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SLOPER ON MAH-JONGG

By Tom Sloper
June 11, 2017

Column #678

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). What would you discard?

1. So, you were playing off W-D #1 and #5 against #4. Eight tiles, five tiles two ways, and seven tiles respectively. But then what about S&P #1 (ten tiles)? The only hand that doesn't need pairs is the weakest (has the fewest tiles), and that's the only one that needs flowers. You don't have your pairs for the stronger ones, but maybe the mah-jongg goddesses are just testing your resolve. So ditch the flower already.

2. Consec #1 and #2 have been vying for your affection, and now you have to make up your mind. Or do you? Neither hand needs four 6Bs, so let one of them go.

3. The only 369 hand that uses dragons this year is #1, and you have only six tiles for that option. You have eight tiles towards #4, and there are other options too (better ones than #1), so it should be obvious that you can chuck a red.

4. Between Consec #7 and Like Nos #1, it's no contest; Consec is considerably stronger (even though it's a concealed hand). Those eight dots can go; and you also don't need a fourth green.

5. Trying to decide whether you like numbers four or six? Just count. Five fours versus four sixes. Time to side with fours. Throw a 6D now; fish joker bait later.

6. Two hands, and their tile counts are even. Don't you hate when that happens? You know I'm biased towards Consec #2. And you might never get that second 5C for Consec #1. Keep 6C 7C 8C (possible Consec #4). If the wall isn't to the halfway mark yet, reserve 9C for joker bait (and alternative Consec #2), and discard 5C.

7. Consec #7 (ten tiles) versus W-D #2 (seven tiles, missing G and with a superfluous R). You probably dislike concealed hands, but I say go with what the tiles are telling you. Throw E to the wind.

8. Thirteens vs. Consec #5; ten tiles either way. Which would you break up: the G pair or the 13? I like the far-fetched idea that somebody might call G; if that happens, a joker is bound to be exposed, so I'd cast the joker bait.

9. Seven tiles for W-D #5 versus nine tiles for W-D #2, but neither option needs E or W.



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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Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the outdated official rulebook.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).

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