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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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    Keep scrolling - the Q&As are below.

    But before we get to the Q&As, this needs to be said about the 2019 card:

    Regarding Consec #5:

    FFF 1111 2222 DDD (Any 1 Suit) x 25

    This hand may be made with Any 2 Consecutive Numbers. See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page
    (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html), and see FAQ 16.



  • Help us reconcile our "kitty" table rule with the bettor rules

    >On Monday, October 21, 2019, 12:00:41 PM PDT, Paula D wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We have 5 players so obviously we have a bettor. We also put money into a kitty for wall games. The next person to mahj gets the Wall money plus collects from the other players. Here is our question. If person A wins and the bettor bet on that person, does she get half of the wall “pot” as well?
    >Thank you,
    >Paula in Cleveland

    Paula, I can't tell you how your custom rules should work. Read FAQ 14. Your group made up your own kitty rule; your group has to figure out all its details. But if you want to know how the bettor rules work, you'll find those laid out in the official NMJL rulebook, and in my FAQ 19W.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if a taken discard is put in the rack, part 3

    >On Monday, October 21, 2019, 03:37:41 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >Hello again:
    >The 10/20 Q & A is at the bottom. Apparently, I did not address the question as clearly as I had hoped, so I will ask it again to help clear things up. Here is the scenario and the question following. Would you kindly dig a bit deeper for me. Most appreciated!
    >Scenario: A player picks up a called tile. The player places that called tile on the sloped part of his/her rack, NOT on the flat top part of his/her rack. The player then decides he/she does not want that tile and returns it to the table.
    >Questions: Can the player change his/her mind as long as she has not placed the called tile atop the flat part of his/her rack and or taken tiles from his/her rack and placed them atop the flat part of his/her rack to begin the Exposure? Is there a written rule pertaining to this scenario?
    >I know this is not allowed in Tournaments so we can eliminate my needing any info regarding them. However, when a beginner poses the question to me, I like to be able to quote the rule if there is one. I personally teach that a student is never to place a called tile on the sloped part of their rack but instead to put the tile directly onto the flat part. Students that ask these questions have not been taught this way...unfortunately!
    >Many thanks again Tom!
    >[Remainder of email omitted; previous conversation can be seen below.]

    Good morning, Debbie. You wrote:

    Is there a written rule pertaining to this scenario?
    I have never seen a written rule from the League on this. All I know is that it's an illegal move. The death conditions listed on page 20 (rules/penalties #19) do not include this one.
    But see rule 19(f). If you pick from the wrong end of the wall and rack the picked tile, you're dead. Perhaps by extension this rule might apply to racking a taken discard. If you want a definitive rule, I recommend you mail your question to the League.
    In the absence of a specific rule, as I said on Friday, I would just advise the player to put the tile back on the discard floor in a non-tournament situation.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    It has tiles I haven't seen before, part 3

    >On Sunday, October 20, 2019, 12:50:20 PM PDT, heaton.ray wrote:
    >Kendall's upside down tiles...
    >Hi Tom,
    >I couldn't see Kendall's "upside down tiles" described elsewhere on your site...they are rather amusing, so I thought I'd "chip in"!
    >One pair of tiles has the two characters 哈哈, "Ha Ha" and can mean "joke" but this is also simply onomatopoeic for laughter.
    >The other pair (one of which is the correct orientation of course) has the two characters 嘻嘻, "Xi Xi" pronounced a bit like "She She" in English (or "He He" in Japanese!).
    >Putting them together, it's 嘻嘻哈哈, "Xi Xi Ha Ha", and means "Laughing and Joking".
    >I presume then that the tiles will be capture tiles like the cat and mouse or rooster and centipede, rather than jokers.
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Great, Ray! Thanks! I'll add this to the mystery tiles FAQ. A new type of Malaysian tile, apparently.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's the diff between any consecutive numbers and any run?

    >On Sunday, October 20, 2019, 05:54:29 PM PDT, <lilyrig2002 wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What is the difference between any consecutive numbers and any run?

    All I can do is illustrate the difference.

    "ANY (#) CONSECUTIVE NUMBERS" (Quints #1, for example, in which the # = 4): You can use any of the following:
    11 222 3333 44444
    22 333 4444 55555
    33 444 5555 66666
    44 555 6666 77777
    55 666 7777 88888
    66 777 8888 99999
    So you have 6 choices in each suit. The word "run" is implied, as follows:
    "ANY (RUN OF #) CONSECUTIVE NUMBERS"

    "ANY RUN OF (#) NUMBERS" (S&P #4, for example, in which the # = 7): You can use any of the following:
    11 22 33 44 55 66 77
    22 33 44 55 66 77 88
    33 44 55 66 77 88 99
    So you have 3 choices in each suit. The word "consecutive" is implied, as follows:
    "ANY RUN OF (# CONSECUTIVE) NUMBERS"

    So the difference is: "run" is a noun, and "consecutive" is an adjective. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if a taken discard is put in the rack, part 2

    >On Sunday, October 20, 2019, 08:49:52 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >No subject
    >Hi Tom!
    >Thank you as always for helping out with these sometimes crazy and bizarre questions. In the recent response you provided to this question:
    >
    >> what happens when the Called Tile is picked up and placed in someone's Rack rather than atop someone's Rack?
    >> If she leaves it there, she's dead (it's an illegal play). If she puts it atop her rack with the rest of the grouping (pung, kong, or quint) completed by the taken discard, then no problem. If she can't form the groupings, I would advise her to put the discard back on the discard floor and pick from the wall.
    >
    >Should I feel confident that since you state if a player can't form a grouping of a pung, kong or quint, you would ask them to put the tile back on the discard floor and I will add, might have otherwise changed her mind about doing so, that he/she can still change their mind about the tile he/she called?
    >
    >I've read through many NMJL newsletters, Mah Jongg Made Easy and letters answering questions to players but still cannot find this addressed anywhere. Just to be clear, I completely understand that a player can change their mind before they put the called tile atop their rack or before they've exposed tiles from their rack.
    >
    >And, second part of discussion:
    >Of course when you have the energy to add search categories is fine and most appreciated. Many thanks!
    >Regards!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Good morning, Debbie. You wrote:

    Should I feel confident that since you state if a player can't form a grouping of a pung, kong or quint, you would ask them to put the tile back on the discard floor
    You're asking me if my fingers somehow typed something I didn't mean to say? If you want to dig deeper into this, you'll have to paint a scenario for me. If I was a tournament judge, my answer would probably be different. If it's my Beginners class, I stand by what I said. What are you trying to ask me?

    and I will add, might have otherwise changed her mind about doing so, that he/she can still change their mind about the tile he/she called?
    Sorry, but can you rephrase the question? (If you do have a question I can answer.)

    I've read through many NMJL newsletters, Mah Jongg Made Easy and letters answering questions to players but still cannot find this addressed anywhere. Just to be clear, I completely understand that a player can change their mind before they put the called tile atop their rack or before they've exposed tiles from their rack.
    Okay.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    It has tiles I haven't seen before, part 2

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 10:15:21 PM PDT, Kendall R wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Thank you!

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 11:28:29 PM PDT, Kendall R via PayPal wrote:
    >kattan███ sent you money
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >You were sent $5.00 USD from kattan███
    >To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    >Buyer information
    >Kendall R
    >Instructions from buyer
    >Thx for your great advice. An excellent site.
    >Description Unit price Qty Amount
    >Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Item #: MJ@Sloperama
    >$5.00 USD
    >Total: $5.00 USD
    >Questions? Visit the Help Center at: www.paypal.com/help.
    >Thanks for using PayPal - the safer, easier way to pay and get paid online.

    Thanks, Kendall. Glad I could help.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 19, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if a taken discard is put in the rack rather than atop it?

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 05:05:54 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >Hey Tom, I hope all is well. So, the Q & A is as follows on your website: 2. Calling a discard / making an exposure. You can touch it or move it and change your mind. But once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play (then you have crossed the line, and you may not backtrack - it's too late).
    >I can't seem to find the answer that includes what happens when the Called Tile is picked up and placed in someone's Rack rather than atop someone's Rack? Can you point me to this or let me know your thoughts. Thanks!!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 05:27:50 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: Hello again
    >Hi again...I'm not sure if we ever finalized your adding some categories on the previous discussion and I think that putting a sub category using Erroneous Mah Jongg or Another Player Claiming a Discard after first Player went Dead would be great. Let me know your thoughts. Sorry if we discussed this already, sometimes my emails get lost in email jail!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    what happens when the Called Tile is picked up and placed in someone's Rack rather than atop someone's Rack?
    If she leaves it there, she's dead (it's an illegal play). If she puts it atop her rack with the rest of the grouping (pung, kong, or quint) completed by the taken discard, then no problem. If she can't form the groupings, I would advise her to put the discard back on the discard floor and pick from the wall.

    I think that putting a sub category using Erroneous Mah Jongg ... would be great.
    Sounds right to me. But just "erroneous mahj" is too small a category. I'll add a section for "errors" when I have the energy.

    or Another Player Claiming a Discard after first Player went Dead
    Maybe I could add a link by that name, pointing to FAQ 19-H4.


    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    It has tiles I haven't seen before. Do you have any ideas.

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 02:24:44 PM PDT, Kendall R wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom. I recently acquired this set locally off Facebook.
    >It has tiles I haven't seen before. Some look like that from a Singapore style set but the others I can't find anything on your website or on the net to determine what they are or represent. Do you have any ideas.
    >Regards Kendall R

    It's a Malaysian set, Kendall. See sloperama.com/mahjongg/malaysian.htm for lots of details. And see a synopsis of Malaysian mah-jongg (with links to additional information) in FAQ 2B (just Control-F search the page for "malaysian").
    And sorry for the notation on the photo - call me quirky about upside-down tiles!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 18, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You are a lifesaver!

    >On Friday, October 18, 2019, 10:00:28 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Jacklin
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Jacklin L S
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Jacklin L S
    >Message: Dear Tom- You are a lifesaver! I appreciate your column and the time you spend on it for us. Keep up the good work! Jacki S
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Jacki!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 18, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    An error occurred and then...

    >On Thursday, October 17, 2019, 04:12:07 PM PDT, Leslye G wrote:
    >Question Regarding The Wall
    >Dear Tom,
    >The wrong wall was pushed out. The next player took the first tile from that incorrect wall. It was her mah-jongg tile. She called mah-jongg before anyone realized it was the wrong wall.
    >What is the ruling? Does she win the game? Does the game continue with the wrong wall? Does the game end, no one wins and they start over?
    >Thank you for all you do for the game of mah-jongg.
    >Leslye G

    Hi, Leslye! I haven't gotten this question frequently. The win is honored. I read that in a League bulletin, I think. Couldn't find it in the official rulebook just now.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Questions

    >On Thursday, October 17, 2019, 05:03:48 PM PDT, Martin W wrote:
    >Question
    >If a player exposes a Kong of 3 one cracks and one joker and another player discards the 1 crack instead of taking the joker can it be picked up by next  player?

    >On Thursday, October 17, 2019, 05:20:11 PM PDT, Martin W wrote:
    >Question
    >Can you use a joker when doing the date? Thanks

    Hi, Martin. You asked:

    can [a discarded redeemable tile] be picked up by next  player?
    Read FAQ 19-G. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed for the purpose of redeeming it.

    Can you use a joker when doing the date?
    Read FAQ 19-E, and read the back of your card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card every year. Sometimes there are changes.
    Many frequently asked questions are answered on the card.
    For your question: turn it over and look at the back. 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).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Calling a discarded tile already picked up but not yet racked

    >On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 01:20:59 PM PDT, B, Caroline wrote:
    >Calling a discarded tile already picked up
    >Can you call a discard if the player to you right called it and has picked it up from the table but has not yet placed it on his or her rack?
    >Thanks,
    >Caroline B

    That tile's yours, Caroline. You just need to speak while that tile is held in the air. Read "Conflicting Claims" in FAQ 19 (it's FAQ 19-H). Read parts H1, H2, H3, and H4 thoroughly. Your answer is in there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If you win by picking the very last wall tile, is the score doubled twice?

    >On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 11:37:18 AM PDT, <natcin wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you pick up the last tile of the game and declare mah jongg, is the score doubled because you picked the winning tile? And then doubled again because it was the last tile?
    >Thank you for your help and knowledge.
    >Natalie C

    It depends, Natalie! Which mah-jongg variant do you play? The American (NMJL) rules do not award double for the last wall tile.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 729

    >On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 08:47:57 AM PDT, <lindaz... wrote:
    >column #729
    >Hi Tom,
    >I really appreciated your column #729--"When to Stop the Charleston". Your examples were excellent because there was no obvious direction to follow--just like in real life! I hope you'll present more of these problems for us in the future.
    >Thanks for all you do, Linda

    The cockles of my heart are warmed, Linda! I will make sure to do more Stopping columns!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is this one?

    >On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 04:58:37 AM PDT, Jakob wrote:
    >Mah Jongg Age
    >Hi Tom, I would first of all thank you for the great information on May Jongg that you provided for the community!
    >Would it be possible that you give me your impression about the age of a Man-Jongg game that I recently bought via Catawiki auctions?
    >I was quite surprised about the rather „new“ appearance of tiles and box of the game that was described to be from the first half of the last century (according to an expert of the seller from the 30’s or 40’s). The tiles have also a funny „chemical“ smell as if brand new or perhaps cleaned. According to some of your descriptions, I was doubting that the game is from the first half of the last century.
    >Speaking against that:
    >- It has Jokers, which would mean according to Column #311 that it is form the 60’s or later
    >- The wooden box appears to be very new. However it is most likely not the original (tiles don’t fit in very well, see picture).
    >- Newer style „crak“ character
    >- Wind indicators appear very new
    >Speaking for old:
    >- The game description seems to be old, but is not necessarily from these tiles.
    >The game is has 152 tiles (including with 4 Jokers and 4 additional white tiles).
    >It is made of bambus and most likely bone. Not sure about pulverized fishbone. A few (like the white in IMG_1368) have something that might be scratches or havarian system.
    >I found very surprising how extremely similar the engravings in similar tiles is. Are there machines that do the engravings?
    >Approx. size of the tiles (the ruler is in cm): 3.0 cm x 2.1 cm x 1.2 cm
    >Finally, although I know that it is very much personal taste: What would you think is the approximate value of this Man-Jongg game.
    >Best regards, Jakob von E
    >P.s. copyright: you may use the photos for your webpage.


    Hi, Jakob!
    Your primary question is about age. This particular type of set is hard to pinpoint. The set could be from anytime between the 1930s and 1960s. You were suspicious that the box and/or tiles might be of more recent manufacture (made to appear old). That's possible. Only you, though, have access to the box and can tell whether it's old or not. The smell might be from cleaning, or storage, or manufacture. The bone is not fishbone (you were right in pointing out Haversian system on one of the white dragons). It appears that the lid fits the box well (no warping). My experience with this type of box is that the lid is most often warped. Usually I've seen smaller tiles in this type of box, but your tiles are full size. So perhaps later manufacture during the 30s-60s range. Very hard to tell. Maybe you can find information about similar sets on other sites, linked to at the bottom of FAQ 4a.
    You also asked about value. But you did not provide me any condition information. You'll need to see FAQ 7h. But the age uncertainty is going to complicate that question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Your green dragons are upside down.


    It appears I can't explain scoring S&P well enough for my friends.

    >On Monday, October 14, 2019, 05:00:23 PM PDT, Robert and Le Ann C wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have friends who do not understand the pay out for singles and pairs. They need a simple explanation that the jokerless Man Jongg hand rules still apply. Double for picking your own and double only for the discarder of the winning tile. It appears I can not explained it thoroughly.
    >Thanks,
    >Le Ann C

    Hi, Le Ann!
    Maybe I explained it well enough in the Singles & Pairs section of FAQ 16? Or maybe they could just read the back of the card, at the lower left corner?

    S&P hands aren't doubled for jokerless (that's built into the score). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    Indigenous Peoples Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be claimed for joker redemption?

    >On Monday, October 14, 2019, 02:07:30 PM PDT, Rebecca W wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have another question for you.
    >You have part of your hand exposed with a joker. Ex: 5 crack/joker/5crack. The player to the left of the exposed hand, misses the chance to exchange the joker for the 5 crack and discards a 5 crack. The player with the exposed hand is next to play. Can that player draw the discarded 5 crack from the discard pile to add to her exposed hand with the joker to make 3 5 cracks and then add the joker to her hand.
    > Clear as mud???
    >Thank you, Becky

    Hi, Becky!
    A discarded redeemable tile may be taken only for exposure or mah-jongg - not for the purposes of redeeming it for a joker. The redeemable tile is down, and down is dead. Read FAQ 19-G2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    Indigenous Peoples Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if everybody wants to blind pass?

    >On Saturday, October 5, 2019, 01:12:49 PM PDT, Marianne L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What should you do if, on the first left of a Charleston, all 4 players want to steal. We had all 4 players wanting to steal 2 tiles so we were at a stalemate!

    Hi, Marianne!
    As far as I know, the League has never answered this question in writing in the past 20 years (that's how long I've been a member, collecting every newsletter and rulebook edition). I came up with what I think is a reasonable solution. FAQ 19-BS points to Column 534. If my solution doesn't satisfy you or your group, you can write to the League to get your answer in writing. If you show me something in writing from the League that shows I'm giving a wrong answer, I'll publish their ruling.
    And as long as you're reading stuff, please also read Column 353 about "stealing."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 6, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 729

    >On Saturday, October 5, 2019, 06:46:34 AM PDT, Timothy A wrote:
    >Column #729
    >Hi Tom, I’m a bit behind in my reading and this morning I decided to try and catch up by checking out a couple of your more recent columns.
    >In column #729 #1, you say there are four passable tiles for the 2019 hand but I only see three, the pair of 5 Dot's and the 7 bam! Was that a typo on your behalf or has my coffee not kicked in yet? Of course I’m assuming that you will be playing the hand with just the 2 suits, as allowed, and not including the Red Dragon as your 4th tile to discard.
    >TimA

    Good morning, Tim. You wrote:

    In column #729 #1, you say there are four passable tiles for the 2019 hand but I only see three, the pair of 5 Dot's and the 7 bam!
    You are absolutely right. There are only three. Good eye! But as I reread that one again now, I also see that the other hand is not Addition #1 but Addition #2!

    Of course I’m assuming that you will be playing the hand with just the 2 suits, as allowed, and not including the Red Dragon as your 4th tile to discard.
    Stop looking for a 4th passer. Note that I also wrote "To pursue the 2019 hand, you'd have to pass a pair." That says right there that I'm only passing three (even though I wrote "four").

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a discarded redeemable tile for the purpose of redeeming a joker with it?

    >On Friday, October 4, 2019, 11:59:29 AM PDT, stuart m wrote:
    >Question for Mau Jongg
    >Hi
    >I tried to find the answer to my question but I didn’t.
    >A player has exposed three, 9dots and a joker. The player to the left discards a nine dot. Can the player with the exposure, who is next in line to play, pick up the tile, replace the joker and call Mau Jongg. I’m thinking no but need to ask.
    >Norma

    Hi, Norma!
    That's FAQ 19-G2.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    October 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation!

    >On Monday, September 30, 2019, 03:31:35 PM PDT, service@paypal.com wrote:
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Pamela S
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Pamela S
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Pamela Steuart
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Pamela! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claim

    >On Saturday, September 28, 2019, 07:34:37 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello again
    >Hi Tom: I think maybe adding a category or two might work. I know I searched "Mah Jongg in Error" and got nothing. I think I did search just "Error" but there were so many places to read I probably missed what I was looking for. Let me know if you do decide to add another category.
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    >On Saturday, September 28, 2019, 08:11:01 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello again
    >So I read the Answer where if two players call the same tile and one wants for Exposure and one for Mah Jongg, obviously Mah Jongg wins out however, what if Player A calls the Tiles, picks it up and exposes it along with the other Tiles and after the fact Player B says, "Opps that was my Mah Jongg Tile." You have to make Player A put the Tile back and let Player B have the Mah Jongg even though they were not paying attention??
    >Thanks!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Good morning, Debbie. You wrote:

    what if Player A calls the Tiles, picks it up and exposes it along with the other Tiles and after the fact Player B says, "Opps that was my Mah Jongg Tile."
    All the "conflicting claim" questions are answered in FAQ 19-H. It's a multi-part answer because there are many ways "conflicting claim" comes up. Yesterday I pointed you to FAQ 19-H4. Please read the entire contents of FAQ 19-H. This question is answered in FAQ 19-H3 (directly above yesterday's answer). Once a player has exposed tiles, it's too late for another player to claim the same discard. Period. Look also at the NMJL's FAQs for 2019 (see #2 and #3). #2 covers both players wanting the discard for exposure; #3 covers both wanting it for mahj. The NMJL's language is very clear. And the overweening principle is clear, too - actions overpower words. When one player takes action before another player speaks, the action holds sway.

    if two players call the same tile and one wants for Exposure and one for Mah Jongg, obviously Mah Jongg wins out ... You have to make Player A put the Tile back and let Player B have the Mah Jongg even though they were not paying attention??
    Some rules trump other rules. In this case, (as I've answered others who posited the same question below,) there is such a thing as too late. Too late is too late. Player B should stifle her impulse to speak, once her chance is past. She goofed BIG TIME when she didn't grab that discard when she had the chance. Maybe she can still win, but whether she can or not, perhaps she'll pay closer attention going forward.
    As always, if my answers don't satisfy, you can always write to the League to get your answer in writing. If you show me something in writing from the League that shows I'm giving a wrong answer in FAQ 19, I'll fix it in the FAQs.

    Let me know if you do decide to add another category.
    I was hoping for more help as to category titles that would have helped you find answers. Maybe a category for "errors" would have helped you find yesterday's answer?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Erroneous mah-jongg on a discard - can I have that tile now? Is it up for grabs?

    >On Saturday, September 28, 2019, 08:28:23 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >Hello Mr. T: Could not find the answer to this question or the rule:
    >I need a quick answer to this: Player A calls a tile for mah jongg, but it is mahjongg in error. Player B wants the same tile for mah jongg. Is that tile dead in the erroneous hand, or can the other player take it?
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Hi, Debbie!
    That's answered in FAQ 19. As an experiment, let me see if I can find it in the FAQ and describe for you and everybody how to find that in FAQ 19. I realize it's hard to find answers in there; hoping to improve that.
    On the FAQ 19 page, I do a search for the phrase "jongg in error"* or "in error" - nope, nothing. But if you use just "error" for your search, there are 20 instances of its use. By arrowing down through them one by one, you will come upon FAQ 19-H4. This answer is contained within the question "what happens when two people both want the same tile," or "conflicting claim." And that's a subsection of "Claiming a Discard, and the Window of Opportunity." Because this is a thing that follows after two people want the same tile.
    So that's how I found that answer just now. What do you think, what other categories should I list that under? It's about "Win By Discard," and it's also about "Erroneous Mah-Jongg" - it's also about "She's Dead, Now What?" Should I add a category, or two? I can show multiple pointers to the question.
    By the way, I got that answer from the 2005 and 2011 newsletters from the League.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Some of us might type the word as "mahjongg" and some "mah-jongg" so I just search for the "jongg" part.


    Hi, it's me, Tom Sloper. I'll be teaching 1920s-style mah-jongg to all comers at Ticket To The Twenties, first weekend of October!

    Learn about mah-jongg's origins and myths while playing an easy-to learn version of the classic game!
    Tom


    Accrediting mah-jongg associations

    >On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 12:31:59 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >Mahjong Associations
    >Hi Tom,
    >I know Mahjong Associations in Europa must be EMA accredited. But Do Non-European Associations need to get accredited somewhere internationally? What about mindmahjong.com? Is it an authorising body for accredited associations? If yes, how to apply?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Nima, you're asking me about things way above my level. I don't aspire to host tournaments or form mah-jongg organizations. I'm just a player and writer. European mah-jongg clubs don't have to be accredited unless they want to host or organize events to attract international players and for their results to be recognized for the ranking of players. You would only need to be accredited if you want to be an EMA member organization and if you want to host Mahjong Europea Ranking System tournaments for international-standard ranking of players in your tournaments. And if that's what you want to do, I cannot advise you!
    So within the past week or two, we've established some limits to the information I can provide here:
    - I'm not an expert on mah-jongg set manufacturers;
    - I can't tell people about mah-jongg probabilities or odds or statistics;
    - And I can't help with organization accreditation questions.
    I'm sure there are a lot more questions about mah-jongg that I simply can't answer. Sorry I can't help much with your questions today - you need to find and contact others, and I can't even tell you who!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 24, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MCR, part 5

    >On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 03:51:17 AM PDT, heaton.ray wrote:
    >MCR scoring by Nima's app.
    >Hi Tom,
    >I would challenge the scoring shown by Nima's app using the "prohibition against identical patterns" rule, and score the hand at 45 points...indeed to check, I put the hand through a different app that identified the lower score.
    >But my MCR scoring is a bit rusty, so I could well be wrong!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Good morning, Ray. That principle says "Once you've used a set to form a particular 2- or 3-set pattern, you can't use the same set to form an identical pattern with another set." The screen shot from Nima's app shows that chows B and D are used twice to make Pure shifted chows, once with chow A and again with chow C. So I'm with you. (I was trying to encourage Nima/Joe to learn how to fish on his/her own.)* May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 24, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Added Sept. 26


    MCR, part 4

    >On Sunday, September 22, 2019, 06:20:39 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >MCR Scoring points
    >Hi,
    >Is it possible to count Pure Shifted Chows twice like this image?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Good morning, Joe.
    Please take a look at FAQ 22. And please reference what's written in the FAQ as regards to your screenshot. Consider that you can score any combinations you want, so long as you don't include scores that are implied or identical or repetitive... Do you think your app has violated one of the prohibitions listed in the FAQ, and if so, which one(s)?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 22, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She made an erroneous exposure, and then...

    >On Saturday, September 21, 2019, 05:20:34 PM PDT, Patricia C wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player across from me - out of turn called and picked a thrown tile (I had discarded it) - then she racked -
    >Two 5 Cracks, a Joker and the picked tile a 5 Dot. Opponent on her left (who should have gotten to pick the next tile) called her on having racked a wrong tile. Said player put the tile back in the middle and the player on her right claimed the next tile .. this action did not allow the player on my right her turn to pick.
    >This player noted that she gets the next tile because she would have been next if the wrong player hadn't made mistake.
    >(It happened to be the very last tile - which may or may not give player to right of me a MJ.).
    >Discussion went back and forth each saying they were right.
    >What is the correct answer?
    >Who officially had the right to tile?
    >I hope this is understandably written.
    >Patricia.

    >On Saturday, September 21, 2019, 05:37:59 PM PDT, Patricia C wrote:
    >Need Answer to a MJongg Question
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player across from me (out of turn) ‘called’ and picked a discarded tile
    >(which I had discarded) - then she racked it with - Two 5 Cracks, a Joker and (the picked tile) a 5 Dot.
    >The opponent on her left (who should have gotten to pick the next tile) ‘called her’ on having racked a wrong tile.
    >Wrong player put the tile back in the middle - Then the ‘other’ player on her right claimed the next tile.
    >.. This action did not allow the player on her left - (who lost her turn to pick because of the wrong pick) - to have her chance to pick.
    >Player on wrong players Left noted that ‘she’ gets the next tile because she would have been next if the player hadn't chosen wrong. (It happened to be the very last tile - which may or may not have given player to left of wrong player to call a MJ.).
    >Discussion went back and forth each saying they were right. What is the correct answer? Who officially had the right to that tile?
    >I hope this is understandably written.
    >Patricia.

    Hi, Patricia! You wrote:

    player across from me ... called and picked a ... tile (I had discarded ... then she racked
    I use the words "pick" and "rack" differently than you do, but from context I can tell that your opposite called your discard and formed an exposure atop her rack...

    Two 5 Cracks, a Joker and (the picked tile) a 5 Dot.
    She made an erroneous exposure. Understood.

    The opponent on her left (who should have gotten to pick the next tile) ‘called her’ on having racked a wrong tile.
    >Wrong player put the tile back in the middle
    She's not permitted to do that. She is allowed to correct the exposure, if she's able (she can replace the two 5Cs with two 5Ds, if she has them - or to use jokers to complete the exposure). If she cannot correct the exposure, she is dead.

    the player on her right claimed the next tile
    I don't know if "the next tile" was a pick from the wall, or the erroneously put-back discard. But either way, the game is completely screwed up at this point. An error has been made, and everything that happens from this point is moot.

    Who officially had the right to that tile?
    I can't answer this question. It's not clear which tile we're talking about. The tile that your opposite claimed and then returned to the table? Or the next tile from the wall? But as I said above, it's moot.

    Here's what should have happened:
    (1) After your opposite made the erroneous exposure, if she could not correct the exposure (a pung or kong of the called tile, your 5D) she should have been called dead.
    (2) Dead with an erroneous exposure atop her rack, your opposite should have returned the entire bad exposure to the sloping front of her rack. Read FAQ 19-CK.
    (3) If that tile was the last tile on the wall, the game is over. But if the last tile on the wall is the next player's pick, the player next in line after your opposite may pick it. Your opposite made a play, skipping the turn of the player at your right. So the player at your left plays after your opposite made her fatal play.

    If you have a follow-up question, you can email me again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Playing with Maribelle

    >On Friday, September 20, 2019, 03:13:46 PM PDT, Hannah B wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When playing with Maribelle do you you a 4th wall.
    >Thanks
    >Hannah

    Hi, Hannah!
    I assume "Maribelle" is your group's fanciful name for an empty seat in a three-player game? You ALWAYS build 4 walls. Read FAQ 13A for the straight scoop on playing with fewer than (or more than) 4 players, no matter what their names are. (Personally, I'd name that seat "Casper" or "Topper.")
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 20, 2019


    Who gets the discard, part 2

    >On Thursday, September 19, 2019, 05:04:01 PM PDT, Donna E wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom, 
    >In one of your recent answers called ‘Who gets the discard’ I believe you said it is illegal to put the called discard in your rack. According to this letter it is permitted by NMJL rules. Also, as far as I know there is nowhere in their rules or the Bulletin that has changed this. If it has been changed, please let me know. I know the rule is different in tournament situations. 
    >Thank you,
    >Donna E

    Arrr, ye landlubber!
    (Boy! Why does this "talk like a pirate day" have to coincide with a day when I get so many mah-jongg questions!?)

    I have added words to my response to Karen yesterday (please scroll down and see). Please understand: I can only respond to information I'm given. When I'm given incomplete or ambiguous information, I have to make assumptions. And you know what happens when assumptions are made: the word "assume" makes an "ass" of "u" and "me."

    Look at what Karen wrote: "Player to the left grabbed the flower and racked it."
    She did not say that the player made an exposure. The word "racked" usually means "placed on the sloping front of the rack, among one's concealed tiles." Karen never said she put the tile in the rack in the process of grabbing other tiles, and she never said any tiles were put atop the horizontal surface of the rack. So - I did not assume that Karen's player made an exposure. Karen's words made it sound like the player took the discard and placed it in among her concealed tiles, and left it there. And that's what I responded to. I always strive to write with precision and unambiguous terminology, even if the emails I receive are not written that way.

    The letter from the League describes an entirely different situation.
    Have a nice rest of "Talk Like A Pirate Day," and ... May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    Talk Like A Pirate Day - 9/19/19
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    An article from the AMJA's newsletter a couple decades ago

    >On Thursday, September 19, 2019, 12:37:15 PM PDT, Marie R wrote:
    >5. ... oh, the heck with numbered items!
    >Hi Tom,
    >I’m unable to find the article referenced on this page:
    >http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq09.html
    >“Here's part of an article I wrote in the newsletter of the AMJA some time back:”
    >Would you share it? I’m teaching a course in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Rhode Island.
    >Thank you in advance!
    >Best,
    >Marie

    Arrrr! Avast, Marie!
    Ye be thinkin' there's more to that article than Philosophies 0-9, I s'pose. I doubt the rest of that article is of much interest to the Lifelong Learning Institute. Probably just had an introductory sentence and a closing sentence beyond those philosophies I shared in FAQ 9. I looked on my hard drive, and I don't have them old articles there. I also looked in the downlode/mahjongg/ folder and didn't find them thar articles in thar neither, Matey! They're probably on an old CD somewhere, but it could take hours to find that old article that I already mostly shared in FAQ 9. So. Can't help you. Now walk the plank! Arrrr!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    International Talk Like A Pirate Day, 9/19/19
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. You could try asking the AMJA if they still have those old newsletters with my series of articles. Good luck with that! - Tom
    9/20/19 (Thank goodness Talk Like A Pirate Day is over!)


    A marvelous dispute

    >On Thursday, September 19, 2019, 05:20:39 AM PDT, Kathleen D wrote:
    >Marvelous Mahjong
    >Hi I have a question about 2019 card
    >Under straight talk
    >The hand
    >MJ 111 222 fff 666
    >Explanation says any interrupted run
    >I said Mahjong with the following hand
    >MJ 111 222 fff 999
    >I was told I was dead because the the interruption was wrong
    >Can you tell me what you think?
    >Kathleen
    >I find joy in your happiness

    Hi, Kathleen! No, wait. I mean, "Ahoy there, Matey!"
    I don't keep up with the alternative cards, and I don't have the current Marvelous card. But if the example on the card shows 1-2-6 and says "any interrupted run," I don't see why 1-2-9 would be incorrect. 1-2-E would clearly be incorrect, but 9 is a number higher than 2, so I don't know why your three opponents agreed that you should walk the plank. The true arbiter of your group's dispute would be the owner of the MMJ website. You ought to be able to contact her and ask. Or maybe the answer to your dispute is in the fine print on the card somewhere.
    I also don't know what your hand's "MJ" is. I suppose J is Joker, but what is M? Is it 8B, which usually looks like a W over an M? Or is it W, turned upside down? Shiver me timbers but 'tis a naughty nautical mystery! Arrrr, where's me flagon?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Thursday, 9-19-19
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who gets the discard?

    >On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 09:46:32 AM PDT, kareng1 wrote:
    >Question on discarded tile
    >A player threw a flower. Player to the left grabbed the flower and racked it. Then I said I needed the discarded joker tile. I was the player to the right of discarder. I thought if two players want the same discard, the player to the right gets the discard. Another player said that player to the left gets the discard because she already racked the flower and i didn't say anything until after she racked. Who gets the discarded flower tile?
    >Thanks,
    >Karen
    >Cherry Hill, NJ

    Hi, Karen! You wrote:

    Player to the left grabbed the flower and racked it.
    That's confusing. You mean she called it for exposure, and put up other flowers for a pung or kong? It's illegal to take a discard and rack it among one's concealed tiles and leave it there.
    (Red text added next day in response to Donna E's 9/19/19 email, above)

    Then I said I needed the discarded joker tile.
    I'm confused. You can never call for a discarded joker. If you meant you said you needed that discarded flower which the other player had already "racked," then you were too late.

    Who gets the discarded flower tile?
    If the other player had already made an exposure, your claim was too late. Read FAQ 19-H.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 18, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She's dead. Is that joker available for redemption? (FAQ 19-P)

    >On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 11:47:21 AM PDT, Jaclyn L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Someone called in a 3 dot for exposure using a joker, then declared Mah Jongg, in error. Is the joker available to be exchanged?

    Hi, Jaclyn!
    That joker is not only not redeemable, it's going back on the sloping front of her rack! Read FAQ 19-P.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MahjongNews, part 2

    >On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 12:10:28 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >Re: Mahjongnews
    >Hi,
    >Since mahjongnews is no longer active, what about I register a domain name and I maintain it technically and you experts contribute to it? Any sense and interests? Any volunteers? Interested experts and volunteers to collaborate may contact me at:
    >joe.hark2 AT gmail DOT com
    >Thank you,
    >Nima


    How to make a quint without a joker?

    >On Monday, September 16, 2019, 07:20:49 AM PDT, Becky H wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I don't understand how to make a quint without a joker. Could you explain? I'm a novice and read many FAQs but not all, so may have missed my answer for which I apologize. Thanks for your amazing knowledge of the game. Beck

    Hi, Beck! You said:

    I don't understand how to make a quint without a joker.
    You can't.

    Standing by for the follow-up question! (I'm pretty sure you'll have a follow-up question.) May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MahjongNews

    >On Monday, September 16, 2019, 01:30:17 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >Mahjongnews
    >Hello,
    >Who is the owner of mahjongnews and how to contact them as their website is inactive?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Two years ago, I met Nicole Haasbroek (I might have the last name misspelled) at a Japanese mahjong event in Las Vegas. She took over mahjongnews about that time, and took it offline shortly thereafter. I do not have her contact information. You can try social media.
    Good luck! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Brouhaha on social media

    >On Sunday, September 15, 2019, 11:21:38 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >Hi Tom: So today a big debate went on in a social media group. The debate was how to properly name a 1 Bam and Dragons. Responses to the 1 Bam were as follows: 1 Birdie Bam, 1 Damn Bird, 1 Bam Bird, 1 Bird Bam, 1 Bird and probably others. For the Dragons the debate was with the White Dragon and whether it should be called a White Dragon, White or Soap. With the Red and Green Dragons, whether you can just say Red or Green or do you have to name it Red Dragon and Green Dragon.
    >Folks get a bit annoyed and testy when they give their opinions and many said "who cares how I name it as long as no one cares" or "even if they care, I can name it as I wish."
    >Then another teacher contacted me privately and made a good point that I wanted to run by you and get your opinion on. If in a game someone allows the players' to call a 1 Bam a 1 "Bird Bam" and they say 1 Bird and then realize they can do a Joker Exchange, they can say they didn't fully name the Tile. The same applies to Red Dragon. If a Red Dragon is named "Red Dragon," one could say Red and then say, oops I want to Exchange a Joker. In both of these cases claiming the Tile was not fully named.
    >I love your take on this Tom. Many thanks!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Good morning, Debbie! You wrote:

    a big debate went on in a social media group.
    I presume that's the "Mah Jongg That's It" Facebook group. I suppose there may be another, but that's "it," as far as I'm concerned.

    Folks get a bit annoyed and testy when they give their opinions and many said "who cares how I name it as long as no one cares" or "even if they care, I can name it as I wish."
    I name a tile in a way that I know the other players will understand. But yes, some players get their panties all up in a bunch at the drop of a hat! To mix metaphors.

    If I'm playing with easily-riled players, I say tile names the way they do. But mah-jongg players are supposed to be fun people!

    If a Red Dragon is named "Red Dragon," one could say Red and then say, oops I want to Exchange a Joker. In both of these cases claiming the Tile was not fully named.
    That's an argument that won't fly. Everybody knows what tile you're naming if you say "Red." Down is down.

    It's customary to say as few syllables as possible, so that the game moves quickly. The only three-syllable tile names are the sevens.

    To throw some bacon grease into the fire, what about Soap? What if I name it White, or Zero? I had a player once who missed calling the tile because she was listening for "soap," and didn't look at the discard. And I've had players write me crying foul if someone names it "Zero" but they don't need a zero, they need a white dragon. Sheesh! Same thing! The real problem is players who only listen and don't look at each discard.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Seat rotation

    >On Sunday, September 15, 2019, 05:42:20 AM PDT, Bernice L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When 4 people are playing is it a Mah Jongg rule for east to move to her right after each round therefore changing the seating and passing. Our game usually plays 5 but when we play 4 do we change seats?
    >Thank you,
    >Bernice

    Hi, Bernice!
    Is it a rule? Good question. I think it's an optional procedure. The wording atop page 25 (of the official rulebook; the paragraph titled "Four-Handed Mah Jongg") begins, "To change the passing and picking..." That makes it sound optional to me.
    Many players are unaware of seat rotation, even though it's often frustrating to be at the mercy of the annoying habits of the player at your left, or that opposite player who never wants to exchange three in the Courtesy pass. Seat rotation lets you have a different person at your left "feeding" you during play, as well as a different person in the opposite seat after a round of play. I like rotation personally, but sometimes if you have a player for whom standing up and walking are a challenge, there can be resistance to "constantly" switching seats. When rotation is done properly, the dealer rotates with her neighbor about every hour. In a four-hour play session, then, the dealer can sit at every position around the table.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Gambling points conversion

    >On Sunday, September 15, 2019, 12:45:55 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >MCR scoring
    >Hello,
    >I am curious to know how gamblers convert Zung Jung and HK points to money?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima
    >PS. Thanks for giving WSJ link about Mahjong but it seems it requires payment to show the article and I am not going to do.

    I'm afraid I can't help you with any of that, Nima. Sorry!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MCR, part 3

    >On Saturday, September 14, 2019, 10:58:58 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >MCR w chips
    >Hello,
    >On p. 176 of your book, you suggest 30 of 1-point chip for each player assuming the set is 4-colored. As no set has 120 of a chip, could you suggest another chip dividing for a 5-colored chips set, not exceeding 100 for one color?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    >On Saturday, September 14, 2019, 10:28:01 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >Re: MCR scoring
    >Hello,
    >How popular is zung jung vs. MCR and other variants?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Hi, Nima! You asked:

    As no set has 120 of a chip,
    Silly me. I guess I assumed people would determine their own counts based on what chips they had, or buy sets of chips separately, since many sets come without any, and there's commonly a disparity in amounts of chips included in sets. At tournaments, score is kept on paper.

    could you suggest another chip dividing for a 5-colored chips set, not exceeding 100 for one color?
    Good idea! First we need to know how many points each player should hold. Page 175 says 500 points. With values of 100, 50, 10, and 1, we probably need more low-point chips - 5.

    By the way, have you downloaded the errata for the book? Since the book's release, some rule clarifications and some errors have become known. They're all collected in the errata. I recommend keeping a copy next to your book.

    How popular is zung jung vs. MCR
    All I can tell you is that Zung Jung (or a variant of it) is played in Macau for big bucks gambling. And Majiang Competition Rules is played internationally for ranked competition. So ZJ is played by gamblers, and MCR is played for enjoyable competition. Hard to know which group is larger (perhaps the gamblers).

    and other variants?
    All I know is what I wrote in FAQ 23.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MCR scoring (MCR, part 2)

    >On Saturday, September 14, 2019, 04:31:12 AM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >Re: MCR scoring
    >Hello,
    >How are the best ways to practice and memorize the MCR scoring?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Well, I suppose the best way would be to have a group of live people to play with every week. Other good ways include playing with that app you're using, and other programs (see FAQ 5). You could begin by memorizing the 6-point fan, 1-point fan, 2-point fan, and 8-point fan (before trying to memorize all the higher-scoring fan). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is my app lying to me? (MCR, part 1)

    >On Friday, September 13, 2019, 10:50:47 PM PDT, Nima S wrote:
    >MCR scoring
    >Hello,
    >In MCR scoring, is it possible to count Concealed Kong if counting Two Concealed Pungs as we see in this screenshot?
    >Thanks,
    >Nima

    Hi, Nima!
    I assume you are questioning the accuracy of the app's scoring. This hand includes a concealed pung and a concealed kong. There is no "one concealed pung and one concealed kong" scoring pattern. Does that mean you are not allowed to claim the 2 points for Two Concealed Pungs? How would that be fair? A kong is nothing more than a glorified/fancy pung (a pung with an extra tile). So when you have a concealed pung and a concealed kong, you may count them as Two Concealed Pungs. But where'd the glory go? You have a concealed kong, which lets you have 2 more points.
    Your app is not lying to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's the luck ratio in mah-jongg?

    >On Friday, September 13, 2019, 08:19:27 AM PDT, Sandy wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: someone said that Mah Jongg is 70% luck. Is that true? Thank you.
    >Sandy D

    Hi, Sandy!
    I have no idea how to determine how much is luck and how much is skill. A friend of mine, who plays Go, prefers games where it's 0% luck and 100% skill - that's easy to determine (there is no random element at all). But there are random elements in mah-jongg (the order of tiles in the wall, which hands players are going for, the dice roll). Is mah-jongg 70% luck and 30% skill, like "someone" said? Or is it 50% luck and 50% skill? What about different variants? There's a higher luck ratio in Japanese mah-jongg than in American mah-jongg, by design (Japanese rules add more random elements to increase the payments). But what's the ratio in any mah-jongg variant? How would you even measure such a question?
    All I can tell you is: the more experienced/skilled player will win more often than less experienced players, but even the most highly skilled players are subject to the vagaries of chance.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the Thirteenth, August 2019


    How does payment work for bettors? (FAQ 19-W4)

    >On Thursday, September 12, 2019, 08:08:16 AM PDT, Wendy L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player calls Mahjongg and she wins with a tile discarded. The person who discarded the tile pays double. If the bettor did not bet on the winner does she pay double? Or just the regular 25 cents?
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Wendy!
    You left out an important piece of information: who did the bettor bet on? The bettor pays or collects same as the bet-upon. Read FAQ 19-W4. A lot of people have questions about the card, and a lot of people have questions about the rules. I've written answers to all those questions. For questions about the 2018 card, read FAQ 16. For questions about the rules, see FAQ 19. For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Why not bookmark them both!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 12, 2019


    Consec #7 (FAQ 16)

    >On Thursday, September 12, 2019, 01:38:41 PM PDT, Bee D wrote:
    >Question about closed hand in consecutive run
    >At our game today the question came up about the closed hand in the consecutive run on the 2019 card. The instruction states Any 3 consecutive numbers, pungs match pair. The example is:
    >111 22 333 222 222
    >My hand was:
    >11 222 333 111 111
    >The majority thought that the pair had to be the middle number. Is that the case or can the pair be any number in the string of 3 consecutive numbers?
    >Thank you for you assistance

    Hi, Bee!
    Your question has been asked and answered in FAQ 16. "The pair must be the middle number. The like pungs must match the middle number." A lot of people have questions about the card, and a lot of people ask me questions about the rules. I've written answers to all those questions. For questions about the card (your question is in there), see FAQ 16. For questions about the rules, see FAQ 19. For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Why not bookmark them both!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 12, 2019


    He redeemed a joker after calling a discard.

    >On Monday, September 9, 2019, 12:23:00 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >OK, hopefully this question was not answered but if it is you can direct me to the right place I'm sure.
    >Player calls a Tile for an Exposure and puts up a Tile. Then he does a Joker Exchange and find he has Mah Jongg. It seems you'd have to call a Tile and then Discard. Do your Joker Exchange and you'd still be short one Tile for Mah Jongg. You cannot Call a Tile, do a Joker Exchange and call Mah Jongg...correct or not? Isn't this where the "new action" thing takes place?
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Hi, Debbie! You wrote:

    Player calls a Tile for an Exposure and puts up a Tile. Then he does a Joker Exchange ... It seems you'd have to call a Tile and then Discard.
    He called a discard and then redeemed? That's an illegal play. After calling a tile, the player must expose the grouping (pung, kong, or quint) completed by the called discard. Only after making an exposure is the player permitted to redeem a joker. See FAQ 19-M for the proper order of things. You can't call a discard and then redeem before completing the exposure.

    You cannot Call a Tile, [make a proper exposure,]do a Joker Exchange and call Mah Jongg...correct or not?
    That's a classic play that some people call "finessing;" as long as the player is holding 14 tiles, a joker may be redeemed. See rule 4 at the top of page 21 of the rulebook (2018 edition). Please check the rulebook before emailing.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 10, 2019


    One of our players had all 8 jokers

    >On Monday, September 9, 2019, 04:03:49 PM PDT, Mary wrote:
    >All 8 jokers?
    >Any special rules or scoring when all 8 jokers are used for mah Jong? Any idea what the odds of this occurring are? It happened today. We scored normally but just thought it was something special.
    >Thanks

    Hi, Mary! You wrote:

    Any special rules or scoring when all 8 jokers are used for mah Jong?
    No.

    Any idea what the odds of this occurring are?
    No, but FAQ 19-CI lists some good books on probability and combinatorics if you want to try to calculate them.

    It happened today.
    Wow. That's the first time anyone told me they'd seen that happen. Cool!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 10, 2019


    Looking for old Shanghai game

    >On Saturday, September 7, 2019, 09:27:50 PM PDT, john C wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:hi wondering if u could help me find a mahjong game i think from the 90’s my mother who passed away had a computer game mahjong with old science fiction movie clips ,my wife and i can’t find it it was on a cd disk,had old scifi stuff robots, man in the moon from the 50s and back when u matched the video and sound effects would pop up appreciate any help if possible loved that game and reminds me of my mom. thanks john

    john, all I can do is tell you the title of the game you're seeking. I can't help you find a copy and I can't help you make it work. The title is Shanghai: Great Moments. It ran on Windows 3.1 (blue box) or Windows 95 (white box)

    So you need more than the game CD itself. You need a computer that runs an old operating system, if you want to play that old computer game. Much simpler to just get a modern tile-matching game for your mobile phone or PC. FAQ 12 has links to tile-matching games, but I suppose a lot of the links have died. I play "Microsoft Mahjong" (which is not really mah-jongg, as explained in FAQ 12) when I want to match tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if somebody plays out of turn, part 4

    >On Friday, September 6, 2019, 08:35:57 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: Hello
    >OOPS sorry for missing that!!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    May the tiles be with you, Debbie.


    What if somebody plays out of turn, part 3

    >On Friday, September 6, 2019, 07:26:48 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: Hello
    >Hello! Just wanted to be sure you saw my additional question. Thanks

    I did. I posted my response last night (below). I reply by email only one time (as I wrote in my initial reply email to you). Repeat posters are expected to simply return to the board to find answers. If you don't see your new answer, then you need to "refresh" or "reload" the page to see the most recent posts.


    What if somebody plays out of turn, part 2

    >On Thursday, September 5, 2019, 08:34:22 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: Hello
    >Hi Tom and thank you for getting back to me. So, I understand no one has asked this before and I appreciate your adding this FAQ entry. I read the the further reading areas and see that you have this written: Playing Out of Turn, Picking From Wrong End - Picking ahead is technically playing out of turn. (Just sayin'.) In tournaments, these rule violations are immediately punishable. In home games, beginner players might sometimes be let off with friendly warnings one or two times. So my question is...is this an official rule according to NMJL? You state it is if in tournaments this rule is adhered to but often tournaments have their own rules. Maybe I missed it somewhere??!!?? Thanks!
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Hi, Debbie! You wrote:

    is this an official rule according to NMJL? You state it is if in tournaments this rule is adhered to but often tournaments have their own rules.
    In general, tournament rules are stricter than the way a lot of people play in their homes. Playing Out of Turn is always a fatal error. In a tournament, if you call a judge over and ask the judge, "this player played out of turn. Isn't she dead?" most of the time the judge will not give her a break. Players at tournaments are supposed to avoid the sort of things that can get you called dead. Or let's say you ask the judge, "she Picked From the Wrong End of the wall. Isn't she dead?" Most tournament judges would surely agree that's a fatal error.

    In a home game with a novice player you're trying to train so she will play in your regular game, some players might go easy the first time a novice makes a fatal error. That doesn't happen in a tournament. Maybe I should rewrite that line in the FAQ?.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if somebody plays out of turn?

    >On Thursday, September 5, 2019, 01:38:43 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Hello
    >I scoured your website but could not find the rule on "What if a Player Picks out of Turn?" If you can direct me I'd appreciate it! Thank you.
    >Happy Mahjongging!
    >Debbie the Mahj Teacher

    Hi, Debbie! I don't remember anybody asking me this before, so there isn't* an entry in FAQ 19 asking what you asked. But it is mentioned in FAQ 19-AA as one of the things that can cause a player to go dead. You'll find it mentioned similarly on page 20 of the official rulebook - rule 19(e). *Actually, now I've added your question; it's FAQ 19-CP.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is win by joker redemption considered self-pick?

    >On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 09:02:29 PM PDT, Jackies wrote:
    >Mah Jongg declaration
    >I had exposed tiles that I needed for my hand. Then I called in a 9 crak to complete a Kong and I then replaced a joker on another player’s rack for a joker. That completed my ping of 6 beams for Mah Jongg. Did I pick my own tile?
    >JDL

    Hi, Jackies! Yes. Win by joker redemption is considered self-pick. Please read FAQ 19-AN. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I want to figure it out, part 2

    >On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 12:48:18 PM PDT, Clair B wrote:
    >Mah jong set ?
    >WOW you are ON IT! That is amazing.
    >Thanks, I just wondered what kind of set this is with the all green Royal Jokers and this type of dragons...I wondered when it was made and what it is called since everyone seems to know what their set is called and I have little to no idea...
    >Much oblige.
    >Clair B

    Hi, Clair. Your questions:

    I just wondered what kind of set this is
    It's an American set, but I suppose you already knew that.

    I wondered when it was made
    I don't know. I see that it has 16 flowers and 10 jokers. It appears that some of your flowers are either discolored or were originally from another set (their color is darker than the others). And your two blanks look like a different color. So I do not know if this set originally came with 16 flowers and 10 jokers. My sets with that type of joker don't have that many jokers. If you look at the F/J table in column 509, you'll see that the National Mah Jongg League never required 16 flowers and 10 jokers. Manufacturers couldn't rely on the League sticking with a reliable number of flowers and jokers, so the manufacturer may have made more than were required by the card that year. My guess is "late sixties." That's as close as I can get. If your four dark flowers are from another set, the set might have been made between 1962 and 1966 (when 12 flowers were required).

    and what it is called since everyone seems to know what their set is called
    You're asking for a set name, and as I said earlier, I don't know that stuff. Try the links in FAQ 4A like I said earlier.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I want to figure it out

    >On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 08:29:31 AM PDT, Clair B wrote:
    >Mah jong set ?
    >Tom
    >While I think this is a butterscotch Bakelite Royal Depth Control set made by A & L in NY I can not find a set any where online that has this joker and dragon combo and I want to figure it out. Bought at garage sale and now what I use.
    >10 jokers. 16 flowers. 2 blank.
    >I read Royal jokers were always Bakelite but am not sure. Any help would be appreciated and hope you’ll let me know when you put the answer online?
    >Huge thanks.
    >Clair B

    Hi, Clair. I'm sorry, but I am not an expert on manufacturers and their sets. And I can't figure out what questions you want answered. Check the links of "Other Excellent Mah-Jongg Sites" in FAQ 4A to find information about sets and manufacturers. And of course (as the boilerplate above says) the first time someone asks a question here, I always send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she correct her exposure error?

    >On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 03:03:02 PM PDT, Toni G wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2 bam discarded.
    >Players says take and first exposes 2 cracks from her hand before picking up the 2 bam discard.
    >Player realizes she made a mistake.
    >My feeling is that she should pick up the 2 bam discard, make an exposure if she can, return the 2 cracks to her hand, then discard.
    >Is this correct?
    >Toni G

    I agree with your feeling, Toni!
    I believe FAQ 19-AF covers this. The source is 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." I interpret this as saying that your feeling is correct.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She was called dead. Should she discard?

    >On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 05:48:37 AM PDT, Robin S wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:a player has called for a tile, laid down her requested tiles which was the 2019 & because single tiles could not call, her hand was dead. She had not discarded her extra tile. Should she or is all tiles at the time consider dead?
    >Thx

    Hi, Robin!
    I wrote the answers to all the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about American/NMJL mah-jongg. Your question is answered thoroughly in FAQ 19-CK. Your question seems simple, but there's a lot more to the question than you were thinking! All explained in the FAQ.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference.
    Yw!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    September 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When is it racked? The League told her something other than what it says in your FAQ.

    >On Friday, August 30, 2019, 08:06:24 PM PDT, Ines H wrote:
    >Racking
    >Tom,
    >A recent post (past Tuesday) on the Facebook page MahJongg That’s It (by Gayle Friedman Schneider) referred to an answer NMJL told her about racking stating it can be ON rack not in the rack to qualify as racking. I believe this is incorrect.
    >Is this picture you display on your site the still the correct way to rack?
    >Thank you,
    >Ines H

    Hi, Ines! You wrote:

    NMJL told her about racking stating it can be ON rack not in the rack to qualify as racking. I believe this is incorrect.
    I don't know what she asked the League nor what reply she got. If she got it in writing, I'd like to see it. Until and unless I see it, I share your belief. I gather that you have seen FAQ 19-AD. At the bottom of the FAQ, the source of the information is cited: the 2018 newsletter, which says:

      Q. When is a tile considered "racked"?
      A. A tile is considered to be racked when it is sitting in the sloped area of the rack, along with a player's other tiles. Tapping or clicking the tile is not racking, nor is it considered racked if it is merely touching any other part of your rack.

    Is this picture you display on your site the still the correct way to rack?
    Would I lie to you? The picture in FAQ 19-AD completely agrees with what the League wrote in 2018. If the League is saying something contradictory now, that would be a sudden and unpublicized rule change (and I doubt that's what's going on.) As I wrote in FAQ 19-BN, it's very easy to get information mixed up in a telephone call.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #729

    >On Friday, August 30, 2019, 08:45:40 AM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    >stopping Charleston
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for the brain teasers! Really had me thinking this morning. I think I would stop the Charleston on all 3 examples. When I see two hands with 7 or more tiles for each, I like to keep all options open. As you point out, the second Charleston is often fruitless. Regarding Problem #1--I would hate to pass 3 dragons, and my chances are fairly good on drawing the 9 crack. And for the addition hand I have the required pair. So two comfortable options if I stop.
    >I learn a lot from your thinking about MJ decisions, so I look forward to your comments.
    >Thanks for all you do, Linda

    Glad you enjoyed this one, Linda! Don't know if you saw the oopsie Libby pointed out. Not sure what you mean, that your "chances are fairly good on drawing the 9 crack." There's a lot of luck in mah-jongg, and the goddesses like to play with our heads. The chances seem to me to be 4 in 152 (1 in 38), but I probably need to learn a lot more about combinatorics.*
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * P.S. (Added later.) Don't forget, there are 2 ways to get that needed tile - pick or call. You have numerous picks, and if you complete everything else before the 9Cs are all gone, you can call it if somebody discards it. I suppose the chances of getting that tile are higher than 1 in 38, but I have no idea how to calculate those odds. - Tom


    When is a tile down?

    >On Thursday, August 29, 2019, 04:41:12 PM PDT, Johanna K wrote:
    >mj question
    >I searched but did not find the discussion — but am sure this has been asked many times. Someone at mj last week said the rule about when a discard is considered ‘down’ and cannot be retrieved is when the discarder makes any indication that s/he intends to do so… including body language, holding tile, etc. Can you clarify this, please.
    >johannawk

    Hi, Johanna. See FAQ 19-A. Also see rule 7 on page 18 of Mah Jongg Made Easy (2018 edition). Every table should have a copy of the official rulebook.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #729

    >On Thursday, August 29, 2019, 06:02:14 PM PDT, Libby S wrote:
    >Column #729: Stop the Charleston?
    >Mr. Sloper, In scenario #3 of column #729, it looks like you have two incomplete pairs for Odds #4 (5B & 7B). Does that change your decision about whether to continue the Charleston or what to pass?
    >Thanks,
    >Libby S

    You are quite right, Libby, I missed that. Yes, it changes my decision. I had said "focus on the hand with the fewer problems," but now their problems are equivalent. W-D #3 is a 30-cent hand, so I would want to go that way over the Odds hand. Would I stop the Charleston? Depends. Do I feel lucky, punk? (Homage to Clint Eastwood.) If I stop, the next tile I keep will decide which way I go. If I get soap or a duplicate of any suit tile, I'll ditch dragons and winds. If I get G, R, N, or S, I'll ditch suit tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Fine appreciation

    >On Thursday, August 29, 2019, 03:51:31 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from RDM Fine Art
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from RDM Fine Art
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: RDM Fine Art
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, RDM! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Was Cecil's "Maajh" the first American rule book issued?

    >On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 06:01:39 AM PDT, DebbieSellsSoFLRealEstate wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Would like to confirm if Viola L. Cecil's book called "Maajh, The American Version of the Anciant Chinese Game" was the first American rule book to be issued. Thank you!

    Hi, Debbie!
    Your question is open to interpretation. Joseph P. Babcock's Little Red Book was the first American book on mah-jongg, and dozens of other American books were published in the Roaring Twenties. If you're asking about National Mah Jongg League rules, the League was formed much later (in 1937) by four women in New York City, one of them Viola Cecil (the first president of the League). She codified the first set of rules for the NMJL in 1938. See FAQ 11H (scroll down to the halfway mark - a lot of mah-jongg history preceded the NMJL).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They want to line up the discards because they play online

    >On Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 11:16:41 AM PDT, Gail C wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In our game, which averages about 12 to 16 players. We have several players who play often online. when playing in the group insist on having the discards in rows all lined up. This slows play as they are always looking for discarded tiles. Is there a rule against this? Thank you!

    Hi, Gail!
    Orderly discards are the rule in Japanese majan and Chinese Official majiang, but not in American mah-jongg. There's no rule about placement of discards, other than that they must be in the discard floor in the center of the table. When no rule applies, what do we consider next? (1) Strategy, (2) Etiquette, (3) Common Sense and (4) Custom (established precedent).
    1. There are strategic reasons for and against orderly discards. It's bad strategy to line up your own discards, making it easier for others to read your discards (when there is no rule telling you to line up your discards).
    2. It's polite to "go with the flow" and do things the way the others at the table do things.
    3. Common sense tells us that it's easier to read the table when the tiles are lined up neatly. That is both bad and good, depending on your skill level.
    4. It is customary in American mah-jongg for discards to be haphazard (disorderly).
    Your players who play online have to make an adjustment when playing in the physical world with breathing opponents and physical tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 27, 2019

    P.S. Orderly discards seem like a good idea if you're a beginner and have difficulty reading the tiles. There's a solution for that: play mah-jongg tile-matching games on your mobile device. You'll get good at reading the tiles. - Tom


    She touched that redeemable tile to the table; can she still redeem it?

    >On Monday, August 26, 2019, 04:59:03 PM PDT, Saretta K wrote:
    >Claiming a Joker From an Exposure
    >Dear Tom:
    >I’ve read through all of the questions and could not find one related to this issue.
    >There was an exposure of five dots with a joker; the next person picked the five dot…..called five dot…put the tile on the table but did not let go of the five dot. The question is, is she entitled to exchange the five dot for the joker as she had not let go of the five dot?
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Saretta!
    Her tile was "down," and she has to take her hand off it. You can also read the "Oops, backsies!" rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rule controversies

    >On Monday, August 26, 2019, 05:56:46 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: 1 Bam
    >Good day Tom: My questions are twofold: In regard to the Leagues new ruling: When two players want the same tile for exposure, player next in turn to discarder has preference, EXCEPT when other caller has started to expose tiles. This applies to both calling a tile for exposure and calling for Mah Jongg. However I cannot find it written anywhere that if one player calls for an exposure and another calls for mah jongg but the player that called for an exposure wins out. It has always been Mah Jongg wins out regardless but I am hearing otherwise. If you have the info great or else I'll call the League which lately is a confusing mess!  
    >The other question is regard to the letter someone posted in FB. Wow, very confusing. I hear two things and read two things now as I research with no clarity. One is that before you discard your Tile you can change your exposure but now the League changed that to say, once you call and exposure even if you haven't discarded you cannot add an exchanged Joker to that exposure because there are 2 different actions. 
    >I think the masses are trying to get some change to happen from the League but not sure how easily that is going to be.
    >Any help you can give would be fabulous.  thanks so much!

    Good morning, Debbie. You wrote:

    I cannot find it written anywhere that if one player calls for an exposure and another calls for mah jongg but the player that called for an exposure wins out. It has always been Mah Jongg wins out regardless but I am hearing otherwise.
    "Otherwise" is not correct. A call for mah-jongg still overrides a call for exposure.

    I'll call the League
    I do not recommend using the telephone because there are six ways you can get an incorrect answer that way. Better to get answers in writing. As for me, I would want to see both the exact question (a scan of the letter before it's sent to the League) as well as the League's reply.

    The other question is regard to the letter someone posted in FB.
    I assume you mean the "Mah Jongg, That's It!" group on Facebook.

    before you discard your Tile you can change your exposure but now the League changed that to say, once you call and exposure even if you haven't discarded you cannot add an exchanged Joker to that exposure because there are 2 different actions. 
    OK, yes. We discussed that rule here on this board. Susan D asked about it on Tuesday, May 28. You can Control-F or Command-F "Tuesday, May 28" to get to that discussion quickly, or you can scroll down to it (it's a long way down).

    I think the masses are trying to get some change to happen from the League but not sure how easily that is going to be.
    >Any help you can give would be fabulous. 
    I accept the League's rationale. Good luck to the masses.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Vietnamese jokers (Explaining one mystery, part 6)

    >On Sunday, August 25, 2019, 03:16:54 AM PDT, Raymond L wrote:
    >Solved Adam's mystery emperor tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >This is a followup and correction to an exchange we had three years ago regarding mystery tiles. In 2017, I did a tour of Hong Kong and visited some MJ dealers. Unfortunately, many have moved or gone out of business. However, Ying Fat Cheung is still around and Mr. Huen was very helpful in answering my questions. His business is very analog, no email or website.
    >The eight jokers from the Vietnamese set made their way into Hong Kong. Apparently, the 縂 joker which is capable of replacing any tile was too confusing for HK players so they replaced it with 皇 (emperor). In http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/specialj.html I speculated that it was a flower joker, that is incorrect. The Vietnamese flower joker (花) was also replaced with the 將 joker which acts as the 2, 5, or 8 of any suit. I've attached a picture with the Vietnamese jokers on the top with HK jokers touching the tiles they replaced. Other similar jokers popped up which replaced certain ranks.
    >Mr. Huen said jokers had fallen out of popularity. When I asked him where these jokers were still popular, he said Canada and Australia! A shopkeeper at Chi Ming Majong Shop also mentioned Canada.
    >Mr. Huen confirmed that MJ sets are no longer made in HK, they've moved to mainland China in such places like Dongguan. I tried to visit a mahjong factory only to find a construction site for a new hotel.
    >Best regards,
    >Raymond L

    Thank you so much for the followup and correction, Raymond! I'll add this to the FAQ.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    New column is online! "Would you stop the Charleston?"

    The August 25 column (column #729) examines the eternal question: "Would you stop the Charleston? How about in these cases?"
    Tom
    8/24/2019


    Can I change my mind about picking up a discard? (FAQ 19-AM)

    >On Saturday, August 24, 2019, 07:58:23 PM PDT, Caroline G wrote:
    >Rule Problem
    >Dear Tom,
    >I play with a group that has been trying hard to stick to the rules from the NMJL and your book At issue is the rule that if you call a tile, put it on top of your rack and then change your mind you may still put it back.
    >One of our players said that the folks from Mah Jongg - That’s It had kicked it round and feel certain that this is wrong.
    >I would really like your take on the situation.
    >Caroline G

    Hi, Caroline! You wrote that...

    At issue is the rule that if you call a tile, put it on top of your rack and then change your mind you may still put it back.
    There is no such rule, Caroline.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 24, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation

    On Friday, August 23, 2019, 10:19:36 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Joan E
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$18.00 USD from Joan E. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $18.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Joan E

    Thank you very much, Joan!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 24, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A tile was misnamed, causing a disagreement

    >On Friday, August 23, 2019, 02:08:16 PM PDT, bklynirene wrote:
    >Discarded Tile Incorrectly Named
    >Dear Tom:
    > Player A discarded a red but mistakenly called it a 3 dot. Player B called
    >the 3 dot for Mah Jongg. Player A realizing her mistake, now named the
    >tile correctly as a red.
    > The rule is now Player A must pay Player B 4 times the value of the Mah
    >Jongg hand, and others pay nothing.
    > Player C announced that if Player A did indeed have a 3 dot in her hand,
    >she must give it Player B to correctly complete her Mah Jongg and each
    >of the players pay her.
    > I have only seen this maneuver once at a tournament under the instructions
    >from the director. I have researched this situation in NMJL book and your book
    >and several blogs, but I have not seen evidence of using this manuever
    >at a home game.
    > Kindly tell me your thoughts.
    >Thank you,
    >Irene Raising hand

    Irene, you clearly know the rule. Player C does not.
    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.
    Lake Arrowhead, California, USA
    August 23, 2018


    Is the seller telling me true?

    >On Friday, August 23, 2019, 10:36:10 AM PDT, Joan M E wrote:
    >Quick two tone tile question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I’m looking at a two tone Ivorycraft set in beautiful condition. Some of the faces of the dots are off center. For example, an eight dot is far enough over to have the edge of the dots slight cut off. The seller said it’s Bakelite. “These tiles are mechanically carved and it is common to find some off-center. The carving trails off at the edge and does not show on the side.”
    >Kind of a yes or no question, as in is the seller correct?
    >Thanks much!
    >Joan

    Joan, I have no idea if that's true or not. I am not an expert on sets, and I don't know anything about Ivorycraft. But I wouldn't buy a set I didn't love. And as a general rule, I don't trust what sellers say (sellers do sometimes say the truth, but still).
    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.
    Lake Arrowhead, California, USA
    August 23, 2018


    Rule confusion about jokers in a dead hand

    >On Friday, August 23, 2019, 07:46:09 AM PDT, Star F wrote:
    >New rule update??
    >Good morning Tom,
    >A player called Mah Jongg in error had been playing with a partially exposed hand containing Jokers. She returned Mah Jongg tiles to her rack, leaving previously exposed tiles on top so others could be redeemed Jokers. Another player said she read on some Mah Jongg website that that rule has been updated to say that the whole dead hand is returned to rack, even if part of it had been exposed. I looked in "Mah Jongg Made Easy" (2018), and could not find this new updated rule. Are you aware of this new rule? Are new/updated rules published someplace? Thank you so much for all that you do to help our leagues.
    >Star Fire

    Good morning, Star. You wrote:

     Another player said she read on some Mah Jongg website that that rule has been updated to say that the whole dead hand is returned to rack, even if part of it had been exposed. 
    Oh, yeah? Tell her, "prove it." She has to show you that website so you all can see what it says for yourselves. The rule I stated in FAQ 19-P is not incorrect.

    I looked in "Mah Jongg Made Easy" (2018), and could not find this new updated rule. 
    Did you read rule 3(b) on page 16? The 2018 rule makes a distinction depending on whether the hand was a marked Concealed hand.

    Are new/updated rules published someplace?
    If not in Mah Jongg Made Easy, a new rule would likely be stated in an annual newsletter, and on the League's website, https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org/.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League will receive the League's
    newsletter, which is mailed the following January.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tile, part 3

    >On Thursday, August 22, 2019, 01:16:36 PM PDT, heaton.ray wrote:
    >Debbie's flowers
    >Hi Tom,
    >I wonder if you noticed Debbie's rather nice set of flowers as well as her Bam Shoot? The top row are the four occupations...I don't think you've shown these in Faq 7E-F, though you mention the occupations early on in the Faq.
    >The four chinese characters on that row are 漁樵耕讀, these mean "fisherman, wood-cutter, farmer and scholar". These are the four "ideal" retirement occupations for civil service officials.
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    I wondered if somebody might comment on those flowers, Ray! Shouldn't be a surprise it was you! I'll let Debbie know you posted a followup, and I'll include this in FAQ 7E-F. Thanks for your informative, um, info! :p
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 22, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tile, part 2

    >On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 02:35:04 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >Re: 1 Bam
    >Thank you!

    You're welcome!


    Mystery tile

    >On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 12:38:35 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    >1 Bam
    >Hi Tom...quick question...what the heck is this 1 Bam? I've seen a lot of strange ones and most of them are the tail of a Peacock. Thanks if you have the answer which I'm sure you do :)
    >Debbie B
    >Author

    Hi, Debbie!
    Here, let me zoom in and rotate it.

    That is a bamboo shoot. The maker of that set took the "bamboo" concept farther, and showed the 1B as a baby bamboo plant. According to MAJAN HAKUBUTSUKAN DAI ZUROKU (麻雀博物館大図録 - "Illustrated Book of the Mah-Jongg Museum," or "Mah-Jongg Museum Big Picture Book". Edited by the Mah-Jongg Museum (no author name). Publisher: Takeshobo, April 1999. ISBN 4-8124-0473-8), page 89, "This bamboo shoot can occasionally be seen in Europe and America, but it is extremely rare in Japan." (Photo 152 in that book shows a Japanese set with bamboo shoot tiles.) I'll add this to the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Consec #3

    >On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 10:21:07 AM PDT, Rebecca W wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding MJ card 2019, Consecutive Run #3:
    >FF 1111 2222 3333 or FF 1111(green) 2222;( red) 3333( black) ( any run)
    >Does the first half of this hand, all one color, require that the numbers be 1’s,2’s,3’s or can they be any consecutive run, i.e. 4,5,6 or 7,8,9, etc.
    >Thank you,
    >Becky B

    Hi, Becky!
    The phrase "(Any Run)" applies to that hand made either way (one suit or three). This is the first time anybody interpreted the hand this way, but I've just now added this to the Consecutive Run #3 entry in FAQ 16. All the most frequently asked questions about how to interpret the 2019 NMJL card are answered in FAQ 16. Please bookmark it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Error in exposing

    >On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 07:12:57 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    >rule 19AF
    >Hi Tom,
    >This question came up the other day and we were unsure about rule 19AF. I claimed a flower discard, placed it on my rack with 2 flowers from my hand, then realized I only needed 2 flowers for the intended hand. I had not discarded yet so was I permitted to reverse these actions? I was pretty sure not--but since I had not discarded would that have been legal? We need further clarification about "changing your mind before discarding".
    >Thanks, Linda

    Good morning, Linda! You said:

    We need further clarification about "changing your mind before discarding".
    Then you MUST purchase "Mah Jongg Made Easy" from the NMJL. EVERY TABLE should have a copy! Would you ever play Monopoly without a copy of the rules at hand? Everybody remembers rules differently (Monopoly rules and mah-jongg rules). The League has revised the rulebook twice in the last six or seven years, though the cover doesn't look any different, and they have never announced (in a newsletter nor on the website) that the rulebook has been revised. If you have a copy, look at the bottom of page 2 and see what date is written there. If it's not 2018, your rules are out of date.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    then realized I only needed 2 flowers for the intended hand. I had not discarded yet so was I permitted to reverse these actions? I was pretty sure not--
    You know you are not allowed to take back a call for exposure after you've placed tiles atop your rack. You put up 2 flowers from your concealed tiles, and one from the discard floor. You can't put the taken discard back on the table, and you can't put your 2 flowers back among your concealed tiles. You committed to making an exposure when you either put the discard atop your rack or exposed your own tiles, whichever act came first.

    But there's a problem with your question.

    Here's the rule you asked about (the basis for FAQ 19-AF), from page 14 of the 2018 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy: "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." But that is not the rule that applies to your question. The rule that applies to your question is FAQ 19-AM, and the source is the 2007 NMJL newsletter. Written in all capital letters, the newsletter says: "PLAYER CANNOT DECIDE THAT SHE DID NOT WANT THE TILE SHE CALLED FOR EXPOSURE< PUT THE DISCARD BACK ON THE TABLE AND THE OTHER TILES INTO HER RACK...A CALL FOR A TILE IS JUST LIKE A PICK FROM THE WALL, ONCE TAKEN...IT CANNOT BE PUT BACK" Sorry about "shouting" in all caps, but that's the way it's written in the 2007 newsletter. That "<" is a typo from the newsletter - it's supposed to be a comma (both the "less-than" character and the comma are on the same key on a computer keyboard). I have typed it here exactly as it appears in that 2007 newsletter. The rule has probably been stated again in a subsequent newsletter; it has never been retracted by the League.

    To sum up: you're not asking "Can I change my exposure?" (FAQ 19-AF). You're saying "Backsies! Do-over! Undo! Can I take it back?" (FAQ 19-AM). The change rule is not the same as the undo rule. You say the hand you were targeting needs just 2 flowers. You can't put a pair atop the rack until you're putting up all the tiles. But you already know that. You had 2 choices once you put up your 2 flowers and took one from the floor: expose a pung (or kong) of flowers ... or don't, and accept being dead when another player calls you dead for doing so. I know it's hard to swallow the fact that you made a mistake. But if you can't undo the mistake, then swallow your pride and move on. You'll do something smart later, and your friends will forget about it eventually (heck, they've made mistakes too). We all make mistakes, and we can't always rely on a rule to get ourselves out of them.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Disagreements as to sufficient tile mixing

    >On Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 01:56:27 PM PDT, Star F wrote:
    >RE: Mixing Tiles
    >Q: We shuffle the tiles, turn all tiles face down, then mix the tiles around a bit more. We have some players who feel they've been mixed enough and start building their wall while others continue mixing. Not sure why this is a big deal, but we have a member who is clearly upset by this even though no knows which tiles will be drawn during game. Might be a courtesy to wait until everyone is satisfied they have been mixed enough, but was wondering if there is an actual rule about mixing tiles/building walls?
    >Thank you
    >Star

    Not everything can be a rule, Star. There's no rule about how long tiles must be mixed. There's no rule about how to deal with a superstitious player. What are we left with, in the absence of a rule? Common sense (logic), and common courtesy (etiquette). Common sense would tell us that even a small amount of mixing will produce an entirely different set of tiles in one's hand from the previous hand. But common courtesy would tell us that the wall should be built only when everyone at the table is satisfied that the tiles are mixed sufficiently.
    Personally, I'm of the same mind as your players who start building first. Sometimes I get tired of excessive mixing (especially if I'm playing with a never-enougher) and I just say, "they're mixed well enough now," and then start building. Maybe I say it with just a touch of insistence in my voice, so as to discourage argument. Note that superstition is fairly common among mah-jongg players - even me! I always blame bad luck and coincidences on "the mah-jongg goddesses." Players who think the tiles need a lot of mixing might not be superstitious, and might instead simply misunderstand the realities of random chance. They think "I got no jokers two times in a row, so the tiles weren't mixed enough," when in reality, the odds favor getting no jokers. I say that because the chance of any particular tile being a joker is 8 out of 152 (or 1 in 19). But don't ask me to explain statistics or do more math than that!
    Also - it is a waste of time to shuffle the tiles face up. I never mix the tiles until they're all face down.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 NMJL card, Addition Hands

    >On Saturday, August 17, 2019, 06:38:41 PM PDT, Nanette T wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for your quick reply (clarification). I appreciate it. I’ve only been playing about 6 weeks and am addicted to the game.
    >Nanette

    You're welcome, Nanette.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 18, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 NMJL card, Addition Hands

    >On Saturday, August 17, 2019, 10:01:07 AM PDT, Nanette Tarpinian wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I was playing on line August 17 (myjongg.net.). Using the official National Mah Jongg League card 2019.
    >I declared Mah Jongg and my hand was declared dead by the computer robot!
    >I thought I had the hand under ADDITION HANDS
    >FFFF 5555 + 6666 = 11
    >Is the 11 supposed to be a different suit other than the 5 dots and 6 beams?????
    >Thank you in advance for your reply.
    >Nanette

    Hi, Nanette!
    So you say you had dots and bams in the hand. Note that the hand can be either ONE suit or THREE. Not two. Read FAQ 16 and read the back of the card; up near the top left corner, it says 1 color means 1 suit, and 3 colors mean 3 suits.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 NMJL card, part 32

    >On Friday, August 16, 2019, 09:43:14 AM PDT, Sue wrote:
    >National Mah Jongg 2019 Card
    >Ref: Consecutive Run FFF 1111 2222 DDD
    >Is it ONLY 1 & 2; or can it be ANY two consecutive numbers?
    >Thanks,
    >Sue Merrick

    Hi, Sue!
    You scrolled past the answer to read this reply. See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html) -- and see FAQ 16 for the answers to the other frequently-asked questions about the card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Fishing

    >On Thursday, August 15, 2019, 08:42:38 PM PDT, hop wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi there, I was trying to see if I could figure this out by myself, but no.
    >My friend has introduced us to play Mah Jongg. She told us that after calling „fishing“ you’re only supposed to take this missing tile to get Mah Jongg. She told us, you’re not allowed to do a new order or changing the hand tiles combination.
    >I was wondering why not, if you have several possibilities to rearrange tiles to get Mah Jongg with your hidden arrange tiles, who would care?
    >I hope you could understand my question.
    >Thanks
    >Have a nice day!

    Hi, hop! You wrote:

    My friend has introduced us to play Mah Jongg.
    There are many different sets of mah-jongg rules. It sounds like your friend has introduced you to either British Empire rules or Japanese rules. I recommend you find out which rules you're learning, because then you can get a book or read a website and learn the rules more easily. I wrote FAQ 2B to help you identify which variant you're learning. You can ask your friend. And you can ask your friend to see her rulebook, if she has one, so you can get one of your own.

    She told us that after calling „fishing“ you’re only supposed to take this missing tile to get Mah Jongg. She told us, you’re not allowed to do a new order or changing the hand tiles combination.
    >I was wondering why not
    Because that's the rule in your variant.

    if you have several possibilities to rearrange tiles to get Mah Jongg with your hidden arrange tiles, who would care?
    I can't always justify the rationale behind a rule. I was not present in the development of the rules. There may be a strategic reason (the other players need all the clues they can get, and if you keep changing your hand after you've bet that you'll win with your existing tiles, you're making it much more difficult for them to know what tiles they can discard safely). And there may also be a gambling/betting reason (your bet is that you can win a bonus for calling "fishing" - and if you change your hand, the bet should be off). I honestly can't say for certain that either of these is the real reason for the rule. It's the rule. Play by the rules. Best not to cause disharmony by always asking (I mean asking the teacher, or other players in your game, especially during the game) for the rationale or logic behind the rules. Reasons for the rules may occur to you over time as you play.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She exposed the wrong thing and changed her mind. But what if it had gone differently?

    >On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 03:54:49 AM PDT, Louise D wrote:
    >MJ Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I think I know the answer to this question, but it was an unusual situation and I thought I would run it by you.
    >Someone called for the 7 crack. Before she picked it up, she exposed three 6 cracks. Then she realized her mistake and started to put them back in her rack.
    >Now - I know once you put something on your rack, you can't take it back. But I also know that you can make any changes to an exposure as long as you haven't discarded (she didn't).
    >To be nice, I said, OK, you can take the sixes back, and take the 7 Crack and make the correct exposure. Then she said, "never mind, I don't want it!"
    >I know she was dead at this point since she didn't pick up the 7 crack that she called for originally, and all ready exposed 6 cracks.
    >BUT - if she put the sixes back in her rack and DID pick up the 7 crack for an exposure, would that have been OK? (probably not)
    >Louise

    Good morning, Louise! You wrote:

    if she put the sixes back in her rack and DID pick up the 7 crack for an exposure, would that have been OK? (probably not)
    This is a rewrite of the answer I posted this morning. Initially, I gave a wrong answer. What I posted here this morning (in haste as I headed off to work) missed your question entirely.
    I believe the answer is yes. You're allowed to change the number of jokers (you can take back a tile to replace it with a joker, or vice versa) so I suppose if you put up 6C but 7C was discarded and you have 7C, you could remake that (that is making changes to it, and I believe that would be permitted under the wording of the rule; I would allow it if it happened in my game). [Followup, Aug. 21: The wording of the rule, on page 14 of the 2018 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy: "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." My August 13 reply to Louise could be wrong. The rule says you may "add to or take away from" the exposure. The League might rule that substituting different tiles is not permitted in the process of adding or subtracting tiles. - Tom]

    I know once you put something on your rack, you can't take it back.
    Right. Taking it back is expressly not allowed, but making changes is allowed.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old? What's it made of? Etc.

    On Sunday, August 11, 2019, 12:32:00 PM PDT, Ole Theil B wrote:
    SET AGE-DETERMINATION CHECKLIST
    I inherited a MahJong set from my parents. Do you have the opportunity to
    - determine the age of it
    - what it's made of
    etc
    great thnks
    Ole Theil B (from Norway)
    Mahjongg.docx
    4.1MB

    Hi, Ole,
    I'm sorry but I can't help you if you send me your photos embedded in a Word document. In order to assess someone's mah-jongg set, I need the information in the body of the email and the photos attached to the email. As I wrote in FAQ 7G: "paste [the info] into the email (DON'T ATTACH A SEPARATE FILE). The only attachments I open are image files (not documents)." If you scroll down, you'll see how I make use of the info and photos - and it is much too much work for me to try to convert a Word document into usable format for posting on this board.
    With information in the necessary format, I can probably tell you your set's approximate age and what it's made of, but I cannot answer your "etc" question. If you want to know something other than age and material, you have to say what else you want to know. Standing by to help...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 11, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there any kind of test, part 2

    >On Saturday, August 10, 2019, 07:19:53 PM PDT, Patsy B wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you for your quick reply and for pointing me to the teaching tips. I’ve already implemented a couple of them and my students really liked making the simple hands (4 pungs and a pair, etc). They had fun and we were able to get in three entire games where someone got a mah jongg each time!

    That's the way to do it, Patsy! (^_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A little strategy advice?

    >On Saturday, August 10, 2019, 01:17:09 PM PDT, Story E wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom
    >Mah-jongg is making a comeback in Vicksburg Mississippi.!! My group of 4 started playing in January and we love it. Yesterday at the end of the first round of the Charleston I had
    >2B 2B soap soap soap N E W 1B J J F F 5D (obviously I was dealer)
    >I stopped the Charleston. Did not want to pass a pair of flowers. And thought I had a perfect hand for 2019 #4.
    >Tossed F F and 5D on first 3 turns. Then I drew a S. Then I drew a 9C Then my hand looked like this
    >2B 2B soap soap soap N E W S 1B J J 9C
    >Two 9B and one 9C had been discarded.
    >Then I drew a 2C.
    >One 2B and one 2C had been discarded
    >Question 1. Was stopping the Charleston a good idea?
    >Question 2. Should I have discarded a 2B and kept the 2C?
    > I didn’t, but then drew a 2C and someone discarded the other 9C. As it turned out another player had the 2 9B from the beginning. Just need advice on if breaking up that pair would have been a good strategy or does it just seem like that ini hindsight.
    >Question 3. Should I at some point have given up on hand #4 and tried hand #2?
    >Thanks for your help. Your columns and book have really helped me.
    >Story

    Hi, Story! Whew! Let's see if I can be of help... or not. You asked:

    at the end of the first round of the Charleston I had

    ... thought I had a perfect hand for 2019 #4. ... stopped the Charleston. Did not want to pass a pair of flowers. ... Was stopping the Charleston a good idea?
    No. It was NOT perfect; you didn't have any nines. I realize passing a pair of flowers is not ideal, but I wouldn't go for a hand that needs a pair of something I ain't got any of. Going by the second step of my Charleston strategy, I'd be wondering which of my three "pairs" (two pairs and a pung, actually) are best "friends." That NEW is an incomplete set so it's not quite a fourth "pair" (in the sense of "Pairs" per my strategy). Twos, soaps, and flowers. Where else on the card can you use twos, opposite dragons, and flowers together? (Hint: nowhere.) So: which TWO "pairs" are best friends? Twos and soaps, or twos and flowers, or soaps and flowers? Flowers and soaps work for 2019 #3 (six tiles, not counting the jokers), Consec #5 (six tiles including 5D) and W-D #6 (five tiles). Twos and opposite dragons work only in Any Like (five tiles). Flowers and twos... well, lots of places, but usually just four tiles, but you have five tiles for Consec #3 or #5 or #6. It's understandable why you'd go for 2019 #4 but without the nines, there's a huge risk. You were probably feeling lucky. The mah-jongg goddesses love it when you feel lucky! That's when they can smack you down real good, laughing all the while.

    Tossed F F and 5D on first 3 turns. Then I drew a S. Then I drew a 9C ... Then I drew a 2C. ... Then my hand looked like

    ... Should I have discarded a 2B and kept the 2C?
    You couldn't know for certain that somebody else had the 9Bs you wanted. (The longer the game goes without seeing them appear, the higher the probabilities that that's what's going on.) Your bams outnumber your craks, and at this point you might as well stay with plan A.

    Just need advice on if breaking up that pair would have been a good strategy or does it just seem like that in hindsight.
    Ain't hindsight grand though.

    Should I at some point have given up on hand #4 and tried hand #2?
    By the time it's clear you should change, it's usually too late. You were playing the mah-jongg goddesses' game.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tiles, part 2

    >On Saturday, August 10, 2019, 08:41:27 AM PDT, Lisa B wrote:
    >Re: Mahjong tiles
    >Thank you so much for your rapid response Tom!

    You're welcome!


    I'm afraid if I show them the NMJL card, part 2

    >On Saturday, August 10, 2019, 08:29:38 AM PDT, brownjohncarl wrote:
    >Re: Simplified winning hands for beginners
    >Thank you very much for your very quick reply. I'll try that out.
    >I've read Elaine's book, and am now working through yours. Very clear approach, much appreciated.

    You're welcome!


    I'm afraid if I show them the NMJL card it will intimidate them.

    >On Saturday, August 10, 2019, 07:17:55 AM PDT, <brownjohncarl wrote:
    >Simplified winning hands for beginners
    >Hi Tom,
    > New to mah-jongg, and your site has been very helpful. I did look through the FAQs and did not see this question.
    > I'd like to start playing with some friends to learn the game, but I'm afraid if I show them the NMJL card it will intimidate them.
    > Is there a standard set of simplified winning hands that beginners can use before moving on to NMJL?
    >thanks
    >John

    Hi, John! When you looked through the FAQs, did you find FAQ 26 (the Teaching Tips FAQ)? Yes, the NMJL card is intimidating. I don't introduce it to my beginner students until the 3rd lesson (after they've learned the tiles and the basics of play, the wall, dealing, the Charleston, picking and discarding, calling and exposing). The "standard set of winning hands" is the card that changes every year, and as I have said repeatedly and often, Consecutive Runs #2 is the most powerful hand on the card (it's also the easiest). You could have your beginners just learn Consec #2 (and you don't even have to show them the card to do it) - or you could do what I do: have the students make any hand with four pungs and a pair (four pungs of anything, and a pair of anything). I have the students make either four-pungs-and-a-pair or three-kongs-and-a-pair or two-pungs-and-two-kongs for the first two lessons. They play! They have fun! Then I hit'em with the card in lesson #3. If you try that, let me know how it goes for you!
    Some of them at this point wish they could stay with the "generic" hands instead of having to use the card - those folks might be happier learning Chinese mah-jongg instead of American!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tiles (Frequently Asked Question 7E)

    >On Friday, August 9, 2019, 06:21:01 PM PDT, Lisa B wrote:
    >Mahjong tiles
    >Hi Tom!
    >I found you on the teacher site for mahjong somewhere…I live in Mar Vista and am a super beginner…but then I was wandering around on your site and I was wondering, if with your expertise, you could tell me what some of these tiles are. I just bought this set, and it is a MET set, assuming it is bakelite and also assuming it is of the “Parrot” style. I don’t know how old it is. Can you tell by looking at them?
    >In any case, could you tell me what these are (pic attached)? (I know the parrots are from the bamboo suit) but some of the flowers look newer (and probably would be hard to use in a game since they don’t match the other tiles) but the ones on the left have me particularly curious. I see flowers, but I also see little human figures doing different things. I have no idea what they are.
    >I only have 2 jokers so am a little bummed because I didn’t really ask the seller what was in the case - was just told there were 160 tiles. (Yes, I was dumb, but I didn’t know.) Can I use other tiles for jokers?
    >Can you help me?
    >Many thanks,(really, this is so intriguing to me, my mom played mahjong when I was a kid…)
    >Lisa L
    >who is also interested in beginner classes in Marina Del Rey or my area…

    Hi, Lisa! Wow, so many questions...

    I was wondering, if with your expertise, you could tell me what some of these tiles are.
    The "mystery tiles" FAQ is FAQ 7E. Most mystery tiles are flowers. The "mystery flowers" FAQ is FAQ 7E-f. Your mystery tiles are flowers.

    I don’t know how old it is. Can you tell by looking at them?
    I am not an expert on sets, so the designs on the tiles are not enough information. I have an FAQ for the frequently asked question "how old is my set" - it's FAQ 7g. I need a bunch of information (described in the FAQ) to properly age a set. But there might be a clue in your photo. The photo shows 22 flowers in all (including 12 flowers that were cannibalized from another set and clearly don't match your 10 flowers). That might indicate that the set is from the 1950s (see Column 509).

    some of the flowers look newer (and probably would be hard to use in a game since they don’t match the other tiles)
    The original owner of the set didn't mind. The League required 22 flowers, and NOBODY had a set with 22 flowers, so everybody had mismatched flowers. See FAQ 19-AI.

    but the ones on the left have me particularly curious. I see flowers, but I also see little human figures doing different things. I have no idea what they are.
    They're flowers. See FAQ 7E-F (link above).

    I only have 2 jokers
    Again, see Column 509 (above) for age clues.

    Can I use other tiles for jokers?
    Read FAQ 7R. And FAQ 7T explains how to make your own joker stickers.

    Can you help me?
    I hope I am doing so!

    also interested in beginner classes in Marina Del Rey or my area…
    I teach groups of four or more (I do not teach individuals and I do not maintain a waiting list and I do not form groups). I plan to teach a course at AJU's Whizin Center (just up on Mulholland) starting in October. See the WCCE website (but those dates are changing from Tuesdays to Mondays).

    By the way, if you ever send me photos again, please don't send them in PDF format. JPG or PNG format is best for my purposes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile?

    >On Thursday, August 8, 2019, 08:15:28 PM PDT, Sharon C wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a player throws down a tile that could have been used to replace a joker in another players hand, can the next player pick it up and exchange for a joker?

    Hi, Sharon! Read FAQ 19-G2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    08.08.2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Was there a time when it was legal to use jokers in pairs?

    >On Thursday, August 8, 2019, 10:44:00 AM PDT, GARY C wrote:
    >jokers
    >Has there ever been a time when Jokers could be used as pairs? My email address is [deleted]

    Gary, as I wrote in FAQ 19S, I believe the rule that jokers could not be used for singles or pairs may have been introduced in 1984. Before that date, it seems that jokers could be used for anything (perhaps making the game too easy).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    8-8-2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What year is it from?

    >On Thursday, August 8, 2019, 07:02:42 AM PDT, Marilyn L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg question
    >Can u please tell me what year this set is from. The cracks are solid red. I am looking for 4 flowers and 3 tiles to make jokers as the size is a little off on them. Thanks for your help
    >What year

    Good morning, Marilyn!
    It's hard to tell from your photo how many original flowers your set came with. Here, I zoomed in on the critical area of your photo:

    The number of original flowers in the set MIGHT help determine approximately when the set was made. See the chart in Column 509. You may need to remove all the sticker residue to see whether there are flower designs underneath. It looks like you might have 10 original flowers, which would age the set to the late 1930s (unlikely) or early 1940s (probable). Since I am not an expert on manufacturers of sets, you should look at the websites of CHarli, Carli, Cool Old Games, and Gregg Swain. There are links to all of those sites at the bottom of FAQ 4a if you want more information about your particular set.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    08.08.19
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there any kind of test

    >On Thursday, August 8, 2019, 05:28:24 AM PDT, Patsy B wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have just begun teaching man-jongg on a volunteer basis at my YMCA. Is there any kind of test to determine if someone is probably capable of mastering the game?

    Good morning, Patsy!
    At first I thought you were asking if there was a teaching certification (and I was getting ready to tell you to read FAQ 19-CO), but upon reading your question more closely, that doesn't seem to be what you're asking. You asked if there is a test to determine Mastery Capability - like a mah-jongg IQ test. No, there's no test for that! If you're looking for teaching tips, see FAQ 26.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    8/8/19
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I want to type pictures of the tiles, part 2

    >On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 08:36:39 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$15.00 USD from Patricia P
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $15.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Patricia P
    >Message: Thank you!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Patricia! You'll discover that the font won't match the look of your tiles; you'll need to explain the difference to your friend. Also, fonts are monochromatic - you can't have different colors in the tiles produced by the font.
    If you have a player who can't remember tile names, I suggest you have your group form the tiles into a Big Square one time. Maybe seeing the suits separated and identifying the tiles would help her. I describe the Big Square in Column 492. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 6, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I want to type pictures of the tiles

    >On Monday, August 5, 2019, 03:32:30 PM PDT, Patricia P wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Do you know where I can get an app that types pictures of the tiles? I have taken a picture of my set, enlarged and xeroxed in order to make a cheat sheet for one of our group who could not remember the tile names, but an app would be much better. (Apologies if this has been answered previously.)

    The only thing I know of like that is these two fonts:

  • http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~mn8y-kt/font/font.html -- a mah-jongg font from Japan. It does not have American jokers, though. I modified it and you can download the Americanized version at http://sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/ (the filename is "FONTMahJonggTS2.zip"). You can Google "how do I install a font" for your operating system. This font is what I use for my mah-jongg writing.
  • There is another font called 'Canton Mah Jong Fonts' - you should just Google that (the old link I had has gone dead).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I had mah-jongg following the Charleston

    >On Monday, August 5, 2019, 10:18:26 AM PDT, Leslie S wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I was the dealer. Following the charleston, I had Mahjong.
    >What is the correct procedure? Do I have to discard and not declare?
    >How is the payout calculated? Per card amount, or paid as drawn by myself?
    >Thank you!
    >PS. Does your site have a search feature for topics?

    Hi, Leslie! You wrote:

    Following the charleston, I had Mahjong.
    >What is the correct procedure? Do I have to discard and not declare?
    >How is the payout calculated? Per card amount, or paid as drawn by myself?
    You can read the answers in Column 666.

    PS. Does your site have a search feature for topics?
    One way is to use Google. For example, for this question you can type "i had mah-jongg following the charleston sloperama" and you will find it. (Just type your question in simple words, and add "sloperama" to the search string.) Another way is to go to FAQ 19 (you can link to it above left, or bookmark this link), then peruse the categorized question links to find your answer. FAQ 19-BJ discusses "Heavenly Hand" (when the dealer has mah-jongg before the Charleston), and links to Column 666 for the almost-Heavenly situations such as yours. I sometimes use Google myself, to find information on my huge website!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 728

    >On Monday, August 5, 2019, 06:24:02 AM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    >#728
    >Hi Tom,
    > Thank you for these helpful columns that require decision making and strategy. However, when considering various options, it would be helpful to see the discards on the table, the length of the wall, and other players' exposures. I often include these in my decision making process. Would it be possible to show these displayed or is it too complicated and time-consuming? Whatever you do, please keep those quizzes coming--they are helping to keep my 75 yr old brain limber! And they're FUN!
    >Gratefully, Linda

    Good morning, Linda!
    Yes, you are right that ideally all the information should be shown in any problem. Yes, one problem with doing that is that it can add to the complication of creating a problem to analyze. While creating that problem, I would have to decide on wall length and (as you say) other players' exposures. I've found that sometimes when manufacturing a problem to make it interesting, I paint the player into an impossible corner. Then trying to make the problem more tractable is often akin to putting a patch on a patch.
    A way around creating/manufacturing an interesting problem is to play a computer game and take a snapshot at the decision moment. I've tried that numerous times in the past, and it is very time-consuming. Then I find myself afterwards looking at the snapshot and wondering what led up to that moment or what I found so discussion-worthy in it, so when playing sometimes I take numerous screenshots, and afterwards have to figure out which one is the interesting one. And it's difficult to come up with enough genuinely interesting problems that way.
    So, yes: both too complicated and time-consuming. Having both one's own tiles and one opponent's exposures is complication enough. That's a fairly new thing I've been trying out; so far, so good. I can always say "nobody else has any exposures up, and the wall is moderately long still" or something. Usually I'd want to UN-complicate the decision-making process for the reader.
    Glad you are enjoying the mental workout!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Slow Players, part 2 (was: "Stopping the Charleston - and Slow Players," July 28)

    >On Saturday, August 3, 2019, 07:24:28 AM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    >slow players
    >Hi Tom,
    >Regarding the 7/28 email I have three more suggestions to handle slow players. (1). Make sure new players read your column # 725 about Charleston strategy and how to pick a hand. (2) During the game if someone takes a long time making a decision, ask "whose turn is it?" Sometimes this will nudge a slow player to speed up! (3) I tell students "you don't have to make a final decision until you run out of discards". Hope this helps!
    >Linda

    Good morning, Linda.
    Oh, you mean the updated Four Steps strategy.
    I usually pay close attention to the game's progress. If I know whose turn it is, I don't like to feign ignorance. But I get the point; by asking whose turn it is, you're forcing the slow player to admit she's taking too long. I've seen that make the slow player become defensively angry. Personally, I only ask whose turn it is if I've genuinely forgotten.
    I had to think on this one. I guess you're talking about unadvisedly agonizing over defensive play with those extra unneeded tiles in the hand, when the bigger need is to keep the game flowing by working towards a hand.
    Slow players are a fact of mah-jongg life. As a fellow teacher, you likely have more patience with slow players (I know I do). We were all slow once.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The newest column

    >On Friday, August 2, 2019, 06:39:15 PM PDT, pstarr wrote:
    >Aug 4 strategy column “what would you discard”
    >#1. After trading the 5D and 7B for jokers, discard the 6B and go for Quints #1
    >#3. Opponent could also be playing Consecutive # 2; so do not pass the 6Ds or 4B. Pass the 6B.
    >Thanks for the column!
    >Pam

    Hi, Pam!

    You are so right! This proves the old adage, "two heads are better than one." Give me your head.

    You're right, 4B is hot. Discarding 6B eliminates one of your Evens #4 options and leaves you with having to discard 4B later, unless you're going to give up. Depending on what you pick on your next turn, giving up might be the way to go (depending on the wall's length). 4C and 8C are the safest non-joker discards.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why do you have to roll the dice to break a wall?

    >On Friday, August 2, 2019, 11:34:06 AM PDT, sheila s wrote:
    >Breaking the Wall
    >Why do you have to roll the dice to break a wall? Why can't you just play until all tiles are claimed?

    Hi, Sheila! You asked:

    Why do you have to roll the dice to break a wall?
    To prevent cheating. Read FAQ 19-AP and Column 403.

    Why can't you just play until all tiles are claimed?
    We already do that. The last short wall in front of the dealer is just the last part of the regular wall. Read FAQ 19-Y.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there a way to sign up?

    >On Friday, August 2, 2019, 09:24:33 AM PDT, Janine wrote:
    >Sloper on Mah Jongg
    >I’m new to MJ and have joined Mah Jongg, That’s It! on Facebook. Through one of their posts I learned about Sloper on Mah Jongg.
    >Is there a way to sign up to have your posts emailed to me, or is it best to just check back weekly?
    >Thank you,
    >Janine

    Hi, Janine!
    At this time, I do not have a mailing list. Maybe after I retire from my full-time job, I'll set up something on MailChimp or something. But until then, you'll have to check back whenever you happen to think of it. I'm planning to post a column this weekend!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I would like my set valued, part 4

    >On Friday, August 2, 2019, 12:51:44 AM PDT, crystalcherry wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Hi . Ok .
    >I cant seem to filnd the last discussion so hoping you receive this .
    >I have read and carried out the suggestions in QA7 .
    >1, The tiles are all in verygood condition . A couple are slightly grubby due to probable handling whilst playing .
    >2. The dice is worn at some edges & loosing alittle colour from the red dots .
    >3. The ivory stix of wich there are 150 are in very good condition. Apart from again being alittle grubby due to handling.
    >4. The black weather disc turner is in very good condition.
    >5. The Panthlet " THE WING ON CO ..LTD "
    >IS quite well used and worn . Torn in some places with dates and scores and signatures in ink .
    >SJago
    >Sent from Samsung Mobile on O2

    >On Friday, August 2, 2019, 12:53:44 AM PDT, crystalcherry wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Apologies please see attachments wich correspond with previous email.
    >Sjago
    >Sent from Samsung Mobile on O2


    Hi, SJago.
    Okay! Now I have what I need.
    - Tiles: you say they're "grubby" but I don't see that - I see dark Haversian system streaks, which are natural in cowbone but can be unattractive. I agree that they are VG. Of particular interest to collectors is that four of the flowers are marked E,S,W,N instead of 1,2,3,4.
    - Sticks and other bits: not worried about the condition of these. There are a couple sticks missing, but those are easy to get online. We can call these Good. But of course they're not ivory but bone.
    - Case: Fair.
    - Booklet: Pretty bad condition. Is it Fair, is it Poor - the photo shows a chunk is missing. We can call it Poor.

    VG tiles in an otherwise Fair set. I'm guessing around $60, because the tiles are nice.

    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My question is about exposure. (Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed My Mind, Change of Heart)

    >On Thursday, August 1, 2019, 07:03:18 AM PDT, Barbara wrote:
    >American Mahjongg question
    >Hi Tom
    > I emailed you a few weeks ago with a couple of questions and you were gracious enough to spend time emailing me back with answers.   I am a player for 47 years and teaching close to 20, when the latest surge of interest in mahjongg began. I am a teacher who teaches, always "according to the rules" and don't give false answers to my students. However, I have a question that has perplexed me for a while. I now have an opportunity to teach a master class, a class of students that I recently taught all the basic's too. Now, there is a need for a master class, an advanced class if you will.
    > My question is about exposure. It is my understanding and have been playing by this rule for decades, and not sure if the rule changed or if I have been wrong all along. I read the letter that Lynn had written to the NMJL about exposure and changing your mind. When I learned, before you do that discard you could take your meld back. It didn't help you, because it shows others at the table a part of your hand, so in essence it hurts you to make the move. '
    > Please clear this up for me once and for all. If I make an exposure and I have a change of heart. "can I take it back" before I've discarded, or once it is exposed and on your rack it is too late? I would like to hear it from you in this email.
    > I'm working on giving the students answers to questions that often come up in a game, but are not the "ordinary or common " questions.
    > Thank you in advance for your help. I appreciate all that you do and often check your website for questions "even I need".
    >Regards
    >Barbara B

    Good morning, Barbara. You wrote:

    I emailed you a few weeks ago with a couple of questions and you were gracious enough to spend time emailing me back with answers.  
    That was an administrative matter (your teacher listing) - not a Q&A. I answer emailed questions only on this public bulletin board. That's the way my free service works. I don't give free private answers to mah-jongg questions.

    It is my understanding and have been playing by this rule for decades, and not sure if the rule changed or if I have been wrong all along. I read the letter that Lynn had written to the NMJL about exposure and changing your mind. ... I am a player for 47 years ... When I learned, before you do that discard you could take your meld back.
    So, you learned in the seventies? I have only been playing since the late nineties, myself. I started collecting and keeping league newsletters then. Those newsletters are where most of the frequently asked questions are answered. In the seventies, there was no public Internet, so those newsletters would have been the ONLY source of official rulings. Because I learned in the nineties, my collection of newsletters goes back only to the nineties. But nevertheless, I don't imagine that the league would have agreed that you could "Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed My Mind, Change of Heart" so easily in the seventies. What I'm saying is, you most likely learned friendly UN-official rules.

    If I make an exposure and I have a change of heart. "can I take it back" before I've discarded, or once it is exposed and on your rack it is too late?
    The "Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed Her Mind, Change of Heart" FAQ (one of THE MOST frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg) is FAQ 19-AM. All the "Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed My Mind, Change of Heart" questions are answered there in excruciating detail.

    I would like to hear it from you in this email.
    I only email first-timers, to let them know that they should come back and see my answer. Read FAQ 19-AM.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 1, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I would like my set valued, part 3

    >On Thursday, August 1, 2019, 02:02:41 AM PDT, Crystal Cherry wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Ok here are some pics .
    >The pieces are all in prety good condition.
    >If ya need anything else let me know
    >Warm Regards SJago

    Hi, SJago.
    I chose only this one photo to put on the bulletin board because the other photos you sent are just other views of the pieces in this one photo.
    SJago, I can't help you if you don't read FAQ 7h. This jumble of tiles is not enough. Yes, a photo is worth a thousand words, but if you want me to estimate the value of your set, those one thousand words don't tell me what I need to know. The tiles need to be organized so I can fully assess the set's completeness. See FAQ 7h. If you're not going to tell me the tile counts, then you need to organize your tiles, like this:

    And "pretty good" is not one of the acceptable condition terms. Read FAQ 7h. You want something from me, but in order for me to help you, you need to do a little bit of work too. Read FAQ 7h. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    August 1, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I would like my set valued, part 2

    >On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 12:11:14 PM PDT, Crystal Cherry wrote:
    >Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Thankyou for reply .
    >Apologies the date 1927 is written in pen .
    >And this is the only booklet with the set .
    >Wich has NO printed date but has numerous Dates written in pen for 1920s .
    >The booklet is the Wing On LTD
    >Hongkong .
    >Hope this helps .
    >Warm Regards SJago

    Hi, SJago.
    As I outlined in FAQ 7h, you need to give me a complete list of all the parts of the set, and tell me the condition of all the parts. Especially, the tiles. The case and the booklet look like they're in pretty sad shape. The real value is in the tiles. The pictures only tell me a little bit of info. You need to do your part. And of course, I'll also need to see the tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I would like my set valued

    >On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 03:19:58 AM PDT, Crystal Cherry wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Hi i have recently acquired a 1920s vintage Mahjong set and would like it valued.
    >But i cannot find any Dealers in this area of expertise.
    >Could you possibly help i can send pics via e-mail if required.
    >It has scores kept from 1920 in the booklet wich is in the box .
    >It is extremely old .
    >Warm Regards SJago

    Hello, SJago.
    Send me photos and a description, as outlined in FAQ 7h, and I can estimate an approximate value for your set.
    Make sure you provide only factual information, avoiding vague or confusing terminology. In your email, you said:
    [The set is from the] "1920s"
    [The set is] "vintage"
    "It has scores... from 1920 in the booklet"
    "It is extremely old"

    Statements 1 and 3 are factual (objective, based on evidence). Statements 2 and 4 are not (they are subjective, based on opinion). You know the set is from the 1920s because it [presumably] has J.P. Babcock's "Little Red Book" in it. The word "vintage" is meaningless; it just means "old." Babcock first started importing sets in 1920 or 1921. The mah-jongg craze started in 1923 (source: The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers, From Tiddledy Winks To Trivial Pursuit, by Philip E. Orbanes). Next year (2020) the first Babcock sets will officially be 100 years old. The century mark for the majority of Babcock sets, though, will be four years from now (2023). What you have to do is look at the printing date in the booklet; many copies show multiple dates, of which the latest date tells the age of the booklet (and, presumably, the set itself). You say yours says 1920; if it does not also list later printings, then you probably have a set from the first batch. Is it "extremely old"? I don't think so. Because mah-jongg's heyday was 1920-1924, I don't consider a set "old" unless it predates Babcock.

    Sorry for the mini-lecture. I'll wait for your photos and description as outlined in FAQ 7h.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Ignoring a fatal error so as to take advantage of a redeemable joker

    >On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 06:59:59 PM PDT, Susan wrote:
    >Redeeming a Joker from an Invalid Exposure
    >Hi Tom, Tonight there is a discussion on MahJongg That’s It about redeeming a Joker from an invalid exposure. The situation was that a player put up two Norths with a Joker. The other players at the table knew she had a dead hand, because she was playing a concealed hand. They considered not declaring her dead so they would have a chance a redeeming the joker from the obviously invalid exposure.  The plan was to redeem the Joker THEN declare her dead.  Could someone have done that?   This just doesn’t seem like fair play to me.  Is there an official ruling on this? Thank you, Susan D
    >Sent from Xfinity Connect App

    Hi, Susan!
    Let's walk through what you wrote:

    The plan was to [refrain from calling her dead until someone can] redeem the Joker [and] THEN declare her dead.
    Devious!

    Could someone have done that?  
    If all three of the other players knew she was dead, and they all decided not to call her dead in hopes they'd get a N to redeem the joker, then they're all devious. All except the one who made the invalid pung. If that's the way they play, there's no Mah-Jongg Police to put a stop to it... as long as they don't try that at a tournament. Not too difficult to see through the ploy. One would have to be a decent actor to pull it off and not give it away while calling the player dead. "Oh, my! I just noticed that your hand is dead!" The tone of voice might give one away.

    This just doesn’t seem like fair play to me.
    Then your sense of fair play is not broken! (^_^)

     Is there an official ruling on this?
    No. But it's common sense that if someone does this to another player at your table, and you yourself had honestly not noticed the illegal exposure ... and now your radar sense someone's pulling a ruse, you should speak up! When faced with a hole in the rules, one must consider etiquette, fair play, and harmony to determine how a fair judge would rule. As I discussed in FAQ 9. There are players who have no compunctions about using dirty tricks, just as there are players who cheat.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Stopping the Charleston - and Slow Players

    >On Sunday, July 28, 2019, 03:11:02 PM PDT, htz940+ wrote:
    >charleston help
    >Tom-
    >Learned to play with a group this spring and love the game. Your column and book have really helped me better my play. Problem is we have a player who is sooooo slow. She takes 10 minutes to decide her first right pass. Then stops the Charleston about 1/2 the time because she cant decide what to pass.
    >There is a lot of advice about when or why not to stop but I cant find real examples of when to stop. I would love to see some examples of hand where you should STOP. And maybe a couple that are borderline - and options of what to pass.
    >Also, what is the best way to speed up play. Our hands last 45 minutes.
    >Thank You
    >Treece A
    >Dallas TX

    Hi, Treece! You asked two questions:

    I cant find real examples of when to stop. I would love to see some examples of hand where you should STOP. And maybe a couple that are borderline - and options of what to pass.
    I wrote column 493 on that, and went into depth on the strategy in column 494. That was written based on the 2011 card, but the strategic principles are universal. Some people say to stop only when you are two or three tiles from Mahjongg. I say "create your own strategy, based on the situation at the time." I'll put your request on the list for an upcoming column.

    Problem is we have a player who is sooooo slow. ... what is the best way to speed up play.
    I wrote about the psychology of slow players in column 621. I wrote some ideas for dealing with slow players in FAQ 19-BA and column 375. Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use zero in Consecutive Runs?

    >On Friday, July 26, 2019, 02:32:39 PM PDT, Nancy Hughes wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:Can zeroes be used in consecutive run hands?

    No, Nancy. Read FAQ 19-BH.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If you are playing a concealed hand can you still redeem a joker?

    >On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 09:09:56 PM EDT, Joanie R wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi,
    >If you are playing a closed hand can you still exchange a tile for a joker from another players exposed tiles ?
    >Thanks so much for your advice.
    >Jr
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jr. The frequently askied "If I'm playing a concealed hand" question is FAQ 19-BD. The fact that the hand is marked C on the card does not have anything to do with one's right to use jokers the same as everybody else.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 24, 2019
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She spoke and then she wanted to retract what she said (Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed Her Mind, Change of Heart)

    >On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 07:09:39 PM EDT, Susan D wrote:
    >Dead Hand?
    >Hi Tom, Today a player called a tile and declared MahJongg. BEFORE she placed the tile on her rack and made an exposure, she corrected herself and said she did not have MahJongg, but she still made an exposure with the tile. Is that player dead? Susan Davidson

    Hi, Susan. The Oops, Undo, Backsies, Changed Her Mind, Change of Heart FAQ (one of the MOST frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg) is FAQ 19-AM. See answer 5 (FAQ 19-AM-5): if all she did was speak, she can take it back. She is not dead. She may call the live discard for exposure.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 24, 2019
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she rearrange her mahj tiles?

    >On Thursday, July 18, 2019, 06:33:41 AM PDT, Marty F wrote:
    >Rules check
    >Here’s a new one for me........
    >Player declared MJ with 333 444 bams 55j5 6666 cracks. Last years format. But since no discard was made....she thought she could just move her joker from the 5 Kong to the 4 Pung, to make it valid??? ??????
    >Your guidance, as always, greatly appreciated.......we called her dead??????
    >Thks
    >Marty

    Hi, Marty!
    Joe.bayside asked the same question on May 26 (below). As I told him, the NMJL answered this question in print in January's newsletter (see FAQ 19-CN). As long as the whole hand was exposed at one time, she is permitted to rearrange her tiles and collect. If you bought your 2019 card directly from the League, you'll get next January's newsletter so you can stay abreast of new rules. By the way, emojis don't work here.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 18, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I passed on one discard but then its twin was discarded

    >On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 02:02:50 AM PDT, Belinda P wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I wanted to Pung from the tile discard by my left player but did not. My turn to draw a tile from the wall, then I discard a tile. My right player drew his tile from the wall and discard the same tile I want to Pung earlier. Can I pung now? Please advise.
    >Belinda

    Yes, Belinda. You may.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If she puts the joker on top of her rack...

    >On Monday, July 15, 2019, 03:27:10 PM PDT, Jeanne P wrote:
    >(No Subject)
    >If a person replaces a joker and immediately puts the joker on top of her rack and claims Mah Jongg, May she change her mind and now put the joker in her hand and continue playing? Very interested in your thoughts.
    >Thanks,
    >Jeanne

    Hi, Jeanne!
    In my opinion, putting the joker atop the rack is not a rescindable act. From FAQ 19-AM: "once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play (then you have crossed the line, and you may not backtrack - it's too late)." This isn't a "taken discard," but rather a redeemed joker. Amounts to the same thing - putting a newly acquired tile atop the rack. The principle applies to this situation, in my opinion.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She's claiming Backsies! Can she do that?

    >On Sunday, July 14, 2019, 09:28:43 AM PDT, Cindy P wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >if someone plays a tile and calls it out(example 8bam; another player says I WANT that….but the player still has his/her finger on it..can he/she take it back????….
    >thanks a LOT,
    >Cindy

    Hi, Cindy! The "backsies" FAQ is FAQ 19-AM. After you read the answer to this frequently-asked question ("Can I change my mind about discarding a tile?"), if you have additional questions, come on back!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    Bastille Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How does scoring work when a player wins by self-pick with a jokerless hand?

    >On Saturday, July 13, 2019, 12:13:45 AM PDT, Reenie L wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Concerning payment for a jokerless hand in American MJ:
    >If a person pulls their final tile for Mah Jongg, (not from the Singles
    >and Pairs section) and it is a jokerless hand , what is the correct payout?
    >If the value of the hand is 25, are they to be paid 75 (25 value + 25
    >bonus for pulling tile + 25 bonus for jokerless)? or 100 (25 value + 25
    >for pulling own tile, doubled for jokerless = 100)?
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Reenie

    Hi, Reenie!
    It's multiplication, not addition. Instead of "+"s, use "x"s (or "*"s, if you're an Excel user.)
    Self-picking the winning tile doubles the score. (Multiply by two.)
    Having a jokerless hand doubles the score. (Multiply by two.)
    First you double it, then you double it. See FAQ 19-W, then re-read the back of the card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I picked up the wrong discard

    >On Friday, July 12, 2019, 10:56:52 AM PDT, lee r wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:I reached for the discarded 2 bam tile for Mahjong, but inadvertently picked a dragon next to it.Upon noticing I attempted to correct and get the correct tile. I was declared dead. Is this so?

    Hi, Lee!
    I don't know enough detail about the incident - when you wrote:

    inadvertently picked a dragon next to it. Upon noticing I attempted to correct and get the correct tile.
    I don't know what you did between taking the dragon and being declared dead. Most importantly, I don't know if you put the dragon on your rack or not. And I don't know if you had exposed any of your concealed tiles in the process. See FAQ 19-AM.

    I was declared dead.
    If you racked the dragon and were not able to put up more dragons beside it atop your rack, then yes, you killed yourself by taking the wrong tile and putting it on your rack. See that FAQ.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    2019 #4

    >On Friday, July 12, 2019, 07:06:57 PM PDT, Jenny R wrote:
    >2019 card question-22 000 NEWS 111 99 (Any 1 Suit) (2019 #4)
    >In the above listed hand do all the tiles have to be “dots”? I learned that white dragons are neutral when used as zeros so I assume the other tiles can be any suit as long as all the other tiles are the same suit.
    >I played this at my last MJ session as all numbered tiles being bams with white dragons as the zeros of course. Is this correct?
    >Thanks,
    >JR

    Hi, Lee! Please see FAQ 16 for answers about the 2019 card. All is explained.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for tips and strategies

    >On Thursday, July 11, 2019, 07:29:37 AM PDT, Lesley/Bill R wrote:
    >looking for MJ tips and strategies
    >Hi Tom
    >Where can I find tips and strategies (not rules).
    >For instance...It is best not to rack a joker near the end of the game if you have no chance of winning. Seems like a no-brainer, but...
    >I have learned to play along with 3 friends, and we love our weekly get together. Since we do not play with more experienced players, it will be harder for us to improve.
    >Thank you, Lesley R

    Hi, Lesley!
    I have TWO sources of tips and strategies for you, right here on Sloperama.
    - FAQ 8(e) describes strategy for American mah-jongg (as well as other variants), and some general tips that apply to all mah-jongg variants.
    - And then there's my column, Sloper On Mah-Jongg - I don't always write a new one every week, depending on my workload and what inspires me.

    Another thing you can do is get a book. See FAQ 3. Not a whole lot has been written about American mah-jongg strategy, probably because the NMJL card changes every year, but author Elaine Sandberg has written two books, and I wrote one, too!
    You're always welcome to ask me specific questions, and I'll answer here on this bulletin board. Today you wrote:

    For instance...It is best not to rack a joker near the end of the game if you have no chance of winning.
    Sorry, I don't follow. If you pick a joker from the wall, you can rack it. You can also discard it - it's a safe discard. But are you talking about redeeming a joker from atop someone else's rack? Or are you talking about exposing a joker atop your own rack? I am not asking you a question. I'm just explaining why I'm uncertain what you mean. See what tips I wrote in FAQ 8(e). Standing by if you have specific questions...

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    7-11, 2019


    Game dating

    >On Thursday, July 11, 2019, 06:47:04 AM PDT, Sue V wrote:
    >MJ game dating
    >I recently bought a game in a vinyl box. It has 144 tiles, 3 blanks, no jokers, no racks, betting cube, chips, 4 dice and 4 cards from 2001 ($5 each). The tiles are white with a green base, about 3/4” deep, 1 3/8” long x 1 inch wide and carved. They have Roman numbers and English letters on winds. The dragons have P on white, F on bam, C on crack. There are 8 flowers, each different, but all flowers. Any thoughts on age?

    Hi, Sue!
    Depending on how old the set is compared to your own age, one or two dates may be okay but marriage might not be advisable if the age difference is more than, say, a decade. (^_^) Just kidding. Your email's subject line made me "dad joke." And I'm not even a dad! You're asking how old your set is. Well, I have a couple of sets just like that. They were new when I acquired them in the nineties. Your set may have been made by Kwong Fat Cheung, a Hong Kong manufacturer I visited in 2002. Those sets in vinyl cases are probably still being made, so it's impossible to age. Eighties, nineties, uh-ohs, or 2010s - no way to know.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    Seven-eleven, 2019


    2019 #3

    >On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 03:39:24 PM PDT, S M wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I'm playing the 2019 card and have a question regarding the third hand under 2019.
    >Can I win a the hand using FF, three white dragons and a joker, Two dot white dragon one dot nine dot, four red dragons.
    >I'm asking because it says any 2 or 3 suits.
    >Thanks
    >Norma M
    >Sent from my iPad

    Yes, Norma. See FAQ 16.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I gave information before I collected on my winning bet

    >On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 03:17:45 PM PDT, Fanny S wrote:
    >Question about betting Mah Jong
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have a question regarding betting. I was on a game on Saturday. I was the bettor. One of the players declared mah jong and exposed. Game was over. Before I got paid I stated that the hand was jokerless.
    >People in the table stated that my bet was canceled because I spoke before I got paid.
    >This is what I found in the rules.
    >"Bettor shall not be permitted to give any information or discuss any hands during the play. Should bettor do so, the bet is cancelled."
    >It also says:
    >"Bettor should not make any correction until Mah Jongg has been declared, verified and paid by all players."
    >"Players must announce the value of their own hand. A player's score does not change if another player calls attention to the fact that the hand could be rearranged at a higher value. The player is only entitled to the value they announced."
    >With this in mind, do you think my bet should have been canceled?
    >Thanks ,
    >Fanny S

    Yes, Fanny, the bet is cancelled, like the rule says. You gave information before payment occurred. You made a correction before payment occurred. You don't collect payment. (FAQ 19-W4).
    In addition, all you did by stating that the hand was jokerless was make the winner feel stupid for not asking for double payment (FAQ 19-W5, the rule you cited) - and prevent yourself from collecting any winnings. You should not have said anything until after all payments were made.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do we keep up with NMJL rule changes? (Pt. 2)

    Followup on Lynn's question yesterday (below). In the middle of the night last night, I recalled what Lynn said:

    ...the dealer no longer takes tiles 1 and 3 but each player takes a tile and the dealer takes the last 2.

    At first when I read that yesterday, my brain went off on a tear, thinking "that's picking ahead!" But then I decided I was just jumping to conclusions, and posted what I posted yesterday. But it came back to nag me. And I have to point out that if the dealer takes 1, then everybody takes 1, and then the dealer takes 2, the dealer has 15 tiles. A group using a rule like this is surely "picking ahead" or "playing with a future tile" or "playing with fourteen tiles" (once the dealer discards #15). THAT is surely the origin of this so-called rule change, which means it is definitely NOT a change from the League. For DECADES, the League has made "NO PICKING OR LOOKING AHEAD" rule #1.
    So unless I'm missing how this dealer-takes-last-2 procedure actually works, I am even more certain that this is another case of somebody making up a rule and calling it "official."
    Harumph. Harumph, I say!
    Tom
    July 9, 2019


    How do we keep up with NMJL rule changes?

    >On Monday, July 8, 2019, 10:02:36 AM PDT, Lynn wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have been following your Q&A and Strategies for many years and we usually don’t have any questions since we are old time players. Question 1. We had a sub last Friday who told our group of 8 ladies that when passing tiles, the dealer no longer takes tiles 1 and 3 but each player takes a tile and the dealer takes the last 2. Sub said she plays at her clubhouse and leader/teacher told the group she gets all info from NMJL when rules change. Have you gotten any info of this change?
    >
    >Question 2. One of regular players dragged a tile a small distance from the wall and then she slipped it back. Another player said she must keep the tile from the wall since she moved it. Has anything regarding this rule changed like the rule about calling a discard and then putting it on your rack but then putting it back. I noted in NMJL Bulletin of Jan. 2018 the answer to question “When is a player committed to taking a tile from the wall?” says “A player is committed to taking a tile from the wall if the tile has been moved in any way. A player can change their mind if tile has been merely touched. “
    >
    >I like to know the rules of a game and then play by them so there is no question of what is right and wrong. Some players seem to think since we are all friends it is OK to let some rules be broken and slip by.
    >
    >How do we players know when rules change? I was surprised to find the rule about not putting back a called tile had changed in 2006. We always played that you could call a tile and put it on your rack but you could still return it to the table. Now new rule says once called tile is put on player’s rack it can’t be returned. I have used your book, “The Red Dragon & The West Wind” and crosschecked the NMJLS’ Bulletins for my background information.
    >
    >Thanks again for all your hard work maintaining your Sloperama site and additional columns. I have introduced many subs to your site and hope they, in turn, have purchased your book. Just wish there were more jokers in a Mah Jongg set!! Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn! So good to hear from you. Let's do the call-and-response thing:

    We had a sub last Friday who told our group of 8 ladies that when passing tiles, the dealer no longer takes tiles 1 and 3 but each player takes a tile and the dealer takes the last 2. Sub said she plays at her clubhouse and leader/teacher told the group she gets all info from NMJL when rules change. Have you gotten any info of this change?
    No. And I don't believe it - not until I see it in writing from the League. The only benefit to changing the [worldwide] standard of taking One And Three is that it confuses beginners a little. It would be a departure from the rest of the mah-jongg world to change it, a thumb in the nose at un-American mah-jongg variants. Trump would approve, now that I think of it. This is what we do now.

    One of regular players dragged a tile a small distance from the wall and then she slipped it back. Another player said she must keep the tile from the wall since she moved it.
    That's the rule.

    Has anything regarding this rule changed like the rule about calling a discard and then putting it on your rack but then putting it back.
    No.

    How do we players know when rules change?
    When they post it at https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html. And/or of course when a new newsletter comes out in January.

    I have used your book, “The Red Dragon & The West Wind” and crosschecked the NMJLS’ Bulletins for my background information.
    I always keep the Errata file up-to-date with changes. Best to have that handy, too.

    May the tiles be with you, Lynn!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Card to accompany "Beginner's Guide To American Mah Jongg" - part 2

    >On Sunday, July 7, 2019, 06:12:14 PM PDT, Pat Cornwell wrote:
    >Re: Card for 2004
    >I only asked because it states right in the book that you are allowed to copy (print) the last page. I had no luck on ebay and I do not do facebook. If you can think of anything else it would be greatly appreciated. I don't think the league would have a problem with the 2004 card. I did buy the 2019, but the exercises in the book are 2004.

    I'm sorry, Pat, but it's not my responsibility to provide 2004 cards to buyers of that book. You can try asking the League. You can try the things I suggested before. Good luck, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Card to accompany "Beginner's Guide To American Mah Jongg"

    >On Sunday, July 7, 2019, 01:47:39 PM PDT, Pat C wrote:
    >Card for 2004
    >I purchased an ebook of your Beginner's Guide, but cannot print the 2004 card from my Kindle in order to practice the exercises. Can you send me a copy of the card to this email so I can print & practice? Thank you
    >Pat C

    Hi, Pat.
    I'm sorry, but I am not the author of that book (I just wrote the foreword), and the League wouldn't like it if I made copies of their copyrighted card and mailed it to everyone who has that book (not that I want to). I don't know what to suggest. Buy a 2004 card on Ebay, maybe. Try asking the members of the "Mah Jongg, That's It!" group on Facebook. Maybe the folks there have seen this question before and came up with an answer, you never know. Sorry I can't help!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    7-7, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for stoppers for my racks

    On Friday, July 5, 2019, 12:13:04 PM PDT, Jeff wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi,
    Although I do not see a category to write under, I am looking for 5 Kelly or Emerald Green Mah Jong Stoppers for my racks.
    Are you able to assist me in my pursuit?
    You can reply to jhd18@aol.com
    Best,
    Jeff

    Hi, Jeff.
    Your announcement is now posted on the Mah-Jongg Accessories Wanted bulletin board. Good luck!
    May the stoppers be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I have a listing on Ebay, part 4

    >On Sunday, July 7, 2019, 06:14:16 PM PDT, Ally W wrote:
    >Hi!
    >Thank you for your words. I appreciate the fact that you do this as a volunteer and I am sure there are times you would rather be playing Mah Jong than discussing it! All the best...
    >Ally
    >Sent from my iPad

    May the tiles be with you, Ally.
    Tom


    I have a listing on Ebay, part 3

    >On Saturday, July 6, 2019, 07:12:51 AM PDT, Ally wrote:
    >Re: Per your suggestion, I am trying to determine a reasonable asking price on eBay
    >You did get it wrong about me. I was an avid Mah Jong player and taught quite a few people to play a version learned in Singapore. I have two other working sets with beautiful wooden lacquered boards made in Singapore that people always admire. I played every week for years with friends. The box was not shown, for that I am sorry, but I did not realize it wasn’t included in the several photos sent. The case was not made for the set displayed which is why the tiles don’t fit properly. I think you were quite harsh and honestly I see no reason to respond the way you did when an easy, this is what I need would have taken less time than your tirade. I love the set as it is quite beautiful to look at and were it not for downsizing, I would not even be parting with it.

    I did get it wrong about you, Ally, and I apologize. I was miffed at having numbered answers unaccompanied by the questions they were answering, and I let that emotion color my words inappropriately. I was harsh, as you say. I let my stream-of-consciousness writing go to places my fingers shouldn't have. My assumption that you don't know mah-jongg was dead wrong. My assumption that rotating the tiles in the trays would make them fit was also dead wrong (I tried rotating one in a graphics editor, and you are right: four vertical tiles won't fit).
    I hope you will accept my apology.
    But my guess as to the set's value stays the same. Non-Westernized tiles in a box they weren't made for, with scoring sticks from a newer set, does constitute a "Frankenstein" set, and I still believe the set won't fetch more than $90 (perhaps even closer to $60-70). The set's emotional value probably outweighs the money you can get for it today.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 6, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I have a listing on Ebay, part 2 (Part 1: June 29)

    >On Friday, July 5, 2019, 07:25:40 AM PDT, Ally wrote:
    >Re: Per your suggestion, I am trying to determine a reasonable asking price on eBay
    >Answers from original email: Hello, I have a listing on Ebay and want to charge the appropriate amount, not too high nor too low. The problem is I have little information on the origin of the set. I purchased it from a Chinese merchant at outdoor fair in Pleasanton, CA. I told him I wanted a antique set from China and he called me when he found one. It has no numbers on it, so I think it did come from China, but age and value, well I have no clue. He said the box was not an antique. I think I paid between $100 and $200 for it 15 years ago. Here is my listing so you can see photos: https://www.ebay.com/itm/173933139590
    >If you can be of help in offering a fair price for it, I would greatly appreciate it.
    >1. 36 each of characters, circles and bamboos, 4 each of red, white and green dragons, 4 each of the winds, EWSN, 4 Flowers and 4 Birds (?) Forgot if these are called birds? 2 tiny dice, Money with 32 one dot, 4 two dot, 8 six dot, 40 eight dot. Case is not made for the set.
    >2. Very Good condition
    >3. Bamboo and bone
    >4. Bought from an antique dealer in a fair, asked for a vintage set from China. He called later and we met again and I purchased it from him. I do not know where he is today.
    >5. Tiles are 1 inch x 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch
    >6. 144 total pieces and 2 dice and 84 money sticks
    >7. None
    >8. Wood container with drawers and holes in back
    >9. Good
    >10. No
    >11. Newer version
    >12.13.14. Pictures attached
    >15. None


    Hi, Ally. You are still making it difficult for me to help you. Your photos do not show the tiles arranged properly, and you do not show the box. You answered my FAQ 7H questions by the number, expecting me to either remember what each question asks or to cross-compare your answers with FAQ 7H. Too much work for this free service.

    You asked a merchant for an "antique" "vintage" set from China, and maybe you got one (I don't know what "antique" or "vintage" mean to you). It's unclear why you wanted one 15 years ago, if you don't play mah-jongg yourself. And it's unclear who would want to buy it from you today. Yes, the set was made in China. It was not made for export, since it does not have Western indices to make the tiles readable to Westerners. The lack of indices makes the set practically unplayable for the majority of Americans. Players who can read the Chinese characters wouldn't want the set because it's old and the tiles are smaller than today's popular tile size. Collectors would see nothing special about the set (and would not buy it without seeing the box). Players of American mah-jongg can't use the set because (aside from the lack of indices) there aren't enough tiles. So your market is limited.

    And I have to say this: your tiles are arranged in 5 rows of 7 tiles in the drawers. That's 35 tiles, meaning one tile doesn't fit. If you arrange them in 4 rows of 9 tiles, rotated, you can fit one whole suit (all 36 tiles) in one tray/drawer. Just rotate the tiles 90 degrees. Put tiles 1 thru 9 in each row. See how Carla arranged her tiles in 4 rows of 9 tiles in her trays/drawers, in her June 23 post, below. Arrange the winds, dragons, and flowers as Carla did (and as I show in FAQ 7H). Buyers need to see the tiles arranged this way so they can satisfy themselves that all tiles are indeed present.

    I'm sorry, Ally, but I still can't give you a solid valuation since I still don't have the information in a usable format. With no-indices bone-bam tiles and plastic scoring sticks in an unknown box, the set appears to be a Frankenstein, probably worth less than $100 but I can't be certain. You are not likely to get more than $80-90 for it, from my limited view of it. Good luck selling your set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The card doesn't say "Any 1 Suit"

    >On Thursday, July 4, 2019, 12:24:44 PM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2019 card in the “singles and Pairs” section, the 4th line down:
    >11 22 33 44 55 66 77 (Any run of 7 Nos.)
    >Since it doesn’t say “Any 1 suit”, does it mean this can be made up of multiple suits?

    Hi, Jane! The hand is one color. It says on the back of the card that one color means one suit.

    If you have any other questions about the 2019 NMJL card, you can find the frequently-asked questions answered in FAQ 16.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    The Fourth of July, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discarded joker?

    >On Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 11:48:17 AM PDT, Martin W wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: if a
    >Player has to discard a joker can the next player in turn pick it up. Big controversy over this play. Thanks W. Walsh.

    There's no controversy, W.! The rule is clearly stated in the official rulebook - rule 11 on page 21. (Also see FAQ 19-G.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #727 oopsie

    >On Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 06:51:28 AM PDT, johnh wrote:
    >Column #727, Hand #8
    >Among the list of hot tiles you've shown for Hand # 8 in Column #727, you've included all sevens as hot.
    >My interpretation of Consecutive #6 is that the pairs must be the digit lower than the pungs (5's in the hand shown since a pung of 6's has been exposed). Your inclusion of 7's as hot tiles would imply that alternatively, the pairs could be the digit higher than the pungs (ie. pairs of 7's).
    >Is my interpretation of the hand incorrect, or should 7's not be on the list of hot tiles?
    >John

    Quite right, John! Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    July 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Chinese Mah Jongg Scoring

    >On Sunday, June 30, 2019, 04:19:25 PM PDT, Glenda R wrote:
    >Chinese Mah Jongg Scoring Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am hoping you could clarify a Chinese Mah Jongg scoring question:
    >When a player has all Winds and Dragons, they get x8 their score. Would the player also get x2 for 3 dragons or 3 of their own wind?
    >I can't decide if that would be double-counting or not.
    >Here is the winning hand in question:
    > I was East and I Mah Jongged.
    > I had 3 red dragons, 3 green dragons, and 3 South winds on the table
    > I had 3 white dragons and 2 West winds in my hand
    >Here is how I scored it:
    > I had a point total of 56 before any doubling.
    > I took x8 for all Winds and Dragons, x2 for each of the three dragon triplets for another x8.
    > My grand total score was 56 x 64 = 3,584.
    >Please let me know if this is the correct way to score it. If not, what would be right?
    >Thanks,
    >Glenda R
    >Houston Joy Luck Club

    Hi, Glenda!
    In some systems, you can pile on all the scoring patterns you can. And in some, a special hand's written description sets forth additional scoring combinations that may not be added.
    My problem is, you didn't say which Chinese rules you play by. You mentioned 8 doubles for All Honors. That fits Hong Kong style, not the Classic game. Or at least, I didn't find All Honors in A.D. Millington's book just now, and I find that All Honors is worth 8 fan in the most common Cantonese (Hong Kong) rules, per Amy Lo's book. (In FAQ 17, All Honors is a "limit hand," earning maximum score.)
    But although 8 fan matches Hong Kong style, there is no points system in Hong Kong style such as you described.

    That was a long roundabout way of saying that I don't know what scoring system you use, so I don't know what answer to give you. Does your group have a "bible," one particular book you use to settle all ruling questions? If so, please tell me the author's name (and the title) so I can check the book on my bookshelf. (Or go online to the right website.)

    If I had a better idea of what variant you play, maybe that information alone could help me dig up the correct answer for you. I list the known variants, with brief descriptions, in FAQ 2B. Since you count points before doubling, you probably play Classical rules. Could also be Wright-Patterson or British Empire rules, just based on adding points before doubling. But I would have to look through them all to figure out which author lists All Honors as 8 doubles, and for all I know your club has its own custom scoring system.

    In closing, the main question is whether doubles for dragons may be combined/added to All Honors, or does All Honors imply/include those doubles. It could vary depending on which variant you're playing, but for the most part, I'd assume that the All Honors score doesn't get doubled further by honor pungs in the hand. That the 8-double score for All Honors is all the doubling you get.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I have a listing on Ebay and want to charge the appropriate amount

    >On Saturday, June 29, 2019, 06:52:44 AM PDT, A W wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello, I have a listing on Ebay and want to charge the appropriate amount, not too high nor too low. The problem is I have little information on the origin of the set. I purchased it from a Chinese merchant at outdoor fair in Pleasanton, CA. I told him I wanted a antique set from China and he called me when he found one. It has no numbers on it, so I think it did come from China, but age and value, well I have no clue. He said the box was not an antique. I think I paid between $100 and $200 for it 15 years ago. Here is my listing so you can see photos: https://www.ebay.com/itm/173933139590
    >If you can be of help in offering a fair price for it, I would greatly appreciate it.
    >Ally

    I'm sorry, Ally, but I don't follow links (as it says above). You'll have to send me photos, and the information I need as specified in FAQ 7H.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Paying for the party

    >On Friday, June 28, 2019, 07:12:20 PM PDT, Judy R wrote:
    >National Mahj Jong League rule?
    >If you throw mahj to 3 exposures you pay for the table?

    Hi, Judy! Please read FAQ 19-Y.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?

    >On Friday, June 28, 2019, 02:37:19 PM PDT, jb wrote:
    >Question about Jokers
    >Hi Tom,
    >At today’s game, I called for a 2 crack to make a pung with the other two 2 cracks already in my hand. When I exposed the pung, I realized I mistakenly put up only one of my 2 cracks. The other tile I exposed was a joker. As play had already continued, there was nothing I could do about it.
    >I wondered whether or not I could exchange my remaining 2 crack for the joker at my next turn under these circumstances. When it was my turn, I explained my predicament to the other players, and they thought I could exchange it. I then picked a tile, exchanged my remaining 2 crack for the my exposed joker, and discarded a tile. I still don't know if this was a legal move.
    >May we please have a ruling from you?
    >Thank you,
    >Joanne

    Hi, Joanne!
    You've asked Frequently Asked Question M-3. Aside from clicking that link, you'll also find the answer on the back of your card. See left pane, middle paragraph ("Jokers"), second sentence. And it's also in the League's "Mah Jongg Made Easy" book, page 20 (rule 2).

     

    Yes, you may redeem a joker atop your own or any rack.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Picking ahead

    >On Friday, June 28, 2019, 11:33:13 AM PDT, Elizabeth H wrote:
    >Pick ahead
    >Is it legal to "pick ahead"? That is -- picking your next tile
    >immediately after discarding your tile and placing the new tile face
    >down on the top of your rack and looking at it as soon as it is your turn.

    Hi, Elizabeth! Read the back of the card. Rule #1. (It's in all capital letters.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 28, 2019


    Can I claim a discard for a 2019?

    >On Thursday, June 27, 2019, 02:45:28 PM PDT, H Meryl wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Good Day, when playing a hand that consists of 2019, can you call the discarded 9 if you have the other 3 tiles?

    Hi, Meryl! Please read FAQ 19-E.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you play with three people instead of four

    On Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 09:35:31 AM PDT, Ann P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:can you play with three people instead of four if so how do you do the fourth pretend person

    Hi, Ann! Please read FAQ 13-A (assuming you play American mah-jongg).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 1904 World's Fair

    >On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 11:52:02 AM PDT, Robert M wrote:
    >mah jongg
    >Hello Tom
    >Do you know whether MahJongg sets would have been sold at the 1904 Worlds Fair in St.Louis?
    >Thank you
    >Bob M

    Hi, Bob!
    No, I do not know. In 1904, mah-jongg sets did exist, but the name "Mah-Jongg" had not yet been coined. And if there were mah-jongg sets at the 1904 World's Fair, they would not have been Westernized. They would have been made of bone and bamboo. I am VERY curious as to why you ask!!!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Robertson vs. BMJA rules

    >On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 10:39:17 AM PDT, tamaracwg wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi, I play Max Robertson rules and have done for about 13 years, I have read online about British Rules (BMJA) and feel they are extremely similar if not the same... My question is... Are they the same? And if not, what are the major differences?
    >I want to try join local clubs but if the rules are drastically different I may have to learn again.
    >Thanks
    >Tamara W

    Hi, Tamara!
    They are basically the same rule system. There may be different special hands. It's possible that some of the hands you are familiar with in Robertson aren't present in the BMJA rules (and vice versa). You should feel free to join other tables playing British Empire rules. Just ask them if they have a list of special hands they allow. And ask if there are any special goulash/Charleston rules. (EVERY player ALWAYS has to ask if there are special table rules, in every mah-jongg variant.) I don't think you need to worry.
    Okay, I checked the books. Robertson lists 41 different hands (pages 26-40 of his Handy Little Book), and BMJA lists only 19 hands (pages 27-38 of Know The Game, by Headley and Seeley, see FAQ 3). So I'm guessing you don't need to learn new hands, unless the groups you find have added hands of their own.
    Cheers! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Playing Siamese Mahjongg, this happened:

    >On Monday, June 24, 2019, 10:16:41 PM PDT, Danette R wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In playing Siamese Mahjongg, this happened:
    >Player 2- declared Mahjongg but put up an incorrect hand= dead hand.
    >Player 1 - a few draws later, put up a single Mahjongg.
    >Player 2 - a few draws later put up a single Mahjongg, then had no tiles to discard.
    >Does Player 1 continue to draw alone, tile after tile, until he gets a second Mahjongg?
    >Or how does that game end?
    >Danette R

    Hi, Danette!
    The complete rules of Siamese Mah-Jongg are on the siamesemahjongg website. I found it very quickly by Googling "Siamese Mah Jongg." You will surely find your answer there (rules 10 through 15 - I'm not sure which rule, because I don't know what you mean by "then had no tiles to discard"). For explanations of Siamese rules, please contact the game's creator, Gladys Grad.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Musty smell

    >On Monday, June 24, 2019, 11:59:12 AM PDT, Laury T wrote:
    >Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: How do I go about cleaning porous, engraved wood (not bone/bamboo) tiles and removing the truly musty smell which emanates from them? I haven’t found that this issue has been previously addressed.
    >I purchased a lovely Mahjong set at an estate sale which I believe to be from the 1950’s and want to make it look & smell beautiful again.
    >Thank you for your advice.
    >Laury

    Hi, Laury! Go to FAQ 7-o and Search (using Control-F) the page for the key words "smell" and "odor" (do two searches) to find tips that other readers have posted. 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 weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 24, 2019


    MJ value & identification

    >On Sunday, June 23, 2019, 01:24:20 PM PDT, tim s wrote:
    >MJ value & identification
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing your website & am hoping to learn some specific information re: my Mah-Jongg set. I have a fondness for everything vintage and I purchased this set with the intent to upcycle the pieces into a home project for my personal use. The box caught my eye & it wasn’t until I inspected the content closer that I realized I found something special. Some vintage finds are best to be left as is, I would hate to break up this set if it is of greater value (not just financial value, but owner appreciation as well) as a whole. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you may be able to offer.
    >Thanks,
    >Carla S
    >Questions:
    >Is my assessment of condition accurate?
    >What is the value of this set?
    >What causes the pink discoloration of the bone?
    >Opinion please:
    >Keep as is & list on eBay
    >Keep as is & list in your selling forum
    >Separate the pieces & use to decorate as there is little value in keeping the entire set together
    >1. Write a factual detailed list: condition details in each section
    >· Wooden box, 5 drawers, brass trim
    >· 148 tiles
    >· 118 counting sticks
    >· 1 wood dice coffin
    >· 6 dice
    >· 1 mingg
    >· 4 wind discs
    >2. IMPORTANT: Describe the condition of all the components of the set.
    >This is my initial assessment; I would greatly appreciate your feedback for accuracy
    >· Box: FAIR
    >· Tiles: FAIR-GOOD
    >· Counting Sticks: FAIR-GOOD
    >· Dice coffin: FINE to VERY GOOD
    >· Dice: FINE to VERY GOOD
    >· Mingg: POOR
    >· Wind discs: POOR
    >3. What are the tiles made of?
    >· Bone & bamboo
    >4. Describe history
    >· History of the set is unknown
    >· Appears consistent with early 1920’s
    >5. What are the dimensions of the tiles?
    >· 148 tiles: bone & bamboo
    >· 1-1/8” length, x 3/4“wide, x 1/2“thick
    >· Bone 3/16 “thickness, bamboo 5/16” thickness
    >· Wide pyramid shaped dovetail
    >6. How many tiles are there in the set?
    >· 36 Dots
    >· 36 Bams
    >· 36 Craks
    >· 16 Winds
    >· 12 Dragons
    >· 8 Flowers
    >· 4 Blanks
    >· Overall most consistent with FAIR-GOOD condition
    >· Various tiles have scant fading
    >· Corner chips
    >· Darker Haversian lines
    >· Discoloration yellowing
    >7. What other pieces are included with the set?
    >· 35 1 dot counting sticks
    >· 40 2 dot counting sticks
    >· 8 5 dot counting sticks
    >· 36 10 dot counting sticks
    >· 1 wood dice coffin
    >· 6 dice
    >· 1 mingg
    >· 4 wind discs
    >· Condition of counting sticks appears FAIR-GOOD
    >o Pinkish discoloration on 50% of the pieces.
    >o Paint faded on 50% of the pieces
    >· Condition of mingg & wind discs POOR
    >o There was a sticky substance on these pieces causing corrosion & wear
    >o This seems most consistent with a resin type substance vs. bone
    >· Dice coffin & dice FINE to VERY GOOD condition.
    >o Box is pristine
    >o Dice have scant fading but I’m honestly not sure how dark they were when new
    >o No number 1 dot is present, side blank
    >o Number 4 dots are red
    >8. What kind of container does the set come in?
    >· Wooden box with 5 drawers & brass trim
    > 9. What condition is the container in?
    >· Missing front slide in panel
    >· Lifting on corners of few brass pieces
    >· Handle intact
    >· Drawers open/close freely
    >· Color: outer wood appears faded, inner drawer’s deep rosewood color
    >· Obvious it was stained this deep color and the color is not original to the wood
    >· Most consistent with FAIR condition
    >10. Does the set have any paper materials
    >· None
    > 11. Which kind of craks are in this set
    >· Older style
    >· See picture below
    > 12. Provide a picture of the One Bams
    >· Peacock with brown tail feathers
    >· See picture below
    > 13. Provide a picture of the dragons
    >· White dragon blank tiles
    >14. And provide a picture of the flowers /seasons.
    >· Note green #4 tile has damage to bottom corner
    >· Pink corrosive discoloration
    >15. How many jokers (if any) does the set have?
    >· None

    Hi, Carla! Well done, thank you for doing your homework so diligently. Your questions:

    Is my assessment of condition accurate?
    >· Box: FAIR
    >· Tiles: FAIR-GOOD
    >· Counting Sticks: FAIR-GOOD
    >· Dice coffin: FINE to VERY GOOD
    >· Dice: FINE to VERY GOOD
    >· Mingg: POOR
    >· Wind discs: POOR
    To remind us all what these terms mean:
    POOR - Item is not usable, or is only just barely usable, or is unpleasant to use. All defects must be noted. 
    FAIR - Item is utilitarian but not attractive. All defects must be noted. 
    GOOD - Item is worn but reasonably attractive; any normal person would notice the defects without having to look for them. All defects must be noted. 
    VERY GOOD - Item has a few defects that any normal person would notice upon close examination. All defects must be noted. 
    FINE or EXCELLENT - Item has only very minor defects which only a purist or expert would notice or care about. These defects must be described in detail. 
    IMO (in my opinion):
    Box: Fair (the original finish has been removed, which actually could be an improvement in its looks, but still)
    Tiles: Fair
    Sticks: Poor
    Dice coffin: VG
    Dice: Good
    Mingg: Poor
    Wind discs: Poor

    What is the value of this set?
    Maybe $50.

    What causes the pink discoloration of the bone?
    I don't know. Maybe fungus from the box wood, or the items were stained by the reddish box wood. That 4F looks particularly ugly. Hard to tell: maybe fire damage or cow disease? Ż\_(ツ)_/Ż

    Opinion please:
    >Keep as is & list on eBay
    >Keep as is & list in your selling forum
    >Separate the pieces & use to decorate as there is little value in keeping the entire set together
    The latter. I'd discard the ugly bits and seek replacement parts. Then list wherever you want.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She misnamed her discard, causing a problem. What now? 

    >On Sunday, June 23, 2019, 07:03:14 AM PDT, Phyllis L wrote:
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: 
    I was waiting for  a 2 crack to call marj.  A player called 2 crack ( which she had in her rack) I called take she said oh no and really had a joker in her hand to place on table.  She said “oh I called 2 crack in error”. What should the outcome of this be

    Good morning, Phyllis!
    She said the name of your mahj tile, and you said "take"? You should have said "mahj." If you just say "take," you are saying you want to make a pung, kong, or quint with the current live discard. But when you make it clear 2C is your mahj tile, then she has to pay you four times the value of your hand. (Nobody else pays you.) See rule 6 on page 17 of the official rulebook.

    Don't have the official rulebook? Look at the back of the card. Center pane, up top.

    You can also read FAQ 19-AY.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciate your column Tom!

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Friday, June 21, 2019 12:54 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from ilene k
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from ilene k
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: ilene k
    >Message: Appreciate your column Tom!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Ilene! I hope I can write a column this weekend, but my first priority has to be the week's lesson plan for my summer Game Design students. I'll try to get a new column up, but as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (Translation, as Bill Nye the Science Guy said: "Stuff happens.") I appreciate the donation. Thanks again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 22, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 5)

    >From: Star F
    >Sent: Friday, June 21, 2019 6:51 AM
    >Subject: RE: Question
    >Q: Someone picked up a discarded tile, exposed her tiles on top of the rack as usual, then exchanged another tile for a joker, racked it. Then realized her exposure was missing a tile so she added another tile from her rack to make it a kong instead of a pung. She felt since she had not discarded, it was acceptable to add to her exposure even after she went on to a second move within her turn.
    >1). Would this accepted as she did it?
    >2) Would it have been acceptable if she had exchanged for a joker, then added joker to her exposure if she hadn't discarded?
    >Thank you
    >Star

    Hi, Star!
    This exact question was answered below on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:18 PM, when I posted this letter another player received from the League:


    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    Summer Solstice,, 2019


    What if the player who took the tile for mah-jongg was in error, and now she's dead?

    >From: Zoe Ann G
    >Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2019 9:55 PM
    >Subject: American Mah Jongg question
    >Hi Tom! Hope you are having a great day!
    >Question:
    >Two players called for the same tile. One called it for Mah Jongg. She claimed the tile, and made an exposure with it. It turned out she did not have Mah Jongg. So she was dead. Should she have given the mistaken tile to the other person who called it?
    >Thanks,
    >Zoe Green

    Hi, Zoe! Yesterday did indeed go just fine, and today is starting fine too! Thanks for asking.
    To answer your mah-jongg question, the answer is "it depends." Did the other caller want the tile for exposure, or for mah-jongg? See FAQ 19-H4".
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    Summer Solstice,, 2019


    These tiles are a mystery!

    >From: John C
    >Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:57 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m brand new to the game and bought an inexpensive set of tiles to learn about it. I’ve done a little homework, but there are tiles I don't understand.
    >The three main suits and the directional tiles are easy to identify. But I think I have only green and red dragons, some flower? tiles, and four tiles that I think are pairs - the cat and mouse pair are easy to see.
    >I would be grateful if you could help me identify these tiles.
    >Thank you.
    >John

    Hi, John!
    These FAQs will help you:

  • FAQ 7E ("Mystery tiles")
  • FAQ 7E-F ("Mystery flowers")
  • FAQ 7B ("Is my set complete?")

    I recommend you build the Big Square as illustrated in FAQ 7B.
    I have one of those sets like yours - the tiles are really tiny!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 20, 2019


    What does "Like" mean?

    >From: Meg F
    >Sent: Monday, June 17, 2019 2:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In the “ Any Like NumberS” category. Do all the numbers have to be the same across the 3 suits i.e. all 7s? Or could you have three different numbers like : Bams in 4s, Craks in 9s and Dots in 1s along with the 2 Flowers? My confusion is that it says NumberS not Number ( which would mean the first option I cited)
    >Thanks
    >MCF

    Hi, Meg!
    FAQ 19-AU. The key word in the ANY LIKE NUMBERS name isn't "numbers" - it's "Like." The number you use for the green set has to be the same number you use in the red and dark blue sets.

    3333 is LIKE 3333
    They're aLike! Like, May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If a player declares herself dead

    >From: Kristin
    >Sent: Monday, June 17, 2019 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >A player
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player declares herself dead, are her exposed jockers open for trade?
    >Kristin

    She's not dead, Kristin. See FAQ 19-AC. Her jokers are up for grabs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I wanted to find out more about the set, part 2

    >From: "outlook_2B1844C26BBB32BB
    >Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2019 9:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I submitted an inquiry this past Friday, but misunderstood your formatting requirements. I am including the text that was originally sent as a PDF attachment directly in the body of this message, and will attach my photos as JPG files. Hopefully this is the format you are looking for. Thank you so much for your time!
    >Ma-Chiong (Mah Jong) Traditional Set:
    >Rosewood (9.25”x 6.5”x 6.38”), with copper double handles and ornate corner decorations. Front
    >sliding cover with 5 pull- out drawers with copper pull tabs.
    >*Top front right corner missing a piece of copper, back top left copper corner slightly lifted
    >Tiles made of bone and bamboo (.8125”x 1.156”x .4375”).
    >Dots: Suit 1-9 (4 each). 36 Tiles
    >Bams: Suit 1-9 (4 each). 36 Tiles
    >Craks: Suit 1-9 (4 each). 36 Tiles
    >Dragons: 4 White, 4 Red, 4 Green. 12 Tiles
    >Flowers: Suit 1-4 (2 each 1,3,4; 1 of 2). 7 Tiles
    >*Dots-one of #1 faded, Flowers- #1 faded/1 tile of #2
    >Wind Discs 2 (East & West – blue & red) with holder
    >Dice 4 bone dice, 4 other dice
    >Counters bone sticks: 1 red dot (37), 2 black dot (43), 5 red dot (8), 10 black dot (36). 124 Sticks
    >Book Ma-Chiong (Admiral Oriental Line), 2nd edition 6/1/1923, Complete with all pages.
    >*Signs of wear on the outside cover, back upper corner has a small
    >piece missing, and original owner’s name is written on the back.

    Welcome back, Jo. Let's look at the condition of the set and its parts:

    Box... *Top front right corner missing a piece of copper, back top left copper corner slightly lifted
    Then the quality of the box sounds Fair. Utilitarian but not attractive. (FAQ 7H)

    Book... *Signs of wear on the outside cover, back upper corner has a small piece missing, and original owner’s name is written on the back.
    I'm gonna call that Fair. Not attractive.

    Tiles... *Dots-one of #1 faded, Flowers- #1 faded/1 tile of #2
    Two faded tiles isn't so bad, but missing a flower is. Two faded tiles would make the set VG (Very Good). But missing a flower takes it down to Poor for buyers who play with the flowers the classic way, or Fair for buyers who are amenable to playing without the flowers. But hold on - you didn't list the four extra blanks visible in the photo. Bingo, one of those can be used to make a flower, problem solved (now there are only 3 blanks, but after almost a century, that happens). You have to make a sticker of a #2 flower with a green numeral 2. You don't have to worry about what the other details are unless you want to put a lot more effort into it (see examples in FAQ 7E-F. With a sticker as described, the condition of the tiles goes up to Good. If you don't make a sticker, the condition of the tiles is Fair (for reasons already given).

    Dice 4 bone dice, 4 other dice
    No. You have 4 bone dice (without coffin), and you have 5 Poker Dice made of plastic. I have seen poker dice so many times in these old sets, I wonder what party in the retail supply chain decided to put them into mah-jongg sets. I used to advise removing the poker dice from the set, but not any more - still, I don't believe they add much if any value to the set. Not having a coffin may affect the value a little. Also: you didn't list the wind indicators, nor state their value. I assume all 4 winds are viewable (1 wind on each side of a disc, so 2 discs suffice). This style of wind indicator seems anachronistic; or it indicates that this set was made later in the fad cycle, probably after 1924 or 1925. This is not the classic style of wind discs that collectors expect.

    Counters bone sticks: 1 red dot (37), 2 black dot (43), 5 red dot (8), 10 black dot (36). 124 Sticks
    Not too bad here; plenty of them, they're little regarded. But you didn't mention the condition. Looking at the photo, I see that your sticks are in unusually good condition. The paint is not worn off, the markings are clear. A buyer of your set could throw away one of the 1-dot sticks so you have a number of them divisible by 4, and throw away three of the 2-dot sticks. The others are each divisible by 4.

    The dice and sticks and wind indicators look to be in Fine condition. But these are the least valued parts of the set. As you might imagine, the highest value goes to the tiles, then the box.

    So what we have then...

      Box - Fair
      Tiles as is - Fair (if stickered, Good)
      Bottom drawer stuff - Fine
      Book - Fair

    Overall, then: Fair. These sets are the most abundant of the various types seen from the Twenties, so they're not rare. It's all about the condition. If the set was in VG condition, it might sell anywhere between $100-$200. But since it's in Fair condition, I'm estimating its worth at $80-90.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What the worth of the set might be

    >From: Jean-Claude T
    >Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2019 11:11 AM
    >Subject: Assistance with mah-jongg set
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >It was enormously gratifying to learn that there are true mah-jongg experts out there willing to freely share their knowledge with others (and with humor to boot). I have learned a great deal from a close reading of your web pages. Thank you for taking the trouble to build and share those.
    >I have followed the checklist and attached photographs in the hopes that you can help me learn little more about a mah-jongg set that has been in the family for a while and recently passed down to me. The set comes to me by way of Portugal and possibly Macau (a former Portuguese colony).
    >Checklist
    >144 pieces (see pics attached). No jokers (I've never seen them used in any Portuguese set), or extra pieces (blanks) in this set. The set came with counting pieces but these were given to my brother to balance out the value for inheritance purposes. The assumption has always been that the pieces are ivory and bamboo and the counting pieces mother of pearl. After reading your page, I suspect otherwise now.
    >There are no paper materials in this set.
    >I suspect bone, though the reigning belief is that this set was ivory and bamboo, corroborated by the small dimensions of the set. I have attached pictures and I see the Haversian system you speak of, especially visibly on the 6-9 bamboo pieces. I mentioned this to my mother and she indicated that Ivory does this as it ages as well. No Schreger lines are visible to me so I suspect bone.
    >My mother remembers playing mah-jongg with her parents and friends with this set as a child (she was born in 1940) so I can't date it with certainty before that. The game was all the rage in Portugal and my family would host mah-jongg dinner parties and play until the wee hours of the morning. I remember playing with my parents and grandparents as a child and this set was often used. It was always taken out and described as a family heirloom, made of 'marfim' (ivory). Given what you have described in your pages, I suspect that they were probably duped into believing they were buying ivory. Assuming that the playing pieces are ivory, my mother gave my brother the counting pieces, which she claims are mother of pearl. They are beautiful and I regret that the set was broken up this way.
    >H = 2.5 cm, W = 1.7 cm, D = 1.2 cm (but curved back), thickness = .7-.8 cm. This is a much smaller set than other sets I've played with. I was always told that this was because ivory was so expensive.
    >144 pieces. No blanks or jokers (I have other sets that have blanks or extra tiles but have never seen a set with jokers. In fact, I didn't know they existed until I read your pages). Perhaps this reflects an American version of the game.
    >The box is a small dark wood (picture attached), with one drawer for the counting pieces and dice. The box is in good condition.
    >I have attached pics of the cracks.
    >I have attached pics of the bams.
    >I have attached pics of the dragons
    >I have attached pics of the flowers and seasons
    >No jokers
    >Thank you very much in advance for any information you might be able to provide me, confirming what the playing pieces are made of and what the worth of the set might be.
    >Best regards,
    >Bruno T


    Hi, Bruno. You asked:

    what the playing pieces are made of
    Bone, without question. Ivory does not come with Haversian system flaws.

    what the worth of the set might be.
    I can't tell you, because you didn't give me enough information. You say the box is in Good condition, but the one photo you showed me confuses me. I see it's in only Fair condition, maybe Poor. Corner plates of steel or aluminum have been nailed on, and one plate is coming unattached. I see the one drawer, but I don't know how the rest of the set fits in the box. I'm not sure that's actually the box the tiles were originally sold in. Although I can see one tile is holding up well (no separation between bone and bamboo), I don't know what the condition of all the tiles is. You need to tell me the condition, using the grading scale in FAQ 7H before I can estimate a value. And I'll need to see the whole box from another angle, with the set contained so I can see how it all packs in.

    You mentioned that the scoring sticks are not included. And no paper materials. What about dice, dice coffin, wind indicators with mingg? See FAQ 7D to see what I'm talking about.

    You said your mother thinks the scoring sticks are mother of pearl - I've seen only plastic and bone sticks, and maybe ivory too. Just saying I never heard of mother of pearl scoring sticks. That doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist. The scoring sticks themselves most likely have very limited value.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I wanted to find out more about the set I have.

    >From: "outlook_2B1844C.............
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 1:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >I wanted to find out more about the set I have. Would you please look at the attached information – I hope I followed your suggested outline and have given you enough information to go on. Thanks so much for your time. This set was given to my father years ago by an elderly woman and it is now mine. I would love to know the value of this set – I do not play Mah-jongg and have very limited knowledge so I apologize for any incorrect terminology I may use. Thanks a million for your expertise! Jo

    Hi, Jo. You wrote:

    Would you please look at the attached information – I hope I followed your suggested outline and have given you enough information to go on.
    But you sent it in a PDF file. I do not open PDF files from strangers, and I cannot do free value estimates with attached documents. In FAQ 7H, it says "(please do not send attached documents; I won't open them)," and in FAQ 7G, it says "DON'T ATTACH A SEPARATE FILE."

    I apologize for any incorrect terminology I may use.
    Please refer to FAQs 7A-E for terminology help.

    Standing by for the info I need, in the format I can use.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three quarters exposed, part 2

    >from: rosemary b
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 1:42 PM
    >Subject: Re: Three quarters exposed
    >Thank you!

    You're welcome!


    They help themselves to any discard, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Patricia P
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Patricia P
    >Message: Thank you for being so knowledgeable and quick to answer!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Patricia! I'm glad I could help. It's a good thing the rule was spelled out so clearly in the official rulebook.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    Bastille Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three quarters exposed

    >from: rosemary b
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:40 PM
    >Subject: Three quarters exposed
    >Is there a rule that says if a player has 3 parts of her hand exposed that the other players CANNOT throw the tile she needs? One game I play in swears that’s the rule. Another game says the person who throws the tile and gives the person mahjong has to pay the winner for all the players. Are these just table rules?
    >Thank you for your help.
    >Rosemary

    Yes, Rosemary, those are table rules. Read FAQ 19-Y and I highly recommend you read FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They help themselves to any discard on the table

    >From: Patricia P
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 12:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I’ve been playing Classical Chinese for some time now, and have also started playing Wright Patterson with a different group.
    >In CC we can only pick up the last discarded tile, but it WP they help themselves to any discard on the table. Is this correct? (I’ve ordered WP rules but haven’t received them yet).
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Patricia!
    Players can claim just any old discard? That's a new one on me. I've never had an opportunity to play W-P myself. I have the rulebook, so let's see what it says (italics removed, underline added)...

      28. Any player who wishes to call for a discarded tile may do so up to the time the next player has drawn and completed his turn with his discard. The preceding discard is a dead tile.

    W-P is a close relative of British Empire rules, which evolved from Chinese Classical after the 1920s, and uses the usual "only the most recent discard may be called" rule. In fact, I don't know of any variant that permits the taking of just any old discard that suddenly fits your hand. That would make the game much too easy.

    So when you get your rulebook, turn to page 11, rule 28. You can share the actual rule with your friends; the information might meet strong resistance or it might meet acceptance. There can be joy from anytime access to the actual rules in those times when you have to, you know, refer to them. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Pickandrack

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 4:23 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >I heard that the American MJ League considers pick and rack
    > OK, but the National MJ League considers it aggressive play.
    >Is that true?
    >What is your position on Pick-and-Rack?
    >Louise D

    Hi, Louise! You asked:

    I heard that the American MJ League considers pick and rack
    > OK, but the National MJ League considers it aggressive play.
    >Is that true?
    I don't know what the AMJA's stance is on pickandrack.

    What is your position on Pick-and-Rack?
    Read FAQ 19-AD.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 card

    >From: Charlene K
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2019 card. 2019 column, #2, 1 or 2 suits, can I use, for example, a pung of 2’s and a pung of 1’s in the same suit, and a kong of 9’s in a different suit? Or do the 1’s and 9’s have to be of the same suit?

    >From: Charlene K
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: regarding the 2019 card, 2019 column, #2, 1 or 2 suits: Can I , for example, make a pung of 2’s and a pung of 1’s in one suit, and a kong of 9’s in a second suit? Or, do the 2’s need to be one suit, and the 1’s and 9’s need to be the same suit but a different suit from the 2’s, as shown in the colors on the card?

    Hi, Charlene! You'll find the answer to your question in FAQ 16. All of the most frequently asked questions about the 2019 card are answered in FAQ 16.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What do I have, part 2

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 10:28 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Good evening to you. I thank you for posting a response so quickly. In it you said that you would need pictures. This statement confused me a bit because I did attach pictures...5 of them. I can see that they are indeed attached.
    >Thank you, Laury

    I goofed. You did send photos. Your questions for me:

    I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set.
    Do you see Parker Brothers printed anywhere on it? Your photos did not include any such printing.

    The tiles appear to be teak.
    If you say so. I am not a wood identification expert, so I cannot confirm.

    (French ivory?)
    I don't see any striations in your photos, so I'm guessing no.

    What do I have?
    I have sets similar to yours, but not with that same booklet. I recommend you check the resources link I posted yesterday. I am not an expert on manufacturers.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What do I have?

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom ??
    >1) I purchased a ?? MahJongg ??? set which came with a booklet entitled, Standard Chinese Scoring Rules For MAH JONG. At the bottom is written YANK-KEE, with an address of 680 5th Ave., New York City. On the inside is written, copyright, 1923 by Nanyang Bros, Inc., New York. I wonder if you are familiar with their history? If so, please share.
    >2) The booklet came with the set of 144 tiles in a cardboard box with trays. I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set. The tiles appear to be teak. There’s a thin, laminated top (French ivory?) It’s smooth & somewhat shiny. I realize I’m describing tiles that were in Parker Brothers Newport & Tuxedo line, which came in mahogany boxes. What do I have?
    >Thanks much, Laury

    Hi, Laury. You asked:

    I wonder if you are familiar with their history?
    Sorry, Laury, but I am not an expert on manufacturers. Check out the resources linked in FAQ 7U.

    I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set. The tiles appear to be teak. There’s a thin, laminated top (French ivory?) It’s smooth & somewhat shiny. I realize I’m describing tiles that were in Parker Brothers Newport & Tuxedo line, which came in mahogany boxes. What do I have?
    I can't help without photos.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Need a book on mah-jongg strategy

    >From: Barbara L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 2:47 AM
    >Subject: Recommendation for a good book
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I am interested in a good book that I can read on Mah Jongg strategy.
    >Sincerely,
    >Barbara L

    Hi, Barbara. See FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #724

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:07 AM
    >Subject: Column #724
    >Hi Tom, Love the #724 column! Great to get the mind working as you try to puzzle out the different hands of both players.
    >With the third hand, you mention that the player ready to discard is going for (Consec #2, several ways). With the exchange of the Joker, Wouldn’t you also check out 13579 #2, the second part? Having 9 tiles for each (if I counted correctly) it seems, depending on what’s been discarded, a likely hand to try also.
    >TimA

    Hi, Tim!
    You are right, Odds #2 is indeed a perfectly good option. I don't count jokers when I count up how many tiles I have towards one hand. So, for Consec #2, we have:
    5-6-7-8: seven tiles
    6-7-8-9: six tiles
    Odds #2: seven tiles
    I would still discard 8D first, unless the wall is very short. But then if the wall is very short, I likely won't be able to make a hand since I need to obtain 6 tiles. The wall has to be at least 12 stacks long if I still need to pick 6 tiles (unless the mah-jongg goddesses cause other players to discard tiles I want). And if the wall was too short for me to take risks, I would not discard 8D (I'd "dog" - I'd discard tiles I don't think anybody needs, and I'd discard jokers).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Fish bone in the twenties/thirties

    >From: Bridget H
    >Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2019 10:34 AM
    >Subject: 1920s/30s fishbone - 'Directions of playing "Chinese game of four winds"'
    >Dear Tom,
    >I am thoroughly enjoying your site and finding it very helpful in learning more about my Aunt’s Mahjong set (in UK). She was given it in the 1920s (possibly 1930s), it is bone (quite pronounced haversian lines) and bamboo with western indices, 144 tiles + 8 blanks, and comes in a brown leather case with a top handle, side latches and front lock, red baize covered trays. Also with it is the instruction booklet ‘Directions of playing “Chinese game of four winds”’ and this is what I wanted to ask you about.
    >It is a paper booklet, green cover and says (on the front):
    >‘Directions of playing “Chinese game of four winds”’ Sung San Tsai Hongkong. It is undated. Inside on the front page is:
    >‘Sung San Tsai – Chinese game playing cards for sale cheap price any kinds of cards make ready ivory and fish bone – No 140, Willington Street, Hongkong.’ Initially I thought that Sung San Tsai was the author but now I wonder if it is the name of the shop. I’ve been unable to find more information about the name/address so far.
    >I think this may be the booklet listed (from Michael Stanwick) on your site under out of print/hard to find books and described as an original book with a Mah Jong set.
    >My question is, it speaks of fish bone rather than any other type of bone, does this suggest fish bone was used earlier than the reconstituted modern type or was this just a ‘euphemism’ as possibly sounding better/more refined than ox/cow bone? Or was the fish bone being used for other games items e.g. counters/sticks? I don’t think my aunt’s set is fish bone because of the pronounced haversian lines but I don’t know what fish bone might have looked like in those days!
    >If you would like a scan of the booklet I can probably provide one – might have to be via drop box. If you need further information please let me know.
    >With good wishes and many thanks for your site,
    >Bridget H
    >UK

    Hi, Bridget!
    Your questions:

    No 140, Willington Street, Hongkong.’ Initially I thought that Sung San Tsai was the author but now I wonder if it is the name of the shop. I’ve been unable to find more information about the name/address so far.
    I can't help you there. Sorry!

    does this suggest fish bone was used earlier
    It does "suggest" that. This is news to me.

    or was this just a ‘euphemism’ as possibly sounding better/more refined than ox/cow bone?
    I have no idea.

    Or was the fish bone being used for other games items e.g. counters/sticks?
    I have never seen any such items, to the best of my knowledge.

    If you would like a scan of the booklet
    Before I asked anyone to go to all that trouble, I would first want to make sure I didn't already have my own copy. I appreciate the offer, but I am unwilling to go to the trouble to see if I already have one, so I don't want to put you through the trouble of scanning yours. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discard if I'm waiting to win on a single?

    >From: James D
    >Sent: Friday, June 7, 2019 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If to Mahjongg, can you pick up any part of the year 2019?
    >Thanks.

    Yes, James. See FAQ 19-E3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 7, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2000 NMJL card

    >From: "joe.bayside
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 6:30 PM
    >Subject: Question about 2000 NMJL Card
    >Tom,
    >You might have answered this, but I don’t think so.
    >An acquaintance on an online discussion board asked about the YEAR Category from back on the 2000 NMJL card.
    >Specifically, the first and fourth hands in that category SEEM, at least to me, to indicate a requirement for as many
    >as 6 Zeros. Someone else suggested that the 2000 numbers on that card did NOT require White Dragons/Soaps,
    >but rather could be made up of Jokers. I think they are incorrect and called NMJL to ask. The person taking
    >calls from members with questions about the cards said that they only have the current few years cards on hand.
    >So, she suggested that I might write them a letter with my question. I am going to do that.
    >In the meantime, do you happen to have any knowledge about that? I got a link (poor images) of a set of
    >4 2000 NMJL cards (fronts and backs) and to me it seems like that first and fourth hand in the category could not
    >Be legally made, even then by the limited rules on the cards.
    >As is my norm, any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
    >Joe McM…aka TexMac

    Joe, that card was NINETEEN YEARS AGO, and FAQ 16 only goes back to 2001. Also, I was a new player back then. So as is your norm, you'll forgive me for not remembering all the particulars of that card.
    I went into my file cabinet and retrieved my 2000 card, so that should help a little. You asked:

    You might have answered this, but I don’t think so.
    If I answered online questions about the 2000 card, I probably did that on the mahjong newsgroup - not here. My first website was thegameguru.net, which lasted only 10 weeks or so. Sloperama.com was launched on December 8, 2000, by which time all the players were bored of the 2000 card and were impatiently waiting for the 2001 card. So they probably weren't asking me your questions, but one could find out by using the Wayback Machine.

    the first and fourth hands in that category SEEM, at least to me, to indicate a requirement for as many
    >as 6 Zeros.
    Yes. You needed at least 2 jokers to make those hands.

    Someone else suggested that the 2000 numbers on that card did NOT require White Dragons/Soaps,
    Wrong. It says right at the top, "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO."

    but rather could be made up of Jokers.
    Yes. It says right at the top, "A zero may be called for exposure to complete the 2000, but the 2 can only be called for Mah Jongg." In other words, the 2000 was an exposable grouping, that year only (or maybe 1999 was like that too, I don't know - I don't have a 1999 card in my collection). If it can be called for exposure, jokers can be used in it (for a zero, not for a two).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    D-Day + 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I had mah-jongg after the Charleston!

    >From: Carol G
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 5:29 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was east and after all the charlestons were completed I had mah-jongg, completely shocked!
    >Could I have called mah jongg or would I have been required to discard a tile. None of us knew the answer!
    >Appreciate your reply.

    Hi, Carol!
    Wow, you had "Heavenly Hand"! Surely you have a copy of the 2018 edition of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, right? You'll find this on page 12. If you don't have the latest edition of the rulebook, you'll find the rule in FAQ 19-BJ and with lots of detail in Column #666.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    D-Day + 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 724

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 1:06 PM
    >Subject: column 724
    >Hi Tom,
    >This was an excellent strategy column. All players face these dilemmas and you show how to think critically. Especially looking at the length of the wall. In problem #3 I would have discarded East tile. Is that wrong?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda. East is the "wrong" tile to discard only if another player wins on it, and that may not have been predictable. How long would you wait to discard 8D, while it gets progressively hotter with each passing turn?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    D-Day plus 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can multiple jokers be exchanged in one turn?

    >From: Suzi B
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 5:49 AM
    >Subject: Swapping for jokers
    >When playing mahjong, if a player lays down 2 jokers with a 7 crack (or any other tile), and another player has two 7 crack tiles, can the second player give the first player BOTH of his 7 crack tiles and take BOTH jokers from 1st player IN ONE PLAY?

    Hi, Suzi!
    It's easy to find the answer to this question in my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
    You are asking about American mah-jongg - FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg.
    Atop this bulletin board (above left) you'll find FAQ 19 marked with this icon: .
    In FAQ 19, you find that all the questions are categorized, and Jokers is the very first category of questions.
    Your question, "Can I redeem more than one joker in a turn?" leads you to FAQ 19-N. The rule was stated in National Mah Jongg League January newsletters in 2007 and 2015. In the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, in rule 4 on page 21, the rule is merely hinted at; "Joker" is written as "Joker(s)," because a player can redeem as many as 8 jokers in one turn.
    Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    D-Day+75
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Hot Wall

    >From: Gail L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 5:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it a rule to play hot wall meaning to account for two other tiles before throwing the third?

    Hi, Gail! "Hot wall" is not an official rule. Read FAQ 19-Y and FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When is the discard dead? (When does the window of opportunity close?)

    >From: John K
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: a player discards a tile. The next player picks a tile from the play wall but doesn't look at it yet. Can another player claim the discard? Same scenario, but player picking from wall looks at the tile? Is the discard now dead? What is this "racking" business? We have a player that states that a tile is not dead until someone picks up a new tile, looks at it, and touches it to their rack. In other words, if they haven't racked it, the previous discard is still live and someone can claim it... Does every tile have to be racked? Thank you! I thoroughly enjoy your website and find it very helpful! Kris

    Hi, Kris! Let's see your questions one by one:

    a player discards a tile. The next player picks a tile from the play wall but doesn't look at it yet. Can another player claim the discard?
    Yes. the window of opportunity to claim the discard has not closed yet.

    Same scenario, but player picking from wall looks at the tile? Is the discard now dead?
    No, the window of opportunity to claim the discard is still open.

    What is this "racking" business? We have a player that states that a tile is not dead until someone picks up a new tile, looks at it, and touches it to their rack.
    Well, yes, but... no. See FAQ 19-AD (in the Picking, Racking section of FAQ 19).

    In other words, if they haven't racked it, the previous discard is still live and someone can claim it...
    Yes. Read about the window of opportunity. (It's in the Claiming A Discard, And The Window Of Opportunity section of FAQ 19.

    Does every tile have to be racked?
    No. Read FAQ 19-BL (in the Picking, Racking section of FAQ 19).

    Thank you! I thoroughly enjoy your website and find it very helpful!
    I'm glad! Have you checked out FAQ 19 yet? It has answers to all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategy column ideas, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Monday, June 3, 2019 11:43 AM
    >Subject: Re: Strategy Column ideas
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm not sure this really amounts to a good idea for your Strategy Column, but it occurred to me while I was waiting to go Mahj...and it's whether playing/planning for multiple waits is a viable strategy and not just a matter of luck, and if so does it warrant a Column?
    >As an example, in the hand illustrated, I had a three way multiple wait facilitated by Jokers...a 7 Dot, a Flower or another Joker would all give me a win (and as an aside, I had prepared earlier for the addition to be 5+6 or 5+7, opting for 5+7 when I drew the 2 Bam...so some luck needed, but different avenues would open up depending on tiles drawn - ha ha, is that another Column, planning for hand flexibility!!).
    >Another aside...I was playing Richii earlier; multiple waits is very beneficial in that version of course (and rather easier to attain)! I still remember advice you gave me years ago now, (although at that time it was about MCR), not to be too hasty to call a tile (limits options, tells opponents what you are doing, etc etc) ...I apply that guidance whenever I can and it has really improved my Riichi skills!
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Thanks, Ray. These are some good thoughts. You asked...

    ...whether playing/planning for multiple waits is a viable strategy and not just a matter of luck, and if so does it warrant a Column?
    Yes, it's a viable strategy, and yes, it's worthy column fodder, but a lot more work to come up with all the examples for the columns. As one can tell by scrolling down through the column index at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/colhead.htm, I've gotten progressively lazier since I started writing the columns. :op

    As an example, in the hand illustrated, I had a three way multiple wait facilitated by Jokers...a 7 Dot, a Flower or another Joker would all give me a win (and as an aside, I had prepared earlier for the addition to be 5+6 or 5+7, opting for 5+7 when I drew the 2 Bam...so some luck needed, but different avenues would open up depending on tiles drawn - ha ha, is that another Column, planning for hand flexibility!!).
    Yes, nice hand. You already had all four of your 5Cs, and you had your 12B, so at the time of winning you could win on either 7D or F. The earlier screenshot would make a better column (before you exposed/melded the 5C kong). And yes, hand flexibility frequently comes up in Charleston columns (going in multiple directions is usually necessary in the Charleston), but midstream hand-switching exercises are good for columns. Again, extra work is required in coming up with the examples for discussion. I think I might have written a hand-switching column once.

    Another aside...I was playing Richii earlier; multiple waits is very beneficial in that version of course
    It's beneficial in all variants.

    I still remember advice you gave me years ago now, (although at that time it was about MCR), not to be too hasty to call a tile (limits options, tells opponents what you are doing, etc etc) ...I apply that guidance whenever I can and it has really improved my Riichi skills!
    I teach that to all my students, no matter what type of mah-jongg I'm teaching them. It's basic and essential.

    Your ideas of Multiple-Wait and Hand-Switching (Flexibility), are both good. I'll make sure not to forget these (not saying I'll write them regularly or soon). More importantly, your screenshot gave me an idea how I can improve my Four-Step Strategy, which is actually five steps (jokers are step zero). Re-reading that last sentence, maybe I ought to rename it Five-Step (only people in high-tech fields like using the number zero for numbering things). You have good ideas - keep'em coming (if you have a mind to). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bakelite?

    >From: "krrich
    >Sent: Sunday, June 2, 2019 10:29 PM
    >Subject: Bakelite?
    >Hi Tom. Firstly thx for such an informative site. I have a copy of your book also. I've been playing and collecting mahjong sets for many years. I have a set I got off eBay ten years or so ago. I'd like to know what it's made of. I've seen similar sets advitised as bakelite but I'm no expert so if you have an idea then that's great.
    >Regards Kendall R

    Hi, Kendall!
    Have you read FAQ 7C or FAQ 7C3? Please take a look at my Frequently Asked Questions as your next step. Then you are welcome to come back with a follow-up question. Your tiles are what's usually called "applejuice Bakelite" because of the marbled translucence, but the material may actually be Catalin (a close sibling of Bakelite, as described in the FAQs).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tell me about my two sets

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Sunday, June 2, 2019 10:05 PM
    >Subject: My inherited Mah Jongg sets
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was told you could tell me about my two Mah Jongg sets.
    >One belonged to my mother and the other to my paternal grandma.
    >One has a bettor.
    >A gave one set to my 40 year old daughter and promptly took it back after visiting her and found it outside on her deck in California, rusted and mildewy!
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Fran K
    >Tucson, Arizona
    >fran
    >tucson, az

    Hi, Fran.
    You got it partially right. I can help you, but I don't "tell" people stuff. I answer questions. You didn't ask any questions about your sets. I don't answer questions about multiple sets in one email, however. Depending on what questions you have, you may need to do some homework before I can help you. If you want to ask about a set's age, you need to do the homework outlined in FAQ 7G. If you want to ask about a set's monetary value, you have to do the homework outlined in FAQ 7H. While doing that homework, if you need to know the names of all the bits and pieces, see FAQ 7B and FAQ 7D and FAQ 7E. (Whew! Look how hard I have to work just to tell you how you can make my job easier!) I'm standing by to answer any questions you may have about the first set. But you need to do your homework first. Be advised that I am not an expert on manufacturers.

    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategy column ideas

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Friday, May 31, 2019 9:52 AM
    >Subject: Strategy Column ideas
    >Hi Tom,
    >In a recent Strategy Column, (#721), you asked what else we'd hope to see in a column? Well, with the defense and Charleston (and the card analyses, columns #715 through #718) I guess you have the most popular covered!
    >But I have an idea borrowed from some Riichi analyses I examine, though I appreciate it may be too complex to realistically expect it from you.
    >My suggestion then is to show all four hands at the start of the Charleston and show how each initial decision on what direction a hand may be headed, (and hence what to pass), is subsequently influenced by the tiles received.
    >(Riichi analyses can show show each discard throughout a game, largely from the standard recording template or through the Tenhou software if playing online. I've not seen anything similar for NMJL.)
    >A second suggestion is to invite readers to submit "What should I have passed?"...here, folks could send an actual hand they had with the tiles they passed to see if their thought process and tiles selected were appropriate. I do this myself when playing online, simply taking a screenshot of my hand and tiles passed for later self analysis.
    >To illustrate this, I have attached one such screenshot: I decided to pursue the Consec area of the card though maybe that pair of 2 Dots should have tempted me elsewhere? The 1 Crak, 3 Dot and West are the tiles I passed. (And, perhaps to help with my first suggestion, then received a 2 Crak, 9 Dots and a North).
    >If helpful, I could post a request for Strategy Column ideas on the Facebook That's It group?
    >Best regards, as always,
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray!
    Thanks very much for your ideas. I'll go through them in order:

    I have an idea, though I appreciate it may be too complex to realistically expect it from you. My suggestion then is to show all four hands at the start of the Charleston and show how each initial decision on what direction a hand may be headed, (and hence what to pass), is subsequently influenced by the tiles received.
    Yes, I looked at Japanese analyses and I have done whole-table Charleston columns years ago. Problem is, back then I didn't label columns in the index with much detail, so those columns are hard to find. I went looking for them this morning, but didn't find any of those. I did follow some Charlestons through from one player's point of view in columns 94, 97, 101, 418, and 424. The easiest way to go back more than 10 years in the columns index is to work from http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/colhead.htm.

    (Riichi analyses can show show each discard throughout a game, largely from the standard recording template or through the Tenhou software if playing online. I've not seen anything similar for NMJL.)
    Yes, I have tried adapting the Japanese format for American mahj. I can't find any such columns at the moment. Maybe between 2003 and 2007? But if you're interested in seeing some early NMJL columns in different formats, check columns 99, 104, 110, 142... Or just go way down the index and click any American columns.

    A second suggestion is to invite readers to submit "What should I have passed?"...here, folks could send an actual hand they had with the tiles they passed to see if their thought process and tiles selected were appropriate. I do this myself when playing online, simply taking a screenshot of my hand and tiles passed for later self analysis.
    Good idea. I hereby invite readers to do that.

    To illustrate this, I have attached one such screenshot: I decided to pursue the Consec area of the card though maybe that pair of 2 Dots should have tempted me elsewhere? The 1 Crak, 3 Dot and West are the tiles I passed. (And, perhaps to help with my first suggestion, then received a 2 Crak, 9 Dots and a North).

    You kept twos and nines. Other than the remaining twos, you kept high numbers for high Consec. Looks good for Consec #2 and #3 and #6; you made a smart pass. I would hope a reader would include additional information (like what hand(s) or family(ies) (s)he was targeting.)

    If helpful, I could post a request for Strategy Column ideas on the Facebook That's It group?
    For too many reasons to go into here: please don't.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My game requires me to update

    >From: "pamelam55
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My game requires me to update but will States it cannot at this time,my iOS is 9 , and I can not continue playing until i can update, have tried different ways and nothing?

    Sorry, pamelam55, but I can't help you, since I didn't make your game and I don't work at the company that made your game. Read FAQ 24 to find out how to get help with your game. But seriously, why are you still running iOS 9? iOS 9 is 3 years out of date!* If you've avoiding updating your iOS just so your old game will continue working, it's probably time to get a different game.
    A story that may or may not enlighten: I downloaded Flappy Bird in 2014, and that game required iOS 10, and ever since I upgraded my iOS to 11 (and now 12), Flappy Bird no longer works. I used to have a Japanese mahjong game (English title: "Mahjong Fight Club") and that one no longer works because of iOS updates. But should I have stayed with iOS 10? No. Other apps besides games can stop working if you don't update, and there are security risks too.
    Anyway, good luck finding mah-jongg happiness on your iOS device.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Surely you didn't just mean you have an iPhone 9!


    What's my score if I win by redeeming a joker?

    >From: Wendy S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you pick a tile from the wall which allows you to replace a joker exposed on someone’s else’s rack, is that considered mj on your own? Do you get payed double?
    >Thanks

    Yes, Wendy. Win by joker redemption is regarded as "self-pick." Everybody pays double. See FAQ 19-AN. (Source: the 2009 NMJL newsletter.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie, part 2

    >From: Cyndi P
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:28 AM
    >Subject: Re: Column 723 #2?
    >We all experience moments of Dyslexia!

    (^_^)


    Column oopsie

    >From: Cyndi P
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:39 PM
    >Subject: Column 723 #2?
    >Hi there, Tom. I am fairly new at Mahjong and LOVE your columns! Thank you!
    >For #2, did you mean pass 1D, 4D and 7D (Not 7B… which isn’t included in the hand)?
    >Cyndi

    You are right, Cyndi. Yet again I switched a B for a D. Fixed! P.S., I'm so glad you enjoy my columns!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of our players just picks up a discard without saying anything

    >From: Phyllis B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 10:16 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One of our players never calls for a tile even though reminded to do so. Is there a penalty if you just pick up a tile without saying ANYTHING?
    >Signed frustrated

    Hi, Phyllis!
    The rule on the back of the card says, "To claim a discard, the player must verbalize their call letting the other players know that they are claiming that discard." The back of the card is rather laconic; the official rulebook contains a lot more words. All sorts of rules are in the rulebook that are not on the back of the card (which is why I always recommend to everyone that every table have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy). I'm sorry to say that the rules do not prescribe a penalty for this behavior.
    I can think of some possible things you can try, but most of them are rude and would probably not get her to change her behavior. (^_^) She can't have the discard if she doesn't call for it verbally. If the next player in line is picking from the wall, the picker does not have to put her tile back on the wall unless the caller verbalizes her claim for the tile. Keep pointing her to the rules, I guess. Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #723, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 3:28 AM
    >Subject: column 723
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for the very detailed strategy in your answer. You stated "I've been burned too many times on failed pairs." Yet you often encourage us to try "Singles and Pairs" hands with only 7 tiles toward a hand--which seems a contradiction to your cautionary statement. I am very reluctant to try S&P hands because I don't like the necessary risk taking and I hate to lose! I'm trying hard to overcome this tendency. But I get excited when I get so many jokers and I always try for quints. Here's my reasoning-- which may be flawed--you will rarely win quints without 2 or more jokers (except this year there is Quints #1 requiring only 1 joker). So with 4 jokers your chances are much improved. Also no pairs are needed for quints #4. This is the first Charleston pass so you may get at least 1 tile (and likely more) to improve your odds. I agree that Addition #2 is the safest option and I see the reasoning behind your discards. I just feel risk taking is less risky with 4 jokers! Not much difference between having 3 or 4 tiles so why not go for broke? I learn so much from your column! I look forward to your comments.
    >Thanks Linda

    Good morning, Linda. You wrote:

    Yet you often encourage us to try "Singles and Pairs" hands with only 7 tiles toward a hand--which seems a contradiction to your cautionary statement.
    It's not that I'm contradicting myself - the thing is, there's an exception to every strategic principle, just as there can be exceptions to many rules. I have heard many intermediate players say they never play S&P. I say "never say never." You'll never make an S&P hand if you never try. I only recommend S&P when the tiles point that way over other ways.

    I just feel risk taking is less risky with 4 jokers!
    Sure. But jokers can't be used in pairs, and if you're going for a hand that needs pairs you don't have, you're taking a risk. I teach beginners and intermediate players, and I've seen a lot of joker-filled hands that never made mah-jongg because players were going for hands that needed pairs.

    Not much difference between having 3 or 4 tiles so why not go for broke?
    I think the difference is one tile. You can go broke because of one tile.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 4)

    >From: Susan Davidson
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:47 AM
    >Subject: 
    > Thank you , Tom

    You're welcome, Susan.


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 3)

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Re: Changing an Exposure
    >Tom, Thank you for your follow up email. I fully understand why a player would not be able to use the newly acquired joker to change their exposure from a pung to a knog, kong to quint, etc., so I guess what the league is saying is, in order to eliminate any possibility of an illegal move then no changes can be made after a joker exchange, I still would like to see that written with a NMJL letterhead. I might just write to them myself, just so I have it. Thanks again, Susan

    Hi, Susan!
    With a little help from Ray, I got hold of the whole letter (above) on Facebook. Reading it again, I see that its explanation describes a situation that doesn't really fit with the scenario of the original question (in which the redeemed joker was not used in changing the exposure). While I was on Facebook, I saw some of the comments. Johni Levene was displeased about the change in the rule, while Cheryl Dunne saw validation for the rule by comparing to the rules of Pan (once you change an action to another intention or action, you can't go back to your first action). All I can say is, a ruling in writing is an official rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 2)

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:05 AM
    >Subject: Susan D question regarding changing an exposure
    >Hi Tom,
    >A member of the Facebook That's It group showed the attached ruling from the NMJL recently. It appears to cover similar ground as Susan has raised, and I think contradicts your answer. When the letter was shown on the Facebook group it was considered a rule change (albeit the second paragraph continued to sow confusion!)
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Okay, Ray. I don't know who the letter is addressed to (couldn't locate the post on FB) nor what date the letter was written, and I don't see NMJL letterhead, but I may as well accept it as an official ruling. When people ask me a question that has not been previously and publicly ruled by the League, I can only answer based on what has been shared publicly. This question involves an obscure situation combined with another action, never before ruled in writing.
    The second paragraph clarifies it for me - because one acquires a joker after making the exposure, one cannot use the newly acquired joker to alter the exposure. That goes hand in hand with the rule against calling a discard to make a pung, then redeeming a joker and adding to it to make a kong. That's an established rule (you're required to make a complete exposure at the moment of taking the discard). . The question Susan asked wasn't about that, but was about simply making an unrelated change to the fresh exposure (after making a joker exchange with another player). I suppose doing the joker redemption after making the exposure raises the possibility of an illegal play; a case where the mere appearance of a questionable act is enough to invoke a rule against the move. Anyway, I don't have to fully understand the logic of the rule. The rule is the rule because the League says so, and I'm retracting what I wrote on the 26th.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's up with Tom?

    >From: Chris S
    >Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 6:22 PM
    >Subject: What's up with Tom?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read through your recent Q&As and wondered what you're up to lately.
    >Are you traveling to, or participating in, any tournaments this year?
    >How would we keep up on such things?
    >Chris

    Hi, Chris. You wrote:

    wondered what you're up to lately.
    Well, not a lot. The university semester ended a couple of weeks ago, and I have a break for the next couple of weeks.

    Are you traveling to, or participating in, any tournaments this year?
    No, I haven't been to an international tournament in years. But next Saturday I'm going to participate in a mah-jongg event in Chinatown. (It's a private event, so L.A. area readers shouldn't get all excited or try to show up.)

    How would we keep up on such things?
    You mean, how would you know in advance about tournaments? We used to have mahjongnews.com but not anymore. I assume I will hear about global events now and then. If your email is a sneaky way to get me to promise to share the info about such events, okay. I promise. In fact, last year I made an announcement about an impending international event, and stickied it to the top of this board and the Find Players/Tournaments/Teachers board. Took the note down when the event was cancelled. Did I answer the question, or were you asking if I will write about events I attend? (The answer to the latter is yes, I will.)

    Cheers, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #723

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Holy Cow Tom!!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Regarding column #723 number 4--Wait!! You have 4 jokers and no mention of attempting a quints hand?? A few days ago I was dealt a hand very similar to this but with only 3 jokers. I played Quints #4 and got lucky and won. You have two 1's, two 4's, and two dragons--so 6 possible tiles for that hand. Whenever I'm dealt 3 or more jokers I look at possible quints' hands first.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Interesting, Linda. Yes, I agree that when one has four jokers one should always consider Quints. But above all, I insist one should consider the challenge of improbable pairs. I've been burned too many times on failed pairs. Let's consider your hands and the hand I recommended. You suggested Quints #4, with either ones or fours. For Quints #4 with ones, we have three tiles:

    All the tiles to the right of the jokers are Charleston fodder. Of course one would also hang onto the fours, but there's a problem with making Quints #4 with the fours: we need an opposite dragon, and we don't have one. It looks like four tiles towards this hand, but really only two (two tiles, two ways).

    Now let's consider Quints #3 (a one-suit hand). There are two ways we can go: craks or dots.

    It looks like I have six tiles, but really it's three tiles, two ways. But I need two pairs, and I don't have the pairs. I could go that way if I had nothing better. If I try to hedge my bets and go for all the above options, that leaves me with only one passer for the Charleston. So eliminate Quints #4 with fours.

    But that's still two hands, three ways of going, and only three tiles each. In the column, I mentioned Addition #2, 5+7=12, in three suits. Got four tiles for that:

    If I want to also go for Quints, I can pass 4D 6D 4C.

    I still like Addition #2 as the best choice - three kongs and two singles, and I already have the singles. Easier to make than two quints and a kong, starting with one natural each. But especially, I have four tiles rather than three. Not counting the jokers. They have already done their job (telling me to go for hands that don't need unlikely pairs). For this pass, I'll keep the one and dragons for Any Like #2. (I know, another hand with two pairs - but it's only an idea to help me narrow down the tiles to pass in the first right.)

    So this is what I'd pass, now that you've made me think harder on these tiles! Interesting that I'd pass the same three tiles either way (three of the four "passers" I identified in yesterday's column).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2019 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Changing an Exposure
    >Ok, so I know that you can add or subtract tiles from an exposure before you discard as long as you use the tile that you called. There has been a very lengthy discussion on MahJongg That's it! over the last couple of days, and after quoting directly from sources such as your website, MahJongg Made Easy, and the National MahJongg League 2019 bulletin, most people get it now.. The question that remains is, what if a joker exchange takes place during this turn? Your turn begins when you pick a tile from the wall or call a discard and make an exposure. It ends when you discard. All other actions take place between those two actions, correct? Say I call a 6 bam and expose three 6 bams and a joker to make an exposure of four 6 bams. Another player has some 7 dots exposed with a joker. I exchange a 7 dot for their joker, then realize I only needed three 6 bams. Since I haven't discarded, should I be able to put that joker that was with my 6 bams back in with my other tiles so that my exposure is three 6 bams? Thank you, Susan D

    Hi, Susan! I thought it was funny to get 2 emails in a row about changing exposures. But since you mention the Facebook group, it makes sense. You wrote:

    Your turn begins when you pick a tile from the wall or call a discard and make an exposure. It ends when you discard. All other actions take place between those two actions, correct?
    Yes.

    Since I haven't discarded, should I be able to put that joker that was with my 6 bams back in with my other tiles so that my exposure is three 6 bams?
    Yes. The redemption does not have anything to do with (does not conflict with) the rule on page 14 (see the previous post, below). You haven't discarded yet, so you can change the size of your exposure (in this case from a kong, a legal size, to a pung, also a legal size).*

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Retracted based on Ray Heaton's email of May 28 (above).


    Can a reveal be changed?

    >From: "joe.bayside
    >Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2019 2:29 PM
    >Subject: Reveals
    >Tom,
    >It is a joy to read your columns and FAQs. I have recently had a discussion about Reveals) with reference to the NMJL rules and cards.
    >Another person had originally revealed three 4’s and two Jokers, planning to go for Quints #1 ( 11 222 3333 44444 ) , and then recognized that she was going to switch over to
    >Consecutive Run #2 (111 2222 333 4444 ) several turns later. When her turn arrived, she claimed a 3 (her second natural three) and moved one of the earlier revealed Jokers to that grouping to change that a Pair to a Pung and the earlier Quint to a Kong.
    >My understanding is that once you have revealed a grouping (the Quint of 4’s), it must remain that…At the point of Mah Jongg, I understand that tiles can be re-arranged, but I’m not sure even then, if it would be permissible make a change to an earlier reveal.
    >Could you please clarify that for us?
    >Thanks for all your efforts.
    >Joe M

    Hi, Joe!
    You have the right idea, asking:

    My understanding is that once you have revealed a grouping (the Quint of 4’s), it must remain that…
    It's easy to find the answer to this frequently-asked question in FAQ 19 - the category is "EXPOSURES" (you're using the word "reveals") and the question you're asking is "Can I add to an exposure later?" (FAQ 19-AF), and underneath it you can see two NMJL source citations: the 2009 NMJL newsletter, and page 14 of the official rulebook. The rule on p. 14 says:

      A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded.

    At the point of Mah Jongg, I understand that tiles can be re-arranged, but I’m not sure even then, if it would be permissible make a change to an earlier reveal.
    The NMJL answered this question in print in January's newsletter (see FAQ 19-CN). The right of re-arranging does not imply any right to add to or deduct from an existing exposure. As p. 14 says, an exposure, once made, may never be changed after discarding to end the turn. An exposure is a commitment. Once made, it is done, sealed. No backsies, no changes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is tile counting permissible behavior?

    From: "mscathyo
    Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2019 2:32 PM
    Subject: Cheating in Mah Jongg?
    Tom, a new player just joined our group. She’s an accountant and wins virtually every game. It appears that perhaps she is tile counting, much like the card counters in Vegas. Before any tiles are displayed, she seems to know what tiles each player needs. It doesn’t seem like a fair game. Do we say something, or accept that she’s extremely talented and way above the group’s level, or suggest she join a group more of her equals since we do play for money. This is very awkward and we never had an issue like this before. Thank you.
    GingerLou
    PS: If the player is tile counting, is this permitted?

    Hi, GingerLou!
    You and I see this very differently. You see a "tile counter," possibly a "tile shark" who's engaging in possibly unacceptable behavior. I see a player who pays attention to who passes what in the Charleston, and has an amazing memory. Sounds to me like she's an observant and intelligent player, operating at a high level of skill.
    But if you think she may be cheating, I wrote about how to cheat (that's the only way we can be on guard about cheating) in Column 412 and Column 437.
    She's allowed to use her eyes, her ears, her hands, her voice, and yes, she is allowed to use her brain. If you don't welcome the challenge of learning from her, you are allowed to use your feet. But why not just ask her for some of her secrets?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2019 6:02 AM
    >Subject: Column #722 #6
    >Hi Tom, Just catching up on my reading and noticed your column dated May 19th that I hadn’t read yet. In looking at it, I get to hand number 6 and noticed that while you mentioned Quints #4 as a possibility, you failed to mention that 6D and 6B could also be hot tiles for that hand.
    >Tim A

    Quite right, Tim!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You're the best and appreciated much.

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 24, 2019 12:40 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from michelle p
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from michelle p
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: michelle p
    >Message: I used your site today for a complete mahj lesson with some new students. I also loan out the print RDWW and downloaded the e-version yesterday. One student requested her hubby buy her the kindle version for her b-day (which is today). You're the best and appreciated much.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    I appreciate your words and the donation, Michelle! Thank you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets, part 2

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 7:41 PM
    >Subject: re: Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?
    >Thanks for the response! Just to clarify on the last bit, are you saying it's likely this was actually made by Nintendo? I'm well aware that Nintendo made and still makes mahjong sets, but I've seen them all as very high-end sets marketed only in Japan and they're all distinguished with the shell in the 1 dot tile, which isn't present on this set. Unless they also made some cheaper souvenir sets on the side, I had just assumed that what I'm seeing here is a just a cloned plastic tray mold or something.
    >If Nintendo actually did make these kind of sets, maybe I'll keep it sealed in case it's got some value.

    Okay, I see. The reason for your skepticism is that the set in question is a lower-quality set than you expected to see. Fair enough. Examine the set as a unit - see if the tiles fit perfectly, if all the pieces including the Nintendo-marked pieces look like they were made at the same time as a set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    And a third question about American mah-jongg

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What is a Mush and is it legit? Group did this after Charleston. Never heard or read about it. My email is above.

    Your third email wound up in my Spam folder, but I found it and rescued it!

    What is a Mush
    I presume it's what I described in my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind:" Mish - American game. An unofficial table rule. After the Charleston, players may pool their unwanted tiles, mix them up, and refill the hand from the pool. A fairly pointless exercise.. But maybe it was something else. People make up table rules, or teach a vaguely-remembered table practice, and give them any number of names. But hey, you were there. You did a Mush, so you already know what it is.

    and is it legit? Group did this after Charleston.
    It's a table rule.

    Never heard or read about it.
    I don't know what you have used as your source of mah-jongg rules. Not all authors or teachers include table rules in their writings/teachings. You should have (at the very least) your own copy of the League's official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Go on the NMJL's website to order it, or get it from any of the online mah-jongg vendors (I have some listed in FAQ 4).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Here's another one I found in my Spam folder:


    I donate $1.000.000,00 to you. Contact me via email

    >From: Michael J. Weirsky <>
    >To: Recipients
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:30 AM
    >Subject: Donation
    >My name is Michael J. Weirsky, I'm an unemployed Handy man , winner of $273million Jackpot in March 8, 2019. I donate $1.000.000,00 to you. Contact me via email: nodilarl4@aol.com for info / claim.

    No.


    Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?
    >I've recently been seeing several of a style of Japanese-sized plastic and bamboo sets with the standard Japanese markings but arabic numerals. I'm wondering if you've seen sets like these before, or would know anything about who made them or what they're worth?
    >I imagine it's somewhat generic of a style, because I haven't seen much consistency between various sets. I've seen various case styles, I've seen some with clearer yellowish plastic and some with opaque white, and I've seen some with the typical Japanese black and red ink only and some that use green. I just picked up a new old stock one and the trays say "Nintendo Playing Card Co., LTD" on them, which surely can't be true and leads me to believe this particular set might be some kind of Chinese generic or something. The case does say "made in Japan," but that could also be false.
    >Please see attached pics!

    Hi, Zach! I'm familiar with those sets. I have one or more in my collection. You wrote:

    ...would [you] know anything about who made them ...
    Some are made in Japan, for export to the West. Some may be made in Korea or Taiwan. Japanese sets originally come with paper inserts but those may be discarded by owners along the way from the factory to you. Many do not come with paper inserts, obscuring their origins.

    ... or what they're worth?
    Value depends on condition, uniqueness, playability, beauty... I can't give you a value on the sets in the photos because I don't have enough information from you. See FAQ 7H.

    I just picked up a new old stock one and the trays say "Nintendo Playing Card Co., LTD" on them, which surely can't be true ... The case does say "made in Japan," but that could also be false.
    Nope. Nintendo did make mah-jongg sets. I have one in my collection. I doubt somebody is going to the trouble of trying to counterfeit Nintendo mah-jongg sets.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Two questions about American mah-jongg rules

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can breaking the wall be done with one die instead of the pair of dice? My email is above.
    >Thanks,
    >Rose S

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you “not” call a tile except for Mahjong, when using the last section of broken wall in the game? My email is above.
    >Rose S

    Hi, Rose! You asked two questions:

    Can breaking the wall be done with one die instead of the pair of dice?
    It is certainly possible. Roll the die once, remember the number, then roll again, then use the sum of the two numbers to break the wall. But dice are cheap and easy to buy at any drugstore. Might as well replace that one orphan die with two nice new ones!

    Can you “not” call a tile except for Mahjong, when using the last section of broken wall in the game?
    Not under the real rules. The real rules do not change suddenly when picking gets down to the last short dealer wall. You're talking about the "hot wall" table rule (or maybe your group calls it something else, I can't know). Read FAQ 19-Y to understand the real rules for the last short wall. And read FAQ 14 to understand about table rules.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The site will not let me play, part 2

    >From: Betty G
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thank you Tom, Sorry!


    The site will not let me play

    >From: Betty G
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:41 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have been trying for two days to get into the site and play a game. My username is Germaine and I have a Premium membership and since yesterday it will not let me play. I have been writing in and not getting a response. I would really appreciate your help.
    >Betty

    I'm sorry, Betty, but you have me mistaken for someone who runs a site where people can play games. I do not run such a site. Hope you manage to play that game soon!
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 4:41 PM
    >Subject: Strategy Column #722
    >For question #8, I believe that Consecutive #3 would also be possible; hot tiles: Flowers and 4 Cracks.
    >John

    Quite right, John!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from susan w
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from susan w
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: susan wilson
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Susan!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Daphne S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2019 9:53 PM
    >Subject: Column 722- #2
    >Hi Tom:
    >Re Column 722-#2: Couldn't it also be 369 #1? Hot tiles are 3 Bam; Key tiles are 3Dot and 6 Dot.
    >Love your columns-
    >Daphne

    Very good, Daphne! You are right. I'm so accustomed to the first hand being a one-suit hand that I didn't look.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2019 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Column #721 #6
    >Hi Tom:
    >Today I read last week’s column and noticed typos in the answer to #6. I think you meant the answer to read 4B 2D 4D instead of 4D 2B 4B.
    >Best,
    >Deborah

    Good eye, Deborah! I have swapped Ds for Bs and Bs for Ds before. It's fixed now, and it's seamless! Thanx to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 19, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Some say you do not have to break the wall

    >From: "jaytoni25
    >Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2019 6:39 PM
    >Subject: Breaking the wall in American MahJongg.
    >I play with some that say you do not have to break the wall. When is it ok not to break the wall?

    It's never okay, jaytoni. Many people misunderstand the purpose of rolling dice and breaking the wall. Many think it's to create a "hot wall," and that's wrong. The purpose of rolling dice and breaking the wall is to prevent cheating, as explained in FAQ 19-AP. In column 403 I describe exactly how to cheat when no dice are rolled. You could demonstrate it for your doubting Thomasinas if you want to make it clear that rolling dice to break the wall is one of China's better ideas (right up there with spaghetti and gunpowder).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 19, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Gratitude from a reader

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Rochelle R
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Rochelle R
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Rochelle R
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Rochelle!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I appreciate your free information

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 7:46 PM
    >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 JOSEPH M
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JOSEPH M
    >Message: Tom, I appreciate your free information and give a link to your site to all the people with whom I am sharing this amazing game/obsession.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Joseph!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Placement of discards

    >From: M Sherry D
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:24 PM
    >Subject: Ethical Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Is there a rule as to where on the table you should place the tile you are discarding? We have one player that insists on discarding her tiles next to her rack instead of in the middle like everyone else where all can see.

    Hi, M Sherry!
    I assume we are talking about American mah-jongg. There is no rule about placement of discards; only that they are placed face up. It's common practice to place them in the largest available open space on the table, then whisk them aside when a new wall swings out.
    Your question touches on strategy; it's strategically advantageous to mix one's tiles haphazardly among the others so as to hide one's tracks from one's opponents. The opposite of haphazard discards is orderly discards; that's what they do in Japan and in Chinese Majiang Championship Rules (every player is required to place discards in order before them, so that the opponents can track every move in the game).
    This isn't a matter of ethics per se. But it appears there is an etiquette issue at your table. Your player probably wants a record of her own moves, despite the advantage she is giving the other players. The other players seem to object to her not toeing the line and doing as the Romans do, despite the clues she's handing you all about how she's playing her hand.
    If this is a matter of sight-impaired players, then that makes it a matter of harmony, and the solution is to have a harmonious explanation of the plight of the sight-impaired and discussion and agreement on a table rule. But if it's just vain players not wearing glasses, I say "Put on your glasses. Turn up the lights."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you have to use dots with zeroes?

    >from: margaret f
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: in 2019 where it says 1 or 2 suits must you use dots with the 4 zeros? In the any 2 or 3 suits can the does the 2019 have to be dots?
    >Thanks

    Hi, Margaret! You'll find your answers in FAQ 16. Please always check FAQ 16 with any questions about the 2019 card. And FAQ 19 answers questions about the NMJL rules. After you check the FAQ, if you still have questions, ask away!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 card, Consec #4

    >From: Laurie C
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >My question is about the fourth hand under consecutive runs on the 2019 American card.
    >Would I be able to change the order of consecutive numbers?
    >I had 4 one bams, 4 one dots and pairs of 2,3, 4 cracks.
    >Is that a valid hand or does it have to have the Kongs to be after the pairs?
    >Thank you,
    >Laurie

    Hi, Laurie! You'll find your answer in FAQ 16. Please always check FAQ 16 with any questions about the 2019 card. And FAQ 19 answers questions about the NMJL rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 721

    >From: Pam
    >Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2019 3:08 PM
    >Subject: Column #721
    >I’m a new player so be kind ??. I’m confused about your recommendation for Hand #3, S&P #6...ignore the dragons and keep evens? Why?

    Hi, Pam!
    The reason for keeping all evens is simple: there are a lot of evens in the deal, and simply keeping them all lets you explore the option of making a 2468 hand with whatever other tiles might come in during the Charleston. I don't remember why I mentioned ignoring dragons exactly, but I suppose it's because the 2468 family is not dragon-rich. Since I don't remember what I meant, ignore "ignoring dragons" and just imagine dragons are potentially useful.*
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Ignore "Imagine Dragons," and banish Demons, Warriors! [tic]


    Reverse redeeming of joker, part 2

    >From: Kay
    >Sent: Friday, May 10, 2019 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Thank you

    You're welcome.


    I really appreciate and enjoy your website!

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 10, 2019 7:38 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 Vicki C
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Vicki C
    >Message: I really appreciate and enjoy your website!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Wow, I guess you do! Thank you, Vicki!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Reverse redeeming of joker

    >From: KZ B
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:09 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding FAQ AA reverse redeeming of joker:
    >Is it still not possible even if that’s the only way to achieve Mahjong?
    >We have played International (un-American MJ )and Chinese MJ for many years and are now trying to master the game using NMJL cards.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Kay B

    Hi, Kay!
    First, a correction: FAQ 19-AA is not about reverse redemption (it's about the death challenge). Reverse redemption is FAQ 19-AL. You asked:

    Is it still not possible [to reverse-redeem] even if that’s the only way to achieve Mahjong?
    No. You may not put your unwanted joker into someone's exposed tiles and take just any exposed non-joker thereby. See rule 7 on page 21 of the official rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Snyder's Manual

    >From: BJ C
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 8:40 PM
    >Subject: Snyder's Manual
    >Hello Tom,
    >We are learning Chinese Mah jongg and using/reading Snyder's Ma-Jung Manual (The book was given to one of the ladies along with the MJ set). Would you happen to know what version of Ma-Jung this book is using? I've been reading other books and I've noticed some discrepancies on when to take from the "loose" wall.
    >We just want to learn Classical Chinese and I've found the rules online but would like your opinion on The Snyder's Ma-Jung Manual.
    >Thank you,
    >B.J. C

    Hi, B.J. This is one of many many books on Chinese Classical that were written during the mah-jongg fad of the 1920s. Those discrepancies you found - were you comparing Snyder with other 1920s books? If not, then it's no wonder there are differences. But even among the 1920s books, you will find slight differences.
    After Babcock opened Pandora's box o' mah-jongg tiles with his Little Red Book (which initially simplified the game by omitting flowers and kongs), a lot of authors sought out Chinese players to learn the "true" Chinese rules. As it's always been, mah-jongg rules vary from continent to continent, and from city to city, and from block to block, and from house to house. The Chinese game spread by word of mouth, and it was extremely rare to find actual detailed rules in writing (see FAQ 11-D).
    tl;dr - Snyder's is as good as any other from the time. When you find discrepancies, you get to decide which way you prefer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claim, part 2

    >From: Rochelle R
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 4:23 PM
    >Subject: Re: help request
    >Thank you. I’ll donate again. you can count on it.
    >Rochelle

    That would be very nice, Rochelle. And you're welcome.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who gets the tile? ("Conflicting claim")

    >From: Rochelle R
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 3:57 PM
    >Subject: help request
    >Feel free to post if this isn’t repetitive. i don’t think it’s on the FAQ list.
    >Here’s the situation-
    >Player number 1 discards a tile. Player number 3 calls for it aloud and goes to pick it up.
    >It’s player number 2s turn though, although she hadn’t called for it as quickly. Who trumps?
    >Does player 3 keep the tile or does player 2 ( next in line from the original play) get to keep it?
    >Neither had an immediate mahjongg.
    >Rochelle

    Hi, Rochelle!
    It's not a race to see who can speak first, not even who "goes to pick it up" first. Next in line gets the tile in this situation. See FAQ 19-H.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can a quint hand be pure?

    >From: Marty H
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 2:25 PM
    >Subject: Can a quint hand be pure?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Today I got Quint #1 (on the 2019 National Mah Jongg card) using a single joker. Is that considered a “pure” hand, and am I paid double for it?
    >Thanks.
    >Marty H

    Sorry, Marty. No. If you could earn jokerless bonus* for quints with one joker, the rule would be stated on the card - guaranteed. It isn't, so the answer is no.
    *By the way, the term "pure" is used in different ways in mah-jongg. I avoid the term unless I'm talking about Hong Kong (Old) Style mah-jongg (HKOS). The American term is really "(jokerless) bonus" (on the card, it just says "bonus," but everybody just says "jokerless").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They don't agree with our math, and they use the wrong strategy

    >From: Ellen P F
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Our Mah Jongg group is a harmonious one except when we discuss melding jokers early.
    >Two of us, including myself, agree that melding jokers early only helps other players redeem them. The remaining players argue that they have a 1 in 4 chance of redeeming the jokers themselves. My friend strongly believes that the chances of redeeming one’s own jokers are 1 in 3. We are an experienced Mah Jongg group. My friend and I are frustrated. Occasionally, there are times when these other players still win and when they do redeem their own jokers.
    >The risk of redemption is zero if one waits to expose their joker/jokers when the other players cannot possibly have the tiles to redeem another player's jokers. This makes sense and we cannot understand why the others strongly disagree.
    >I would be interested in your opinion in order to restore harmony. Should we just let this go for the sake of harmony and watch others pick off their jokers while we seethe? (Of course, we quite enjoy redeeming their jokers, too.)
    >Thank you,
    >Ellen

    I fail to see the problem, Ellen. You seem to be saying that everybody should adhere to the same strategy. While everyone needs to adhere to the same rules, strategy is an individual choice. In my opinion, your group should allow its members to play any way they want, without argument, so long as they are abiding by the rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can't find my answer in your thorough but sometimes confusing FAQ 19

    >From: Kathleen H
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 2:19 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Tom
    >I have looked at FAQ 19 (very thorough & sometimes confusing) but can not find my exact question so I am sending it to you.
    >Q - Can a player call for a discard, put it on her exposed rack with her other tiles, change her mind, put the discarded tile back on the table and then draw a tile?
    >Thank you for your time
    >Kathleen H

    Hi, Kathleen!
    I'm sorry for the sometimes confusing answers. I wish I could find and fix every confusing answer.
    Your exact question is answered in the section titled "UNDO, UNDO! I changed my mind, can I take it back? ("CHANGE OF HEART")"
    You want FAQ 19-AM, "Can I change my mind? Can she change her mind? (The "Change of Heart" rules)"
    Even more narrowly, since 4 questions are answered in FAQ 19-AM, you want the second one: A: 2. Calling a discard. (You asked about a player changing her mind about calling a discard.) Please follow that link and read Answer 2.
    If any part of answer 2 is unclear, please tell me so I can unconfuse it. I want to fix every confusing answer, and I want to make every answer reasonably easy to find.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MJ set appraisal, part 2

    >From: Linda S
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 7:49 AM
    >Subject: S████-MJ set appraisal
    >Here are larger photos of the set I sent last night. Perhaps these will help clarify the appraisal value. Thank you.
    >Linda S

    Okay, Linda. Now I can see flaws on the box. The front door of the box is the part that enhanced the value of the set (due to the pearl inlay). There's a big crack in the door where the wood has dried and split. There are missing pearl pieces. I still can't see the tiles very well; there may be discoloring, or perhaps those are shadows I'm seeing across the bottom of all the tiles. Based on this clearer view of the condition of the box, I'm reducing the valuation to $80-$120.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 8, 2019


    MJ set appraisal

    >From: Linda S
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:39 PM
    >Subject: S████-MJ set appraisal 1 of 2 emails
    >Enclosed are details of a Man Jongg set. You may use the information on your web pages. I will attach photos of a second email.
    >Thank you for your service.
    >Linda S
    >1) Factual detailed list on the contents of the set. Rosewood storage box with mother of pearl inlay and a sliding front door with five drawers. Four black wood pushers, 148 tiles and 119 counters. The tiles appear to be bone and bamboo and are in good condition.
    >2) No paper materials
    >3) The tiles appear to be made of bone and bamboo.
    >4) My friend’s father purchased the set about 1962 in Cincinnati Ohio from a Goodwill type of store.
    >5) Dimensions: H 1/2” W 1-3/16” D 1-13/16”. Bone and bamboo split even, about 1/4” 6) How many tiles of each?
    >+One suit each of bams, craks and dots, each with four tiles of numbers 1-9.
    > +Dragons - 4 each - green, red and white
    >+Winds, 4 each - East, South, West and North
    >+Flowers - 8 total – Colorfully decorated.
    >+Blank tiles with remains of stickers - 4
    >+No jokers
    >+Total tiles — 148
    >7) The Mah Jongg set is stored in a weathered rosewood box with mother of pearl on the sliding front door and has five drawers. Each drawer has a metal tab for opening. The corners and handles appear to be bronze and in good condition. The box dimensions are 9-1/2” x 6-1/2” by 6-1/4”
    >7a) There are four black wood pushers that have labels in good to fair condition on the back. The writing includes “Mah-Jongg Sales Company of America Copyrighted 1923 according to Babock’s Rules.”
    >7b) 119 counting stick that appear to be original hand carved bone.
    >A small round storage container for the four painted winds.
    >Unusual – Two 1-1/2’ tiny wood storage pieces for dice with sliding covers.
    >8-12). See photos in second email.

    Hello, Linda.
    Your photos show that your set is a 1920s bone and bamboo set. But your photos are so tiny as to be almost useless for an accurate appraisal. You say the tiles themselves are in just Good condition. If I had reasonable-size photos, I might be able to see that for myself. You didn't note the defects of the tiles or the box. For the purposes of an appraisal, I have to accept your statement that the condition of the tiles is just Good. You said the condition of the box is also just Good, so I am going with that. All the tiles are there but the extra blanks have been stickered and the stickers are worn out, you say. All the bits and pieces are there, with these exceptions:
    - Since the counting sticks are not divisible by 4, there must be some missing.
    - There are TWO (not just one) dice coffins. (I have to wonder why; perhaps someone Frankensteined the set.)
    - A set of racks with scoring tables is also present. (Those were sold separately.)
    These mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes are more valuable than the plain boxes. But the sticker residue and the overall condition reduce the value. Your set is most likely worth between $80 and $150 based on your statement of its condition. The racks are worth $15 or $20.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    "Siamese" mah-jongg

    >From: Anne C
    >Sent: Monday, May 6, 2019 8:44 PM
    >Subject: Question re Siamese Mah Jongg
    >The rules of Siamese Mah Jongg say, "game ceases when 1 player has declared 2 Mah Jonggs or when the tiles from the walls have been used, and the last discard has been made." So does this rule mean that there could be 3 potential Mah Jonggs in one game, with the winner being the person who gets two? For example, I get a Mah Jongg, then my opponent declares a Mah Jongg, and with tiles still left, one of us declares a 2nd Mah Jongg, thereby winning the game.
    >Anne C

    Hi, Anne! You wrote:

    does this rule mean that there could be 3 potential Mah Jonggs in one game, with the winner being the person who gets two?
    Well, if one person makes mah-jongg, the game doesn't end. If a second person makes mah-jongg, the game still doesn't end. The rule you quoted says that, right? The next person who makes mah-jongg ends the game (it has to - now there'd be only one person playing).

    For example, I get a Mah Jongg, then my opponent declares a Mah Jongg, and with tiles still left, one of us declares a 2nd Mah Jongg, thereby winning the game.
    That's one way the game could end. Another way is for your opponent to win two in a row, and you didn't win any. A third way is for you to win two in a row, figuratively smashing your opponent into the ground and then literally laughing maniacally. (Or not.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 6, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Could really use a computer program to play against

    >From: Bob W
    >Sent: Friday, May 3, 2019 5:02 PM
    >Subject: ma jongg
    >Greetings Sloper,
    >I have been trying to play ma Jong with people, but could really use a computer program to play “against” so as to to better understand what is happening.
    >Can you please recommend a site to play Ma Jongg at?
    >W

    Hi, Bob!
    I have a list at http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq05.html
    Have fun and may the tiles be with you. And tomorrow, May the Fourth be with you.

    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?

    >from: franklin c
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 7:31 PM
    >Subject: Is this joker available
    >Player has a joker with two flowers exposed. On their next turn they
    >pick from the wall, exchange a flower for the exposed joker, puts the
    >joker in their rack and then declares mah jong and exposes the rest of
    >their tiles (all in the same turn). However the mah jong is in error
    >and the player is called dead. Should the joker that was with the
    >previously exposed flowers be returned and available for exchange?

    Hi, Franklin! You have asked Frequently Asked Question #19-P, "Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?" The answer is complicated, and it's all explained in that link.
    Did you know about my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and particularly FAQ 19 (American/NMJL rules)? On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or you can ^F search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    American strategy

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:56 PM
    >Subject: Beginning American
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've started playing American at last: after about two weeks of playing NMJL rules, I'm still finding the Charleston a bit odd, but having Jokers is a boon!
    >A couple of questions have occurred to me over the couple of weeks...
    >If you have no flowers at the end of the Charleston, is it worth the risk of pursuing a hand that requires a flower pair? My thinking is it is (if you have sufficient other tiles towards the target hand) as there's a good chance of drawing at least one flower then perhaps going out on a discarded flower.
    >How close to a target hand should you be at the end of the Charleston to have any real chance of achieving it? I suppose rather closer for a closed hand or one that majors in pairs.
    >Thanks in advance for any advice!
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray. Wow, venturing into no-man's land! You are a brave soul. You wrote:

    If you have no flowers at the end of the Charleston, is it worth the risk of pursuing a hand that requires a flower pair? My thinking is it is (if you have sufficient other tiles towards the target hand) as there's a good chance of drawing at least one flower then perhaps going out on a discarded flower.
    All I can tell you is that I've tried that many times. Sometimes it works, but more often I never get that second flower.

    How close to a target hand should you be at the end of the Charleston to have any real chance of achieving it?
    I can't give you a number. This is a strategic principle each player decides for him- or herself.

    I suppose rather closer for a closed hand or one that majors in pairs.
    For a concealed hand, yes. For a pairs hand, you want the majority of your pairs complete - and you want a fallback hand. I'll append this exchange to FAQ 8.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for scans, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:26 PM
    >Subject: Zach and JMJA
    >Hi Tom,
    >Zach may want to know you also refer to JMJA rules in FAQ11...extract follows:
    >1952 [Tokyo and Vermont] MAH JONG FOR BEGINNERS, by Shozo Kanai and Margaret Farrell, based on the rules and regulations of The Mah Jong Association of Japan (JMJA). (Tuttle)
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Okay, so Kanai and Farrell = JMJA rules. I'm embarrassed but I have an excuse that I won't go into. Thank you, Ray!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You have to rack at a tournament, correct?

    >From: Judy M
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 8:42 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:. When playing in a tournament you have to rack before play is stopped correct? I play with a group that don't rack or click the rack or anything. Please advise.

    Hi, Judy! You wrote:

    When playing in a tournament
    Which tournament? Run by whom? All tournament organizers set their own rules.

    you have to rack before play is stopped correct?
    You're asking about shutting out possible calls for the discard? Closing the Window of Opportunity on a discard?

    I play with a group that don't rack or click the rack or anything.
    Or are you asking if a player is required to rack every picked tile? I'm not sure what you're trying to find out. Racking is not a requirement. Windows of Opportunity on discards can close by other means (see FAQ 19-BL).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for scans or something

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:40 AM
    >Subject: A few questions
    >Hey, I'm just wondering if there are any scans or writeup of the JP Babcock red book rules anywhere? I'm curious to see how that version of the game works but I can't find the rules posted anywhere, presumably because it's not actually a version anyone plays anymore. All I can find is sales of the original books as collector's items.
    >Also, do you know anything about JMJA rules? I went back to a Mac OS9 mahjong game from when I was a kid and it says it uses JMJA rules. Google gave me pretty much nothing about it (not even what it's an acronym for), but from playing it it seems like a proto-Riichi with no yaku requirement or furiten, and it uses the old style of base points and doubles for scoring. It has most of the same limit hands though, and you can call riichi.
    >I feel like if there's anyone on the internet who's heard of it, it's probably you.
    >Thanks in advance!

    Hi, Zach. You wrote:

    I'm just wondering if there are any scans or writeup of the JP Babcock red book rules anywhere? I'm curious to see how that version of the game works but I can't find the rules posted anywhere
    Yes. Go to http://sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/ and click the scans folder. There are scans of the little (softcover) book (a later edition, with the pasted-in page on "Seasons and Flowers") and a few pages (the preface) from the later (hardcover) book, which also included the "Laws" put together by numerous authors of the time to try to put an end to the mah-jongg wars that were killing the game's popularity at the time.

    All I can find is sales of the original books as collector's items.
    Having an original copy is a perfectly valid way of getting info on Babcock's rules.

    do you know anything about JMJA rules?
    No.* The rules you describe sound like the pre-Dora "classical" rules described by either Eleanor Noss Whitney or Kanai and Farrell (see FAQ 3).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * I was mistaken. See Ray Heaton email this date above. - Tom


    Any information, part 2

    >From: Deborah O
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:50 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jong Set
    >Thanks for your response Tom, but this is all I know about the set. I will keep looking for answers.

    You're welcome, Deborah. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom

    P.S. If you ask me a question, I'll do my best to answer. All you said was "tell me anything" ("Any information you can give me"), and that is simply asking me to work too hard. I can answer only focused questions. Good luck getting information about your set.


    That darned "new" ruling

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6:50 PM
    >Subject: New League Ruling
    >Tom, It seems as if this new ruling concerning when two players want the same tile has everyone in a tizzy. I don't see it as new. Hasn't it always been that the tile goes to the player who is next in turn unless the player who is not next in turn has started to expose? Next in turn can't be asleep. That is no different than before. People are concerned about racing and slam exposing, but I don't think that was ever the league's intentions. I see this ruling as clarification. I still say that once a player who is not next in turn hears a verbal call from a player who is next in turn, that should be a signal to stop and concede the tile. It seems as if hardly anyone agrees with me on this. What are your thoughts?

    Hi, Susan! You wrote:

    I don't see it as new. Hasn't it always been that the tile goes to the player who is next in turn unless the player who is not next in turn has started to expose? Next in turn can't be asleep. That is no different than before.
    You are right. The problem isn't the rule - it's the new wording.

    People are concerned about racing and slam exposing, but I don't think that was ever the league's intentions.
    Absolutely, it wasn't. But aggressive players often find loopholes and interpret rules in ways that lead to discord.

    I see this ruling as clarification.
    Yes. But something I've learned from writing about mah-jongg rules for over two decades is how easily one's carefully chosen words can be interpreted in opposite ways. Misunderstandings occur. Holes are found and exploited by aggressive players.

    I still say that once a player who is not next in turn hears a verbal call from a player who is next in turn, that should be a signal to stop and concede the tile. It seems as if hardly anyone agrees with me on this.
    I agree with you on this. The rule only says that an exposure overrules a verbal call. I think it would be good if the rule included additional wording to say what you said. And I like the Chinese 3-second rule; a caller has a 3-second window in which to call. Anything that happens during that 3-second window has to be undone so the caller can take the discard.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Any information you can give me

    >From: Deborah O
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Set
    >Hi Tom I inherited this set from my 86 year old mom. Any information you can give me would be appreciated. I have spent several hours on the Internet and could find only scant information on the Cardinal Company and nothing about the tiles. Tiles are 2"wide, 2 1/4" tall and 1/2" deep ; tiles are pale green and "clink" when shuffled, they are medium weight with smooth, rounded corners and no chips ; they feel smooth and nice to hold ; the designs feel engraved; there is "gold leaf" on the Jokers, dragon eyes, season names and flower characters. The set is missing one #3 and one #4 flower. It is in a case with an off white/beige "alligator" cover and a fake velvet lid cover. Thank you very much for your time.


    Hi, Deborah!
    I can give you information, but I need specific questions (as I ranted in FAQ 7p, the "Tell Me Anything" FAQ). I have lots of information about tiles in FAQ 7. You'll need to take more photos. Use the tile arrangement shown in FAQ 7B.
    If you want to know your set's age, see FAQ 7G. If you want to know value, see FAQ 7H. I don't know anything about manufacturers, if that's what you're looking for.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 719 oopsies

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Column#719 #6
    >Hi Tom
    >Love looking at your website, always find great tips and insight. And enjoy trying to figure out the hands.
    >FYI #6 could be quint line#1 also
    >#10 says 2017 #2 opps should be 2019 #3
    >Happy Mah Jongging
    >Christine
    >PS you don't need to post this email, just helping out.

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: Column#719 #9
    >One more just caught my eye, problem #9, could also be odds 13579 #6
    >Thanks again for all you do
    >Christine

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: Column#719 #9
    >Forgive me Mr. Sloper, I was looking at the wrong Column#679, how I got there I have no idea. Sorry to have wasted your time. Have a good evening!

    No worries, Christine. FYI, in Charleston columns, I don't necessarily list every possibility. Just the closest ones (the ones that utilize the most tiles from the dealt hand).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2019


    How are neutral tiles used, part 2

    >From: "silkanddenim
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 12:48 PM
    >Subject: RE: Neutral Tiles
    >I Get it! Thank you. I Googled "suitless tiles in Mahjong," and still got no answers. If not for you, I would have been destined to walk around, scratching my head, saying "What the hell is she talking about!"
    >Thank you very much!

    You're welcome, Harry!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2019


    How are neutral tiles used with any other tile?

    >From: "silkanddenim
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:52 AM
    >Subject: Neutral Tiles
    >Tom,
    >In the "Soap Also Represents a Zero" section of her Book A Beginner's Guide to American Mahjong, Elaine Sandberg notes that Soap is neutral. She also says, "Any neutral tile may be used with any other tile in the set. She goes on to say that Wind and Flowers are neutral. But nowhere in the book can I find how neutral tiles are used with other tiles.
    >In the Glossary she says, "Neutral Tile" A tile that can be used with any other tile regardless of the Suit or Dragon. winds, Flowers, Jokers, and Soap when used as a "0" are neutral tiles.
    >I Googled it and can find no reference to how neutral tiles are used. So how are neutral tiles used with any other tile?
    >Thanks for running a great website, and for taking this question.
    >Harry D

    Hi, Harry.
    I don't use the term "neutral" myself. I use the term "suitless." I'm not surprised Google didn't help you; no question would get the answer if the term "neutral" is in it. Here's a hand with flowers.

      FFF 1111 2222 DDD
    Flowers are suitless. They can go with any suit. You can make this hand with craks, bams, or dots. The flowers do not belong to any suit, so they can be used with any suit. Here's a hand with zeroes.
      222 0000 111 9999
    You can make this hand with craks, bams, or dots. The suitless ("neutral") zeroes can be used with any suit. If this doesn't help, let me know and I'll try again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 719

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:59 AM
    >Subject: RE: Column 719 #3
    >Hi Tom:
    >I give up. How do you count 6 tiles towards Consec #6? I don’t see much at all in the Consecutive Run section. What about 369 #3? There are five tiles (3C, 9C, 9C, G, G) the same number as Odds #4.
    >Looking forward to your answer.
    >Thanks
    >Deborah

    You're right, Deborah. I goofed; I meant to say S&P #6, not Consec #6. And yes, 369 is an option with those tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author 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.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she redeem a joker before she takes a discard?

    >From: Gloria B
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A tile is thrown and the next person first exchanges a tile for a joker and then calls the tile that was thrown using the joker she just received Is this a legal move?

    No, it isn't, Gloria. See FAQ 19-M.
    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
    April 30, 2019


    Gratitude

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, April 29, 2019 9:40 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Amey G
    >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: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Quantity: 1
    >Contributor: Amey G
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Amey!
    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
    April 29, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 31*

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Monday, April 29, 2019 5:56 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Line 3 under consecutive run .... it says any run ... it does not say 2 suites, all one suite, it says any run....I had 2 suites in the run is that allowed?

    FF 1111 2222 3333 -or- FF 1111 2222 3333 (Any Run)

    Hi, Lisa!
    No additional words are needed in the parenthetical. The color-coding says it all. It's one color (one suit) -OR- three colors (three suits). Read the back of the card, right up top.

    It says 1 color is one suit, and 3 colors mean three suits. So, no. Two suits isn't allowed.
    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
    April 29, 2019

    * It's been like a question a day about the new card, to this point. - Tom


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 10:20 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Julia T
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Julia T
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Julia T
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Julia! 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
    April 27, 2019


    Rearranging tiles, part 2

    >From: Sally W
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging MJ declaration tiles after called dead
    >Upon further reflection, I'd say the declarer is indeed dead, simply due to the timing of the "dead" call (and other player's explanation) occurring before the rearranging. If not for the lucky four jokers, player would have been pure-dead. ?? Also, based on the facts presented, it seems the hand was concealed in player's rack until MJ was declared. Maybe you need not reply to me after all, and if so, sorry for the bother. Have a great weekend!

    Hi, Sally.
    Your new email was sent one minute after I wrote you to tell you that I had posted a reply -- it may be that our emails crossed (and you hadn't seen what I posted a few minutes ago). Your opinion in your new email differs from mine. Perhaps you should snailmail your question to the League to get the 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 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
    April 26, 2019

    P.S. April 27. In the 2019 newsletter, the League says unequivocally, "You are allowed to rearrange your exposed 14 tiles in order to display a correct Mah Jongg." That means the death challenge was invalidated. - Tom


    Rearranging tiles subsequent to mahj declaration and exposure

    >From: Sally W
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Rearranging MJ declaration tiles after called dead
    >Hi Tom.
    >Question about one of your Q&A's pasted below, and thanks for the easy to find reference to the NMJL Jan 2019 newsletter Q&A (2nd ques):

      >CN Q: I declared mah-jongg, exposing the whole hand at once without having made any prior exposures. But I arranged the tiles incorrectly when exposing the hand. Can I rearrange them and collect my winnings, or did I screw it up?
      >A: You may rearrange your tiles and collect your winnings.
      >Source:
      >NMJL - 2019 newsletter
    >What's your opinion/rule if another player calls the hand "dead" BEFORE the MJ declarer realizes it's last year's hand?
    >The question was asked today in the MJTI FB Group. The specific situation was MJ declarer showed the arrangement for 2018 Consec #3 using four jokers, was called dead, and then rearranged to match 2019 Consec #5. Was declarer dead due to the timing?
    >Thanks!
    >Sally

    Hi, Sally! You wrote:

    What's your opinion/rule if another player calls the hand "dead" BEFORE the MJ declarer realizes it's last year's hand?
    I think it happens more often than not that the death challenge is a surprise to the challenged party. I mean, that's the way it usually happens. If the challenged player knew her hand was dead, she wouldn't have exposed it. But maybe this general/broad question, and my general/broad answer, don't really address the specific situation...?

    The specific situation was MJ declarer showed the arrangement for 2018 Consec #3 using four jokers, was called dead, and then rearranged to match 2019 Consec #5. Was declarer dead due to the timing?
    Sounds to me like the mahj declarer made herself UN-dead by rearranging her tiles. If she did that within a reasonable time, then I'd pay her for winning. The death challenge happened while everybody was examining the declared mahj hand (not while play was in progress) so I wouldn't penalize the challenger in this case.
    Note: as I write this, I don't have the 2018 card or the 2019 newsletter with me.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 26, 2019


    What is the reasoning behind this rule?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 12:39 PM
    >Subject: drawing from the wall before joker exchange
    >Hi Tom,
    >Some of my friends have recently asked me this question: What is the reasoning behind first drawing from the wall before redeeming another player's exposed joker? Is the answer that having 14 tiles in your hand signifies that your turn has begun? I searched your site (19-M) but did not find this particular question addressed.
    >Thanks very much,
    > Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    Yes, it has to be on your turn, after you've acquired your 14th tile. I cannot justify the reason behind NMJL rules. On page 21, rule 4, it says simply "Player must pick or call first before doing the Joker exchange."


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    Every table should have a copy!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 26, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 30

    >from: richard and sheila h
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 9:14 AM
    >Subject: hello
    >hi Tom
    >I returned to college in 2016 and had to give up Mah Jongg in order to make it all work..
    >I'm now re-learning to play, and getting together in early May for my first game in 3 years.
    >I came to your site, looking for good info, and read all about the 2019 card. Thanks! I found a few typ0-errors ;-) if you're interested. I guessed that someone has already told you, and you haven't had time to update yet. Not important .
    >But more importantly, I am looking for that go-to hand that you have identified in years past, as the "easiest" one (I think I remember that right....) a consecutive hand...is it the Consec #2?
    >Thanks Tom....
    >sh

    >from: richard and sheila h
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 10:17 AM
    >Subject: nvm, Tom!
    >hi Tom
    >I found your 2019 links under Strategy
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Sheila!
    1. I assume you found columns 715-718.
    2. Yes, Consec #2 is the hand I call "the most powerful hand on the card,"
    3. If you found some typos and/or errors I should correct, I wish you would tell me what they are so I can fix them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 26, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 29

    >From: J. P. C
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 11:23 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2019 first hand (FFFF 2019 111 999) states pungs 1 and 9 only. Does that mean you can create a three suit hand of FFFF 2019 999 999 or FFFF 2019 111 111 in addition to the stated hand?
    >Judy

    Hi, Judy. It says pungs 1 AND 9, not pungs 1 OR 9. The League clearly intends the hand to be made with a pung of ones and a pung of nines, in the two suits not used in the 2019.
    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
    April 25, 2019


    Hoping you could help in giving me an approximate valuation

    >From: kevin k
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:22 AM
    >Subject: 1940's Mah-jonng set
    >Good morning Tom,
    >I have just cleared out my late fathers attic and came across a Mah-jonng set so I browsed the internet and came across your site and I was hoping you could help in giving me an approximate valuation.
    >I believe the set was purchased by my father around 1946/47 when he was doing his British army national service in the Royal army medical corp on a hospital ship called the El Nil. Whilst he was aboard he traveled to Hong Kong and Shanghai and from one of these locations he purchased the Mah-jonng set.
    >The set is made of Bakelite and has 148 tiles, the 136 basic tile set is complete and there are 8 flower tiles and 4 blank tiles.
    >The tiles measure 2.2cmx 2.8cmx 1.2cm. The set has hardly been used and the tiles are in excellent condition.
    >Included in the set are 60 sticks, 6 small dice, 5 large dice, 1 rotatable wind disk and the game instructions printed by Man Shing printing press.
    >The case is the original made of card thinly covered in leather. The case is in good condition apart from the rear hinge which is split along its length.
    >I hope you can help me.
    >Kind regards
    >Kevin K

    Hi, Kevin.
    The tiles are not Bakelite. Bakelite (actually, Catalin) tiles are shiny, with rounder edges. Your tiles are the non-shiny yellow material commonly called by collectors "Chinese Bakelite" - I am not sure what the plastic is made of.
    I see that your set includes a set of five Poker Dice. That makes me wonder. I've seen many sets with Poker Dice included. (Including sets I've bought; that's why I have so many Poker Dice in my games collection.) I've always assumed the owners put them in there, but now I wonder if some manufacturers may have included Poker Dice in the package.
    It's a fairly common sort of set, in a cheap and broken cardboard box. It can't be used for American mah-jongg (not enough tiles). I'm guessing its worth at around $40.
    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
    April 25, 2019


    Is that true?

    >From: "ljd723
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:36 AM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >I heard recently that the NML changed a long standing rule.
    >The old rule stated that when you call for a tile, you must put it ON your rack for your exposure, not IN your rack first then put it on
    >top of your rack.
    >Now I hear that it's OK to put the tile IN your rack first, then put up your exposure.
    >Is that true? (I play with 2 women who constantly put the tile IN their rack first and it makes me crazy!)
    >Louise

    Yes, Louise. It's not a punishable offense to briefly bring the taken discard into the hand while gathering the rest of the tiles to expose. On page 14 of the official rulebook, it says that it's "preferable" to put the taken discard atop the rack before moving the rest of the exposure to the top.

    I'm with you - I teach my students to do it the preferred way. 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
    April 25, 2019


    Please explain to me what that means, "cannot be exposed until the hand is complete"

    >From: emsgram
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:44 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg
    >first let me say thank you for all you do for the education and training of mah jongg. dont know how you have the patience. that being said, i just rec'd your book. in review im looking at page 76 NEWS 2007 ......top of page
    >"Therefore, the player is not permitted to use jokers for any of these files, and the player cannot expose NEWS before the hand is complete." Further down....
    >"Because 2007 is made of two singles and pair of White Dragons, jokers may not be used in 2007. And 2007 cannot be exposed until the hand is complete."
    >can you please explain to me what that means cannot be exposed until the hand is complete
    >i cant put them down until the flowers or dragons are put down. dont understand that.
    >thank you.

    Hi, emsgram!
    When you are working on a hand that's marked X (not C), you are allowed to claim discards to form exposed groupings (pungs, kongs, quints).
    Let's say you are holding three sevens that you want to make into a kong, and somebody discards a matching seven.

    You are permitted to call for the discarded seven and expose the completed kong atop your rack.
    In the above image, you have taken the discard and exposed a kong of sevens. You are permitted to expose a pung, kong, quint, or sextet when the hand is marked with a red X .

    But if you are holding a single, and somebody discards a matching tile, and your hand is not yet ready for mah-jongg, then you are not permitted to call for the discard to make a pair. For example, in the image below, you are working on Consec #1, and you need a pair of fives. You are holding a five, and somebody discards a five.

    You may not take the discarded five. When taking a discard, you are required to expose the grouping completed by the discard. The grouping can only be a pung, kong, quint, or sextet. Not a pair.

    But see below - the hand is almost complete. It just needs a 5D. If someone discards it, you may claim it.

    You call "mahj" and you expose the entire hand (below).
    In the above example, you see how PAIRS may not be exposed until the hand is complete. It's exactly the same with 2019 or NEWS. Each grouping is four single tiles. You may not call a discard to complete a 2019 or a NEWS unless that discard completes your mah-jongg hand. In the below, you can NOT call a 9C because you may never call for a single tile except for mah-jongg.
    With the N in the mix, your 2019 #1 hand is not ready for mah-jongg. You may not call a discard to complete the 2019 by itself, because it is not a kong. A kong is four identical tiles. No two tiles in 2019 are identical; it's four singles, bunched together because they look nice bunched together.

    In the below image, you MAY call a discarded 9C, because 9C would complete your hand and give you mah-jongg.

    I hope this clarifies the matter? 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
    April 24, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 28

    >From: Birch Hill Farm W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2019 card
    >Under consecutive run
    >5th one down FF 1111 2222 DDD
    >Do the numbers have to be 1 and 2 or can they be any 2 consecutive numbers
    >Thank you
    >And good night

    Hi, Birch Hill Farm!
    This frequently asked question is answered in FAQ 16.
    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
    April 23, 2019


    Two players wanted the discard for mah-jongg

    >From: TB C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Two players called for a discarded green dragon for Mah Jongg. The first player in the rotation took the tile, exposed her hand, and found that it was incorrect and was declared dead. The next player took the green dragon and declared Mah Jongg. Her rationalization was that she needed the green dragon and since the other player used it incorrectly, she could take it. I indicated that the only tiles you can take before a hand is declared dead are jokers. She disagreed with me and suggested I email you for advice.
    >Thanks in advance.
    >TB

    Hi, TB! You wrote:

    The next player took the green dragon and declared Mah Jongg. Her rationalization was that she needed the green dragon and since the other player used it incorrectly, she could take it.
    Her explanation (as you have related it to me) does not make sense. The proper explanation is "since both claims were for mah-jongg, the second claimant is permitted to take the tile after the first claimant went dead, per rule 5 on page 16 of the official rulebook."


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    I indicated that the only tiles you can take before a hand is declared dead are jokers.
    Sorry, I don't understand any of this argument nor its applicability to the situation under discussion.

    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
    April 23, 2019


    DO you know who sells vintage mahjongg sets in L.A.?

    >LinkedIn.com/messaging/
    >Susan C
    >12:56 PM
    >Tom,
    >DO you know who sells vintage mahjongg sets and tiles in los angeles?
    >Hope you're well.
    >Susan

    Yes. Johni Levene. Join her Facebook group, Mah Jongg Collectors Association. Best way to get in touch with her.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 22, 2019


    Two players had the wrong number of tiles

    >From: Barbara D
    >Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2019 3:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >After playing a few rounds, two players realized they had an incorrect number of tiles in their hands (1 had 12 the other had 14). I stated that the two remaining players, whose hands were not dead, should continue with the game, which we did. However, I was told we should have just cancelled that game and begin anew. Who was right?

    You were, Barbara. Rule 10 on page 18 of the official rulebook.


    You don't throw in the game unless three players went dead.
    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
    April 20, 2019


    The 2019 card and slam-exposing (part 2)

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2019 12:55 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Kathleen S
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Kathleen S
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Kathleen S
    >Message: Thanks for your help, Tom Kate
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    You're welcome, Kate. Thank 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
    April 20, 2019


    The 2019 card (part 27) and slam-exposing (part #?)

    >From: Kate S
    >Sent: Friday, April 19, 2019 1:26 PM
    >Subject: 2019 card questions
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have two questions on the new card.
    >1. In the 2019 hands, the second hand with two suits. Since soaps are suitless when used as zeroes, I should be able to build this hand with a pung of 2s in any suit; a kong of soaps, and a pung and kong of 1s and 9s, respectively in the same suit, but different than the 2s. Do I understand that correctly?
    >2. When I go to the updates page on the NMJL site, where they update the card issue on the FFF 1111 2222 DDD hand, they also seem to be making a change in who gets a tile if two individuals call for it. Do I understand correctly that if I and another player both call for a tile, neither for Mahj, it is the player that begins to expose first that gets the tile as opposed to who is next in turn after the discarder?
    >Thanks so much!
    >Kate S B

    Hi, Kate! You asked:

    I should be able to build this hand with a pung of 2s in any suit; a kong of soaps, and a pung and kong of 1s and 9s, respectively in the same suit, but different than the 2s. Do I understand that correctly?
    Yes.

    Do I understand correctly that if I and another player both call for a tile, neither for Mahj, it is the player that begins to expose first that gets the tile as opposed to who is next in turn after the discarder?
    Not exactly. First in turn gets the tile, UNLESS another claimant exposes first.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 19, 2019


    The bettor is "pie"

    >from: franklin c
    >Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 3:43 PM
    >Subject: Money split when player is pie
    >Better bet on winning player, but one of the losing players can only
    >make partial payment due to becoming pie. How should the available
    >money be split between the winning player and the better?

    Hi, Franklin.
    Don't you think it's fair if the winner is paid first, before the bettor? If your group doesn't think that's fair, then split it 50/50.
    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
    April 18, 2019


    How do I get listed as a teacher?

    >From: Megan Mc
    >Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:43 AM
    >Subject: Teaching
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I do not see, on your site, where I may register as an American Mah Jongg teacher for the area of Santa Monica, California. Would you help me with this please. I would really appreciate it as I am loving teaching and I am getting great results.
    >Very kindly,
    >Megan Mc

    You found it, Megan. Your announcement (your second email) is now on the Find Players/Teachers board, and the teachers list in FAQ 4A.
    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
    April 18, 2019


    Is "12" a pair? Can I use a joker? Can I take a discard?

    >From: Susan H
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In addition hands are 12 considered a pair. If not can I use a joker or pick up from the discard pile ?
    >10smom247

    Hi, Susan!
    If I give you an apple and an orange, I have not given you a pair (and I haven't given you a pear, either*). A "pair" is two identical tiles. "12" is two singles. Read the back of the card, and look for the word "NEVER" halfway down the left pane.


    You can take a discard for a single or a pair only if it completes your mah-jongg hand.
    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
    April 17, 2019

    *Sorry. It had to be said.


    A riichi link for FAQ 5

    >From: Lloyd W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:04 PM
    >Subject: Riichi
    >I don't think you have any links to a site that has two great software Riichi games and links to sites in Japan. http://www.yuyukukan.com/ has two games that play better than the folks at tenhou. It.s very good practice. The links show a burgeoning MJ scene in Japan.
    >Lloyd W
    >Oil City, PA

    Lloyd, I looked at YuYuKukan but all it has is links to Web-Jong and Jan-Revo. It made no sense to post a link to yuyukukan, so I posted links to Web-Jong and Jan-Revo instead. As for the majan scene in Japan, it's been very lively since the nineties - doesn't fit my definition of "burgeoning," unless I'm missing something. But thanks for the links.

    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
    April 16, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 26

    >From: Barbara P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 10:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2018 card for the tiles that read
    >22 000 NEWS 111 88 (any one suit) - everything is shown in red except NEWS. Is the only tile that will satisfy the 000 the white dragon. Because it said “any one suit” I assumed that the 000 could be red dragons or green dragons as long as all of the numbers were in the same suit.
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Barbara! You wrote:

    Is the only tile that will satisfy the 000 the white dragon.
    That's what it says at the top of the card. That's the way it is.

    Because it said “any one suit” I assumed that the 000 could be red dragons or green dragons as long as all of the numbers were in the same suit.
    Read the top of the card. "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO "0". IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)" The wording of the universal rule trumps the color-coding of that one hand. I don't know why the League chose to show it in red and blue, violating one of their own color-coding rules on the back of the card.

    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
    April 16, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 25

    >From: Lee C L
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:12 AM
    >Subject: Singles and Pairs? 2019
    >Tom
    >Under Singles and Pairs category-4th hand down. 11 22 33 44 55 66 77 (any run of 7 nos.) Can these be in different suits? It does not specify, and would be confusing if there were different colors shown.
    >Thanks so much for all your help!
    >Lee

    Hi, Lee! You wrote:

    Can these be in different suits? It does not specify
    Au contraire, the card does specify. Read the back: "1 color - any 1 suit." It's a one-suit hand.

    and would be confusing if there were different colors shown.
    I don't follow; I think the color-coding is not difficult to understand. Read the back.

    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
    April 16, 2019


    I want to reverse-redeem a joker

    >From: Contessa
    >Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 1:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am playing a hand from the single and pairs section. I draw a joker. An opponent has an exposure of 6 cracks showing. My I take one of the 6 cracks and replace it with my joker?

    Sorry, Contessa. Reverse-redeeming is against the rules. See FAQ 19-AL.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 15, 2019


    Column #717

    >From: seymour p
    >Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 1:06 PM
    >Subject: 5 pairs
    >No doubt intentional, but try S&P #3 for 4 5-pairs!
    >Thanks for your insights!
    >Regard, Seymour

    Good, Seymour, but Lynn M beat you to it yesterday. Thanks for reading!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 15, 2019


    Thank you

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 6:36 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lourdes G
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lourdes G
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lourdes G
    >Message: Thank you for your response.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Lourdes! - Tom


    Column #717

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:25 PM
    >Subject: Column #717
    >Hi Tom--
    >You asked if there are more hands that require pairs of 5s, and yes, there are more.
    >Odds #4 (2nd half), and S&P #3 (first half *and* second half,!, which requires 3 pairs of 5s!).
    >Great column!
    >Lynn M.

    Hi, Lynn! You wrote:

    yes, there are more [hands that require pairs of 5s]. Odds #4 (2nd half), and S&P #3 (first half *and* second half,!, which requires 3 pairs of 5s!).
    Nice! I'll add that to the column.

    Great column!
    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
    April 14, 2019


    To bet or not to bet, that is the kerfuffle

    >From: bklynirene
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:21 PM
    >Subject: A Better Betting Situation
    >Dear Tom:
    > Within my ten player Mah Jongg group, there are a few players
    >who prefer not to bet when they are out. There have been several
    >whispered discussions among those who do bet that this peculiar
    >situation needs to be addressed. We do our best to
    >honor the official Mah Jongg rules and always refer to the league's
    >handbook or your book whenever anything is in doubt.
    >This betting/no betting has caused a bit of a kerfuffle in our
    >usually cohesive and happy Mah Jongg -loving group.
    > Kindly provide any thoughts and suggestions to smooth
    >over this situation.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene!
    I don't know what all the fuss is about. Players resent missing the chance to get an extra 25¢ if they win? Betting is an optional procedure, in my opinion. If I understood why people are getting all upset over this, maybe I could offer a suggestion.
    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
    April 14, 2019

    P.S. Apologies for the language in the original reply.


    Consecutive Run, can't see the post on the bulletin board

    >From: Bruce
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 7:03 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for the [emailed] response but I reloaded the message many times and tried another device, and do not see your answer. Is there anyway you can respond back? We are playing later today and this was a bone of contention last week.
    >thank you
    >Bruce

    Okay, here you go. You asked:

    Can a consecutive run be all craks
    Yes, IF it's shown in just one color. See the back of the card. "1 color-any 1 suit." Three of the 2019 Consecutive Run hands may be made in all craks.

    made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    If there was a parenthetical saying "any 5 consec. nos." - but of the seven Consecutive Run hands on the 2019 card, only one of them uses five consecutive numbers, and that one has a parenthetical that says "These Nos. Only."

    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
    April 14, 2019


    Consecutive Run

    >From: Bruce
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 5:22 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can a consecutive run be all craks made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    >Thank you
    >Bruce M

    Good morning, Bruce. You asked:

    Can a consecutive run be all craks
    Yes, IF it's shown in just one color. See the back of the card. "1 color-any 1 suit." Three of the 2019 Consecutive Run hands may be made in all craks.

    made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    If there was a parenthetical saying "any 5 consec. nos." - but of the seven Consecutive Run hands on the 2019 card, only one of them uses five consecutive numbers, and that one has a parenthetical that says "These Nos. Only."

    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
    April 14, 2019


    A bit of fun with pie

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:10 PM
    >Subject: What is "pie" continued
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read somewhere that the generic term for tiles is "pai". My thought is
    >the term was co-opted to mean the purse in the American game.
    >Also the artwork title. If the "birdie" is the One Bam than the little
    >girl with the green sticks must be planting Nine bamboo plants (maybe)
    >so the title would be just "13 Orphans". Just a thought.
    >Remember to always trust your cape!

    Hi, Pete!
    Yes, as I show in FAQ 6 (the "Mah-Jongg Rosetta Stone"), the word pai () is the word for "tile" or "card" in Japanese and Chinese. I suppose it's possible there's a connection with the American term for "purse limit" (Susan G, April 10, below) but I can't come up with a connection mechanism.
    As for Lynn P's friend's picture (April 10, below), I agree that the title probably is just "Thirteen Orphans" - I guess I got a bit too hung up on the scene in the middle. The girl is holding the Chinese character "fa" (, Green Dragon). I wondered if she was picking it up, planting it, or offering it to the bird. I keep forgetting you're not supposed to overthink art, just appreciate it. Hope I didn't say the wrong thing before.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    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
    April 14, 2019


    Goodbye, 2018

    >From: Michele C
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was inspired by your Year of the Pig Lunar New Year hand. So, with the arrival of the new 2019 Mah Jongg card, I decided to create a special hand commemorating the 2018 card going away. I live in the Tucson area so I thought you might enjoy this since I believe you live in the West, also. Let me know what you think!
    >Cheers,
    >Michele C
    >Marana, AZ
    >FFF WWWW 2 0 1 8 DDD (Craks & Dots only for 2018) Wildflowers are blooming as the West winds blow 2018 away, Good-bye.
    >We currently are having a bumper crop of wildflowers here in the West and the spring winds are picking up. Craks and Dots for 2018 signify the reddish dirt of the desert along with the white snow that we had this winter. The Green dragons signify the green plants after the winter rains and snow along with the G for Good-bye.

    Very nice, Michele! I live west of the West, actually. We don't see that many cowboy hats in L.A.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
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    April 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 24

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 6:13 PM
    >Subject: 2019 card
    >Hi Tom,
    >Margaret T ( in her 4/11 email) was very perceptive when she observed the frequency of "5's" occurring in the 2019 card. Since "5's" are so valuable this year, I'm thinking maybe I should avoid passing them in the Charleston except when absolutely necessary. (Like I avoid passing flowers.) I look forward to your comments!
    >Thanks, Linda

    Yes, one of the most interesting aspects of her observation is that fives become problematic for Consec hands in general, since five is the middle number.
    May the tiles be with you, Linda!
    Tom Sloper
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    April 11, 2019


    Now I wonder, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:05 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Patricia P
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
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    >Message: Thank you for what you do and for being there!
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
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    Thank you very much, Patricia!
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
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    April 11, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 23

    >From: Margaret T
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:01 AM
    >Subject: 2019 NMJL Card
    >Hi. I always look forward to your comments about the new NMJL card every April.
    >I've noticed something in this year's card that may be unusual; you'd be the best judge of that.
    >One or more kongs of 5 could (or must) be part of 24 different hands:
    >Any Like Numbers hands #1 and #2 (the only concealed hand with a kong of 5);
    >Addition hands #1, #2 and #3 (both versions);
    >Quints hand #1 and (with a joker) Quints hands #2, #3 and #4;
    >Consecutive Run hands #2, #3 (both variations), #4 and #5;
    >both versions of Odd hands #1 and #3, first Odd hand #2, and Odd hands #5 and #6.
    >Of these 24 hands, at least one kong of 5 must be included in 11 hands.
    >Then, tack onto all that the fact that if any player exposes a kong of 5 with no jokers or only one joker, neither of the two variations of Consecutive Run hand #1 can be made in that suit -- and possibly one or both of the others, if that player is shooting for Any Like Numbers hand #1, or Odd hand #5 or #6.
    >Maybe something similar to this situation happens every year, and I've just never noticed. But 24 hands!?! That seems excessive, resulting in a lot of frustration -- except for the player who acquires 5s in the Charleston. There's always speculation around our table about whether the cards are computer-designed and/or computer-tested. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this, after only a brief exposure to the card, so I'm inclined to think this was intentional. It could be fun! I'd like to know your reaction.
    >Thanks for your great site. It's helped us a lot.
    >Please don't show my full name, if this is posted.

    Hi, Margaret!
    I gather that the point is that fives are in high demand on this card. Yes, I did notice that, and am planning on mentioning it in the next column. To reply to selections from your email:

    One or more kongs of 5 could (or must) be part of 24 different hands:
    I find it so much simpler to simply focus on where fives "must" be used. But yes, food for thought!

    Maybe something similar to this situation happens every year, and I've just never noticed.
    Not really. It's usually more balanced.

    That seems excessive, resulting in a lot of frustration
    My advice is to avoid Addition and Odds unless you have the fives. And to avoid Consec #1 unless you have the pairs (expecially the fives) this year.

    There's always speculation around our table about whether the cards are computer-designed and/or computer-tested.
    I sincerely doubt that computers are used in the design and testing of the NMJL card. I'd be very surprised if computers were used the way your group thinks.

    I'm inclined to think this was intentional.
    Interesting.

    It could be fun!
    Huh!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
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    April 11, 2019


    if you pick up a tile for “2019”

    >From: Pam R
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:17 AM
    >Subject: Re: 3 person play
    >Question: if you pick up a tile for “2019”, do you reveal immediately?
    >Pam.

    Hi, Pam! When you say "pick up" you might mean "calling a discard" or you might mean "pick from the wall." I'm not positive that you mean the former. The only time you can expose a "2019" is when you declare mah-jongg. And the only time you can call a discard for a 2019 is when it completes your mah-jongg hand. Read FAQ 19-E2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 11, 2019


    Now I wonder if I was wrong.

    >From: Patricia P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 6:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We play Classical Chinese. A player called chow, took the discard and laid out her set. Then another (fairly new) player said, “I was going to pong that”. I told her she had to be quicker, and that the set had already been displayed. Now I wonder if I was wrong. To me, saying you were going to is not the same as saying pong, which we know overrides a chow.
    >Thank you for your response.

    You weren't wrong, Patricia. There IS such a thing as "too late."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 11, 2019


    What is "pie"?

    >From: Susan G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: do you know the origin of Pie. And exactly what it stands for?

    Hi, Susan!
    Everything I know about "pie" is in FAQ 19-W2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 10, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 22

    >From: tz1920
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 11:46 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2019 card in consecutive run is fff 1111 2222 ddd only 1’s and 2’s. And on The last consecutive run hand does the pair always ave to be the middle number
    >Trisha Z

    Hi, Trisha!
    As I wrote in the box above: No. Consec #5 may be made with "Any 2 Consec. Nos." See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page  (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html).
    Yes. As I told Lourdes G (April 1), Marion B (March 31), and Jeanne R (March 30, below): yes. The pair in Consec #7 has to be the middle number.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
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    April 10, 2019


    A bit of fun

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:53 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong Greetings from Bishop
    >Hi Tom,
    >One of our Mahjong players had a bit of fun doing this little sketch. We thought you may get a kick out of it. Guess the real title?
    >Lynn Peterson


    Hi, Lynn!
    I guess you mean the title of the art. Let me guess: "Thirteen orphans and a bird planting a tree of Fortune." Or "Thirteen orphans presenting Fortune to a bird." (If anybody doesn't know what I'm on about, just Google "thirteen orphans.") Am I close? Thanks for sharing!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 10, 2019


    Can a player call a pause so she can figure out what other players are doing?

    >From: Robin G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:13 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can a player stop the game to see what hand another player has after an exposure?

    No.
    Robin, every player owes it to the other players to try her best to keep the game flowing at a reasonable pace.
    A player can think about her own hand and her opponents' exposures while the other players are taking their turns. It's bad enough when a player's inability to reconcile her own tiles with the card causes a slowdown in the game; it's worse when she slows down the game so she can try to figure out what another player is doing. We all have to try to do our calculations in the interstices of play, as best we can.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 21

    >From: ████ W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Dragon Pung Hands
    >You say that there are six Dragon Pung Hands on the 2019 card. I can only find Five. Will you please list them? Thanks.
    >Don’t list my full name, Just, watsonr. Thanks.

    Hi, watsonr! I imagine the one you didn't consider is 2019 #4. It requires a pung of white dragon (so is not shown as DDD but rather 000).
    1. 2019 #4
    2. Any Like #2
    3. Consec #5
    4. W-D #6
    5. 369 #3
    6. 369 #6
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    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
    April 8, 2019


    Do I really have to pay for the table if I throw to 3 exposures?

    >From: Peri K
    >Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 4:53 PM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Is it a NMJL rule or table rule that you must pay for the table if you throw the winning tile to a player that has 3 exposures and there is only one possible hand
    >Peri K

    Hi, Peri! Please read FAQ 19-Y. If paying for the table was an official rule, it would be on the back of the NMJL card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
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    April 8, 2019


    Saying "same" when discarding a joker, part 2

    >From: Nancy M
    >Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2019 9:46 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On back of the 2019 card it states,"jokers may be discarded at any time during the games and named the same as previous discard". Our group does not understand the second part of the statement. Hopefully you can help and many thanks in advance!

    Hi, Nancy! Kudos to your group for reading the back of the card! Louise W asked about this rule just yesterday (immediately below this response). As I told her, you can read FAQ 19-G3 for a full explanation of this confusing rule. If the explanation is not explanatory enough, email me again with a followup question, and I'm sure I can clear it up. At least you're not unclear on the concept of discarding a joker (my beginner students always ask, "why on Earth would anyone ever do THAT??").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 7, 2019


    Do I have to say "same" when discarding a joker?

    >From: Louise W
    >Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2019 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Joker in Mahjongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >On back of card, it says "Jokers may be discarded at an time during the game and named the same as previous discard." A couple of questions about that statement:
    >When discarding a Joker do you have to name it the same as previous discard, or can you just say "Joker"? Secondly, what is the advantage of naming it the same as previous discard?
    >Thank you.
    >Louise W

    Louise, the rule says jokers MAY be named same as previous discard. The rule does not say jokers MUST be named same as previous discard. Read FAQ 19-G3 for a full explanation of this confusing rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
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    April 6, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 5

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2019 5:48 AM
    >Subject: Joe and Hong Kong Style Mahjong
    >Hi again Tom,
    >Just to let Joe know (hoping he comes back to read this), I downloaded and tried the same app; it definitely has bugs! For example a win on discard was shown as self-pick (and scored as such), but there were other bugs I found too.
    >I did win on All Pungs, so the software, at least on one occasion, recognised the hand and scored it correctly.
    >There was no minimum Fan set at first, and I couldn't initially find a simple means of setting one.
    >There are different types of play, Beginner, Intermediate etc. - some use flowers, some not. The app differentiates these as increasing levels, it wasn't totally clear but would probably be reasonable to assume that this equates to increasing minimum Fan requirements. I tested this assumption with a low scoring hand on a higher level of play; the software prompted that the hand was too low a level (i.e. I intepret that as insufficient Fan). The ability for the software to do this prompting can be switched off.
    >All Pungs (the hand Joe illustrated) looked to score 4 Fan (it's described in the app as a level4 hand). For this to be insufficient to win, Joe must either have been on the highest level (level 6, assumed minimum 6 Fan) or Joe experienced another bug. If you look on the image Joe supplied, at the top is the level...yes, it's level 6, so his hand doesn't have enough Fan - he only has 4 Fan, he needs 2 more.
    >I think Joe would be better learning on Mahjong Time - standard terminology and bug free (at least when I've played)!
    >Illustrated in the image is the message when I tried a low scoring hand on a higher level game.
    >Ray

    Good work, Ray! I agree that Joe would be better off using a different app. I'll let him know that you have helped so he can come back and get the definitive answers about Hong Kong style. Thank you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 6, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 4

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 1:45 PM
    >Subject: Joseph's Hong Kong hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Isn't Joseph's Hong Kong style hand (Thursday April 4th) worth 3 fan (all pungs) and therfore would most likely meet the minimum fan criteria (which if I recall is usually 3 fan)?
    >Regards
    >Ray

    I'd sure think so, Ray! Who knows what is going on with his app. Might be a bug, or it might be set higher than 3 fan, don't know if it even adheres to 3 fan for All Pungs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 5, 2019


    Mahjong at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    Dear readers,
    I've mentioned this before. Things may be shaping up for mahjong to be recognized as an Olympic mind game. See http://www.ejinsight.com/20170803-mahjong-eyed-for-2022-beijing-winter-olympics/. Thanks to Ray Heaton for the link.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 20

    >From: rosemary b
    >Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 11:21 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card question
    >Hi Tom.
    >The 3rd hand down under 2019 section says “Any 2 or 3 suits”. Does that mean the “2019” can be the same suit as one of the dragons?
    >Thank you for your help.
    >Rosemary

    Yes, exactly. This hand was also on the 2017 card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
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    April 5, 2019


    The "slam-exposing" rule

    >From: Leslie
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:52 PM
    >Subject: NMJL FAQs Claiming a Tile
    >Tom ~
    >Please address the NMJL’s online FAQs section, specifically points #2 & #3. What’s your take on this? Would it not then be a good practice to start an exposure even prior to verbally calling the tile, to insure no other player can lay claim to it? (For instance, I hear a Flower discard, Ithen quickly place a Flower from my hand on the rack so I’d be assured of claiming that discard.) And how do you define “started” to expose tiles? Thank you.
    >Leslie Z.

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:33 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Leslie A Z
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Leslie A Z
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Leslie A Z
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you for the generous donation, Leslie! You wrote:

    Please address the NMJL’s online FAQs section, specifically points #2 & #3. What’s your take on this?
    I have long said that I dislike the way the rule is written. The new writing on the League's FAQs page today is a little new, but still problematic.

    I'm the one who coined the phrase "slam-exposing" (the subject line of today's Facebook thread), here on this website. Someone in the thread agrees with how I interpret this rule (despite the way it's currently written): the act of exposing is not intended to aggressively cut off opposing claims. I imagine one could use this rule if time is passing silently after someone discards a tile. The next-in-line may be sitting there thinking. In my opinion, if she thinks more than 3 seconds (the length of the Window of Opportunity in Chinese Official majiang), another player is free to speak and expose. It is required to speak the claim. Someone in the Facebook thread mentioned something about just putting tiles up, without verbalizing; that don't fly.

    I saw on the Facebook group today Ray Heaton's suggestion that I (or Michelle or Johni, or all of us) petition the League to change the rule. I don't roll that way. I interpret official rules - I don't try to get them changed. Larry and David Unger read my site now and then; they already know my stance on this. I think it takes more than a small handful of people to influence great changes.

    Would it not then be a good practice to start an exposure even prior to verbally calling the tile, to insure no other player can lay claim to it?
    If "good" equates with "aggressive" in your mind, then yes (I suppose). Also, note that in the rulebook it says it's  "preferable" to take the claimed discard onto the rack before exposing from the rack.

    how do you define “started” to expose tiles?
    I interpret it as meaning you have placed at least one of your concealed tiles atop your rack.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
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    April 4, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:38 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Joseph I
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Joseph I
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
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    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Joseph I
    >Message: Thank you for providing this service to Mah-Jongg enthusiasts!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    You're very welcome, Joe! Thank you! I hope my suggestion to check the settings helped.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    April 4, 2019


    I thought I had priority? (Hong Kong app, part 2)

    >From: Joseph I
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 11:31 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-Jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m using an app to play Hong Kong style mahjong against bots. Flowers, Seasons, and special hands are allowed.
    >I had the following hand:
    >2 exposed pongs:
    >- 3 of dots
    >- 4 of characters
    >1 exposed Kong:
    >- 6 of dots
    >1 concealed Pong:
    >- 3 West Winds
    >And an East Wind.
    >A player discarded an East Wind, which I thought was all I needed to Mahjong.
    >The “player” to my left claimed the East Wind for a Pong.
    >However, I thought I had priority since the discarded tile would have completed my hand.
    >Why didn’t the app, “Hong Kong Style Mahjong”, offer me the tile to complete my hand?
    >Am I mistaken in my understanding of winning through discarded tiles?
    >Thank you!
    >Joe
    >PS. My hand is the bottom hand. This snapshot was taken after the player to my left claimed the East Wind tile for an exposed Pong.

    I suspect that there's a minimum fan requirement in place. All you have of value is the pung of West, which is not your wind. I refer you to FAQ 17, and you should check your app's settings.
    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
    April 4, 2019


    Why didn't the computer give me the win? (Hong Kong app, part 1)

    >From: Joseph I
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m new to Mahjong. I’ve been studying Hong Kong style Mahjong and have been practicing on apps with bots.
    >I had a hand with an honors pong, a chow, a pong, 2 white dragons and 2 of the same winds.  I self-drew a third white dragon. I thought I had a Mahjong since my hand included 1 chow, 1 pong, 2 honors pongs, and 2 of the same wind tiles. 
    However, after I self-drew the third white dragon, I had to discard one on my wind tiles. 
    Do you know why when I self-drew the third white dragon tile and had 2 of the same wind tiles in my hand it wasn’t a Mahjong?
    Thank you so much!
    Joe

    Hi, Joe!
    I don't know. I didn't make your app. It might be that your app doesn't permit a chow in an otherwise all-pung hand. Or maybe it defaults to a minimum fan count to qualify for winning. Check the game's settings. If you haven't read FAQ 17 yet, I recommend you do.
    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
    April 4, 2019


    Block convention, part 2 (The 2019 card, part 19)

    >From: Leslie S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:19 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I did write to the person who used the term “block convention”. This is what she wrote back:
    >"Each hand on the NMJL card is displayed in blocks using colors, letters, numbers. Each block is separated by a space to show components of the hand which creates a shape (i.e., pattern, convention). Some conventions are so popular, the have names. Here are a couple of examples: Pair pung - kong pung pair (pyramid)Kong pair - pair pair kong (gate)Pair pung kong quint (ascending)Kong pung kong pung (knitted; two suits with Dragons matching the middle pung)"
    >Leslie S

    Okay, Leslie, so she's using the word "block" to mean "grouping" and "convention" to mean what I have been calling "shape." For instance, I teach my beginner students about "four pungs and a pair" hands (the usual "shape" of the Concealed hand at the bottom of 2468, Consec, Odds, W-D, and 369). I teach my intermediate students about the biannual alternating shapes found at the top of Consec: even years, Consec 1 has the pairs clustered at the end, but on odd years the pairs are at opposite ends (yes, that latter shape is rightly called a "pyramid" based on ancient NMJL card terminology), and how Consec 2 alternates between pung-pung-kong-kong and pung-kong-pung-kong. Different writers sometimes use different terminologies, sometimes because they haven't been exposed to other terminologies, and sometimes out of preference.
    Glad you cleared that up, Leslie!
    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
    April 4, 2019


    I count 66 hands on this card (The 2019 card, part 18)

    >From: Andrea K
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 8:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-jong question or comment is:
    >I count 66 hands on this card and you posted that there are 53.
    >Are you not counting the variables for the this OR that hands?
    >Thank you,
    >Andrea

    Correct, Andrea. Consec #1 is counted as one hand, although there are 2 ways it can be made (low or high). An addition hand is counted as one hand although there are 2 ways it can be made (1 suit or 3 suits). The count is based on line items.
    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
    April 4, 2019


    Hilsons

    >From: tooelemountains
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 12:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am wondering about why there are two names for 1920's mah jongg sets made by Hilsons. Sets marked Hilsons are sometimes named on the case and their rule books as Ma Cheuck but Hilsons sets sometimes (much less often) have another name (I think it is Mah Chiang but I don't recall for sure).
    >The rule book in their sets with either of the two names seem to use the same rule book title: "Hilson's CHINESE GAME known in China as Ma Cheuck.
    >My question is why do you suppose Hilsons changed the name of the game which they were selling in the 1920s?
    >The only ideas I can think of was just they thought a new name might be more catchy and help sell their game. Or maybe Hilsons was warned that they must change the name of their game or be sued over some copyright issue.
    >I'm not 100% sure which of those two names Hilsons used first.
    >All the many companies' 1920's sets I see on eBay have their own particular name for the game, but they seem to have used one game name for all their sets. Except for Hilsons for which I've seen two names.
    >Rob and Linda

    Rob and Linda, I am not an expert in manufacturers. I don't recall ever encountering the name "Hilsons" until you mentioned it. I don't think it's unusual for a manufacturer to change its branding.
    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
    April 4, 2019


    I want to sell it

    >From: Joyce G
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 10:07 AM
    >Subject: Want to Sell Vintage Mah Jong Set
    >I have a Mah Jong set that I bought about 45 years ago at a street fair. It has 146 pieces (missing #3 and #5 Craks) and 8 blanks, Winds and Dragons.
    >I believe it is Bamboo and Bone but it could be ivory. The bottom of the box says, “made in China."
    >I’m attaching photos of the pieces and the box it came in. I’d like to sell it and would like to know where I can sell it and if you are interested. If not you, can you recommend a buyer?
    >Thank you.
    >Joyce G

    It is not ivory, Joyce. I think I see some Haversian streaks in one of your tiny blurry photos. Besides, if it was ivory, it would be illegal to sell it without a special government permit. See the "Is It Ivory" FAQ. Also see the Tips For Sellers FAQ. If you want to post your set for sale on my Sets For Sale Bulletin Board, I permit only one photo. 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
    April 3, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 17

    >From: D N
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 4:54 PM
    >Subject: 2019 Card Q
    >Hi Tom...you mentioned: 7 hands are new (not seen on any card as far back as 2000, which is as far as I checked). Being new to the game, I'm curious to know, what are these 7 hands that appear to be new, or more than 19+ years amiss)?
    >Thanks for all you do!
    >Debbie

    Hi, Debbie!
    The hands I deemed "New" are:
    Odds #5, #6
    W-D #4, #5
    369 #6
    S&P #6
    I changed my mind about Quints #3 (which I listed when I replied to Christine, below). It's similar to a 2017 Quints hand, the difference being this year's hand includes DD instead of FF. So I moved it to "Variation on a previous hand," and I'm revising the column.
    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
    April 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 16

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 4:56 AM
    >Subject: 7 hands that are new since 2000
    >Good Morning Mr Sloper,
    >I was hoping you could please share the 7 hands that are new since 2000
    >I have been playing since 2012. I don't go back that far in my cards to
    >compare
    >Thank you
    >Christine

    Hi, Christine!
    The hands I deemed "New" are:
    Quints #3
    Odds #5, #6
    W-D #4, #5
    369 #6
    S&P #6
    But now that I look at them again, I think I may be incorrect. I may have to redo the column and the pie chart.
    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
    April 2, 2019


    Block convention what? (The 2019 card, part 15)

    >From: Leslie S
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 11:14 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > What is meant by “block convention”? It was a term used by someone online explaining details about the new card. She said, “This is a variety card when it comes to block conventions.” I have no idea what that means.
    >Leslie S

    I don't know, Leslie. Email the person who said that. 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
    April 2, 2019


    Conflicting claim

    >From: Elayne W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Mahjongg Q
    >A player and I both both called for a tile at the same time. It went to her because she called it for mahjongg ( and was also closest in turn to the person who discarded it). However, because it was for a closed hand, she was deemed dead. Should the tile in question then go to me, or is it just out of play? Tx, EW

    >From: Elayne W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 7:20 AM
    >Subject: Never mind
    >Found the answer in one of your previous columns. Sorry for not reading it first. May the tiles be with you. Always appreciate your column.
    >EW
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hold on, Elayne. Your player who was "deemed dead." If all her tiles were concealed up until she declared mah-jongg on the discard, SHE IS NOT DEAD. A concealed hand is permitted to be completed with a discard. 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
    April 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 14

    >From: "janet2181
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Question on 2019 card
    >Consecutive Run Section - fifth hand down: FFF 1111 2222 DDD - do the numbers have to be ones and twos or can you use a run?
    >Thanks - Janet S

    Hi, Janet! As I wrote above and several times below:
    FFF 1111 2222 DDD (Any 1 Suit) x 25
    MOST LIKELY, this hand is intended to be made with Any 2 Consec. Nos.
    See many posts below. And keep checking the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html) for the official say-so.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 1, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 13

    >From: Lourdes G
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:39 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card last hand of consecutive run
    >111 22 333 222 222 (2019 card concealed last hand on the consecutive run)
    >1123 11111 11111 (Quints 2018 card)
    >For the 2019 hand, can the pair (as in the 2018 card) be any place?
    >e.g.
    >11 222 333 111 111
    >or
    >111 222 33 333 333
    >Thanks for your help!
    >Lourdes G

    Hi,Lourdes!
    As I told Marion B and Jeanne R Saturday (below), I do think that only the middle number can be the pair, since there is no parenthetical saying otherwise. That Quints hand had a clarifying parenthetical.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 1, 2019


    One player picked out of turn and a second player also picked before the error was discovered

    >From: buddyandjanice
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:25 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What is the rule if a player has drawn and racked her tile and the next player draws a tile only to learn that play is out of turn and should have been the next players turn? THank you Mr MAhjong for your answer!!!! Janice
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Janice!
    If one person plays out of turn, she's dead. If a second player follows suit and picks also out of turn, I think all tiles should be thrown in. Either that, or the second player is also dead. The rulebook doesn't go into cascading death errors.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 1, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 12

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:07 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card observations
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was excited to see the new card--we played with it yesterday and I had some thoughts on the new and old hands.
    >1. 2019 # 4 hand allows either 2 or 3 suits. I think this may be confusing to some who don't look closely.
    >2. Addition hands are an interesting variation from the usual.
    >3. It's curious to me that Winds/Dragons #2 is not in the 2019 section.
    >I'm always interested in your analysis of the new card each year. Thanks for doing that!
    >Best regards, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I'll be writing more observations in the next column. Stay tuned!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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
    April 1, 2019


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