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By Tom Sloper
April 9, 2017

Column #669

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). The first challenge with a new card is picking a hand with a random deal. So, here are some random deals.

1. Following the four steps, we see just one pair: Souths. With that soap, we could consider W-D #2, if we had a green or red... The pair isn't working, so proceed to step three: highs vs. lows. There are more highs. And an interesting pattern: six and nine, both in two suits, suggesting a 369 hand. Another interesting pattern: fours in all three suits, suggesting Like Numbers. The numbers seem interesting, and the winds don't. Pass S W 5B.

2. Pair of eights (step 1). Any friends (step 2)? Re Consec., there's just one 7B. Re 2468, there's a 4D and a 2C. Here's a wacky idea: Thirteens #2, 5+8=13 (five tiles). Pass 7B G and a wind (flip a coin).

3. No pairs, so count highs vs. lows (step 3): six lows (including 5B) vs. five highs (including 5B). The lows win, but for laughs, count odds vs. evens (step 4) too: five odds vs. five evens. The dragons needn't go just yet, so pass highs (not including 5B).

4. Pairs of ones and eights; too bad Elevens are so last year! Since the ones and eights aren't friendly with one another, look for friends of ones first (no, hardly any friends), and then the eights (plenty of near-neighbor numbers, namely sevens and nines). Your junk tiles are 2C 1B E S. Choose any three, go for Consec. (the most powerful section of the card).

5. Three pairs: fours, sixes, and nines. No hand can use all three, so see which two pairs are the friendliest. The fours and sixes are a start for Evens (no twos or eights) and for Consec. (couple hands). The fours and nines are friends for Thirteens #1 (and we have F and a 1B (six tiles). The sixes and nines could only combine for 369 (no threes). Go for Thirteens; pass 1C 5B and a wind.

6. Pair of twos. The even numbers are friends with the twos, and Green might work too. The winds and 7D can go (maybe 5B, too).

7. Two pairs: flowers and Souths. The Souths are weak (no friends), so count highs vs. lows: three highs, five lows. Highs can go; pass S 7C 9B.

8. Pairs of sixes and reds. They could go together in Evens, Like Nos., or Consec. #7. Pass E 9B 8C, go for Consec. (the most powerful section of the card).

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Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.

© 2017 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.