows up...at a community center. When I have displayed 2 sets of tiles, she will stop at her turn to scour the playing card to determine which hand I am playing. she will often use her finger to scan the page and stop and say, "Ah, I see it"!! I have told her to keep playing..and she responds. "I'm just trying to see what hand you're playing so I don't give you what you need."! Well, duh!! Of course, players should know that ...but it should be in their head, or looked for surreptitiously! Is she rude or what? It takes the fun out of the game for me. Why should I try to finish a hand under those circumstances?

    Hi, Rosemary!
    I love it. (^_^) The poor dear! She appears to be a hapless beginner who's just discovered that there's strategy involved, and thinks she's being smart. But she has not yet discovered the importance of etiquette. And she has not yet learned enough about strategy to keep her observations to herself.
    In the interest of harmony, I recommend you be careful about how you handle this. The wrong choice of words can easily make her defensive and angry. I do not have the magic words for you, but it would help the game if you can somehow find a way to gently inform her:

  • When she has two exposures, everybody else at the table knows what she's doing, and they don't shout it out to everyone.
  • When the other players see two exposures, they don't make everyone wait while they figure out what's safe to discard. The time to think about what to discard next is between turns - so she doesn't hold up the game for everyone else.

    Good luck, Rosemary. This is a tricky minefield to navigate!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017


    She was so flustered she looked at the three tiles she was blind passing

    >From: Doris S
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:52 PM
    >Subject: Incredible Hand
    >Last night the East player had Mah-Jongg at the end of the second across of the
    >Charleston. Since she could do a blind pass on the second right, she picked up the three tiles on her left and passed them directly to the player on her right. Well, not exactly "directly." She was so flabbergasted to find herself with the 14 tiles needed for Mah-Jongg, she looked at the pass before passing them along. They never touched the table, but the pass was not "blind." Should this Mah-Jongg have been disqualified?
    >Thanks.
    >Doris S

    Hi, Doris!
    Very interesting. Yes, we do get flustered when something amazingly lucky happens. (^_^)
    Although I had listed "peeking at the blind pass" as a death penalty in FAQ 19-AA, the League does not actually recognize that as a death penalty* (I just now edited that out of FAQ 19-AA). All she has to do is refuse the courtesy pass and declare mah-jongg. She wins!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017

    *At a tournament, a death penalty might apply. That's up to the tournament judges to decide.


    Can a joker be used in a kong or pung of zeroes?

    >From: A R
    >Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2017 9:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >Hello Tom,
    >My question is: can a joker be used in the O kong in 2017 #1 and O pong in 2017 #4 ? I read somewhere that only soaps can be used for 0s
    >Thank you
    >Amy

    Hi, Amy!
    The answer is on the back of the card. The left pane, the paragraph above the numbered rules:

    Jokers may be used to replace any tile in any Pung, Kong, Quint, or Sextet only.

    The rule says "any" tile, in "any" set of three or more identical tiles. What you read somewhere, that "only soaps can be used for 0s" (perhaps you saw that in FAQ 16? I just now changed it) was not intended to mean, and does not mean, that jokers cannot be used in a set of three or more zeroes (or any other tile).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2017


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card.
    Many frequently asked questions are answered on the card.


    Column 687, #3, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, September 2, 2017 4:44 AM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I think I understand your explanation. I just could not imagine anyone exposing a pung/kong/quint of jokers before calling maj (I mean, why would you do that?) but only at the time of the win. Clever trick question, Tom!!

    Good morning, Linda!
    I'm glad you get it now. I didn't intend it as a trick question - I can imagine someone doing it. (It's a good thing you couldn't!) I can imagine two ways someone might do it -
    {1} illegally claiming a discarded joker (unaware that it's illegal) and exposing a pung of jokers, or
    {2} simply [illegally] exposing a complete joker pung after picking a tile from the wall (a thing a raw beginner might do, out of a misguided misconception that Mah-Jongg rules are the same as Rummy rules).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 2, 2017


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:35 PM
    >Subject: Fw: dead Concealed hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Hope you help me understand this issue:
    >Today a player exposed two Norths and a Joker.
    >I looked at it, thought it was a dead hand but said nothing. No one else
    >called her dead....
    >Later she put out (3)3 cracks with a joker. (she was playing
    >Winds-Dragons Concealed hand #3)
    >Then she was called dead. She stopped playing.
    >Later someone wanted to redeem a North for her joker.
    >Was the joker with the Norths good to redeem because no one had called that
    >exposure dead and we continued to play for a while??????????
    >Thanks,
    >Bette

    Hi, Bette!
    My apologies for the delay in replying. I don't know why, but your email was in my "Spam" folder. I found it just now when I was cleaning it out.
    The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-P. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!
    Answer: Any jokers exposed in the course of making the fatal blunder are dead (not redeemable). All portions of the hand exposed erroneously are to be returned to the sloping front of the rack. Those erroneous jokers were not supposed to stay atop the dead player's rack in the first place. See FAQ 19-P.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2017


    Column 687, #3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, September 1, 2017 6:19 PM
    >Subject: wait--what??
    >Hi Tom,
    >I must be very dense--I don't understand the reasoning behind your answer to question #3 in column 687. For example, if I win MJ and expose 3 jokers in place of any other pung, how is that not logical? Would you please elaborate?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    Perhaps the question could have been written more clearly. The question doesn't say what you seem to think it's saying. It says:

    3. You must have a natural tile (a non-joker) in an exposed set of identical tiles (pung, kong, quint).

    It says "in an exposed set" - it doesn't say "in an exposed hand" - I'll try again, with a picture. Here's what a player has exposed atop her rack:

    That's all she has atop her rack. No other tiles. Can she do that? How?
    Below the answers in column 687, it says:

    *You cannot claim a discarded joker - you can only claim a discarded natural. So there must be at least one natural in an exposed set. Not specifically stated in rulebook, but logical from accurate knowledge of the way the rules work.

    Make more sense now? May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2017


    Can she change her exposure, part 7

    Dear readers:
    In regards to this controversial question: should it be permitted for a player who had put up the wrong tiles in the course of making an exposure to make a correction (and replace the wrongly exposed tiles with the tiles that match the taken discard)?
    - If this happened in a casual setting, such as at someone's home: I would say yes. Let the player replace the tiles. She committed herself to making an exposure, and as long as she had not yet discarded, she should be permitted to correct the exposure (of course she is not permitted to change her mind about making an exposure at all; she is required to make an exposure).
    - If this happened at a tournament, though, and I was a tournament judge: I would say no. I would declare the player dead. Stricter rules apply in a tournament setting.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2017


    I say she can't change her exposure, part 6

    >From: NA NA
    >Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2017 9:22 AM
    >Subject: Mahjonng Question
    >Good Morning From Louisiana,
    >Question: A player calls for a red dragon which has been discarded, but puts up three one craks on her board and then changes the one craks for red dragons, and said that she could change any tiles exposed on her board for the tile she really wanted to discard.
    >I say that once tiles have been exposed on her board they cannot be exchanged.
    >Please provide us an answerer.
    >Thank you.
    >Flo M

    Hi, Flo. Hope you're safe and dry there in Louisiana. I'll be calling my uncle in Denham Springs today to see how he's doing. Anyway, the question you asked was just discussed recently. Please scroll down and read "They said she can't change her exposure, part 5" from Belinda G on Sunday, August 27. Conversations here are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top - earlier at the bottom). If you disagree with my answer to Bee, or just want the official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone it in).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 31, 2017


    Where does one find this rulebook?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:33 PM
    >Subject: rules handbook
    >Hi Tom,
    >First time questioner here,
    >You quote the NMJL official rulebook but I cannot find one for sale. I see a
    >directions booklet on the NMJL site but not a handbook/rulebook.
    >Where does one find this handbook?
    >Thanks,
    >Bette

    Hi, Bette!
    If you click (with your mouse, if you're on a desktop computer) or tap (with your finger, if you're on an tablet computer) this picture, you'll go straight to the nationalmahjonggleague.org store.

    That instruction book you saw on the NMJL site, "Mah Jongg Made Easy," IS what I'm talking about whenever I say "official rulebook." Sorry if I've misled you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 30, 2017


    Can you have a pung of zeroes, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:55 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $50.00 USD from Bill P (wdP.
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
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    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Bill P
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Bill! That's generous of you. I guess I must have answered your question! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 30, 2017


    Can I call a discard to expose a 201x?

    >From: Laura G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 3:20 PM
    >Subject: 2017
    >Tom,
    >Can you call a tile for exposure for "2017"? Not for Mah Jong, just for an exposure.
    >Thanks.
    >Laura

    Hi, Laura!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-E1. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. The phrase you're looking for is "Can I call a discard to expose a 201x (or a NEWS)?" 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!
    Hint: "2017" is not a kong. It's four singles.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 30, 2017


    Can you have a pung of zeroes with a joker in it?

    >From: Bill P
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 3:24 PM
    >Subject: Zeros
    >Tom,
    >Soap, Soap, Joker can make a Pung of Blue Dragons, since two Soaps are a matching pair and a Joker made to make it a Pung.
    >But can Soap, Soap, Joker make three Zeros? Seems to me the Soaps are not matching tiles per Sandberg's definition on page 29, therefore not a pair, but simply stand for two Zeros only.
    >Bill

    Hi, Bill!
    I checked Sandberg on page 29 (I assume you mean her first book, A Beginner's Guide), and I can't see any words there that ought to have caused such confusion. Oh wait, were you talking about her last book, Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies? I see there that she did something inadvisable, pre-assigning jokers during the Charleston, and I see that she interposed a joker in a dragon pung. Even odder, the number of dragons changes from page 28 to page 29, and she never mentioned any dragons in the description of the passes. If this is what's confusing you, that's understandable. There's something wrong there but I don't know what it is, and I would stop worrying about it.

    Anyway, you asked if a joker can be used in a pung of zeroes. Here, I'll draw you a picture (actually, two):

       
    Left: a valid pung of soaps.    Right: a valid pung of zeroes.
    In both cases: a valid pung of white dragons.
    *

    "Soap" and "zero" and "white dragon" are all the same tile. (*Nobody calls them "blue dragons.") A joker can be used to represent any tile (it says so on the back of the NMJL card.) You should read everything on the card, front and back.
    I hope I have answered your question. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 29, 2017


    Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair?

    >From: Tess G
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 10:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If your program is pairs. Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair? Not a joker.
    >Thank you

    Hi, Tess! You asked:

    If your program is pairs.
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're saying.

    Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair? Not a joker.
    I don't know what "steal" means! Honest! People use it to mean so many different things. In fact, somebody wrote to me the other day and used the word "steal" to mean "redeem a joker." Let's see, what day was that? That was on the... oh! That was you! As I told you last Wednesday (below), I think it's confusing to use the word "steal" to mean so many different things. I think it's confusing to use the word "steal" at all, except in the real-world criminal sense.

    In the context of today's question, though, I think you are asking "Can I claim a discard if I'm waiting to win on a single or a pair?" That's Frequently-Asked Question 19-E3. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    And please also read Column #353 to see what I mean about the word "steal."

    (In answer to your question: yes. You cannot claim a discard to complete a pair, UNLESS it's for mah-jongg. So yes, if you are waiting to complete a pair and someone discards your mahj tile, yes, you may claim it for the win. Mah-jongg is the trumping exception to some of the other rules.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 29, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 5
    >From: Belinda G
    >Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Another bit of info
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read your info on the question that Pat L proposed. I found the document on Mah Jongg That's It. It is a list of questions that someone proposed to Marilyn prior to her death. In particular I think the Calling a Discard section, answer #6 applies to this scenario. I will attempt to attach the screen shot of the list of questions. But if it does not attach, it is named NMJL rules and is at the bottom of the second page.
    >However, I agree with you that it seems too strict to call someone dead for this minor error especially if the person "heard" the discard incorrectly. It happened recently to one of our players. We let her continue as we were playing outside with some background noises so we felt that she simply misheard the discarder. The discarder discarded a 1 crak and she thought she said 1 dot. I like to play by the rules but I suppose some people play strictly by rules and would insist she was dead. Tournaments too, I suppose.
    >Love your site,
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    Thanks for clarifying which file in "Mah Jongg, That's It" you were referring to. That's the file "Rulings from NMJL.jpg", and the reason I didn't think that was what you were referring to is because the issue in question is not "changing my mind about taking a discard or not" but rather "changing my mind about which tiles I'm exposing from my hand." The Marilyn Starr letter only addresses the former; it does not address the latter (and the latter is Pat L's question).

    1. Someone discards a tile and says its name. You say "I'll take that." If you don't pick it up or expose any of your tiles, you can change your mind.
    2. You say "I'll take that," and touch it to the top of your rack and change your mind - too late. You have to make an exposure. If you realize that the tile was misnamed, there is a rule that applies. You goofed big time, and if you can't complete the exposure, you're dead. You should have never put the tile atop your rack.
    3. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that for the hand you're trying to make, you need a pung, not a kong. You haven't discarded yet, so your turn isn't over yet. You are permitted to correct the error, and put one of the tiles back into your hand.
    4. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that the tiles you've put up on the rack are the wrong ones - and you don't have tiles in your hand that match the discard. Whether you misheard the tile's name or the discarder misnamed it, you goofed big time, and since you can't make the exposure, you're dead. You should have never put the tiles atop your rack.
    5. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that the tiles you've put up on the rack are the wrong ones (they don't match the taken discard) - the correct ones are still on the sloping front of your rack. You haven't discarded yet, so your turn isn't over yet. The question raised by Pat L is, are you permitted to correct that error, and put the correct tiles up (swapping them for the tiles you had put up). This question has NOT been answered by the League, certainly not in the Marilyn Starr letter. That letter states the principles listed in FAQ 19-AM2.

    So I'm back to square one. I'm going back to what I said on August 24.  I believe FAQ 19-AF answers this question - you have committed to making an exposure. But you are permitted to make changes to that exposure as long as you have not discarded yet. I withdraw the strikeouts I made late the night of the 24th.

    But, as always, if you want an official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone the question - see FAQ 19-BN).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 27, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong, part 3

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 10:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >Thanks for note regarding Search Engine box on web site.
    >I am very careful to try as far as possible not to use local table variations and always look for definitive verification in writing of any possibly contentious queries before passing information on to new players which is why everything I work with is under documented BMJA rules as noted.
    >Here is the link to the " Goulash " variation specifically defined under BMJA rules.
    >http://www.mahjongbritishrules.com/game/variations.html
    >The "variation" it is referring to is the "Goulash" itself which is played after every drawn game and lists the rules relative to Joker use.
    >(Following your last search engine advise I also found that you have a link within your FAQs to the main BMJA web site in which this appears)
    >Once you have reviewed the Goulash exceptions as noted I would still love to have your thoughts / experiences / options on my "Wild tile pick up, additional wild tile in Kong when going Mah Jong" question which is really a query on the veracity of one specific point to see if I can i understand exactly what the intent was in the rule as written it and what I should watch for when this occurs. At the moment the two queries which I raised relating to Kongs are open as I don't have a complete understanding of them but relative to the second query it looks like the "joker replacement in a Kong in a Goulash game" may become our first "Club Table Rule"
    >Thanks again for you help and look forward to your re-considered reply to the first part of my query
    >Regards
    >Willie W

    Hi, Willie.
    I'm so used to relying on my library of mah-jongg books that I didn't think to go exploring websites. In addition, when I replied to you yesterday, I didn't want to check joker rules in Australian books out of a misplaced notion that the rules might differ. (Even worse of me, I checked only the Headley & Seeley book, Know The Game, and not any of the others.) Anyway, the MahjongBritishRules website you linked me to is not the official BMJA site, but does have the "BMJA approved" logo on it. The site describes the joker rules you cited yesterday. Going by those rules, to answer your question:

    I would still love to have your thoughts / experiences / options on my "Wild tile pick up, additional wild tile in Kong when going Mah Jong" question which is really a query on the veracity of one specific point to see if I can i understand exactly what the intent was in the rule as written
    I need to go back in time to your original question (bold emphasis added by me):

    Looking at the exceptions I can develop scenarios where the wild tile picked up can be used as an additional Joker in Pairs and Pungs and go Mah Jong but fail to arrive at a scenario where it can be picked up for a Kong and go Mah Jong - ( the Kong box replacement tile would need to be enacted after this Joker pick up and thus the precursor to the exception - going Mah Jong - wouldn't apply. Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it. 
    Now we have to refer to what it says on the MJBR website:

      There is one exception to the above restrictions. If a player picks up a wild tile which would allow him to go Mah-Jong, an additional wild tile can be used to make a pair, pung or kong.

    I guess the part that's boggling your mind is the last two words: "or kong." And guess what: it boggles mine, too. Why not just ignore those words; assume they are in error and shouldn't be there. Hmm, or then again - what if the kong-replacement tile (from the kong box) is a wild tile. The rule seems to be basically saying that if the last tile one obtains to complete the hand is a wild tile, don't worry about wild tile maximums because hey, you win. Mah-jongg trumps everything.

    relative to the second query it looks like the "joker replacement in a Kong in a Goulash game" may become our first "Club Table Rule"
    Be aware that you are permitting a suspicious and possibly illegal American immigrant into your British rules with that one. It comes with baggage, and your immigration people may not have thoroughly inspected that baggage. Joker rules confuse American players more than any other rules. As it says in FAQ 14, you have to be prepared to deal with questions or conflicts that may arise out of adoption of a foreign rule. If you go to FAQ 19, you'll see that the very first category of frequently asked questions in the American game is Jokers. And when you click the "Jokers" link, you'll see that there are a LOT of frequently-asked joker questions (that's why I put that section up top). Before you adopt an American rule, you should check out what you're getting. (~_^)

    May the tiles be with you. Cheers!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 27, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong, part 2

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 1:20 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >Thanks for reply on web site. Love reviewing lots of bits other than my own . Is there a search engine facility on the site? Probably there and I have missed it.
    >A small point - (and 2 supplemental queries) -
    >In a Goulash the following restrictions to the use of Jokers are noted in rules
    >Only one wild tile can be used to make a pair or a pung
    >No more than 2 wild tiles can be used to make a kong
    >You can use 3 or 4 wild tiles to make a special hand, but not as a pung/kong of just wild tiles ( note:- I think this would make you second "what if" invalid)
    >There is one exception to the above restrictions. If a player picks up a wild tile which would allow him to go Mah-Jong, an additional wild tile can be used to make a pair, pung or Kong .
    >Looking at the exceptions I can develop scenarios where the wild tile picked up can be used as an additional Joker in Pairs and Pungs and go Mah Jong but fail to arrive at a scenario where it can be picked up for a Kong and go Mah Jong - ( the Kong box replacement tile would need to be enacted after this Joker pick up and thus the precursor to the exception - going Mah Jong - wouldn't apply.
    >Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it.
    >One other question on slightly different but partly related topic whilst writing - in Goulash, in normal circumstances and not fishing, with a concealed Kong effectively really still in your hand is it ok to substitute a natural tile drawn from the wall for 1 of the 2 Jokers you are allowed in the Kong and then use that Joker elsewhere. This is obviously not drawing a wild card so still doesn't solve my query above and I know my class will be asking this additional question shortly ??- they are really keen and sharp.
    >Apologise if there are very obvious answers that I have missed in this but sometimes brain freeze kicks in.??
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie

    Hi, Willie. Welcome back. You asked:

    Is there a search engine facility on the site? Probably there and I have missed it.
    I don't know what you mean exactly. Here on this page, you can use Control-F to find key words. If you want to find information on other pages (but don't know which pages the information is on) you can use Google to search for "the information I want sloperama.com" (substituting what information you want for the phrase "the information I want"). And the list of FAQs above left is a directory of the types of information available here. I did have a Google search box on this page, but Chrome recently informed me that it was written in an insecure manner (even though the search box was written by Google - albeit several years ago), so I had to delete it.

    In a Goulash the following restrictions to the use of Jokers are noted in rules
    >Only one wild tile can be used to make a pair or a pung ...
    As I understand it, there is no one master set of rules governing goulash jokers as you describe. As far as I know, every group sets its own goulash rules and joker rules. The joker restrictions you describe are not contained in the BMJA book.

    Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it.
    It sounds to me like a rather complicated and custom set of table rules. I really can't help settle arguments, or construct imaginary scenarios, that come out of custom table rules. Read FAQ 14. You can link to the FAQs above left. If I'm mistaken, and these rules are in print somewhere where I can see them, give me the book title/author or the web URL and I can have a look. But if you have a typed sheet or something like that, I reiterate that it's a table rule, and none of my concern.

    is it ok to substitute a natural tile drawn from the wall for 1 of the 2 Jokers you are allowed in the Kong and then use that Joker elsewhere.
    Use of jokers is very complicated, and optional in British mah-jongg, and no author has ever gone into that kind of detail in any book I've seen. Only American mah-jongg has a joker-redemption rule. In American mah-jongg, any player may redeem any number of exposed jokers from any side of the table, on his turn (while holding 14 tiles, before discarding). If your group wants to adopt the American rule, as a table rule, that's the group's prerogative (see FAQ 14).

    May the tiles be with you. Cheers!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 26, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong containing jokers (BMJA)

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 11:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >As before I cannot get the BMJA website to accept emails but there was a note referrring to your expert website for queries
    >BMJA rules
    >Goulash game
    >I am aware that a concealed Kong would normally have two tiles displayed face up and two face down but when playing a Goulash game how do you display a Concealed Kong which contains 2 No.Joker tiles (in our case the Joker tiles are the 2 of Bamboos)?
    >If only the two Joker tiles are displayed the make up of the Kong isn't available to other players. If only one Joker and one other tile shown other players are not then aware if both Jokers have been used. If three tiles displayed this indicates an exposed Kong
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie W

    Hi, Willie.
    It's disrespectful to others if one displays the joker tiles instead of the naturals (the non-jokers), if the player has naturals in the grouping. It's in everyone's best interest if players consciously strive for a harmonious game. If I had two naturals and two jokers for a kong, and for some reason I decided there was no other potential desirable use for the jokers in my hand, then my first instinct is to display the grouping with the jokers face down. Or (and this would go against the strategic part of my brain), I would display it with one joker and one natural.

    In fact, I recall a point of etiquette (from Japanese majan, to stave off any possible disharmonious challenge) in which the player who's declaring a concealed kong displays all four of the tiles to the [players at the] table before turning two of them face down, thus marking the kong as a so-called "concealed" kong. This prevents bad stuff from happening, like for instance:
    1. If you'd just displayed the naturals, and then another player has one or two of the non-jokers displayed in your concealed kong, or if someone picks and discards one, then it's seen that there's something odd with your concealed kong. Someone might challenge the validity of it. You would have to display all the tiles before turning two face-down again.
    2. What if you had four jokers and decided they all had to make up a concealed kong (and thereby prevent yourself from using any of them for anything else afterwards)? You would have to display two of them face-up, therefore revealing that you actually have jokers. And of course that would raise an outcry (i.e. "disharmony") from your opponents as to what the face-down tiles are.

    I think the key thing here is that the point of turning some of the tiles face-down is NOT to hide them from your opponents, but simply to mark the grouping as a so-called "concealed" kong, for scoring purposes only. So it's best to actually own up to the full actual contents of the grouping at the time of declaring the exposure, staving off disharmony.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 25, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 4

    A word about the below discussion. This confusion shows why it's important to have rules in writing, and detailed rules at that (not just broad brushstroke loosely-written rules like those in the official rulebook).
    It's unfortunate that the League actually occasionally issues rulings, both verbally and in writing, on rare "edge case" occurrences/issues to individual members, but then does not document and publish those detailed rulings for the membership.
    No person outside the League office can possibly document and record all the individual rulings issued by the League. I collect and preserve the newsletters every year (I have them going back to the late nineties), but not every "edge case" question has been answered in the newsletters. A few players have sent me ruling letters they've received, and that has added to the body of knowledge here. But there are rare edge cases that come up now and then, and all we can do is either ask the NMJL or make an educated guess based on existing rules. So in the case of the edge case question asked by Pat L, I made a guess, and Bee rightly called me out on it.
    Bee said this question was answered in writing, and that there's proof in the Files of the Mah Jongg, That's It! group on Facebook. I was tired last night and took Bee at her word. This morning I went into the Mah Jongg, That's It! group's Files folder on Facebook. I checked every file with a likely filename (I did not bother reading files that announced tournaments, for example), and I did not find this ruling. Bee has never lied to me, so I believe her, but I haven't seen the rule in writing from the League myself. If and when I see this question answered in writing by the League, I'll update the FAQs and/or the RDWW errata to cover the edge case described by Pat L.
    It does make sense that the blunder of exposing the wrong tiles cannot be taken back. It is in keeping with the strict nature of other rules about silly mistakes that can be made by players when autopilot steers us wrong. The rules encourage us to pay attention and operate with our frontal lobes fully engaged.
    May the tiles be with us all!
    Tom Sloper
    August 25, 2017

    P.S. And it bears repeating: I don't make the rules; I just interpret them.


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 3

    >From: Belinda -
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Me again, as I reread your AM-A2 answer I realize it is not quite the same scenario, but I found the answer as well on the FB group MJ That's It. It is included in the group's files. Someone, I think Johni, had written to the league for verification, their written response states that once a called tile is placed on top of the rack the player must take it. It also stated that once any tiles are exposed from the player's hand, they cannot be taken down. As she exposed the wrong tiles, her hand would be dead. The thought that she can change tiles until she discards does not apply as that rule only applies to players who want to add or delete like tiles or add or remove joker(s) before discarding.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    I just spent about 20 minutes researching and crafting my response to your first email, and now I'm past my bedtime. I'm just going to give up and concede the point, and strike through my previous reply. Maybe I should make myself a "rule" not to post long-winded replies late at night, and also not to reply to controversial questions until at least 12 hours have gone by! Nice work on your part there. Maybe this should be appended to an FAQ, or the errata... but not now. Time for bed!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 24, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 2

    >From: Belinda - F
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom, haven't been here in awhile, busy with family.
    >Regarding Pat L's post and your answer. Pat thinks that the other player could take the craks off the top of her rack and replace them with red dragons as that is the tile she originally called. Her thinking is that you can change your exposure as you want or need to unless you have discarded. You indicate that you think she is correct. However, the player exposed the craks (placed on the top of her rack), once she did that she cannot take them down and she was indeed dead. Note your answer AM-A2 which correctly explains that scenario.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    Very interesting! I believe what we have here is a case where two rules overlap. It's like a Venn diagram. Both rules govern the act of making an exposure, and some aspect of undoing it.

    The question becomes, then, which one (if either one) applies to this specific occurrence. FAQ 19-AM2 says, as you rightly point out, that you are not permitted to take back an exposure. And actually, FAQ 19-AF (which I cited in my reply to Pat L) also acknowledges that rule. FAQ 19-AM2 comes from the 2007 newsletter. And FAQ 19-AM2 further cites a letter from the League to Lynn McDonald (replicated on this bulletin board on March 2, 2005. The letter refers to the taken discard - it cannot be placed back on the discard floor.
    FAQ 19-AF comes from page 14 of the official rulebook where it says, "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." Also cited is the 2009 newsletter. In fact, the 2009 newsletter further reinforces the Venn diagram problem. Here are two Q&As from 2009 (let's call them "top" and "bottom"):

      Q: A player calls for a 4-Crak and puts up two 4-Craks with a Joker. She has not discarded as yet. She really wants to expose three 4-Craks with a Joker (kong). May she put another 4-Crak up or another Joker?
      A. Yes...you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NOT DISCARDED AS YET. Once you discard, you are committed to that exposure.
      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
      Q. A player called for a tile - did not pick up the tile yet, but started to make their exposure by placing three other tiles up on their rack. They then say "never mind", thereby changing their mind. Can this be done?

      A. NO...the player started to make their exposure already, and has thereby made a play and a commitment.

    It is indeed arguable that I am stretching the "you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure" thing too far, I acknowledge that. But I think it's reasonable. To me, although the player may not change her mind about making an exposure (as the bottom rule says), the top rule implies that she is permitted to correct the exposure, as long as she has not discarded yet. I believe the intent of the top rule is that the player is permitted to make a correction but (because of the bottom rule) not to the extent of entirely changing her mind about making an exposure. That's where the two rules overlap. That's my point of view until the League says otherwise.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 24, 2017

    P.S. In writing the above, I observed that two rules overlapped. In such instances, one rule has to trump overrule the other. I weighed the two principles and judged which I thought was the overriding principle here. From a later email (farther above), I found that there may be evidence that I chose the wrong one. - Tom


    They said she can't change her exposure, even though she hadn't discarded yet

    >From: Pat L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:42 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Player calls for discarded red dragon. Player mistakenly puts up 2 one cracks and a joker, then realizes the mistake, puts the one cracks back on the rack and puts up the correct two red dragons with the joker and the red dragon originally called. Other players declared her dead and said she couldn't do that. It is my understanding that it is your turn until you discard and you can make changes between your hand in the rack and exposures on the rack. I read your questions and answers but could not clarify this point in my mind. Please straighten us out on this point. Thank you so much for your help. Pat L

    Hi, Pat!
    I believe you are correct, and I believe FAQ 19-AF answers this question. But if you want an official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone the question - see FAQ 19-BN). You can link to FAQ 19 and the other frequently asked questions above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 24, 2017


    Can a redeemed joker be used in a pair?

    >From: Tess G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 12:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a person steals your Joker, can that person use the joker as a pair?

    Hi, Tess! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    If a person steals your Joker,
    I had to think for a second what "stealing" means. I never use it to mean redeeming a joker*. But anyway, I don't know why you added this to your real question, which is…

    can that person use the joker as a pair?
    Read the back of the card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules. Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined just like that).


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card every year. In 2016, some wording was changed and some new wording was added. And many frequently asked questions are answered right there on the card. Every player owes it to the other players to understand these basic rules of the game.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 23, 2017

    *For more about the several different uses of the word "steal" in mah-jongg, read column 353.


    Looking for suggestions that might help me

    >From: "gb...
    >Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2017 9:10 AM
    >Subject: Teaching American MJ
    >I have taught many to play American Mahjongg with success. However, I was wondering if you might have suggestions that might help me. I have read many web sites but none actually start with telling the students about the 3 suits and other tiles. Then go on from there. I looked over your web site but did not find the answer to my question.
    >Thank you,
    >Gloria B
    >Lake Charles, LA

    Hi, Gloria!
    I don't know what your question is,* but have you read FAQ 26? And do you have all the books on American mah-jongg? See FAQ 3. If nothing in FAQ 3 or FAQ 26 addresses whatever it is you are looking for, ask me and I'll see if I can answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 20, 2017

    *You made a statement about some websites, and did not say what help you are seeking, what your question is.


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 9:34 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Shopping Cart - Donation from j c m
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from j c m. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Shopping Cart
    >Contributor: j c m
    >Message: Thanks for all your hard work and keeping us on the straight and narrow.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, J C!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 19, 2017


    I noticed an error, part 2

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:20 AM
    >Subject: Re: Correction?
    >Thanks for you quick and prompt reply - I do teach American Mah-Jongg which is why I merely scanned the “BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc” rather then reading it in full which, as I see now would have answered my question before I asked it! I, like many other I expect, didn’t realize the Chinese version didn’t seat players in ‘compass’ order.
    >TimA

    Good morning, Tim!
    Glad that's straightened out. Because "un-American" seating is not just counterintuitive but also unnecessary information in American mah-jongg, I avoid using the terms "north" and "south" in seating diagrams and discussions when teaching or writing about American mah-jongg. I just refer to seat positions as "east" (or "dealer") and then either "righty, opposite, lefty" or "two, three, four."
    In Asian forms of mah-jongg (not only the Chinese forms but all "un-American" forms), the seat positions correspond to winds and season order and flower numbers, for bonus scoring.
    But since you play American mah-jongg, you don't need to know that. So don't read the foregoing. (^_^)
    And if you're not interested in un-American forms of mah-jongg, you should delete that file from your hard drive, and don't download the documents from my folder that don't apply to American mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 19, 2017


    I noticed an error!

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 1:05 PM
    >Subject: Correction?
    >Hi Tom, Really enjoy your site and have been using it for several months now to get more familiar with the game.
    >This afternoon while looking at your comments on Teaching, I followed your link to view Mary’s Quizzes and noticed an item labeled ‘BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc’.
    >Since I am about to begin my second teaching class, thought this would be something I might like to ‘steal’ so I downloaded it and looked at it.
    >I then noticed an error! On page 3, your picture has East and West (or north and South if you prefer) swapped!
    >Facing North, East is to the right, East to the left and South behind you. Your picture shows it West to the right and East to the left.
    >Tim A.
    >Nashua, NH

    Hi, Tim!
    Thanks for writing. That file describes Chinese mah-jongg, for players who are used to playing American mah-jongg. That file starts with "Basics of Chinese Mah-Jongg," and the first sentence is "There is no card." Just wanted to make sure you knew that, for starters (that file clearly does not describe American mah-jongg). You say you teach mah-jongg. Do you teach Chinese mah-jongg? Because if you teach American mah-jongg, you don't need the file "BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc" - it has no bearing on American mah-jongg, and will not help you in teaching American mah-jongg.
    Just wanted to say that up front. If you teach Chinese mah-jongg, then there is no error in my document. If you teach Chinese mah-jongg, and you teach players that the seat positions correspond to compass directions on a map, as if looking down on the table from above, then you've been teaching incorrectly. See what it says at the bottom of page 2 of that document:

    "Going counterclockwise around the table, players' seat winds are East, South, West, North. It does not correspond to the expected compass directions on a map (East, North, West, South) as if looking down on the table from above. It was never intended to!"

    This truth is also stated in FAQ 20-K. In fact, I think I'll take that illustration from "BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc" and put in FAQ 20-K right now.

    Note that in American mah-jongg, players don't use ESWN. That's strictly a thing used in every other form of mah-jongg on Earth - American mah-jongg is the oddball of the mah-jongg world. Only Americans use ENWS.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 18, 2017


    What is the penalty for an incorrect challenge

    >From: Christy M
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 5:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >What is the penalty for an incorrect challenge
    >Christine D. M

    Hi, Christy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AB. You can link to the FAQs above left. FAQ 19-AB is in the section entitled "You're Dead," and the question is labeled "Called me dead but I'm not. What now?" Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 18, 2017


    Column #683, part 2

    >From: "martham
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 5:20 AM
    >Subject: Re: Column # 683 #9
    >So sorry to have bothered you, I guess I should have been sleeping rather than reading your column!

    No problem, Martha! Read it anytime. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 18, 2017


    Column #683

    >From: "martham...
    >Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:20 PM
    >Subject: Column # 683 #9
    >Why isn't # 9 a possibility for consecutive run #2, being 3 & 4 dot and 5 & 6 bams? This is not a concealed hand. Am I missing something?
    >Thanks for all your help,
    >Martha

    Hi, Martha!
    I think you've misread the #9 problem. There are 1Ds (one dots) showing in the problem (it shows a pung of 1D and a pung of 5B). So 3,4D+5,6B (Consec #2) is not an option.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 17, 2017


    You're confusing me, part 2

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:45 AM
    >Subject: more questions
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your answer to my question about tournament rules. I did do the searches you advised and learned a lot. Now I have 2 more questions:
    >1. how are the rules announced in a tournament? Verbally before the competition, in writing, or what?
    >2. how can I find Q&A discussions from past years? How far back does the BB go? My search efforts have been unsuccessful but I'm embarrassed to admit I'm rather computer "search-challenged".
    >Thanks so much for your patience! Linda

    Good morning, Linda! You asked:

    how are the rules announced in a tournament? Verbally before the competition, in writing
    Yes. And yes. I described the verbal reminders below, in a Q&A entitled "Taking a called discard into the hand" From: "kkgoff1967 on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. But when you go to a tournament, you may find that the procedure varies. You might be interested in reading FAQ 21. It's about how to run a tournament. I don't have an FAQ about how tournaments work (I've gotten a lot more questions about the former than about the latter).

    how can I find Q&A discussions from past years?
    Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, find the obvious link, and click it.

    How far back does the BB go?
    I stopped just deleting old posts in 2008. The oldest post on http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive1.htm is from October 30, 2007. Thanks for asking!

    By the way, it's about time I archived the older posts on this page. At the time of this writing, this page goes back to Feb. 1 (6 months, more or less). I usually archive when the page has a lot of posts (not when X amount of time has passed).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 16, 2017


    How to darken my tiles?

    >From: Margaret G
    >Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 11:49 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Tiles
    >Tom
    >we have a set at our club that has four loose tiles that are a white opposed to the rest of the set that is cream.
    >so when using the set it is easy to see who is getting the loose tiles
    >I have tried soaking in tea , coffee , putting in the sun etc etc
    >have you any suggestions' as to what I can try next?
    >they need "aging" if you know what I mean
    >I even asked the dental technician but he wasn't remotely interested even though he makes plates and false teeth for patients
    >hope to hear from you
    >Margaret

    Hi, Margaret!
    This really isn't my area of expertise. I don't accept responsibility for bad results you might get from my suggestions; I have never tried to do what you want to do. But people have emailed me to tell me about things they've done to repair, clean, lighten, and yes even darken their tiles. All that stuff goes into FAQ 7-o (links above left).
    In FAQ 7-o, someone reported having success by soaking in coffee (just go to FAQ 7-o and search the page for the word "darken"). Makes me wonder how much time you soaked yours. I suppose you could also try Coke or Pepsi. I'd try soaking in coffee for at least a week - if you did a week, then try a month. You might get mold growing on the coffee, though, so you may need to refresh the coffee every couple days or something. By the way, putting the tiles in the sun would surely lighten before it would darken. Failing the coffee soak, you might try brown dye (first, an hour - if that doesn't work, overnight...). And if that doesn't work, I'd get the club members to chip in and buy a new set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 15, 2017


    You're confusing me, Sloper!

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 12:22 PM
    >Subject: I'm so confused!
    >Hi Tom,
    >What is the difference between an official rule and a tournament rule? I've never played in a tournament--can you please give some examples of tournament rules that differ from official rules?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I assume you've become confused by something in my latest columns (specifically #685 and #686). Sorry about that! You asked:

    What is the difference between an official rule and a tournament rule?
    It should be obvious that a tournament rule is a rule used at a tournament, when that rule differs from the official rules.

    In a home game, people are playing for dimes and quarters, but in a tournament, there can be big prizes, and there may be dozens or scores of players involved - so the competition is upped a notch (or many notches). Also, since coins aren't used, points have to be added and recorded by a scorekeeper, and the scoring system used in a home game can't be used. And penalties differ, and rules have to be stricter in order to be more fair for competition purposes.

    can you please give some examples of tournament rules that differ from official rules?
    I already have, many many times. If you search this page right now for the word "tournament," you'll find some. If you go to FAQ 19 and search for the word "tournament," you'll find lots more.

    For example, right here on this board, you'll find one such example. When calling a discarded tile for mah-jongg in a tournament, if you take the discard and put it in among your concealed tiles on the sloping front of your rack before exposing the hand atop the rack, you could be called dead. Or if you call someone dead in a tournament and you're wrong, you could be declared dead.

    For other examples, see questions 7 and 8 in last week's column (#685). Don't look for examples in yesterday's column (#686). ... Hmm, I assume that's the source of your frustration, that there were no tournament rule answers in that column? ... And now you've made me reveal a "spoiler" to any bulletin board readers who haven't read yesterday's column yet, darn you! (~_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 14, 2017


    Who pays if dealer gets a complete hand in the first across?

    >From: Jan M
    >Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2017 4:42 PM
    >Subject: column #666
    >When East obtains Heavenly Hand after the first across, blind pass, refuses courtesy, does everyone still pay double or just the across since those were the tiles giving East the Heavenly Hand; same if the H.H. comes from the courtesy pass, who pays double? thank you for keeping us informed.

    Hi, Jan!
    East does NOT have "heavenly hand" unless she gets a complete hand in the original deal. The hypotheticals in column #666 just say what options the dealer has IF her hand becomes complete in the next couple of passes. None of those scenarios is "heavenly hand" either. It's a misnomer to use the term "heavenly hand" in any scenario other than getting a complete hand in the initial deal.
    You're asking about scenario 2.3. in that column: "If she has a complete mah-jongg hand after the across." Since the passes are mandatory, the dealer is NOT permitted to instantly stop the Charleston and declare mah-jongg. She is required to do what you said - blind pass three, and THEN stop the Charleston, then refuse the courtesy. Then she's permitted to declare mah-jongg. Does that indicate a clear-cut situation in which her across clearly gave her the winning tile(s)? Unclear.*
    YOU asked the important question that Ruth Unger never answered (and that the official rules do not discuss): who pays what in such a situation?
    I'm sorry, but I do not know. I am not the arbiter of the rules. Larry Unger is. He's the current president of the League. You would have to ask him. I recommend you send the question via snailmail (or email, if you know his address). I do NOT recommend asking via telephone, for the reasons stated in FAQ 19-BN. Answers should be gotten in writing.
    And again I'm sorry, but I am not going to give you my guess, nor give you my opinion as to what I think should happen. Only Larry can say.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 12, 2017

    *Did she say anything when blind passing three? Did she clearly announce to the table, "I'm blind passing three tiles. And I'm stopping the Charleston. And I have no tiles for the courtesy, because I have mah-jongg at this moment"? If she did, then it's clear from whom she got the winning tiles. But if she didn't make the announcement at the moment, then she has to rely on convincing the others through memory and logic after the fact. I mean, what if nobody noticed she blind passed three? Consider that when someone wins by discard, she has to announce it at the moment.
    Anyway, as I said, I'm not the rulemaker.
    Tom


    Something unusual happened today

    >from: judith o
    >Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 6:22 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Something unusual happened today. Player #1 called for a discard and exposed a kong. Player 2, to her right said, “Well that ruins my hand!” Player 1 was distracted by the comment, and as the next wall was pushed out, Player 2 picked a tile and racked it. Player 1 said, “Wait. I didn’t discard and I have Mah Jongg!”
    >Since Player 2 had racked ~ even though she picked illegally, was the MJ valid? Would it have mattered if the MJ hadn’t been discovered until the pick returned to Player1?
    >JT O

    Hi, Judith!
    It's player 2's responsibility to pick only when it's her turn. Player 2 also committed what the Chinese call "giving information." It's unwise to reveal information about one's hand, but it's not a punishable offense in the American game.
    Player 1 committed a minor error - she exposed only a kong, when she should have said "mah-jongg" and exposed the whole thing. Since her turn hadn't ended because she hadn't discarded, though, she can expose the rest and declare mah-jongg. She gets double from the discarder and single payment from the others (including player 2, assuming player 2 wasn't the one who discarded the winning tile).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 11, 2017


    What does "wall game" mean?

    >From: Sandra W
    >Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 4:45 PM
    >Subject: Wall Game
    >?Tom,
    >I'm feeling sheepish about asking this question, but I truly am not sure what you mean by the term "wall game." I think I'm understanding, but not sure. Could you give me a short explanation.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Sandra W

    Hi, Sandra!
    It means "nobody won." What does your group call it when nobody wins?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 11, 2017


    My most unusual set, part 2

    >From: Linda G
    >Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:43 AM
    >Subject: RE: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for your reply.
    >I have read all of FAQ 7.
    >What I think is unusual is the size of the tiles. I have never seen another set with tiles this small. Neither have I seen a set with this 1 bam. Any idea who the manufacturer was?
    >linda

    Hi, Linda! You wrote:

    What I think is unusual is the size of the tiles. I have never seen another set with tiles this small.
    I have several sets in my collection in which the tiles are even smaller. "Travel sets" (which they're often called) are not at all unusual.

    Neither have I seen a set with this 1 bam.
    That 1B design doesn't look "unusual" to me. It may not be precisely like another particular 1B design, but that in itself is not unusual.

    Any idea who the manufacturer was?
    Sorry, but I know practically nothing about manufacturers. You can try CHarli's site and CoolOldGames and Carli's MahJonggSite (all are listed in FAQ 7u; you said you'd read all of FAQ 7). Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 10, 2017


    My most unusual set

    >From: Linda G
    >To: "tom@sloperama
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 2:57 PM
    >Subject: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >linda
    >From: Linda G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:55 PM
    >To: Tom@TomSloperama
    >Subject: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I love your website. Hope you are doing well.
    >I have a MJ set without any identifying labels.
    >The tiles measure ¾ “ wide, 1-1/16” high and 5/8” deep. I believe they are bakelite.
    >Here are photos.
    >Have you ever seen these before? Do you know anything about them?
    >Thank you for your consideration
    >Linda G

    Hi, Linda! You wrote:

    my most unusual MJ set
    Care to elaborate what's so unusual about it?

    I believe they are bakelite.
    I believe they are so-called "Chinese Bakelite," which is not actually Bakelite. Read FAQ 7c3.

    Have you ever seen these before?
    Those tiles look a bit like other sets I have seen before.

    Do you know anything about them?
    Possibly, but I don't know what you are looking for. Please read FAQ 7P. Better questions get better answers. Have you read any other parts of FAQ 7?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 9, 2017


    Xiangqi Mahjong

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:43 AM
    >Subject: Xiangqi Mahjong rules?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >I've heard about another exotic game: mahjong with xiangqi (Chinese chess) pieces. I only know that each player has 4 pieces in hand and wins with 5 pieces; but what are valid combinations and how scoring works, I have no idea. Please tell, do you know anything about this variant?
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter. Sorry, no. This is the first I've heard of it. Some years back I designed a mah-jongg dice game with 8 dice - the idea was that one would make 2 pungs and a pair, or 2 chows and a pair, or a chow and a pung and a pair.

    With 5 pieces, a winning hand could be a pung and a pair, or a chow and a pair. Not that I know what would constitute a chow with Chinese Chess pieces. I guess what I'm saying is I can imagine designing a mah-jongg-like game that utilizes 5 pieces. Anyway, sorry I don't have any information for you - and thanks for the info. I'd be interested in hearing more if you find more.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 9, 2017


    Unable to play

    >From: Sally D
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 3:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: sometimes I am unable to play because it says that my user name and password is incorrect then other times it works. I am confused.
    I love your website and have told many people. Thanks Sally

    Hi, Sally! You wrote:

    I love your website and have told many people.
    Great! Hold that thought...

    sometimes I am unable to play because it says that my user name and password is incorrect then other times it works. I am confused.
    I'm truly sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. You should read FAQ 24. You can link to the FAQs above left. Hope you get that sorted out!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    8/8/2017


    Shocking house rule, part 2

    >From: "tn22
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:12 AM
    >Subject: Re: Strange Pung and Kong in Basic Mah Jong?
    >Hi Tom, thank you for your prompt reply.
    >Yes we played by the rather complicated British scoring system with lots of doubling. The U3A (Folkestone) have adopted a very simplified system which I go along with.
    >However every definition of a pung or kong that I have seen use the word ‘Identical tiles’ and I would have thought that it is a fundamental law/rule.
    >In soccer one could vary pitch size, goal size, ball size etc and still call it soccer (football in UK) but change the ball shape from spherical and it is no longer the same game.
    >I personally think that the definition of what constitutes a pung is fundamental. Allowing pungs and kongs of differing tiles compromises the strategy/tactics of forming true dragon/wind pungs and kongs.
    >House rules should not imo change things to such an extent.
    >Regards
    >David

    Hi, David.
    Are you saying that your problem is that they call a "one of each dragon" a pung, and they call a "one of each wind" a kong? It's a matter of terminology, is that it? If so, I have some suggestions. But before I get to that, another question back to you (I'm trying to get to the bottom of what's bothering you so much).
    In this game, is a player who's holding a green dragon and a red dragon permitted to call "pung" when someone discards a white dragon? Same question as to the winds. In American mah-jongg, "one of each wind" is called "NEWS" because ... [tradition, I guess]. Is someone who's holding NEW permitted to say "kong" when someone discards a south wind? Is your objection that this makes the game too easy? Because I can see that. It kind of dumbs down the game a little. Note that either way (whichever thing is what's causing you distress), I still have other questions as to how this "one of each dragon" and "one of each wind" affects scoring and, I guess, strategy (although it's hard to defend against these because they're unpredictable).

    You clearly know very well, David, that a "pung" is properly defined in the mah-jongg world as "three identical tiles" and a "kong" is defined as "four identical tiles" (all four of a non-flower tile). You are, of course, correct that a WGR (WhGR) is not a pung. A "dragon pung" would be WhWhWh or GGG or RRR.


    One of each dragon, and one of each wind.

    If your objection is that these things should not be called pungs and kongs, then I have some ideas. "One of each dragon" could be a "dung," substituting D for P because D stands for Dragon. Of course, that idea stinks. Maybe it could be called a "wigger" (from WGR) or a "grow" (from GRW). Or maybe more fun names could be found.
    Moving on. "One of each wind" could be a "wong," substituting W for K because W stands for Wind. But then, would two wongs make things right? Never mind, now I'm just getting silly.

    I don't know if I'm being helpful yet, because I'm not positive that your objection is to the abuse of terminology, or what. Let me know if I'm getting close!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    8/8/2017


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong, part 3

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 7:47 AM
    >Subject: Re: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Hi Tom...as a follow up to the email I sent; the question I guess I am trying to ask is if the is a bona fide rule that says if the exposure is deemed erroneous, and the hand declared dead, is there a NMJL rule that states that part of the hand MUST be returned to the sloping part of the rack.
    >I read your answer to this in the FAQ, however, there is no footnote detailing NMJL with a date or publication issue to cite for a reference to your answer.
    >Thank you for all the good work you do to help teach people proper rules and etiquette for Mahjongg.
    >Debbi L

    Good morning, Debbi! You wrote:

    the question I guess I am trying to ask is if the is a bona fide rule that says if the exposure is deemed erroneous, and the hand declared dead, is there a NMJL rule that states that part of the hand MUST be returned to the sloping part of the rack.
    I knew that was what you were talking about. In my reply, I referred to FAQ 19-P ("Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?"). The second bullet under FAQ 19-P says "Jokers which were exposed improperly are not available for redemption. ... 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."

    I read your answer to this in the FAQ, however, there is no footnote detailing NMJL with a date or publication issue to cite for a reference to your answer.
    Yes there is - it says (just before FAQ 19-Q) (ignore the RDWW citation since my book is not bona fide official):

      For further reading:
      RDWW - p. 58 (rule 87), p. 64 (rules 106, 107), p. 91, pp. 101-103
      NMJL - p. 16, 2007

    Forgive me for the brevity of this reply, but I have to rush out now. If you still have a question, just ask away!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    8/8/2017


    Shocking "house rule"!

    >From: "tn22
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 4:30 AM
    >Subject: Strange Pung and Kong in Basic Mah Jong?
    >Hi Tom,
    >My wife and I have played Mah Jong for over ten years but only about half a dozen times each year.
    >Recently we joined a group (U3A) to play regularly but was shocked to find that three different dragons was accepted as a pung and four different winds were accepted as a kong.
    >They play basic Mah Jong with no special hands. I am fully aware of the ‘house rules’ convention but did not think that it covered changes to the rules of the game to such an extent.
    >I have read a number of books on the subject but never seen reference to pungs and kongs including the tile combinations described in basic MJ.
    >Please let me have your informed opinion of the situation.
    >Regards
    >David A
    >Folkestone

    Hi, David! You wrote:

    My wife and I have played Mah Jong for over ten years
    That makes me wonder "which variant" you are accustomed to. British rules, perhaps?

    Recently we joined a group (U3A) to play regularly ... They play basic Mah Jong with no special hands.
    That makes me wonder how the scoring works. Like the complicated scoring used in British rules, perhaps?

    was shocked to find that three different dragons was accepted as a pung and four different winds were accepted as a kong. ... I am fully aware of the ‘house rules’ convention but did not think that it covered changes to the rules of the game to such an extent. ... Please let me have your informed opinion of the situation.
    I'm shocked that you're shocked!
        You don't remember when you first learned the game? When you were taught about chows, didn't you ask about "runs" of dragons, and winds? All my beginning "basic" mah-jongg students always ask if they're allowed to make a set consisting of one of each dragon, and one of each wind. It's a frequently asked beginner question. Doesn't it seem "friendly" to "go with the flow" and adopt such a rule in order to ease the learning curve and/or make the game accessible to new players?
        I kept asking above what variant you were accustomed to before joining the U3A movement, and sort of assuming that since you live in the UK you played British MJ rules. British rules include special hands with "one of each" of the winds and the dragons. Doesn't it seem a logical extension, then, to adopt such a rule?

    When you've played as many variants as I have (you should check out Mumbai rules!), you don't get "shocked" by such table rules (house rules, as you say).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    8/8/2017


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong, part 2

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Re: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Never mind, Tom...i opened up your site in a different browser and found your answer. Thanks a million!
    >Debbi

    Okay, well, I already posted my reply (below). Many of the answers in FAQ 19 include source citations. All a Doubting Thomasina has to do is look up the sources herself.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 5:03 PM
    >Subject: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Hi Tom! Someone on a mahjongg fb page just challenged your info about returning an erroneous exposure to the sloping part of the rack, claiming it was not NMJL rules. Can you clarify?
    >Love your website!
    >Thank You, as always,
    >Debbi L

    Hi, Debbi.
    I got that rule straight from the NMJL (I don't go around making up rules and claiming they're official). In FAQ 19-P, I cite two NMJL sources: page 16 and 2007. That's page 16 of the official rulebook, and the 2007 newsletter.


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription
    to the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    The 2007 newsletter says that all jokers exposed during the course of an erroneous exposure may not be redeemed. Page 16 of the rulebook describes the returning of erroneous exposures to the sloping front of the rack (that puts any non-redeemable jokers out of sight - "out of sight, out of mind").
    You can tell your Doubting Thomasina that she's welcome to mail her question directly to the League (or you can do that yourself) to obtain an official ruling.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 7, 2017


    Can I use three jokers in a kong? Do I have to have a matching non-joker to claim a discard?

    >From: Kathy K
    >Cc: Kathy K
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 3:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you need a tile for a kong and you have three jokers may you call for it?

    Hi, Kathy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-L. You can link to the FAQs above left. You'll find FAQ 19-L listed under "Claiming A Discard." 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 7, 2017


    At what point exactly should I start dogging, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 8:23 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from danny l
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from danny l. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: danny l
    >Message: THANK YOU! Still yelling
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Jennifer! (^_^)


    At what point exactly should I start dogging, part 2

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 8:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: new question
    >THANK YOU!! Yes, I’m yelling. :-)))
    >I do not read your articles. Do you send them out occasionally??? I’d love to get on a “list”.

    Hi, Jennifer!
    I'm sorry but I'm old-tech. I just post new columns here on my website every week or so. You can get to it by clicking the "Sloper On Mah-Jongg column" link in my sig (signature) on most posts here, or by clicking the purple banner atop many pages on this site.

    I know, having to come back here and click things is more work than having articles emailed to you, but that's too high-tech for me!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 3, 2017


    At what point exactly should I start dogging?

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 1:40 PM
    >Subject: new question
    >OK - how about your opinion.
    >How far from the end of the game do you Not throw a tile that someone clearly will need??
    > - if “On Call” - I assume you throw it
    > - need 2 tiles??
    > - need 3 tiles
    >Thanks!!
    >Jennifer

    Hi, Jennifer!
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not a new question. (^_^)

    I have a 2-word phrase that applies here. Ready? ... Here it is... The 2-word phrase is: "it depends."

    How far from the end of the game do you Not throw a tile that someone clearly will need?
    It depends. When you say "someone clearly will need," are you saying the tile is a "hot tile," meaning it's one of the tiles that might possibly give her mah-jongg, or are you saying it's not only a hot tile, but her body language indicates that she's itching to jump? I played with a lady years ago who would fidget with the wall whenever she was "on call," as you say. It was her "tell," as the poker players say. When I saw her fidgeting, I would not throw a hot tile to her. Period. I "dogged" (threw safe tiles at the expense of my hand) when I could tell she was calling.

    if “On Call” - I assume you throw it(?)
    I guess you mean you'll be "ready" (another term for "on call") after you discard the hot tile. Answer: "It depends." Ask yourself: how long is the wall? The longer the wall, the lower the chances that she'll win on this discard.

    need 2 tiles?
    It depends. You can see what her hot tiles are, but can other players see what your hot tiles are? Do you have good chances of winning by discard because you aren't showing exposures? If not, how many more picks are you going to get? You can count the stacks and divide by 2. The fewer picks remaining, the lower your odds.

    need 3 tiles(?)
    It depends. Ask yourself the Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" question: "Are you feeling lucky, punk?" Discarding a clear hot tile is a gutsy move. What's your risk tolerance level?

    And lastly, "it depends." What tile does she need? Do you see some of that tile already visible among discards or exposures? Flowers get hotter and hotter (more dangerous to discard) the shorter the wall gets. Jokers are always safe to discard. By the way, have you read FAQ 8? Do you read my columns?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 3, 2017


    Am I making this hand correctly? (Part 2)

    >From: H B <hildab...
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: Valid Maj
    >Hello Tom: My question was whether 222 can be bamboo 0000 ,111 cracks and 7777 cracks. Are the 000 anything in this case---card shows 222 same as 0000. Am I just confused??? Thanks you for clarification. Hilda

    Hi, Hilda!
    Please read FAQ 16. This hand (2017 #1) is discussed in detail there, with an explanation that will help you with your specific question. You can click the FAQ links above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 2, 2017


    Am I making this hand correctly?

    >From: H B <hildab...
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 3:56 PM
    >Subject: Valid Maj
    >222 bam0000,111 crack, 7777 crack---is this a valid Maj? Am a new player.

    Hi, Hilda!
    The hand you're describing is 2017 #1. First, take a look at the hand on the card. The ones and sevens are both the same color, correct? So that means that yes, they can both be craks. I recommend you read the back of the card - this question is discussed in the blue text beneath where it says "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS." Also, check out FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) #16. You can click the FAQ links above left. 2017 #1 is discussed in detail there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 1, 2017


    Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?

    >From: Sandra C
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 3:39 PM
    >Subject: rack question
    >Hello Tom
    >I am a member of one of the online Facebook Mah Jongg groups. The question recently came up regarding picking up a discard from the table and where it has to be placed. I have always been told that discards picked up from the center of the table MUST be placed on top of your rack and not in the inside section facing the player, or the player could be called dead. Some of the people in the group claim this is not a NMJL "rule," it is a "tournament rule" and it is not required to be placed on top. I pointed out that in the NMJL book "MAh Jongg Made Easy" it is not in the "Rules and Penalties" section, but under "The Play" it does state "The claimant must then expose on the rack the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet which has been completed by the discarded tile."
    >I don't think every requirement of the game is listed under "Rules and Penalties" but they are nonetheless required. What is your opinion on this action of where to place picked up discarded tiles?
    >Thank you
    >Sandra C

    Hi, Sandra!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-K. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!

    You'll find FAQ 19-K listed under "Claiming A Discard, And The Window Of Opportunity."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On 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
    August 1, 2017


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