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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!
  • But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and please scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.
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  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


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  • homechef.com is a spammer ringcentral.com is a spammer safecrm.com is a spammer hotelangeleno.com is a spammer

    Regarding the 2017 NMJL card, and the "Like Numbers" section:

    It's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number."
    If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
     


    2017 Like Numbers, v4.0

    >From: Rebecca L
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:12 AM
    >Subject: 2017 NMJL Card
    >Hooray just received our new 2017cards and guess what - a question already. Under "Like Numbers" it does not say "ANY Like Number" like it does on the 2016 card. My gals are wondering does it mean that the only number that can be played is a "1"? Or can you still play "ANY Like Number"?
    >Thanks for your wisdom. I don't know what we'd do without you.

    Hi, Rebecca!
    As I wrote to the last three ladies who asked this - see below,
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
     (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot more times.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.1

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:09 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from David J
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from David J. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: David J
    >Message: Thank You for answers.

    You're welcome, and thanks back atcha!


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.0

    >From: Paula J
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 5:39 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card
    >The new card says any three suits for like numbers. It has said in the past any like number. Is it still any number?
    >Thank You,
    >Paula J

    Hi, Paula!
    As I wrote in reply to the emails
    >From: Grace D 
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 (yesterday)
    And the one
    >From: Mary Margaret C
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:42 PM (which I replied to not five minutes ago - see below),
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers." (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    But there are three colors?!

    >From: Lisa K
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:10 PM
    >Subject: New 2017 Card
    >Hi Tom,
    >Quick question:
    >In the quints section of the 2017 card (the first NNNNN DDDD 11111) - it says in the narrative "...Kong any Dragon." How can that be when the DDDD are green and the 11111 are red? Wouldn't they have to be opposite?
    >Thank you!!!
    >Lisa K

    Hi, Lisa!
    As I wrote in FAQ 16 and FAQ 19-J, the words in parentheses overrule the color-coding. If it seems to you that the color-coded symbols say one thing but the parenthetical says something different, then you have to trust the parenthetical.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v2.0

    >From: Mary Margaret C
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Like Numbers 2017
    >My group and I are wondering if we can use any like number on the new card or do we have to use only 1's. Previous cards has indicated that any number is OK but this is not on this card.
    >Please help.
    >Mary Margaret C

    Hi, Mary Margaret!
    As I wrote in reply to the email
    >From: Grace D 
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 (yesterday - see below),
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers." 
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    I've received some questionable communications

    >From: Kathleen H
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:57 PM
    >Subject: Please delete my announcement to Find Players/Teachers
    >Tom, thanks for all you do! Please delete my prior announcement that I posted asking for players in my area as I have received some questionable communications.
    >I appreciate you help,
    >Kathleen H
    >Location (city and state or zip code):
    >The mah-jongg variant I play is:

    Kathleen,
    The post is removed. I don't assume that the questionable communications resulted directly from the post. I don't know if bots have gotten smart enough to get around the trickery I use.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    Space - the final frontier in 2017

    >From: "thetomers
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2017 card- Singles and Pairs - fourth hand - Why is there a space between the 4 and 6 in both suits?
    >Thank you
    >Arlene

    Hi, Arlene!
    I can't tell you why they decided to put a space between unlike single numbers. Although, to me, it would be odder if they didn't put a space there (then it would say "46," rather than 4 and 6 - and suit tiles only go up to 9!). If you think it's an important question, you can ask the League.
    By the way (guess I need to mention this): in case you didn't know, I don't work for the League, and I was not involved with the design of the card (note that I referred to the League as "they" rather than "we").
    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
    March 2, 2017


    The new 2017 card - Like Numbers

    >From: Grace D
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 2:10 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Mah Jonng Card
    >Hi,
    >I have a question under the Like Numbers section in the 2017 card. I noticed it just says (any 3 suits) and (any 2 suits) but it doesn't say you can have any number. Do these two sequences have to be 1's or can it be like last year's card and be any number you want as long as they are all the same number but different suits. I think the latter is correct but wanted to confirm.

    Hi, Grace!
    In case you weren't aware, I don't work for the League. I wasn't present when they were designing the card, and all I can "confirm" is my opinion, based on having been a player of this game since before 1999. If you want a hard-and-fast confirmation of what I'm about to say, you can ask the League.
    That said...
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
    The League leadership changed since the last card was designed, and it looks to me like this is just an oversight (in other words, that it should say "any like number" in parentheses, as it has in previous years).
    I'll probably get this question a lot in the next few weeks. Time to update FAQ 16! :p
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2017


    From Lynn P #1

    >From: Lynn P <flwesties
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 12:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I received my new Mah Jongg card today. Looking forward to your column about changes on card from 2016 and on rules on back of card. Hope you have some hints on remember the card and playing these hands. I think I will start playing some games using the 2017 card to get familiar with it. I am not a memorizer! Looks like number “13” will be our “lucky” number! Thanks for all your help, Q&A and columns on Mah Jongg over the past years. Lynn P from FL (I see you had another email from a Lynn P who was not me.)

    Hi Lynn,
    On the train coming home from work, I saw that people were emailing me about the 2017 card. I crossed my fingers and hoped I would have one in my mailbox so I could answer questions! And I did. So now I can refer to the new card. Haven't looked at it yet, but the next 2 emails are about it so I will!
    And yeah, my poor readers can't tell the difference between you and that new upstart Lynn P. You should change your name! Just kidding. She should change hers, since you were here first. Am I right? Huh?
    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
    March 27, 2017


    Can she claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Cathey P
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 8:10 AM
    >Subject: Exchange for Joker
    >A player discarded a tile which another player had displayed with jokers, the player who had the tiles displayed wanted to pick up the tile , display and take one of the jokers to use in her hand, even though it wasn't her turn. Would this be ok ? Thanks for thought.

    Hi, Cathey!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-G2. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2017


    My fishy mystery, part 3

    >From: Jenny N
    >Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong
    >Thanks for the response to my questions. It seems I didn't look close enough as you said .....So I can see the set of jokers now but I still can't be sure which seasons the flowers are. What do you think....Summer Autumn Winter Spring (left to right in photo) ?
    >Jenny

    No. Those are flowers, not seasons. This photo from FAQ 7E is the one I refer to for flower/season characters:

    I believe yours are Chrysanthemum, Plum, Bamboo, Orchid. 菊 梅 竹 蘭 - I'm more certain of the middle two than the ones on the ends.
    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
    March 23, 2017


    May the two-tone 1930s tiles be with me

    >From: Marlene S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hello, and thank you for such an informative site! It’s truly a labor of love :).
    >Although I grew up to the sound of clicking tiles, I never learned to play… until now. I anxiously awaited the old family set my cousin was shipping to me. When it arrived, I learned there were no jokers. She had counted the tiles but six of them were not from the set.
    >I’ve been reading your pages and visited mahjong mahjong.com. He displays a set identical to this one and says it’s a late 1930’s Piroxloid, Two Tone with Burgandy.
    >I phoned the NMJL to ask about orphan tiles and they said to call back in May. I also emailed mahjong mahjong.com asking the same.
    >My question for you (unless of course you know where I can find tiles) is what years Piroxloid was in business? Other than what is already on your site, can you tell me anything more about the company and their catalin mahjong sets?
    >Thank you so very much for your time and the sharing of information,
    >Marlene S

    Hi, Marlene! Welcome to my Q&A board. You wrote:

    I never learned to play… until now. I anxiously awaited the old family set ...
    When it arrived, I learned there were no jokers.
    ...it’s a late 1930’s Piroxloid, Two Tone with Burgandy.
    >I phoned the NMJL to ask about orphan tiles...
    So, I take it that the variant you want to play with that old set is American (National Mah Jongg League) rules.
    And I take it that you are intent on finding matching tiles for that old set so it'll be NMJL-compatible.
    I believe that's going to take a while. In the meantime, if you want a set you can use for play, you might want to consider buying one that has all the necessary parts.

    they said to call back in May.
    Yes. I assume you understand why. Right now is the League's busiest time of the year, preparing to ship "the card" to hundreds of thousands of members, and to vendors, next week.

    My question for you (unless of course you know where I can find tiles)
    I believe it's going to be hard to find two-tone burgundy tiles, but of course you should contact Matthew Shim and Carol Harper (whose contact information is atop the Tiles Wanted bulletin board) and the sellers who've posted on the Tiles For Sale bulletin board. You can link to those boards above left.

    what years Piroxloid was in business? Other than what is already on your site, can you tell me anything more about the company and their catalin mahjong sets?
    I don't see how those questions (which I cannot answer, since I am not an expert on manufacturers past or present) helps you with your quest. MahjongMahjong and Carol Harper (CHarli) are experts on manufacturers, and you can also try joining or contacting the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. Facebook group. But if you want to obtain tiles, I don't see the benefit in also spending time researching the corporate history of a defunct manufacturer.

    Good luck! May the tiles literally 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
    March 23, 2017


    My fishy mystery, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:22 PM
    >Subject: Jenny's joker tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >Hope you are well. I thought Jenny may like to know her "100 uses" tiles (also known as joker tiles and in Chinese pronounced as "baida", written as 百搭) show the possessions of the Eight Immortals in the corners of the tiles. Perhaps the easiest one to spot is the gourd and crutch belonging to Li Tieguai...but they can all be found easily enough on Wikipedia.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Very interesting, Ray! Many thanks.
    Tom


    My fishy mystery tiles

    >From: Jenny N
    >Sent: 22 March 2017 10:05
    >Subject: Mahjong
    >Hi there,
    >I saw your website and wondered if you recognize the attached. I just bought this Mahjong set online but being that I'm a novice I'm not sure of some of the tiles. I've only played a little British rules but with numbers written on the tiles on seasons and with no use of jokers. I did recognize the Rich man Pot of Gold Fisherman fish sequence you show on your site but that's all (are these seasons?). Also is it fish bone or can you tell what the tile is made of. The box the set is in is silk and the rule sheet says "Village Games Hampstead London". If you want more pictures of the other tiles please let me know.
    >Thanks
    >Jenny N

    Hi, Jenny!
    Welcome to my website. You asked:

    wondered if you recognize the attached... I'm not sure of some of the tiles. I've only played a little British rules but with numbers written on the tiles on seasons and with no use of jokers. I did recognize the Rich man Pot of Gold Fisherman fish sequence you show on your site but that's all (are these seasons?).
    Indeed I do recognize them. You found the Singapore flowers in FAQ 7-E (the mystery tiles FAQ), but you didn't look hard enough in FAQ 7-E - the rest of the tiles are there too. Flower names and "100 uses" are all explained in the mystery tiles FAQ.

    Also is it fish bone or can you tell what the tile is made of.
    The tiles are too shiny for reconstituted fishbone. Probably regular old cow bone, but good quality bone (no Haversian lines). See FAQ 7-C.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2017


    Are some of my tiles from another set?

    >From: eliane512 .
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:12 AM
    >Subject: Is game complete
    >I love your website a lot of information that you have put out there. Thank you for all your work. Unfortunately I'm still confused, I bought a set and I am not sure if all these pieces belong to the set I'm sending a picture and hope that you can help. I am just not sure which tiles that are on the right of the picture belong to the set. Thanks in advance

    Hi, Eliane.
    I'm not sure, either. Try this: turn them all face-down. Look for tiles that are not the same color as the majority, and pull those out. Look for tiles that are not the same thickness, and pull those out. Look for tiles that have sharper corners, and pull those out. What you're doing is finding tiles that would be easily spotted as different if the tiles were all stacked in a wall. Then turn everything back face-up again and see what you have. I assume you've looked at the different types of sets in FAQ 7A, and you've also read FAQ 7B.
    Standing by if there are follow-up questions.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2017


    Confused about a pick, part 2

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:32 PM
    >Subject: Re: [mah-jongg question]
    >Thank you so much. You answered my question.

    You're welcome.


    Confused about a pick interrupted by a call

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 2:37 PM
    >Subject: [no subject]
    >I am confused about calling a tile that was thrown. If the person opposite me throws a tile I want and I call it I pick the tile up and throw a tile from my hand. The instructions say if the discarder already has picked her next tile she puts it back on the wall but doesn't that leave her with 12 tiles because she passed me the one she threw without picking

    Hi, Ruth. Let's take this step by step.

    Player A is holding 14 tiles. She discards one, saying its name. Now Player A holds 13 tiles.
    Player B (holding 13 tiles) starts to pick a tile from the wall, but...
    Player C (that's you) says, "I want that."
    Player B (holding 13 tiles on the rack and one in the flesh-and-bone hand) puts her tile back on the wall. She now has 13 tiles.
    Player C takes the live discard and puts it atop her rack.
    She (player C, in other words "you") then completes the exposure by moving tiles from the sloping front of the rack.
    Player C is holding 14 tiles (mostly concealed, some now exposed). She discards one, saying its name. Now she has 13 tiles. (Now everybody has 13 tiles.)

    Did I miss something? I think you were confused about who has to put a tile back on the wall. Not sure what instructions you were reading. If you tell me what you read exactly and where, maybe I can look it up to see where you were led astray.

    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
    March 19, 2017


    When is the window closed for MJ, part 2

    >From: judith o
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question about tile for MJ
    >Thank you for your reply.As we have a tournament coming up, I shall do as you suggest and run it by the NMJL. However, a section of your reply to my question confuses me. I agree that my friend ought not to have spoken as it caused some tension at the table; I have no idea why she waited. In her defense, she was also calling the tile for MJ; she was certain that her position to the right of East allowed her to have the tile even though I had already taken the tile and exposed most of my MJ. (And, yes, I found the original text both on your site and in your book.) Here is the original post from your web site with what confused me in italics:
    >>Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.
    >Judith

    Hi, Judith. You wrote:

    I shall do as you suggest and run it by the NMJL.
    Good idea. I would like to quote to you from the League's 2013 newsletter:

      Q. Two players called for the same tile for an exposure. The second player who called started to make her exposure but next in turn announced that she wanted that tile also. Who is entitled to the tile?
      A. Just as long as the other player started to make her exposure, next in turn was TOO LATE.

    I acknowledge that this Q&A is about exposure, not mah-jongg. But surely the exact same rule applies to two claims for mah-jongg as well. I think you ought to mention that 2013 ruling in your letter to the current leadership of the League. It's unfortunate that this rule is not included in the 2013 revision of the League's official rulebook.

    I have no idea why she waited. In her defense, she was also calling the tile for MJ;
    Yes, you said it before. Two people calling the tile for the same thing. One acted and exposed before the other spoke.

    she was certain that her position to the right of East allowed her to have the tile even though I had already taken the tile and exposed most of my MJ.
    She was wrong. Here on my website, read FAQ 19-H (read the whole thing). In my book, see page 53, rule 63.ii. And see the quote (above) from the 2013 newsletter.

    Here is the original post from your web site with what confused me in italics:
    >>Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.
    Sorry about that! I misspoke there; it's not important what tile she needed, since the hand has ended with you winning. Please disregard it.
    *

    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
    March 19, 2017

    * Actually, now I remember what I was thinking when I said that. What if the first claimant had made a mistake? What if the first claimant's mah-jongg was erroneous, or if she had called based on a misnamed discard? The second claimant can have the discard if the first one went dead (for mah-jongg only - this rule does not apply to calls for mere exposure). It might be that the first claimant is dead, and the second claimant decides not to take the tile after all - but because she's spoken, people now have information about her hand. (Okay, so now that I explained all that, it was still a goof when I said that the first time, because while crafting the reply I forgot that both were claiming for mah-jongg.) - Tom


    How to deal with frustration over a losing streak?

    >From: Jean G
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:44 AM
    >Subject: a run of bad luck
    >Hi Tom,
    >I know that Mah Jongg is a game of luck and skill - and have been fortunate enough to win any number of games I had no business getting a mah jongg on - just blind good luck. But a run of bad luck is discouraging, and I wonder if you have any suggestions about how to weather the storm, any strategies for how to play when lady luck seems to have deserted you for what seems like weeks at a time. Thanks!
    >Jean

    I don't have any soothing advice for you, Jean. Just "be patient," I guess. And this from Wikipedia: "'Good things come to those who wait' is an English phrase extolling the virtue of patience. The related phrase 'all things come to those who wait' was used by Violet Fane in 1892." On the other side of the coin, Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Not that that one helps much, but it's a Lincoln quote I hadn't heard before!
    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
    March 19, 2017


    Two questions

    >From: joi L
    >Cc: Joi L; Joi L
    >Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2017 12:51 AM
    >Subject: Being East
    >Is there an advantage to being first-besides getting an extra tile to start?
    >Do you rotate when playing with 3 players?
    > I love your site!!! Thank you for all your help.

    Hi, Joi! Your Qs:

    Is there an advantage to being first-besides getting an extra tile to start?
    None that I have ever seen.

    Do you rotate when playing with 3 players?
    The official rulebook's description of the three-player game is just one three-line paragraph, setting forth the one difference between the three-player game and the four-player game. What that should tell you is that (other than this one difference) ALL the rules of the four-player game apply to the three-player game.
    The one difference between them is that there's no Charleston in the three-player game. And the absence of the Charleston does have an impact on the desirability of altering the seating arrangement at the table. Since there is no courtesy pass, you aren't subject to the possibly annoying habits of a particular player who might sit opposite you. But sometimes the player at your left can have an annoying habit too (namely, picking so quickly that it's difficult to ever call the discard of the player at your right). So rotating the seating with three players could still have a purpose.

    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
    March 18, 2017


    When is the window closed for mah-jongg?

    >From: judith o
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Question about tile for MJ
    >Is the following (color emphasis mine) as a reference only to discarded tiles during a game: “One could say that someone claiming the discard is a fifth way to close the window - but actually, if that someone was not next in turn, the window is still not necessarily closed! The next in line from the discarder can still claim the discard (as long as the first claimant has not yet racked it). “ In other words, does the same apply to calling a tile for MJ?
    >Here is the situation: East discarded a tile. I called it for MJ, immediately placing it on my rack and added 3 of my 4 exposures...at which time my friend ~ sitting to the right of East~ says,”I’ll take it for MJ.
    >Who gets the tile? The second claimant, sitting to the right of East or the first claimant, who has placed the tile and additional exposures on her rack before the second claimant speaks up???? Is the window open *forever* for MJ????
    >I looked through FAQ and couldn’t find an answer. I apologize if I missed it. 
    >Judith T. O

    Hi, Judith! Welcome to my website. Your question:

    East discarded a tile. I called it for MJ, immediately placing it on my rack and added 3 of my 4 exposures...at which time my friend ~ sitting to the right of East~ says,”I’ll take it for MJ.
    >Who gets the tile?
    Your friend should not have spoken. You had exposed your tiles. Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.**

    Is the window open *forever* for MJ????
    No. In the text you quoted (I assume you found it either here on my website*** or in my book), it's stated that the window to claim mah-jongg is still open if the claimant has merely spoken the claim, without sealing the deal with action. If that doesn't clarify sufficiently, rephrase the question or ask a new question, and I will do my best to clarify.

    Also: this answer is just my interpretation of the official rules. If you want a more authoritative answer, you should snailmail your question to the League. Their snailmail address is on the card. Don't telephone the question (see FAQ 19-BN).

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

    ** See follow-up Q&A dated Sunday, March 19, higher up on this board. - Tom
    *** Thanks to Google, I found the quote, in column 639. Appending this exchange to that column. - Tom


    Shifted chows, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 2:21 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lynn M P
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lynn M P. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lynn M P
    >Message: Thank you for your quick and clear response. Lynn P from Bishop, CA
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Lynn!
    Tom


    Shifted chows, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 2:07 PM
    >Subject: RE: Chinese fan rule?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I did not see a way to reply on the site. Oh yes, the way you “reworded” our query is definitely clearer. Thank you. Yes, we use your book exclusively! A donation will be forthcoming. Lynn P from Bishop, CA

    Hi, Lynn. You wrote:

    I did not see a way to reply on the site.
    There isn't one. Email is the method here. The site used to have a way, but spammers were a problem, and I don't have the technical chops to fix that. Email is less work for me, and it works fine for my purposes.

    Oh yes, the way you “reworded” our query is definitely clearer. Thank you. Yes, we use your book exclusively!
    Good, I'm glad!

    A donation will be forthcoming.
    That would be nice, 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
    St. Patrick's Day, 2017


    Shifted chows

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:59 AM
    >Subject: Chinese fan rule?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper, I looked through the FAQ’s and did not see anything about our question, but did find out many other useful things! Thank you for your most informative help!
    >We play Chinese. We are wondering about the issue of “shifting up one number” in chows. If you read Rules 30 and 51 they appear to say or illustrate two different things.
    >30.Pure Shifted Chows
    > Three Chows in one suit, each shifted up one number from the last, or each shifted up two numbers from the last. Illustrated with :
    > 0ne,two, three dots; three, four, five dots; and five, six, seven dots (to me this is one number shifted up)
    >51.Mixed Shifted Chows
    > Three Chows in three suits, in which the first tile of each chow is “shifted” up one number from the previous chow. Illustrated with:
    > One, two, three bam; two, three, four dot; three, four, five crack (to me this is shifted up 2 numbers if in fact the illustration from rule 30 is what I think.)
    >Grateful for your advice!
    >Lynn P in Bishop, CA

    Niihau, Lynn!
    I apologize in advance for having to make a number of assumptions, which could well be totally incorrect. I assume you are talking about MCR (Majiang Competition Rules, aka Chinese Official mah-jongg), as opposed to any of the umpteen other Chinese variants, and further I assume you are using my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." I take it you have one, possibly two, questions about Pure Shifted Chows versus Mixed Shifted Chows.


    Pure Shifted Chows. Note that all three chows shown
    are in the same suit, and the first number of each
    chow is two numbers higher than the first number of
    the previous chow ("shifted up two").


    Mixed Shifted Chows. Note that there is one chow in
    each suit, and the first number of each chow is one
    number higher than the first number of the previous
    chow ("shifted up one").

    Note that Pure Shifted Chows may be shifted up one or shifted up two - there are two ways the player is permitted to make this hand. Note that in the example on page 182 of my book (and shown above), the chows are shifted up two (the first number of each chow is two numbers above the first number of the previous chow). And the three chows must all be in the same suit. The first (lowest) chow does not have to be 1-2-3, but the third (highest) chow cannot be higher than 7-8-9.

    Note that Mixed Shifted Chows may be shifted up one only. And there must be a chow from each suit. Again, the first (lowest) chow does not have to be 1-2-3, but the third (highest) chow cannot be higher than 7-8-9.

    Perhaps your confusion is due to the ambiguous wording "shifted up one number from the last." Note the new wording I use above: "the first number... is X number(s) higher than the first number of the previous chow." Hope this helps!
    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
    March 17, 2017

    P.S. The RDWW errata file has been updated accordingly. Every reader of RDWW is urged to download the errata and keep it near the book.


    She was just trying... (part 2)

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:44 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from danny l
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from danny l. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: danny l
    >Message: Thanks Tom!
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    No... thank YOU, danny!
    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
    March 16, 2017


    Is she required to put a tile in the rack?

    >From: JoAnn S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:22 PM
    >Subject: Racking
    >Hi Tom, our question is:
    >Player A discarded a 4 bam
    >Player B drew a tile, did not rack it and discarded and called a 6 dot
    >Player C called the 4 bam for exposer
    >Player B said Player C was to late in calling and she did not have to rack her tile and once she named her discard her turn was over
    >We said Player C should have been able to pick up the 4 bam being
    >Player B did not rack her tile.
    >What would be the ruling.
    >Thanks

    Hi, JoAnn.
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BL. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2017


    She was just trying to prevent flower collecting

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:45 PM
    >Subject: Mahj question
    >Hi Tom!!
    >Thanks for taking the time to answer this question.
    >I place a tile down (Flower). Player across from me says “I’ll take it”. After a beat or 2, the player to my left says “I want it”.
    >Rules on the card state that the next player in line gets first choice (unless 2nd player is Mahjing). We get that…..
    >BUT - the player to my right was really only taking it because she Then realized that the player to her right was collecting Flowers and it might be harder to get the 4 she needed.
    >BUT - going along with the rules on the card - this is unfair to the player who called it first - since we now all know what she needs. Right??
    >We decided that the person that wants it, has to rack it, and then she gets to keep it if the “next in line” doesn’t call it first.
    >What say you??
    >Thanks again.
    >Jennifer

    Jennifer, your questions (emphasis added by me):

    I place a tile down (Flower). Player across from me says “I’ll take it”. After a beat or 2, the player to my left says “I want it”. ...
    >BUT - the player to my right was really only taking it because she Then realized that the player to her right was collecting Flowers and it might be harder to get the 4 she needed.
    >BUT - going along with the rules on the card - this is unfair to the player who called it first - since we now all know what she needs. Right??
    Motivation is not covered by the rules. The player across from you is sooner in line than the player to your left, so the player across from you gets the tile. If you misspoke, though, and the second player who spoke a claim is to your right instead of your left, then her claim takes precedence over your opposite. See Frequently Asked Question 19-H. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    We decided that the person that wants it, has to rack it
    Technically, that is in keeping with the rules. Read FAQ 19-H (read the whole thing). Racking does trump verbalizing, but I would hate to see the game degenerate into showdowns to see who has the faster hands. The Wild West is long gone!

    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
    March 16, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 6

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 2:59 PM
    >Subject: Final follow up
    >Tom,
    >I sent an email to David Unger showing the discrepancy between what their answer was and what the rule book said and got this today.
    >Thank you!
    >Donna

    Nice, Donna! So the rule hasn't changed. Thanks for sharing.
    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
    March 13, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Bette W
    >Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing a closed hand, can the player call a discarded tile if it will result in a Mah Jongg?

    Hi, Bette!
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-BD. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2017


    Antique/vintage, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 11:20 AM
    >Subject: Kristen's flowers
    >Hi Tom,
    >The photos of Kristen's flowers are not really good enough for me to read the Chinese characters with full confidence, but I don't see anything unusual, I'm assuming the first #1 of the 5 is Summer, 夏, #2 Spring, 春 and #3 is very hard to read, but Autumn (Fall), 秋, makes obvious sense.
    >The set of 2 separated slightly from the other 3 tiles of the 5, are I think #1, plum 梅, and #2, orchid 蘭 (written in a simplified manner) or perhaps, chrysanthemum, 菊.
    >Sorry I can't be more certain!
    >Ray

    Maybe so, Ray! Valiant effort.
    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
    March 10, 2017


    Antique/vintage Royal Depth Control set

    >From: Kristen H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2017 8:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom I was hoping to use your vast knowledge to narrow down the age of my first antique/vintage set—it’s not exotic but it’s special to me J and my start as a collector. Several similar sets on ebay age this set from anywhere between the 40’s and the 60’s. Given your chart of flowers and Charli’s guide to case handles, I’m thinking this set is ‘50-’55 and would appreciate it if you took a look and gave me your idea of the year this set was manufactured and an approximate value (once I fill in the missing flowers). I have, hopefully, provided the information you require for these requests below.
    >Thank you so very, very much!
    >Kristen H
    >
    >Manufacturer: Royal Depth Control (a Double Happiness set?)
    >1. Detail list of contents, including dice, chips, racks, etc.
    >Bams, Cracks and Dots: 1-9(x4) in excellent condition (very light/shallow scratches from use, no chips or flea bites, clean and shiny).
    >Red, Green, White dragons: x4 in similar condition.
    >NEWS x4 in similar condition.
    >Flowers: 9 flowers in vase (appears incomplete, should be 16?), 5 Flower blossoms (appears incomplete should be 8?)
    >Jokers: None, 4 flowers had sticky, soft sticker residue on them that I was able to scrape off with a popsicle stick but the residue “melted” the paint a bit (thanks for the tip about cleaning with alcohol, the remnants came right off) .
    >Other tiles: #1 and #2 Occupation/worker/geisha (?) tiles. (Incomplete? I see 4 in other sets). Can you tell me the story told by these tiles?
    >Accessories: 4 Catalin racks (yellow, green, blue and red). Plastic red, white, blue, yellow, and green betting chips. No dice.
    >2. Paper materials: None
    >3. What are the tiles made of: Catalin (translucent quality, passes simichrome test).
    >4. What you know about the set/its history: Not much, this particular set came from an estate sale in Chicago and was resold on ebay.
    >5. Dimensions of the tiles: 1 1/8” x 7/8” x 1/2”
    >6. How many tiles: 152 (I believe it’s missing flowers and occupation tiles—when you fill in the gaps to make 16 vase flowers, 8 blossoms and 4 occupation/workers the set would have 164 tiles, but the tile holders hold 160). If you can, please tell me the correct number of flowers for this set and which ones I need to make it complete? I would like to make this set whole again.
    >7. What kind of containers does it come in? Faux alligator in green with a (50’s style?) white plastic handle. Very good condition, a little wear on the corners.
    >8. What kind of craks are in the set early/late? Late
    >9-11. Provide a picture of 1 Bams, 1 Dot, Dragons, and flowers: see attached
    >12. How many Jokers: 0 all jokers were created with stickers on existing flower and worker tiles

    Hi, Kristen. Your questions:

    Other tiles: #1 and #2 Occupation/worker/geisha (?) tiles. (Incomplete? I see 4 in other sets). Can you tell me the story told by these tiles?
    No, I can't. The first set pictured here is just the names of the usual 4 flowers: Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, Bamboo.

       

    The other 5 tiles, though: I don't know. Several people have sent photos of their flower tiles and other people have interpreted stories. You can see FAQ 7-E (the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ). And I can't promise anything, but maybe frequent reader Ray H. will offer an interpretation.

    I believe it’s missing flowers and occupation tiles—when you fill in the gaps to make 16 vase flowers, 8 blossoms and 4 occupation/workers the set would have 164 tiles, but the tile holders hold 160).  If you can, please tell me the correct number of flowers for this set and which ones I need to make it complete?
    I have never been able to discern whether these sets actually came with complete 1-2-3-4 groupings of flower tiles. Because American mah-jongg does not use the flowers' numbers for anything (and hasn't since before 1937), my best guess is that RDC and other American manufacturers just threw in random flowers into their sets. Your set has 16 flowers, and for all I know, it always had those exact 16 flowers. You would need to check with an expert on American sets, like Carol Harper (CHarli - you can find a link to her website in FAQ 4A).

    I’m thinking this set is ‘50-’55 ... your idea of the year this set was manufactured
    Based on 16 flowers and no jokers, it could have been made in 1946. It's also possible that it had more flowers originally but some were given to another player so the other player could have enough flowers. The condition looks wonderful in your photos (very colorful, very bright), and if they're from 1946, it's fairly remarkable. I don't know if 1946 makes it "antique" or not. And I don't know if 1946 makes it "vintage" or not. You're the one using those words, so, hopefully, you know what those words mean! (^_^)

    and an approximate value (once I fill in the missing flowers)
    It's all about condition. You say the tiles are "in excellent condition (very light/shallow scratches from use, no chips or flea bites, clean and shiny)." I said they are "bright and colorful." I trust that your "Excellent" is correct. And I trust your statement that the case is "Very Good." Since it has 16 flowers, 8 of which could be stickered as jokers, the set is playable with today's NMJL card, which is a plus. You did not say what condition the racks are in. You did not say how many chips there are (nor whether the colors are divisible by 4, which is more important than the total number - not that anybody today actually uses the chips, but their presence on the racks adds a color accent). You're missing dice, but those can be easily purchased at the corner drugstore.

    Prices are crazy now, it seems. I'm guessing that it might sell for $200, maybe more. If the racks are worn or broken or not attractive, below $200, maybe $150. CHarli might tell you something completely different. You can look at similar sets on Ebay and see what prices they're asking or getting.

    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
    March 9, 2017


    Aloha from Hawaii

    >From: Michele G
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:19 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Aloha!
    >I acquired this set this past weekend from a Temple sale. Hmmmm, let me explain. I live in Hawaii, Big Island, and a large % of our population is Japanese and Chinese. They came to work the Sugar and zPineapple fields. Anyway, pretty much every town here has a Hongwanji (Buddhist Temple/church) and they are known for their annual Temple sales to raise money for the Temple. Patrons donate, it's like a big rummage sale, only everything is very good quality or very old.
    >
    >So I picked up this set, it was marked as incomplete, which it is, but one of the older ladies (70-80's) mentioned it had belonged to a friend's Grandfather. I know on the mainland that is just a story, but here that is good as gold provenance. Our communities are small and everyone knows everyone, so fibbing won't serve you well here.
    >
    >When I got it home and started counting tiles I was surprised to see some unfamiliar ones. I think this set is old enough that it has green, red, and white dragons. I think the flowers/seasons are the heavily decorated tiles - I'm hoping you have some thoughts about them.
    >
    >The basics are:
    >Cow bone and bamboo tiles with a slight convex curve on top - not flat
    >Two tiles missing- a red dragon and the 6 bamboo
    >Two bone dice
    >One wind chip?
    >Some black and white glass pieces - never saw those before
    >4 blanks that have had various markings pit on them
    >A slew bone betting sticks from several different sets
    >No chips
    >No racks
    >No traditional box - we have termites here in Hawaii and this set was in a wonderfully old tin box. At first I had thought it was made at a sugar plantation mill shop (they commonly made items for home use) but looking closer I see a pattern on the tin. But I can not see any words on it, so it could have been a good tin and the insert made later. Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos and have some thoughts to share. It's being added to my local culture display here at my Bed and Breakfast. Lastly, since I only paid $2 for it don't feel like you might hurt my feelings with any comments. I love it, so I'm already a winner. BTW, everyone thought $2 was too much for a set missing pieces. LOL. I love living in Hawaii. Have a great day! I look forward to seeing what you might have to say.
    >-Michele

    Aloha, Michele.
    Sorry for the delay in responding. Busy couple days at work. Your questions:

    When I got it home and started counting tiles I was surprised to see some unfamiliar ones. I think this set is old enough that it has green, red, and white dragons.
    I don't understand, Michele. You seem to be saying that more recent sets do NOT have green, red, and white dragons?

    I think the flowers/seasons are the heavily decorated tiles - I'm hoping you have some thoughts about them.
    They're unique, and desirable to a collector of old sets. If you want to try to figure out what the writing on them says, you can compare your tiles to the flower tile pictures in FAQ 7E, the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ.

    One wind chip?
    If you're wondering what terminology to use, see FAQ 7D. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Some black and white glass pieces - never saw those before
    Those do not belong in the set.

    hope you enjoy the photos and have some thoughts to share. ... I look forward to seeing what you might have to say.
    I am sorry to disappoint, but I don't, as a rule, share random thoughts. Mostly what I do here is answer questions. To my mind, a request for random thoughts is like handing me a shotgun and inviting me to fire it into an open field, whereas a focused question is like handing me a bow and arrow and presenting me with a target on a stack of hay bales. I much prefer the latter. So, if you have questions, by all means ask them, and I'll do my best to answer them! Now I think I'll add this explanation to FAQ 7P!

    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
    March 9, 2017


    I could not find the answer in your FAQs....

    >From: Irene H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2017 9:00 AM
    >Subject: Mahjongg question
    >Tom, I could not find the answer in your FAQs....
    >I was playing with 4 other players and while it was my turn to be the bettor, I noticed that a player had only 12 tiles. I called her dead and then immediately thought that I should not have done so, since I was the bettor and not actually playing. One of the other players said, Yes I should because I was still part of the game. Another player said it did not make any difference either way, because the National Mahjongg League has no rule for 5 players. They do for 3 or 4 players, but not 5. What is your opinion?
    >Thank you....
    >Irene H

    Hi, Irene. The answer is in FAQ 19-W. Sorry you had a hard time finding that! I found it by searching FAQ 19 for the word "bettor."
    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
    March 9, 2017


    Down Under, we treat our dead with more respect

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 3:45 PM
    >Subject: Retrieving jokers
    >I read with some amusement someone's question about retrieving a joker from a dead player's hand.
    >Surely it would be in good taste to let the Funeral people do their thing before one raided the hand of the dead player?
    >Words are funny things when taken out of context don't you think?
    >I have a set of American tiles now and am closing in on a game a lot closer to home, thank you for your advice and patience.
    >Kind regards,
    >Terry from Down Under where the tiles whistle through the gum trees.

    Yes, mah-jongg sounds funny to the ears of those who aren't familiar.
    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
    March 6, 2017


    Down Under, part 2

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 10:53 AM
    >Subject: How can I?
    >Hello from Down Under,
    >How can I dislike something that I don't know anything about? I can't!
    >I've read your book and blogs, I have joined the AMJA, I've got some cards, even some basic knowledge! (No, I'm not a Jewish lady)
    >Alas my small village of some 500 people has no Mahjong players, research has shown that the nearest Mahjongg centre is some 50 miles away. A small obstacle for someone of my advancing years. Thanks for opening a whole new world for me.
    >Kind regards and the tiles are singing!
    >Terry M from down under.

    G'day, Terry! Well, I still say you should buy an American set, if you want to play American. Once you have the equipment and have practiced with it, recruit players from your village. You will surely have to become a teacher of sorts.
    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
    March 6, 2017


    Looking back at picking a future head

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2017 6:17 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 19 R
    >Hi Tom,
    >In browsing through FAQ's I had a question about 19-R. How did "playing with a future" work? I cannot imagine "picking or looking ahead." Can you explain what players did back then? It must have been a common table rule for the NMJL card to mention it in on the back of the card. Thanks,
    >Linda

    Linda, I never saw anybody play that way, I never played that way myself, and I never will. I can only tell you how I think it worked. Each player is holding 14 tiles, so you start your turn by discarding a tile, and you do that right after the previous player discarded. After you discard, you pick a tile from the wall. That's "picking ahead." If you look at it right away, that's "looking ahead." I gather that the picking moves pretty quickly that way, so you have to be REAL fast to claim a discard. When somebody calls for a discard, everybody has to put her 14th tile back on the wall, in reverse picking order. Or so I hear. I think that style of play is very beginner-unfriendly, and I imagine the League outlawed it because it caused a lot of confusion and disharmony. Just guessing.
    May the tiles be with you, in the standard non-picking-ahead manner.
    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
    March Forth, 2017

    P.S. Some players call this style of play "playing with 14 tiles." So, be aware that when someone invites you to play with 14 tiles, you have to ask "is that like playing with a future tile, picking ahead?" - Tom, March 9th.


    The Jan. 8 column

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Friday, March 3, 2017 5:53 AM
    >Subject: January 8th.
    >Dear Tom,
    >My question is about 2.5 on Jan 8. You state that with the Dragon pair, Consecutive 4 is a possibility. Why would you then pass 3D? You would need that for 3D 4B 5D and Green. I would pass a Flower, as you do not need them for either hand mentioned. Pass F, 7B and 9B.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn Z

    I like your answer better than mine, Kathryn! Your reasoning is spot on; keep those 3 spots! Although the official NMJL rulebook and Elaine Sandberg advise against passing a flower in the Charleston, sometimes that is the solution to a problem. I'm posting this exchange in column #664 as an "oopsie."
    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
    March 3, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 5

    Dear readers,
    In only a week since discovering that there was a revised edition of "Mah Jongg Made Easy," the official National Mah Jongg League rulebook, I ordered and received my own copy. I see that yes, indeed, page 12 does describe the Charleston exception that other forms of mah-jongg call "Heavenly Hand." The first right pass of the Charleston is mandatory, with an "Exception: If East ... draws a Mah Jongg hand, the Charleston is waived."
    So the rule I was given in my 2010 letter was officially codified in a rulebook. I'm still waiting to hear from the League president if that rule has been changed (or if Donna's 2017 letter was mistaken).


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    It was revised in 2013. Every table
    should have an up-to-date copy!

    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
    March 3, 2017


    Down Under, and can't get an NMJL card

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Thursday, March 2, 2017 12:56 PM
    >Subject: American Mah-Jongg
    >Hello from Down Under,
    >Try as I may, trying to tell myself that the American game has little to do with traditional Mahjong, I fail miserably, I am 76 years old, therefore a conservative who resists change, that said I have read your book and am a loyal follower of your blogs and Q&A, I am hooked, fascinated, bewitched, call it what you like. The whole concept is something that occupies my waking thoughts. The availability of beautiful sets keeps me looking at YMI's website and others for hours.
    >Alas, I live in Australia where little is known of the game so I'm tossing the coin as to purchasing a set. Who to play with? Here's the biggy, where and how do I get hold of a card. all of my previous efforts to procure a card (any card!) has been rebuffed.
    >Any advice as to how I may succeed?
    >Kind regards, the tiles do talk and I love them.
    >Terry M
    >Australia

    G'day, Terry! You asked:

    where and how do I get hold of a card. all of my previous efforts to procure a card (any card!) has been rebuffed.
    You are not the first Aussie who's asked me how to get a National Mah Jongg League card (unless that was you before, too!). I don't know what you have tried, and I don't know what happened on each of those many attempts, so I can only make suggestions that you may have tried already. If none of these work, let me know what happened in each case and what the reason is. I want to get to the bottom of this. I could swear that Ruth Unger, the former president of the League, told me that there were members in Australia.
    1. Try buying directly from NationalMahJonggLeague.org, with a credit card. If the purchase is rejected, mail US dollars in the form of a check that a US bank won't balk at, and include a letter about how much Australians enjoy NMJL rules. I don't know, just try stuff.
    2. There are numerous vendors who sell mah-jongg merchandise, including NMJL cards. Try them all. Try emailing them to ask if Australia is a problem, and if so, what the problem is. Then look for ways to get around the problem.
    3. Try buying old (pre-2017) cards on Ebay. Pay by credit card. All you need is enough identical cards for your group (at least four cards, all identical).

    I'm tossing the coin as to purchasing a set.
    Go ahead, buy one. Almost all forms of mah-jongg can be played with an American set (the only two you might have trouble with are Japanese riichi and Vietnamese.

    Who to play with?
    Once you have the equipment, recruit friends and make new ones. Same as everybody else. You may have to become a teacher of sorts.

    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
    March 2, 2017


    Column oopsie from last May

    >From: Joanne
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:55 PM
    >Subject: Column #653
    >Hi Tom,
    >I know this column is old, but I haven’t had a chance to check your articles for a while (hospitals having had something to do with it). Having said that, in Column #653 I looked at #5 (2D 4D 8D8D 2B 4B4B 6B6B 8C8C JJJ) and thought immediately of Evens #3. Get rid of the 2D and 4D and you’re golden.
    >Anyway, thanks for all the food for thought and help in sticky situations. I truly enjoyed your book as well. You can never learn too much about this game!
    >Wishing you many jokers,
    >Joanne C

    >From: Joanne
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:56 PM
    >Subject: Previous email
    >Please disregard my earlier message. I just saw the comment. Sorry!

    No problem, Joanne. I guess the and the helped you see it, eh? (~_^)
    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
    February 28, 2017


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

    >From: kathleen d
    >Sent: Monday, February 27, 2017 1:15 PM
    >Subject: MajJongg question
    >Tried to find the answer but couldn’t…
    >A player has a legal exposure with a joker in it.
    >The next round she makes an illegal exposure, also with a joker in it. She is called dead. Is the joker in the first exposure (before she was called dead) available for exchange?
    >Love your columns and looking forward to the 2017 card.
    >Kathleen D

    Hi, Kathleen! You said you...

    Tried to find the answer but couldn’t…
    Sorry it was so hard to find! It's Frequently Asked Question 19-P. You can link to the FAQs above left, but you probably already knew that.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Peculiar box

    >From: Calliste de M
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:37 PM
    >Subject: Peculiar Mah-Jongg box without front slide door
    >Hello Tom,
    >Thank you for your very useful website on Mah-Jongg.
    >I purchased an old box of the game, which was supposed to be complete. However I noticed some strange things that I hope you might help me with:
    >- The box and pieces looks like it is from the early 1900's and has been used a lot. I imagine it is a Chinese game made for export. However the pieces do not fit in the drawer as with other boxes on your website. I cannot do complete rows of the same piece northern vertically nor horizontally. Could it suggest the box is not the original?
    >- The slide front door is missing and had been replace by an old port box slide door. Would you know of any website selling broken boxes where I could find a new door?
    >- Some of the paint slightly drooled on the bone (probably due to previous cleaning). What would be the best way to clean that drool? I am afraid paint disolver might make it worst and alcohol won't dissolve it...
    >- I purchased the box around 250 euro (270 USD) do you think the set was worth this price? The antique shope promised it was complete but the dices are missing.
    >I attach some pictures of the game.
    >Best regards and thanks a lot for your help!
    >Calliste

    Bonjour, Calliste! You wrote:

    the pieces do not fit in the drawer as with other boxes on your website. I cannot do complete rows of the same piece northern vertically nor horizontally. Could it suggest the box is not the original?
    It could. But that is not an absolute indication. The tiles do fit, using the technique you used, and perhaps the maker of the box thought that was good enough since it was more economical as to wood usage. The wind indicator is not typical of 1920s sets, and is likely of later origin.

    Would you know of any website selling broken boxes where I could find a new door?
    If I were you, I would contact sellers (those who sell lots of sets, and those who sell spare tiles, not just someone who has sold one set) and inquire. Check my Sets For Sale and Tiles Wanted boards, for instance - try mahjongmahjong.com and Matthew Shim and CHarli (Carol Harper) and Pat Mead. And you could try joining the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. on Facebook.

    Some of the paint slightly drooled on the bone (probably due to previous cleaning). What would be the best way to clean that drool? I am afraid paint disolver might make it worst and alcohol won't dissolve it...
    The only paint smears I see are on a few of your craks (6 crak mainly) and red dragons and a wind tile. It might not be from a cleaning - it might be from the original painting. The paint might be water-soluble, for all I know (I have not tried doing what you want to do). There are cleaning/restoration tips from readers in FAQ seven oh. You can link to the boards and FAQs above left.

    I purchased the box around 250 euro (270 USD) do you think the set was worth this price?
    I wouldn't have paid that much myself, but I know prices for sets tend higher in Europe.

    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
    February 26, 2017


    Best wishes

    >From: Cyndi
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:01 PM
    >Subject: Best Wishes
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am getting ready to teach a few American Mah Jongg classes and was visiting your site for some new ideas. I saw in one of your columns that you were having cancer surgery. I just want to wish you the very best outcome. I was diagnosed just over two years ago, had treatment, and am doing well. It stinks, but let’s hope all is well and you will be throwing out those tiles with great fervor soon!
    >Best wishes,
    >Cyndi
    >‘May the Jokers be ever in your favor’

    Thanks, Cyndi. The surgery was almost 10 weeks ago. I've been back to work for 7 weeks (I know, I'm crazy, I went back to work 3 weeks after). Recovering well, thanks. Taught a mah-jongg group about 10 days ago. Glad you're doing well too. Waiting for the new card in about a month so I can write strategy columns about it.
    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
    February 25, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Laura F
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 5:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:if a person is working on a concealed hand, can he or she pick up a tile to make mah jongg?

    Hi, Laura!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BD. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2017


    When can I redeem a joker? (Can I redeem a joker before I take a discard?) 

    >From: Tina B
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 11:40 AM
    >Subject: MahJongg Question
    >Please respond to this question regarding calling a MahJongg.
    >1. Player 1 needs a pair, example a 3 dot for the pair, but also needs a Joker to complete her MahJongg
    >2. Player 2 to her left has her turn and calls for a three bam from the discard from the player to her left.
    >3. Player 2 places her called three bam on her rack showing 2 bams and a Joker and then discards a a three dot.
    >5. Player 1, who needs the Joker to win along with the 3 dot that was discarded to make her pair does the following, Player 1 takes the Joker from Player 2 rack and then takes the 3 dot from the discarded pile for her win to complete her pattern and call for a MahJongg.
    >Should Player 1 have been able to retrieve the Joker first and then call for the discarded 3 dot for her pair to win. Or, do you always draw first and then take any Jokers available. She could not call for the 3 dot because she could not MahJongg with taking the Joker first before.
    >Have never seen this happen before and was just curious if this procedure is acceptable.
    >Thanks for your time……
    >Tina

    Hi, Tina! Welcome to my website. It may surprise you to know that your question has been asked frequently. It's Frequently Asked Question 19-M. You can link to FAQ 19 above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! And of course, if the answer in FAQ 19-M doesn't answer your question satisfactorily, let me know how I can make it clearer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 4

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 9:34 AM
    >Subject: and again.. "Heavenly hand.."
    >Tom,
    >P. 12 of the NMJL book middle of the page under "The Charleston".. last sentence: (which I overlooked in my initial trying to find the answer) but it was noted on MJTI last night..
    >"Exception: If East, who was 14 tiles draws a MJ, the Charleston is waived." It should continue to say and "East wins and collects double (?) for self drawn.. or whatever NMJL would decide.....
    >So, the answer I got in writing from NMJL is incorrect. (?)
    >Interesting rulings...
    >Thanks a lot for your help.
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna. I'm not home as I write this response, so I don't have "Mah Jongg Made Easy" to check page 12 right now. But, if it does say that on page 12, then obviously you did get an incorrect answer from the League.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2017

    P.S. Wait! I just checked Mah Jongg, That's It! on Facebook, and Tony R mentioned a 2013 revision to the rulebook? I bought a rulebook every few years to see if there were revisions, and I don't recall seeing any. I need to look further into that when I get home... TS
    P.P.S. The latest "Mah Jongg Made Easy" I have is from 2010. It does not have that Exception wording. Ordering a new copy now... TS
    P.P.P.S. See the March 3 update (scroll up to March 3). The League did update the rulebook, in 2013. I didn't know! - TS


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:08 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna e (puffins
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from donna e (puffins@). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: donna e
    >Message: Thank you! Looking forward to the reply from Larry U.
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal
    >Copyright © 1999-2017 PayPal. All rights reserved.

    Thank you, Donna!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated!
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 2

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:34 PM
    >Subject: folow up on Heavenly Hand
    >Tom,
    >Thank you for posting your letter from the NMJL about the Heavenly Hand. As I had not seen your letter and couldn't locate where it was in writing, I wrote to them.
    >So, we have two different rulings now. I wish NMJL would put these "rulings" in their bulletin. Was the info that you got in 2010 in their bulletin that year?
    >Many thanks,
    >Donna E

    Hi, Donna. You wrote:

    Thank you for posting your letter from the NMJL about the Heavenly Hand. As I had not seen your letter and couldn't locate where it was in writing...
    I cited it (without directly quoting it or using a photo of it) in FAQ 19-BJ.

    I wish NMJL would put these "rulings" in their bulletin.
    I wish the League would document all its rules and revise the official rulebook! *

    Was the info that you got in 2010 in their bulletin that year?
    I don't want to dig it out and check. I imagine if they had, I would have cited that instead of the letter I got from Ruth, since newsletters are available to all members but I was the only one who got that letter.

    I've written to Larry Unger about the contradictory rulings. Will post the reply I get. 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
    February 23, 2017

    *See the March 3 update (scroll up to March 3). The League did update the rulebook, in 2013. I didn't know! - Tom


    Why rotate seats, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:12 PM
    >Subject: rotating seats (pt 2)
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your prompt response to my question about FAQ 19-BB. I am still somewhat ignorant about the strategy of sitting next to different players at the same table. The only time I want to change my seat would be to move to a different table where the players are more fun, courteous, or faster. But that would be rude! Can you offer some examples of when a seat change at the same table would be beneficial? I must be really dense to not understand this concept!
    >Thanks for your patience,
    >Linda

    An example: the player at your left is a VERY defensive Charleston passer. She always passes you useless tiles in the first left. Another example: the player opposite you NEVER wants to exchange tiles in the courtesy. Or how about this: the player who plays just before you has a bad habit: she takes a tile from her hand and places it on the table with her fingers obscuring it, and takes an inordinately long time saying its name and letting go so you can reach for the wall.
    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
    February 23, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >You always say 'get it in writing' from the NMJL so I wrote to them asking about the 'heavenly hand' because I wanted to know where that information was 'in writing'. I saw it in your info but I wanted to know exactly where to find it.
    >This is the current answer, makes little sense to me.
    >What do you think?
    >Many thanks,
    >Donna E

    Hi, Donna.
    The ruling in your letter contradicts the ruling I got in writing from Ruth Unger over six years ago. I thought I had posted a picture of the letter I got from Ms. Unger, but perhaps I never did. I've taken a new photo of it today:

    The League has a new president now. The current president has a right to change the rule, but there is no certainty here that the current president was aware of what Ms. Unger wrote me years ago, nor that the intent is to change the rule. I'm saying perhaps the writer of your letter simply made a decision without knowledge of precedent or how Heavenly Hand is recognized in all other forms of mah-jongg.
    Another concern I have about your letter is the use of the word "stolen" as opposed to the official phrase "blind pass." But that's a nitpick on my part (you know what a stickler I am for terminology).
    I'm going to write to the current president and ask if the Heavenly rule is now changed, and what the previous president told me is no longer true.
    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
    February 23, 2017


    Can she still do the courtesy if she stopped the Charleston?

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:26 AM
    >Subject: stopping the charleston
    >How many tiles can the player who stops the Charleston trade on the optional pass?
    >Thanks,
    >Kajinburger

    Hi, Karen!
    Like it says on the back of the card, she (like anybody) can trade up to 3. Please also read FAQ 19-AH. You can link to the FAQs above left.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. Many frequently asked questions are
    answered on 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
    February 23, 2017


    Why rotate seats after a round?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:09 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 19- BB
    >Hi Tom,
    >I don't understand the NMJL's 2017 ruling about seat rotation. Why do it? Our group rolls the dice to determine who should be the first East. After each game ends, East passes the dice to the player on her right. We don't actually change seats. Is there an advantage to getting up and moving to a different chair? I'm not understanding the concept of the "pivot".
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda. As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, seat rotation mixes up the order of play. Yes, of course the dice get passed to the right after each hand ("game"). But every hour or so, that means the dice come back to the first East again. And if you don't rotate every hour or so, then you will always receive the first right from the same player. You will always exchange the Courtesy pass with the exact same player. Your turn will always come after the exact same player. If you don't want to mix up the order of play, you don't have to rotate. But if you ever find yourself thinking, "I wish once in a while my turn would follow after someone else," then think about rotating. Before last month, the League rule/guideline on rotation was to rotate every 2 rounds. Now, in a more sensible rule/guideline, rotation is every round. (As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, a round is when the deal moves all around the table, coming back to the first East again.) That's the way my group did it - rotating every round means that in an evening's play (or a full session of play, which normally encompasses 3 or even 4 rounds), you really mix up the order of play more than you would by rotating every 2 rounds.
    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
    February 23, 2017


    What's the benefit of blind passing?

    >From: "R, Martha H."
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:50 AM
    >Subject: blind passing
    >Dear Tom:
    >I am a very new but already obsessed player. Please forgive me if you’ve already addressed this, but I am unclear as to the advantage of the blind pass. Under what circumstances would this be beneficial? Thank you so much- Martha R

    Hi, Martha.
    I could just say "when the circumstances happen to you, you'll know." But that wouldn't satisfy your curiosity now!
    I guess every time you've had to pass 3 tiles, you always had 3 tiles you could pass. On the first left (the last pass of the first Charleston) and on the last right (the last pass of the second Charleston) it's not unusual to have collected some good tiles. Doesn't happen all the time, but not unusual - sometimes you get to that point and you're thinking, "dangit! I don't have three tiles I want to pass! I have to break up my hand! Stupid Charleston!" When that happens to you, you'll understand the benefit of the blind pass.
    I'd say more but I have to go now. Hope that helps!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2017


    LAPOM, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:07 AM
    >Subject: Question on Column 665
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can you tell me if any recordings of the event describe in Column 665 are to be made publicly available, perhaps on YouTube?
    >I have been watching some advanced Japanese play via YouTube on the Mondo TV channel...quite informative. This weekend I started playing on Tenhou, which you may know is a on-line game but in Japanese (the interface is reasonably easy to work through), the players on this site are rather good and very fast! I've managed to advance through some of the Kyu ranks (the minor ranks) but now my defensive play and strategies we discussef a few days ago need practice to get further.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray.
    Ryan said that someone would be using an iPhone or something to make a video off the TV screen. I don't know how that worked out, or if it will be made available anywhere. You could try joining the PML's Facebook group and asking there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2017


    Los Angeles Pride Of Mahjong

    This week's column tells the story of the Pacific Mahjong League's tournament at LA Pride Of Mahjong, in Gardena, California.

    Wonder what's the deal with the yellow circles in this photo? Check it out!
    Tom Sloper

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


    How do we handle a slow player, part 2

    >From: Donata M
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:56 PM
    >Subject: Re: Player Timing
    >Thank you, Tom. You have lots of great information on your site. Maybe this is the time for a redesign so the user experience is more efficient. A revamp of the search function, left rail, and info presentation (overall design) could really benefit your great cause, bring more people to your site, and incite them to stay there.
    >Thanks!

    You're welcome, Donata. I'll take your suggestion into consideration. Oh, wait. It's already in consideration.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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

    P.S. Yes, there's a lot of content on my site. And yes, finding it can be a challenge. But you know what I do? The way I find content on my own site is by using Google to find it for me. Ya just gotta have good Google-fu. When I think of a way to redesign the site to make it easier for others to find information on it, I'll take action. - Tom


    Noten, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 12:21 AM
    >Subject: Noten in Japanese games II
    >Hi Tom,
    >Further to my "noten penalty" question, I just read this on an internet site (where ryuukyoku is the exhaustive draw)...
    >"Sometimes, the ryuukyoku point exchange is enough to determine the final position in games, especially in the last hand. Dealers in tight point races need to take particular note about the need to attain tenpai or allow the game to end. It may be desirable to pass on a small winning hand in order to collect the payment from noten players instead."
    >This reflects my point that the payment may be worth more than the win would be, and your reply of trying to be in Tenpai. I'll try to think of this as an advantage in developing my strategy than be too concerned over the negative aspects of being one who pays out.
    >The same website suggests that 40% of professional games go to an exhaustive draw, so I'm in good company!
    >I'm trying the "pray to the Mah-Jongg Gods" approach too, seemed to work last night...two games won, two losses. Some drawn hands in each game, but no real impact on final position.
    >I think my Riichi questions are drying up, thanks for helping me out over the last few weeks!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    40%?? Wow, that's more than I would have thought. Thanks for the statistic, Ray!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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

    P.S. I like what you said: "I'll try to think of this as an advantage in developing my strategy than be too concerned over the negative aspects of being one who pays out." And the same for the point spread. Don't think of them as penalties but rather a way of making the game more exciting. - Tom


    How do we handle a slow player?

    >From: Donata M
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:25 PM
    >Subject: Player Timing
    >Hello, Tom -
    >Is there a rule that dictates how much time a player can have before discarding a tile? To wit, a player takes a tile, puts it on her rack, and then takes what seems like an inordinate amount of time to decide which tile to discard. Often, this time seems prolonged. I want to be polite but this does not seem fair.
    >In tennis, for example, a player has a designated amount of time to serve. If he/she does not serve within that allotted time they are first warned and then penalized.
    >Thank you!
    >Ciao, Donata

    Bon giorno, Donata!
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-BA. Also read column 375.
    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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Mah-jongg divination

    >From: adel salem <zzxxdodo at gmail
    >Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:44 AM
    >Subject: MAHJONG DIVINE
    >>>Hi dear-i have mahjong fortune tellers cards 144 by derek walters and I Practice BY my SELF-and i have used for one issue concern me.
    >>>Appreciate your response if you wish charge me is OK by paypal-- this what i receive -the below:
    >>># CENTER = SEVEN STARS
    >>>#EAST 1-2-3 = SOUTH --- - 2 CIRCLE(PINE) ----- 4 CIRCLE(JADE)
    >>>#SOUTH 4-5-6 = NORTH---- 1 WAN(ENTER) ---- 5 WAN(HOUSE)
    >>>#WEST 7-8-9 = 6 CIRCLE(PEACH) -- 5 CIRCLE(DRAGON) ---- 6CIRCLE(PEACH)
    >>>#NORTH 10-11-12 = WEST -- 9 CIRCLE with CHRYSANTHEMUM -- 6 BAMBOO

    Hi Adel,
    You wrote me the same question on November 3, 2016. I answered you then. If you scroll down, you will find your question and my response from that time. If the page ends before you get down as far as last November, then click the left-pointing hand to go back in time and see what I told you last time. I'm sending you again my first-time-poster instructions about how to return to this board to find answers to questions asked. And you are always welcome to send me money by Paypal. Just click the "donations appreciated" link below. But you are probably a spammer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 13, 2017


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile?

    >From: Pam's Email
    >Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:06 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have an exposure that includes a joker. The person on my left accidentally discards the tile that could replace my joker. Since it is now my turn, may I take the discarded tile and use it in my exposed tiles. Then return the joker to my hand to complete another segment?
    >Thank you.
    >Pam Q

    Hi, Pam!
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-G2. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 13, 2017


    Noten in Japanese games

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2017 11:57 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Senpai Kohai!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Following on from my last email (copied below), an area I have a problem with is the "exhaustive draw", where in a drawn game (riichi) players in "noten" pay a penalty to those in "tenpai" (a 3000 point penalty total paid by the noten players equally).
    >So, having successfully defended against a riichi declaration there's a good chance of being punished anyway...and the 3000 point penalty may be more than one would have lost dealing in to the winning hand. I've now played many times where there's been such a draw, and only once had to pay the full 3000 myself...it hurt a bit as it was obvious that my three opponents were all in tenpai...two had declared riichi and one wasn't defending at all; my pleasure at not throwing the winning tile somewhat tempered by this noten penalty!
    >Do you have advice on how to avoid the noten penalty yet still defend successfully?
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    I'm sorry, Ray. I don't have any advice except the obvious and unhelpful: try for tenpai, and, failing that, hope and pray to the mah-jongg gods/goddesses that someone else wins on someone else's 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
    February 13, 2017


    Honne-tatemae in Japanese games

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Senpai Kohai!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Interesting question from Akira! To some extent Honne and Tatemae (Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person's true feelings and their opinions displayed publicly) may be more usual in Mahjong than senpai/kohai!
    >For example, me feeling "...Why on earth did you discard that tile after East just declared Riichi" as East calls Ron and reveals a mega hand, but instead I message, "..Good win, well done" to East and I send a "...bad luck" message to the player that just lost an awful lot of points. (This is me playing on-line.)
    >But, then realising that's exactly what others had to put up with when I first started too, and feel a little ashamed!
    >Over the last few weeks my win rate at Riichi Mahjong has improved, but (perhaps as important) my losses are decreasing too (I come third and fourth less often as my defensive play improves).
    >I feel that I can improve knowing when to fold a hand (that is, no longer trying to win but rather ensure I don't deal into the winning hand), do you have any advice on how and when to decide to fold, Tom-senpai?
    >Tactics I have used to consider folding...
    > (1) When an opponent declares Riichi and I am two away or more
    > (2) When an opponent declares Riichi and I am one away and one (or more) of my tiles are already on the table
    > (3) When I have only a low scoring hand
    > (4) I have a bad wait (such as a closed wait)
    > (5) When an opponent is close to being ready (for example, if they have 2 or 3 sets exposed)
    > (6) When an opponent is on a flush hand and is discarding tiles of the collected suit (always assuming I've worked that out)
    >If I have more than one of the above situations, then I most definitely fold. At least I try to, but I still get carried away with wanting to win!
    >I'd be very interested if you think the above approach is valid, and if you could suggest others to consider?
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

    To some extent Honne and Tatemae (Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person's true feelings and their opinions displayed publicly) may be more usual in Mahjong than senpai/kohai!
    Absolutely. A "poker face" is a must in any flavor of mah-jongg.

    do you have any advice on how and when to decide to fold, Tom-senpai? ... I'd be very interested if you think the above approach is valid, and if you could suggest others to consider?
    You mentioned some that I hadn't considered, Ray. The only other I can think of is what Steve Sera used to say - "when you don't feel the luck, don't try to win."

    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
    February 12, 2017


    Thanks. Someday...!

    >From: valerie m
    >Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 7:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thank you for your response, Tom. Someday I may learn to read those dots accurately!
    >Valerie M

    You're welcome, Valerie. Not sure which response you're thanking me for, but (dot dot dot) it's all good! (^_~)
    Tom


    Senpai-kohai behavior in Japanese games?

    >From: Akira S
    >Sent: Thursday, February 9, 2017 5:06 PM
    >Subject: Japanese mahjong and etiquette
    >In many japanese Arts and games there is senpai kohai pattern in use. Meaning like advanced and beginner. In that case way of talking or doing stuff, or even behavior is different between them. Respecting people of more experience is important. Does it work like that with this game?
    >Sorry, its difficult to explain
    >Akira

    Konbanwa, Akira-san! Your question:

    In many japanese Arts and games there is senpai kohai ... way of talking ... or even behavior is different between them. Respecting people of more experience is important. Does it work like that with this game?
    I have not observed anything like that, but my Nihongo skills are not good enough to know if players are speaking more respectfully to one another. I imagine that if a student and teacher are playing together, one might hear senpai/kohai speech, but I would not be able to recognize it. I have played mostly in America (with Japanese players) and usually I am the kohai! I played once in Japan with a business manager and his subordinate, and I did not observe any senpai/kohai behavior - but I might not be able to recognize it.

    Sorry, its difficult to explain
    いいえ、わかりました! But I'm sorry that I don't know enough to be able to give you a definitive answer. I think the answer is no, but I cannot be certain.    m(-_-)m

    May the 牌 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
    February 9, 2017


    I have an old card that requires 20 flowers, part 2

    >From: Maryanne T
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 11:01 AM
    >Subject: Re: Questions regarding older cards
    >Thank you for your answer and help.
    >MA

    You're welcome, MA! (^_^)


    Who pays double if dealer makes mah-jongg on the last pass of the Charleston?

    >From: Pam S
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 10:52 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >On the last pass to the right, East passes one tile, steals two. The one tile now in East's possession completes her hand for Mahj. For purposes of payment, did East pick her own tile and therefore gets double from everyone, or did the player to East"s left "give it to her", and she alone pays double.
    >Looking forward to your reply.

    I confess that I don't know, Pam. I would guess that the dealer gets double from everyone, because it CAN be tricky to determine who gave her mah-jongg, since blind passing is permitted on that pass, as happened in your case. I mean, what if the dealer blind passed three? I think any dealer wins during the Charleston would be scored as self-pick. But you'll have to ask the League. And I do not recommend you do it by phone. If it's not in writing, it's not an official rule. So get it in writing.
    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
    February 7, 2017


    2016 #3

    >From: Corinne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 9:13 AM
    >Subject: Mahj Member
    >Interpretation of 2016
    >222 000 1111 6666 (any three suites)
    >Soaps go with any suite But to me can also then be interpreted as
    >Any three suites
    >222 000 as bams or dots green
    >1111 any cracks red
    >6666 bams or dots off setting what is used with the 222
    >Corinne P
    >Mahj member 5 years

    Hi, Corinne.
    You wrote:

    222 000 as bams or dots green
    I'm not sure what you're saying there, but the pung of twos can be any suit (bams, craks, or dots). And the zeroes have to be soaps (white dragon), period. Like it says on the card:

    1111 any cracks red
    No, that kong has to be ones (not any number), and not only craks but rather in any suit you didn't use for the twos (can be craks but doesn't have to be). And the sixes have to be the third suit (whatever suit you didn't use for the twos and ones). I recommend you look up 2016 #3 in FAQ 16 - you can link to the FAQs above left. Please bookmark the FAQs so you can check them anytime you have a question, and please always check the FAQs before asking me your question (but of course I'm always available to clarify answers to any and all questions).

    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
    February 7, 2017


    I have an old card that requires 20 flowers! What's up with that?

    >From: Maryanne T
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2017 3:52 PM
    >Subject: Questions regarding older cards
    >Our group has been buying older Mah Jongg cards to give us some variety of play. In one group it mentions "Big Jokers" and we weren't sure what that means.
    >Also I have a card from 1949 and when looking at the hands it appears today's set would not work because of the number of flowers and jokers required. Where would I find the tiles needed for that timeframe as well as any rules that might be different.
    >Thank you for your help with these questions.
    >Maryanne

    Hi, Maryanne.
    You should read column 509. And I described in FAQ 7E how players used to have to do what you're going to have to do to play with that card. In the forties, fifties, and sixties, many players had to add in mismatched flower tiles. It would then be no secret that some of the tiles in the wall were flowers, since those tiles (even though stacked face-down) did not match the other tiles, either in color or material or size or any combination thereof.  And "big jokers" are just jokers. Until about 1961, flowers were "wild flowers" (they served the same purpose today's jokers serve). And because there were mismatched tiles in the set, they sometimes "planted flowers" in each wall. Players would know those tiles were coming up in the order of play, and there surely emerged some subtle aspects, like players counting how many plays until their next turn, to see if they'd get a planted flower, and then being upset if a player called a discard and upset the picking order. (I'm just conjecturing about the emergent gameplay impact of the wild flowers, since I'm a game designer.)
    So, today people sometimes buy old sets that have mismatched tiles in them, or that don't have enough flowers, all because the League varied the number of flowers before 1971.
    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
    February 6, 2017


    Shifting the dealer wall left

    >From: Sibyl W
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2017 4:14 PM
    >Subject: Moving East Wall?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >Is it okay for East to move her wall to the far left of her rack after the deal is complete?
    >I maintain that it sometimes makes it confusing as to which wall needs to push out next
    >when East moves her wall out of its original position.
    >Thank you
    >Sibyl
    >sibylw

    Sibyl, I'm so glad you asked this! NO, it's not okay - for exactly the reason you state. In the early days when I was a new player, I was on a mah-jongg cruise. The dealer did exactly what you said, and then after the last long wall was over, the dealer threw her own hand in -- because she thought the game was over! She hadn't noticed that the dealer wall was there at the left end of her own rack! The hand was voided, and for no good reason. It had to be replayed. What a pain!
    People often underappreciate the importance of subtle visual cues on the table - like the position of the dealer wall, the position of the dice after a hand is over, the spacing of exposures atop racks. I could go on, but no; I'm lying, I can't go on.
    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
    February 6, 2017


    Can my husband use a joker in Singles & Pairs?

    >From: Joann S
    >Cc: ds
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 7:20 PM
    >Subject: Singles and pairs
    >Hi... I know this answer but I cannot convince my husband....
    >Can a joker be used in 2016 card, singles and pairs #5, 2nd and 3rd grouping of tiles.
    >Please help me explain it well.

    Hi, Joann.
    Your husband should read the back of the card. He should read it ALL, but especially he should read the last sentence before the numbered rules (zero in on the word "NEVER," which appears there in bold, all caps, and underlined).


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. Every player owes it to the other players
    to understand these most basic rules of the game.

    He should also read FAQ 16 (where this specific hand is discussed) and also FAQ 19E-2. After he's landed at the FAQ 19 page, I'd appreciate it if he would bookmark it so he can easily return to it anytime he (or 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. And all the most frequently-asked questions about the current card are found in FAQ 16. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 2, 2017


    Can soap (white dragon) be used with any suit when it's used as zero?

    >From: Barbara R
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 1:37 PM
    >Subject: mahjong question
    >Is the soap tile neutral (can belong to any suit) when it acts as a zero? For example in the last hand on card 2016.

    Hi, Barbara.
    You're asking about the bottom right corner of the card. You'll find your answer at the top left corner of the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    What to do with jokers in a 3-handed Charleston?

    >From: Linda M
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 4:28 PM
    >Subject: 3 handed mah Jongg and jokers
    >Tom,
    >Our Americam Mah Jongg group plays three handed with the Charleston. When it is our turn we pick 3 tiles from the dummy hand. If we draw jokers from the dummy hand, should they be put back or are we allowed to keep them? Some of the group feels they should be returned since you can't pass jokers in the Charleston, other say keep the jokers. Which is it?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    First, read FAQ 13-A to see the actual rules about the 3-player game from the National Mah-Jongg League. Then read FAQ 14.. Then read column 532. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 31, 2017


    How to handle a cheater?

    >From: Arlene T
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 5:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: How to handle a cheater? A seasoned player named a discard, tossed it on the table then said" oh no, I want that tile back" which she retrieved then called for MahJongg for a quints hand.
    >I just sat there with my mouth open shocked and didn't say a word. The other two players didn't speak up either. The cheater then gloated about her win. Shame on me for not speaking up. I printed your response "When a tile is dead. If I pass out the rule to refresh their memory I am going to be the Bad person. What should I do?
    >Arlene

    Hi, Arlene.
    I think it may be a bit of an exaggeration to call what she did "cheating." Cheating would be if she took back a different tile (not the one she discarded). I wrote a few columns on cheating; I suggest you read column 412. I'd call what she did a willful choice to ignore a rule. You are right that the discard was dead, and her snap decision to take back her blunder was technically in violation of the rules. But another important principle is "mah-jongg trumps everything." If it had been me, I would have said, on the spot, "you realize the tile was down and there are no backsies, but since it was for mah-jongg, we're letting you have it this time. Try to be more careful in the future about discarding your own mah-jongg tile."
    Now, a day or more after the fact, I don't know if it's worth bringing up again. Your seasoned player may bring in Kellyanne Conway to dispute your use of "alternative facts" to "delegitimize" the player's win.

    Sorry, The Donald trumps everything, even the analogies I use these days... \(00)/
    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
    January 31, 2017


    Terra cotta, part 4

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 8:45 PM
    >Subject: Terracotta..l
    >Hi Tom,
    >Looks like the character on Elaine's white dragon tile is 福, Fu, which can be understood as a blessing meaning Good Fortune or Happiness.
    >Very nice set!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Nice, Ray! Thanks for the identification.


    Terra cotta, part 3

    >From: Elaine L
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 7:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Ashton & Rietz set, 1923
    >Thanks again, Tom. Good to know that CHarli is a woman! And time travel to the past would be so cool. Have a great week!
    >Elaine

    You're welcome, Elaine.


    Terra cotta, part 2

    >From: Elaine L
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 6:34 PM
    >Subject: Answering your questions
    >The box dimensions are 8 1/2" across by 5 3/4" deep and 4" tall. It is certainly a cheap cardboard box, lol, but it's covered with what CHarli described as oilcloth on his box--but mine is more like a vinyl-type covering that's glued on. I wouldn't call it oilcloth.
    >I've included a one crak from my vintage Crisloid set as a comparison for tile size ; the Ma Cheung tile is just a HAIR larger all the way around. Less than 1/8" difference in length, width and depth. The MC tile is just under 1 1/4" long and the Crisloid tile is just over 1 1/8" long. It looks bigger though because the edges are squared off instead of rounded.
    >Regarding the material: it's not plastic, Bakelite or bone. It feels like a smooth terra cotta tile. I hate to admit I rubbed one on my teeth to test it, like you do with pearls, and it's not as hard as pottery but it's also not glossy, slick or as smooth as Bakelite or one of the more usual materials. I'm
    >including a photo that CHarli sent me, a picture of the envelope that I'm missing which it tells a little about the tiles but not what they're made of. (His set is black, so it references the black tiles) What a mystery!
    >I really appreciate your input on my set. Can't wait to play with it!!
    >Elaine

    Hi, Elaine.
    You wrote:

    It is certainly a cheap cardboard box, lol, but it's covered with what CHarli described as oilcloth on his box--but mine is more like a vinyl-type covering that's glued on. I wouldn't call it oilcloth.
    Okay, that's a slightly less-cheap box construction, I suppose. (And CHarli is a woman.)

    The MC tile is just under 1 1/4" long
    Okay, so a bit larger than the size of "typical American tiles" as shown in FAQ 7-A.

    It looks bigger though because the edges are squared off instead of rounded.
    The reason I thought the tiles were so big is because they seem large compared to the hand they were photographed on.

    So, the tiles are a little bigger than typical, but not as big as I'd thought. The tiles' being unusual material increases the value over other cheaply made sets of the period. The box is in bad condition, which reduces the value. Some tiles are chipped, which reduces the value. Some paper pieces are missing, which reduces the value. If the tiles were not unusual, I'd say the set is worth around $80. The unusual material makes it worth a bit more, but because of the condition, not a lot more. It's possible you might find a collector who wants it badly enough to pay $200, but anything is possible except (1) time travel to the past and (2) the Star Trek holodeck (which kind of reduces the imprimatur of something being merely possible).

    Upshot: the new information leaves me sticking with my original range guesstimate. But I could be way off (since anything is possible except those two aforementioned things).

    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
    January 30, 2017


    The tiles seem to be terra cotta

    >From: Elaine L
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 1:04 PM
    >Subject: Ashton & Rietz set, 1923
    >Tom, I found this set in its original box at the home of a relative, about to be thrown away. It's an Ashton & Rietz set with a copyright date of 1923 on the instruction brochure. There are 144 tiles made from what seems to be terra cotta; 116 betting sticks (no markings) made from the same material and a small pair of dice. There is a cover sheet and the booklet of instructions (intact), but no envelope or scorecard (which would have been in the original game box). It's obviously played with, as there are small imperfections on a few of the tile corners, indicating wear from play. But other than the taped-together box lid, it's in very good used condition for a game that appears to be about 90 years old.
    >There is very little information online about this set. CHarli tells me I am very fortunate to have found it, and I've been told it's valuable to the right collector. I know there was also a black tiles version (which CHarli owns). While I am not interested in selling my set, I am wondering if it is indeed rare, and what an approximate value might be in its condition. Might you be able to answer those two questions?
    >Thanks so much--
    >Elaine in Dallas


    Hi, Elaine.
    You wrote:

    I am wondering if it is indeed rare
    I concur with CHarli that it is a collectible, and unusual. But I see that it's in a cheap cardboard box (of a type often seen in cheaply made 1920s sets to sell to folks who didn't want to spend a lot) which has been badly repaired with tape. I have a repaired cardboard box in my collection too (and I'm the one who repaired it with tape), so don't feel bad about that. I think you shouldn't call the set an "Ashton & Tate" set (since that's only the name of the distributor, not the manufacturer) but rather a Ma-Cheung set (since that's the name emblazoned on the paper materials). The name Ma-Cheung sounds familiar; what's unusual is the tiles (more on that below). And the white dragon, which has an unusual character written on it (mirroring the box top). If Ray Heaton reads this, perhaps he'll let us know what that character says. And, coincidentally, right after I typed his name, I got a question from him!

    what an approximate value might be in its condition.
    I've never seen a set like this go on sale, so any range I might give you would be purely guesswork. I have questions:

    I have to be skeptical as to the material the tiles are made of. You say they appear to be terra cotta (the same stuff California roof tiles are made of). Do they "clink" or "chink" when shuffled together? Most plastic tiles "tic" or "chik" when shuffled together - different materials make different sounds.
    They appear to be rather large, maybe 1.5" on the longest side. Are they that big? Exact dimensions of the tiles are needed.
    Dimensions of the box are also needed.

    Pending your answers to the above, I'd guess the set might be worth from $80 to $200, but I could be way off. You could also try asking the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. on Facebook.

    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
    January 30, 2017


    When to declare Riichi (and when not to)

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 2:42 PM
    >Subject: When to declare Riichi (and when not to).
    >Hi Tom,
    >Another Riichi question (nothing for ages, then two come at almost the same time!)...this may be too general a question so I'll understand if you don't want to answer.
    >I played earlier today and had a closed wait to win, holding a 1 and 3 Bamboo. Two of the 2 Bamboo had been discarded previously by other players. Fully concealed hand.
    >I did think of improving my wait by perhaps drawing the 4 Bamboo and discarding the 1 Bamboo, but then I'd be in Furiten. Instead I declared Riichi, figuring that despite there just being two 2 Bamboo left, my opponents may think it a safe discard. I was in third place needing all the points I could get! I had no Yaku, (so either a Tsumo or Riichi needed to be able to go out anyway).
    >I lost after another player won on an open wait (I think they had 5,6 Dots, winning on my discarded 4 Dots).
    >My question then...In what circumstances should a player declare Riichi, and conversely, shouldn't?
    > (And an associated question, was a closed wait a poor situation in which to declare Riichi, or are there too many variables to tell and it's really experience that counts?)
    >Best regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hi, Ray.
    I just a few minutes ago typed your name, and here you are. If I have magic summoner fingers, I need to make sure I don't type Donald Trump's name! Oh, hell. Anyway, I invite you to check out the post above, and see if you can decipher the character used on the white dragon and the box top of that Ma Cheuk set. As to your question:

    In what circumstances should a player declare Riichi, and conversely, shouldn't?
    I'm not the best person to answer this. I can say that I can think of a few different ways of thinking about it. (1) Declare riichi when you're ready because it throws off your opponents; (2) Go for the higher score instead; (3) Go for the higher probabilities; (4) Are you feeling lucky? If so, go for it.
    I doubt there's one hard and fast principle; strategies have to take circumstances into account.

    was a closed wait a poor situation in which to declare Riichi, or are there too many variables to tell and it's really experience that counts?)
    Going for a closed wait (especially if more than 1 or 2 of that tile are already visible among the discards) is not the best way to go, and riichi does not permit any switching, should you get a tile that would give you a better wait. I've declared riichi a lot, and made the win a small percentage of the time. Remember: it's a gamble, and perhaps it should be used sparingly.

    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
    January 30, 2017


    What does the B mean?

    >From: Phyllis B
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 12:43 AM
    >Subject: mah jongg tile
    >recently played with a set where the soap has a capital B surrounded by a blue border. Any idea what that means??
    >thanx, Phyllis

    Phyllis,
    Tile mysteries are discussed in the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ.

    Please read Frequently Asked Question 7-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs.
    Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    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
    January 30, 2017


    What hand could she be making?

    >From: "Irishhmrs
    >Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2017 3:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What hand could include 3 9 bams and 3 dots on 2016 card

    Hello, "Irishhmrs,"
    Welcome to my website and my Q&A board! Your question was missing some information. You were specific that the 9B should be a pung, but it's unclear if (a) there are three (a pung) of which dots tile, or (b) how many 3Ds you're asking about. If you're saying an opponent is showing a pung of 9B and a pung of 3D or 6D or 9D, then she can be making 369 #5.

    If your opponent is showing a pung of 9B and a kong of 3D, then she has a problem - no such hand.

    I assume you meant to say "3 3 dots," which would still be 369 #5.
    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
    January 29, 2017


    Frequently asked question #19-AM: Can I change my mind?

    >From: Nancy C
    >Sent: Friday, January 27, 2017 1:30 PM
    >Subject: Claiming a discard
    >I recently was told that according to NMJL rules "if a tile is claimed for an exposure and it is touched or moved by th player who claims the tile, it MUST be used in an exposure". Is this true?
    >Nancy

    Hello, Nancy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AM. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 27, 2017


    Age, etc., of my Chinese set

    >From: Karla T
    >Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 11:48 AM
    >Subject: Information about Chinese Mah-Jonng Set
    >I have acquired a Chinese Maj-Jonng set that was given to my uncle in Beijing, China during the mid to late 1990s. I believe the employee who gave it to him said it was his grandfather's. It was definitely a set that his family used.
    >There are 152 bone and bamboo tiles. This includes 12 flowers and 4 blanks but no jokers. In addition, there are two small bone die with the one and four dots painted red. The set is in a wood carved sliding box. The only other part of the set is 18 sticks. I think there may be some missing because there are 9 with 2 dots painted red, 4 with 4 dots (one red dot), 3 with 8 dots painted red, and 2 with 12 dots (6 red dots).
    >I curious about the age, etc of the set but am also curious about the flowers because I think some of them are Singapore style flowers but I am not sure what that really means.
    >Thank you for your assistance and time,
    >Karla

    Hi, Karla. You wrote:

    set that was given to my uncle in Beijing, China during the mid to late 1990s.
    Yes, the carving style looks like a style I started seeing a lot in the 1990s.

    I believe the employee who gave it to him said it was his grandfather's.
    That doesn't tell us much. The day before giving it to your uncle, the man's grandfather might have given it to him.

    It was definitely a set that his family used.
    Did you know that in China, it's common to get rid of a set after a string of lost games? Getting rid of the set gets rid of the bad luck it's harboring.

    bone and bamboo tiles.
    Looks like pulverized reconstituted fishbone to me - see FAQ 7-C. I started seeing this type of set quite a lot in the 1990s.

    This includes 12 flowers and 4 blanks but no jokers.
    Wrong. There are 8 flowers, 4 blanks, and 4 jokers. See FAQ 7-E, the Mystery Tiles FAQ. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left.

    there are two small bone die
    The plural of "die" is "dice."

    The set is in a wood carved sliding box.
    A photo of it would have enabled me to better answer the question you're asking.

    The only other part of the set is 18 sticks. I think there may be some missing
    Yes, "some" (e.g. the vast majority) of them are missing. See FAQ 7-D, the Bits And Pieces FAQ.

    curious about the age, etc
    The age is hard to guess without seeing the box. Could be anywhere from the sixties to the nineties. As for the "etc" -- I can't answer vague questions. See FAQ 7-P.

    curious about the flowers because I think some of them are Singapore style flowers but I am not sure what that really means.
    I'm not sure what "what that really means" means. (^_^) I mean, I don't know what you think it might or might not mean, or what question you might be implying.

    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
    January 27, 2017


    Where can I get antique Chinese mah-jongg box hardware?

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 6:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Howdy Tom,
    >I recently bought a lovely bone and bamboo set just for its flower tiles. Half of them are the left side of a flower basket and half of them are the right side of a flower basket. Put a left one and a right one together and ta da...you've created a full basket of flowers!
    > The box is supposed to look old, but I can't guess it's age. It's not unlike many I've seen before. It has carved Chinese writing on its front door that slides up. Unfortunately, the tile-drawers are missing the pulls and I can't open said drawers unless I flip the box forward. Other pieces of brass hardware are also missing or broken such as tiny pins, straight brass accents, corner protectors.
    >Besides Ebay, where can I look for Mahjong Chinese hardware?
    >Thanks much,
    >Laury

    I don't know, Laury. Try contacting sellers of loose tiles, and collectors of antique sets. Sometimes those folks might have a box that's not rescuable that still has some brass on it. Sellers of loose tiles you can find on the Tiles For Sale and Tiles Wanted bulletin boards (on the Tiles Wanted board, check the links at the top). And for collectors, see if you can join the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. on Facebook. Or maybe folks who do set restoration might have what you need.
    Good luck! May the brass corners 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
    January 25, 2017


    The Japanese uma

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 6:54 AM
    >Subject: The Uma bonus/penalty
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've just started playing Riichi; I bought Scott Miller's book just recently published (“Riichi Mahjong, The Ultimate Guide...”), and play on Mahjong Time. Won a few games, lost more!
    >My question relates to Uma.
    >I understand how the Uma bonus/penalty works...The two best ranked players receive a bonus from the two lowest ranking players in the game. On Mahjong Time the winner receives 15,000 points, second ranked player receives 5,000 points, third ranked player is penalized with -5,000 points and the last player is penalized with -15,000 points. Scott describes this in his book, pretty much as I have shown here.
    >I have also checked your FAQs and found a description of “Uma” as it applies to gambling, where your explanation is clear. It’s in FAQ #25, a really useful set of FAQs may I add
    >But I don't understand why this penalty is applied in situations where there’s no gambling. Can you advise if the outcome of the scores is, for example, used in determining international rankings, and therefore the use of Uma helps separate the highest scoring individuals? (I appreciate the specifics of Mahjong Time is not something you can discuss.)
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hello, Ray. Long time no see! Your question:

    But I don't understand why this penalty is applied in situations where there’s no gambling. Can you advise if the outcome of the scores is, for example, used in determining international rankings, and therefore the use of Uma helps separate the highest scoring individuals? (I appreciate the specifics of Mahjong Time is not something you can discuss.)
    I wouldn't refer to uma as a "penalty." It's more of a point spread, and it's not a universal thing. In Shanghai: Second Dynasty, we offered it as an option. I don't know if uma is optional or not in MJT. And I'm sorry, but I don't know if it's used for the purpose of international rankings (I doubt it, but I don't know). The purpose of the point spread is to enhance the winner's purse, pure and simple. When people are playing for money, they're gambling on winning, and they want to win big. The spread exists to amplify the winnings. Since the amplified winnings have to come from somewhere, that money comes from the lowest scoring players at the table. I wouldn't call that a penalty - I'd call that an amplified loss, due to the players' choice to spread the score for the benefit of the winners (which each player hopes to be at some point).

    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
    January 25, 2017


    Frequently asked question 19-L

    >From: Susan Z
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 4:33 PM
    >Subject: Jokers
    >Our question is, if a hand calls for one, two, or three suits can Jokers be used in place of a suit...obviously not a pair but a pung or a kong? We are specifically referring to EE 22 WWW 222 2222 and the North South with odd numbers.
    >Thanks,
    >SuZi


    >From: Susan Z
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 4:39 PM
    >Subject: Jokers
    >Found my answer....sorry for the trouble!
    >Thanks for being so thorough.
    >S

    No trouble, SuZi! I love it when people find their answers! \(^_^)/
    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
    January 24, 2017


    Its age and value?

    >From: Thomas D
    >Sent: Monday, January 23, 2017 3:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >Download full resolution images
    >Available until Feb 22, 2017
    >Good afternoon,
    >Can you please tell me the age and value of this Mah Jongg set? Any other info you could give me would be greatly appreciated
    >Thank you,
    >Thomas D

    Hi, Thomas. Your 2 questions:

    please tell me the age
    Your set apparently has exactly 13 flowers. That's an odd number. You did not provide any information with your photos, so I don't know if those extra five flowers actually match your eight flowers or not. If they match, then your set had more than 13 flowers originally (and some have been lost or given away). If they don't match, then someone added extra flowers because of what the League required in the early years. See column 509 (you can link to the columns above left or by clicking the purple banner atop this website).

    Because I don't know if your extra flowers match your eight flowers or not (are they all two-tone plastic, with same-color backs?), then I cannot tell you if the set is from the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s. Probably 30s or 40s, but I'm not certain.

    and value
    You haven't given me any information. You need to read FAQ 7H and give me the information I need. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Any other info you could give me would be greatly appreciated
    I'm sorry, but I cannot answer "any other info" requests. I can only answer focused questions. Please read FAQ 7P.

    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
    January 23, 2017


    What year is it? How much should I ask?

    >From: Mark C
    >Sent: Monday, January 23, 2017 10:51 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Set
    >I was wondering if you could help me, if I was to send you some photos would you be able to take a look and tell me about what year my set is, I got it out of a storage container, I dont think its a 1920's set, probably more like 1960's or above, but I have no use for it and I want to put it on ebay, but dont want to rip anyone off by asking too much, so was hoping you could take a look, just to get a base price, I have a good dslr digital camera. thanks Mark.
    >I have looked everywhere on the internet and ebay and etsy and tried to research your site, but I cant find any set that looks like mine. even the score card that came with it is in Chinese, so that did not help either, I noticed the trays are grey plastic and the middle part that holds the dice and sticks is black plastic, so dont think its worth much, but figured it could not hurt for you to take a look at a picture,, thanks again.

    Hi, Mark. You asked:

    what year my set is
    This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 7-G.

    a base price
    Please read FAQ 7-H. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Can't I claim a single, if it's for mah-jongg?

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:39 AM
    >Subject: Call for Mah Jongg
    >Someone recently told me that you can't call for a single tile for mah jongg, as in the hand
    >"FFFF 3 66 999 DDDD"
    >She said you can't call the "3" for mah jongg.
    >I never heard this, is it true?
    >Lou B

    Hi, Lou!
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19E-3. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 22, 2017


    Is the payout rule different when there are three players?

    >From: Patti
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:52 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question on 3 player play when dead hand found due to too many tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >First I want to Thank You for the time and effort you put into your website to help new and experienced Mah Jongg players. Your site is an extremely valuable tool for many.
    >I recently played with 2 ladies (3 person play) and one of the hands was found to have 14 tiles after a few turns therefore was called dead. The question is interpretation of the payout. The NMJLI card states a hand is dead when it has too few or too many tiles during play and pays winner “same as other players” The winning player achieved Maj by picking up a tile discarded by other active player which means that player pays winner double.
    >Q. Does the dead hand player pay double as well?
    >Cheers,
    >Patti in Chicago

    Hi, Patti. Your question:

    The NMJL... card states a hand is dead when it has too few or too many tiles during play and pays winner “same as other players”
    That only means that the dead player still has to pay, even though she's dead. In other words, being dead does not exempt her from paying the winner.

    Does the dead ... player pay double as well?
    See the back of the card, upper left corner. Discarder pays double. All other players (including your dead player) pay single value. That rule is not trumped by the rule you cited.

    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
    January 19, 2017


    Can you help me find players?

    >From: diane susan <dianetaxdahloutlook.com>
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am new to the Bullhead City Arizona area and am looking for players of Mahjongg. Do you know how I can find people or groups in my area to play?
    >Thank you in advance
    >Diane Susan

    Hi, Diane Susan! Welcome to my website. I have a bulletin board where people post announcements that they are seeking other players. I call it the Find Players Bulletin Board. Your request has been posted there, so maybe someone will see your request and contact you. And you should search/scan through the board to find other players in your area. The Find Players board is at http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/findplayer.htm. Wait for the page to load completely, then scroll down to see your post. And read "HOW TO USE THIS BULLETIN BOARD" atop the Find Players board. The board is organized with the most recent posts at the top, and oldest posts at the bottom. Good luck!
    May the players 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
    January 2, 2017


    When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?

    >From: Hannah G
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:06 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >To claim a joker that is exposed, should I do the exchange first and then pick a tile, or pick a tile from the table and then exchange for the joker?

    Hi, Hannah!
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-M. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 19, 2017


    Why say the same as the previous discard instead of "joker"? I wasn't looking, so it's unfair!

    >From: Ione & John
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >HI Tom,
    >This question has to do with a person discarding a joker and announcing the previous tile discarded.
    >Example: Player announces 2 Crack as discard. Next player discards a joker, but announces 2 Crack.
    >I decide that I'm going to call Take on the 2nd , 2 Crack announced and not wait any longer. However, the 2nd 2 Crack announced is the Joker. So now everyone knows I need a 2 Crack. Question: Why don't we just announce JOKER, instead of the previous tile. This is very unfair for the person who now calls for it. She may not be looking at the person discarding the joker, but at her tiles and calls TAKE.
    >Thanks,
    >Ione

    Hi, Ione. You asked:

    Why don't we just announce JOKER, instead of the previous tile.
    You'll find the answer in Frequently Asked Question 19G-3. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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!

    This is very unfair for the person who now calls for it. She may not be looking at the person discarding the joker, but at her tiles and calls TAKE.
    It's not unfair. Every player is expected to play with not only her ears but also her eyes.

    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
    January 18, 2017


    How to use wild tiles in the Goulash?

    >From: Robyn and John
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:18 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong question from Australia
    >Hi Tom
    >You have answered questions from me before and I now have another one. I have read through your Q and A's, but can't find the answer.
    >We play the Thompson and Maloney rules and when we play Goulash we put in four blanks, I assume you would call these jokers. My question is can you have a concealed kong using blank tile/s? We had one the other day and the concealed king gets more points. What do you think? We also don't allow more than one blank in a pung or king. Is this correct?
    >Many thanks.
    >Robyn

    Hi, Robyn. Your comments/questions:

    I have read through your Q and A's, but can't find the answer.
    Yeah... I don't get that many questions about Australian/British mah-jongg.

    when we play Goulash we put in four blanks, I assume you would call these jokers.
    They can be called that. Or they can be called wild tiles.

    can you have a concealed kong using blank tile/s?
    Sure, why not?

    We also don't allow more than one blank in a pung or king. Is this correct?
    It is if you say it is. You're making your own rules since Thompson and Maloney don't provide detailed wild tile rules. Read FAQ 14.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 18, 2017


    Too many tiles during the Charleston

    >From: Janice V
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 1:56 PM
    >Subject: charleston
    >Tom,
    >If during the Charleston a player picks up tiles before passing (she then has 16 tiles in her hand) what is the proper procedure to continue.
    >Thought I read somewhere that a player cannot be declared "dead" during the Charleston, but of course I can not find it now.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Janice

    Hi, Janice. You wrote:

    If during the Charleston a player picks up tiles before passing (she then has 16 tiles in her hand) what is the proper procedure to continue.
    I don't know - you haven't painted a complete picture. Has she mixed the new tiles into her hand, so that she cannot remember which ones she just picked up (assuming she would be honest and retrieve the actual newly acquired tiles), or has she just put them on the rack and hasn't mixed them in yet? See rule 91 on page 60 of my book, or, if you don't have my book, see Philosophy #5 in FAQ 9. I don't have my copy of the official rulebook with me as I write this, or I'd also point you to the source.

    Her error messes up the mix of tiles for everyone (Philosophy 5). If she can undo her error, she must. If she can't, the game is void, all tiles are thrown in and reshuffled and redealt (with same dealer). That's the rule.

    Thought I read somewhere that a player cannot be declared "dead" during the Charleston, but of course I can not find it now.
    Did you try the official rulebook?


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    Every table should have a copy!


    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 2, 2017


    “Flowers are used to complete a definite pattern," part 2

    >From: Howard K
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 11:42 AM
    >Subject: RE: Question about flowers use
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for your answer clarifying the meaning of Rule 11 in special Rulings for the Use of Jokers, Flowers & Zero, “Flowers are used to complete a definite pattern of a hand.”
    >I would like to suggest the following revision to make Rule 11 more clear: “Like zeros, flowers are sometimes used to complete a particular pattern of a hand; unlike jokers, they are not to be used as replacements for other tiles.” This prevents the mistake that my wife and I as novices made to take the current rule to mean that “flowers may be used as replacements to complete any definite pattern of a hand.” What encouraged our misunderstanding of the current rule is the fact that like jokers, there are 8 flowers, while there are 4 each of all the other tiles.
    >Sincerely yours,
    >Howard K
    >Oceanside CA

    Hi, Howard.
    You're welcome. (^_^)
    As for your suggestion to the wording of the NMJL's rule, I am not involved with the NMJL and I'm not responsible for their rulebook. I only interpret their rules, based on a 17-plus-year collection of yearly newsletters and a thorough grounding in non-NMJL rule sets. You'll have to send your suggestion to the League.
    As for why there are 8 jokers as well as 8 flowers, I couldn't opine on that but to say that it appears that the number 8 is a multiple of 4 (the number of players) and an average of 2 jokers per player probably makes for a reasonable balance, given the difficulty of limiting one's choices to the list of hands on the card. You can read column 509 and get an idea of the fluctuations the number of flowers and jokers went through back in the sixties.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 17, 2017


    “Flowers are used to complete a definite pattern of a hand"?

    >From: Howard K
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 4:17 AM
    >Subject: Question about flowers use
    >Dear Tom,
    >My wife and I are new to the game, & find it intriguing. But we have a question from the NMJL rule book: Rule 11 of Special Rulings for Jokers, Flowers and Zero says: “Flowers are used to complete a definite pattern of a hand.” (The local club has ignored the rule.) What does this mean? Does it mean that flowers, like jokers, can substitute for any tile to complete a hand from the official card, but cannot be used in an exposure?
    >A suggestion: Since the meaning of the phrase “to complete a definite pattern of a hand” is not obvious, a new Q & A addressing this issue might be useful. (Am I really the first to ask about the meaning of this phrase, or did I miss your answer somewhere?)
    >Grateful for your helpful list of Q & A’s,
    >Howard (K

    Hi, Howard. You wrote:

    Rule 11 of Special Rulings for Jokers, Flowers and Zero [page 20] says: “Flowers are used to complete a definite pattern of a hand.” (The local club has ignored the rule.) What does this mean? Does it mean that flowers, like jokers, can substitute for any tile to complete a hand from the official card, but cannot be used in an exposure?
    It just means that flowers are used in the hand. Look on the card, scan down the left side of each pane and observe how often you see FF or FFFF. Those are flowers, and they are used as part of the hand (as flowers, not as "any tile"). Edit: One reason the League needed to mention this is that the NMJL game is the ONLY form of mah-jongg in the entire mah-jongg world that uses flowers as part of the hand.
    Your local club doesn't ignore the rule - they can't. If you tried to make 2016 #1 without flowers, you'd have only 12 tiles in the hand. Flowers, like winds, dragons, and suit tiles, are used to complete a definite pattern of a hand. The wording may have been created in 1960 when flowers stopped being used as wild tiles; see column 509.

    A suggestion: Since the meaning of the phrase “to complete a definite pattern of a hand” is not obvious, a new Q & A addressing this issue might be useful. (Am I really the first to ask about the meaning of this phrase, or did I miss your answer somewhere?)
    You really are the first to ask!

    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
    January 17, 2017


    Does blind passing stop the Charleston and the courtesy pass?

    >From: Rose B
    >Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 4:59 PM
    >Subject: BLIND PASSING
    >Hi,
    >I have searched your website for my answer but to no avail. It is regarding BLIND PASSING in American MJ.
    >I know blind passing can only be done of the FIRST LEFT and the SECOND RIGHT of the Charlestons .
    >But my question is: If it is done on the FIRST LEFT (the first Charleston ), can you still continue with the
    >second Charleston ? And if so, can you blind pass again on the second right? Or does blind passing on the first left
    >negate (completely eliminate) the second Charleston ?
    >A player in my group says that if you blind pass on the FIRST LEFT, you cannot continue on with the second Charleston .
    >You must go directly to the optional pass if desired.
    >I apologize in advance if this Q&A is on your website somewhere. But I cannot find it if it is.
    >Thank you so much. I thoroughly enjoy reading your explanations and answers.
    >Rose B

    Hi, Rose. To answer your questions:

    If it is done on the FIRST LEFT (the first Charleston ), can you still continue with the
    >second Charleston ?
    Yes.

    can you blind pass again on the second right?
    Yes.

    Or does blind passing on the first left
    >negate (completely eliminate) the second Charleston ?
    No.

    A player in my group says that if you blind pass on the FIRST LEFT, you cannot continue on with the second Charleston .
    Tell her to prove it. She has to be able to point to the rule in the official rulebook. If she can't, then tell her it's not a rule.


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    Every table should have a copy!

    (Hint: she will not find that in the rulebook. It's not a rule, so she's wrong.)
    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
    January 16, 2017


    Question about FFFF2222000016, 22200011116666, and FF222000111666

    >From: Sally C
    >Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 8:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Under 2016 category in the hand: FFFF2222000016, 22200011116666, or FF222000111666
    >can jokers be used and can you pick up from the middle, or are these hands treated like 2016?
    >Sally C.

    Hi Sally,
    I realize that in FAQ 16 I said that spaces on the card are usually not significant. But the absence of spaces in the 2016 hands in your email IS significant. Those hands are not monolithic; they are comprised of individual groupings, separated by spaces on the card. Those hands, as shown on the card, have spaces for a very specific reason: to delineate discrete groupings of tiles that make up the hand. You asked about three hands:
    FFFF 2222 0000 16 (I always refer to this hand as "2016 #4"). Edit: Please note the spaces between the sets.
    222 000 1111 6666 (I always refer to this hand as "2016 #3"). Edit: Please note the spaces between the sets.
    FF 222 000 111 666 (I always refer to this hand as "2016 #5"). Edit: Please note the spaces between the sets.

    Jokers may always be used in ANY pung, kong, quint, or sextet on the NMJL card. Look on the back of the card (every player owes it to all the other players at the table to read and know everything on the back of the card): it says there that a pung is 3 identical tiles. A kong is 4 identical tiles. A quint is 5 identical tiles. A sextet is 6 identical tiles. Let's look at your three hands again:
    2016 #4 is three kongs and two singles (a one and a six). Of course jokers may be used in the kongs. Edit: And the kongs may be exposed (i.e. made from a discard).
    2016 #3 is two pungs and two kongs. Of course jokers may be used in any of those groupings. Edit: And the pungs and kongs may be exposed (i.e. made from a discard).
    2016 #5 is a pair and four pungs. Of course jokers may be used in any of the pungs. Edit: The pungs may NOT be exposed (i.e. made from a discard), since this is a concealed hand.

    Again: read the back of the card. Look in the left pane, down near the bottom. Last sentence in the paragraph that precedes the numbered list of rules. See the word "NEVER" in all capital letters? Read that sentence. You may not use a joker for a single or a pair. Only for pungs, kongs, quints, or sextets. There are pungs and kongs in the three hands you asked about. And there are singles and pairs. So now you see that jokers may be used in some parts of the hands you asked about - and that there are parts of those hands where jokers may not be used.

    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
    Friday the 13th, January, 2017


    I have not been able to locate this brand online

    >From: Lise R
    >Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:53 PM
    >Subject: Apex brand Mah Jong set?
    >Hello Tom;
    >I just got a Mah Jong set, probably 1950's or 60's, suitcase like box, off white tiles.
    >The box has a sticker on it Apex, Taiwan.
    >I have not been able to locate this brand of Mah Jong tiles on line.
    >Any ideas?
    >Thanks, Lise R
    >New Jersey

    Hi, Lise.
    Your question is unclear. You want me to tell you where you can find some unspecified information about a manufacturer online? All the online information I have (and I am not sitting on any undivulged online information) is in FAQs 4a and 4b. And all the information I have about manufacturers is in FAQ 7u (again: I am not sitting on any undivulged information about manufacturers beyond what's in the FAQ). You can link to my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. And I never heard of this company Apex. And for all I know, Apex might be a distributor rather than a manufacturer. I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful. Edit: I might possibly be able to help with information about your set, if you ask. I don't know anything about Apex or manufacturers, but I know a lot about mah-jongg tiles and mah-jongg rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, January, 2017


    Should I have declared myself dead?

    >From: Ann T <chgmaster
    >Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 4:27 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >Hi Tom
    >I picked a tile up, didn't look at it, but I picked out of turn. The player whose turn it was stopped me and I returned the tile ( a joker!) she then picked it up and we continued playing. Should I have declared myself dead and stopped playing or continue playing as we did?
    >Ann
    >Please overlook any typing errors ��

    Hi, Ann.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AC. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 12, 2017


    Mildew

    >From: Kaplans
    >Sent: Monday, January 9, 2017 10:58 AM
    >Subject: Mildew Mah Jongg set
    >I inherited my mother-in-law's set. Unfortunately it was stored in a damp area & everything smells mildew, case, racks, tiles. It is a modern set. Tiles are all white, but don't know the material. How can I clean everything, especially the tiles? I tried alcohol on a few tiles & that didn't make any difference.
    >Thanks for any help!
    >B. Kaplan

    I don't know offhand, B. Why don't you take a look at FAQ 7-o (seven oh) and see what tips might be there. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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
    January 9, 2017


    Well wishes

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Monday, January 9, 2017 7:22 AM
    >Subject: Many prayers
    >I just read in one of your articles that you were preparing for cancer surgery. Just wanted to say that you and your family will be in my prayers and I hope everything turns out well.
    >Sincerely
    >Barney G
    >Old Tappan, NJ

    Thanks, Barney. The operation was on Dec. 19th, and my recuperation is going well.
    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
    January 9, 2017


    My mystery tiles

    >From: Kate J
    >Sent: Sunday, January 8, 2017 2:31 AM
    >Subject: Mystery Mah Jongg Tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >I picked up a lovely Mah Jongg set an an op shop, and on checking it out, have a set of additional tiles that I've never seen before (I've been playing forever, with a variety of sets over the years). Can you help me identify them??
    >Thanks,
    >Kate.
    >--
    >High School English/History teacher, Cocker Spaniel-lover, cat slave, proud spinster Aunt, knitter, facebooker, Potterhead and wannabe health nut.

    Hi, Kate.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 7-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    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
    January 8, 2017


    Mah-jongg Q&A (of the frequently asked kind)

    >From: Carol A
    >Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2017 6:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: if someone call mahj and exposes hand with jokers and is in error. Can another player take their jokers?

    Hi, Carol.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-P. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 5, 2017


    MJ question (frequently asked)

    >From: Sandra W
    >Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2017 2:35 PM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >If I have 201 tiles, can I pick up a 6 discard tile to make 2016?

    Hi, Sandra.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 5, 2017


    Simultaneous rack and call

    >From: "Jerry D R
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 10:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Yesterday one person called for a tile and another person racked the next tile at the same time. What happens?
    >Thanks,
    >Sue R

    Hi, Sue.
    Please see http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq19.html#window - or you could just stay here on the Q&A bulletin board and scroll down to the October 29, 2016 email from Donna <puffins. She wrote the question to the League, and they answered in a letter (you can see the letter, below and in FAQ 19). 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 4, 2017


    Definitely not, part 2

    Follow-up to the exchange with Lynn P yesterday.

    I got in touch with Larry Unger, the President of the League, and asked:

      I have a question about the third ruling in this year's newsletter: 
      “Can you exchange a tile for a joker at any time in the game... Answer: "You may exchange a tile for a joker at any point during the game.”  
      This answer contradicts rule 4 on page 19 of your official rulebook: 
      "Players must wait until their turn to redeem a Joker or Jokers..."  
      Is the rule now changing? Can I redeem a joker as soon as someone exposes one? Or should this be chalked up to an unfortunately worded answer in the newsletter? (Shouldn't it be: "You may exchange a tile for a joker at any point during the game, on your turn"?)

    His reply:

      Yes, it is always ’on your turn’…That clause somehow disappeared on the way to the printer and we are paying the price today.
      I am grateful for your quick feedback.

    So, the rule is not changed. Just some words got omitted.
    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
    January 3, 2017


    When there's an exposed kong and a concealed kong (MCR)

    >From: Chris G
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 9:12 PM
    >Subject: MCR Melded plus Concealed Kong
    >I am a little lost on how to score this hand. Please see the pictures below. I was using the Mahjong-O-Matic for practice and found that it doesn't score a melded and concealed kong correct and after further investigation found that the rule of one melded and one concealed Kong isn't in the official rules that is found on mahjongtime.com, I screen shotted it for your reference. Regardless I find it hard to believe that this scenario can't score at least 8 points. Hope you can help clarify. I added a screenshot from the interactive MCR calculator online and we came up with the same points, but they count it as a melded kong... Thanks
    > Inline image 1
    >Inline image 2
    >Inline image 3

    Hi, Chris.
    I assume this is the hand in question?

    How to score two kongs when one is concealed and one is not was a source of much discussion, about ten years ago when the rules were being localized into English. Back then, I was attending MCR tournaments, and had a direct line to the officials of MCR. And I was involved in localizing the official rules. So, I'm not reading those screenshots you sent me. I'm just checking my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind."

      Fan 57. Two Melded Kongs
      a. Value: 4 points.
      b. If the hand has two melded kongs, 4 points are awarded. If the hand has one melded kong and one concealed kong, 6 points are awarded (having added the 2 points for Concealed Kong).

    Does that answer your question?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 2, 2017


    They said they wouldn't pay, part 2

    >From: Dinah B
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 1:02 PM
    >Subject: Re: Happy New Year, and Problem in the group
    >Dear Tom,
    >FYI only: I was very apologetic at the time, but I fear I also took longer than 30 seconds. Its hard to know, and I took longer than necessary, because my thoughts were interrupted by one player who has no patience at all.
    >One of my friends decided to leave the group right before this happened, because of the disharmony. She has some friends who want to learn, and we agreed to teach them, so I hope to have a new group to join if I do have to leave this one. Meanwhile, next week, we meet at our regular host's home, and she has brought us into harmony before, so I hope for the best.
    >Thank you again, and a small donation is on its way.
    >Best,
    >Dinah

    >From: PayPal
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 1:04 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Dinah B
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a payment of $10.00 USD from Dinah B
    >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
    >Payment details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Item/Product Number: MJ@Sloperama
    >Item/Product Name: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Buyer: Dinah B
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Hi, Dinah. Thanks for the donation!
    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
    January 2, 2017


    Definitely not spam

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 11:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Re NMJL 2017 Bulletin 3rd question; “Can you exchange a tile for a joker at any time in the game... Answer: You may exchange a tile for a joker at any point during the game.” We had always played that you must wait until it is your turn and then you could exchange a joker for a tile you had in your hand. So can you now, if the player across from you puts a flower and 3 jokers on her top rack, redeem/exchange a flower that you have in your hand for one of her jokers as soon as she puts them up or do you have to wait until your turn? We had this discussion last Friday and ladies wanted me to check with Tom. Thanks for your guidance and answer. Hope your recovery is going well and you are resting. I have my month checkup on this coming Wed. from surgery of 12/2. Recovery is slow but as long as I can drive around the neighborhood and play Mah Jongg on Fridays, I am happy. Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year, dear Tom. Lynn P.

    HNY2U, Lynn. Yes, my recovery is going well. You had surgery too? We should form a club! Keep on recovering. Found your email in my spam folder, and you remind me that I have not yet read the new bulletin!


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

    Re NMJL 2017 Bulletin 3rd question; “Can you exchange a tile for a joker at any time in the game... Answer: You may exchange a tile for a joker at any point during the game.” We had always played that you must wait until it is your turn
    Yes. This statement in the newsletter/bulletin is at odds with rule 4 on page 19 of the official rulebook. I'll look into this with Larry Unger, and see if this is a rule change or simply an unfortunately worded answer. I'll post the information here.
    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
    January 2, 2017


    They said they wouldn't pay me because I took too much time

    >From: Dinah B
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 11:43 AM
    >Subject: Happy New Year, and Problem in the group
    >Hi Tom,
    >Happy New Year to you! I look forward to your introduction to the new card, and hope you have a special 2017 hand for us.
    >Now my question:
    >The group I play with has 10 players but often there are fewer of us present. Three players like to go very fast, and play tournaments, and a few players are slower. I am fairly fast but do sometimes take too much time. Last week, when there were only five of us, I was with the three fast ones, and did take time in the middle of the game to decide what to throw. That game ended when I drew the winning tile on the concealed consecutive run. Immediately one of the fast players said they should not pay me because I took too long. "It gives you an unfair advantage." I thought she must be joking. She said no, and the other two players agreed with her. I said but so-and-so (our teacher!) takes a lot of time during the Charleston. The reply was that the Charleston is not part of the game. I said yes it is. I also said I would try to play faster, and they did pay me.
    >It does make the game drag to take too long, but I don't think it's unfair, because even if you know what you are doing, you can study the table; everyone has the same amount of time. I think it is very unfair to make a new rule at the end of the game, and downright hostile to propose not paying. We have a friendly game but once in a while these things happen, always with the same three players. What do you think is the best way to bring this problem up when the entire group is present? Right now I do not want to play with these three women anymore, but I believe the group will support me, and I would like to continue with them.
    >Thank you
    >Dinah

    Hi, Dinah. HNY2U2! You wrote:

    I look forward to your introduction to the new card,
    Well, you'll have to wait until April 1st for that.

    and hope you have a special 2017 hand for us.
    Yep. Yesterday's column.

    I was with the three fast ones, and did take time in the middle of the game to decide what to throw.
    I hope you were properly apologetic for that, at the time. And I hope you didn't take more than 30 seconds at the most.

    one of the fast players said they should not pay me because I took too long.
    That was a very mean-spirited remark. You say the fast players all play at tournaments. She knows, I'm sure, that that penalty would never fly at a tournament (where the rules are much stricter than at home games).

    "It gives you an unfair advantage." I thought she must be joking. She said no, and the other two players agreed with her.
    Wow. This kind of story always saddens me. The mah-jongg craze of the 1920s died because of exactly this sort of thing (advanced players versus newer players). Why can't we all just get along?

    I said but so-and-so (our teacher!) takes a lot of time during the Charleston.
    It's best not to make this kind of excuse. A better comeback would have been, "that's not supported by the official rules." Then you could produce the official rulebook, and ask for a citation.

    they did pay me.
    Oh. Good.

    It does make the game drag to take too long, but I don't think it's unfair, because even if you know what you are doing, you can study the table; everyone has the same amount of time.
    Their assertion that you derived an advantage is spurious reasoning. Don't waste any time on that. But you do need to keep up with the other players at the table. When I started, I just picked and threw along with everyone else - I lost a lot, until I started to get better. It's inharmonious to play slower than everybody else.

    I think it is very unfair to make a new rule at the end of the game, and downright hostile to propose not paying.
    Of course it's unfair to make up rules on the spot. I played with a player like that once, around 15 years ago. I stopped playing with that group, and rejected all invites to come back. I like a harmonious game.

    We have a friendly game but once in a while these things happen, always with the same three players. What do you think is the best way to bring this problem up when the entire group is present?
    There may not be a good way to do that.

    Right now I do not want to play with these three women anymore,
    I don't blame you. I still wonder how much time you took, and whether you were apologetic for the delay at the time.

    but I believe the group will support me, and I would like to continue with them.
    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
    January 2, 2017


    Looking for someone to engrave my tiles

    >From: Lilly L
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 7:46 AM
    >Subject: Custom tile maker in USA
    >Looking for someone to engrave on my bone and bamboo set. Is there anyone in USA that can do this? I need the numbers in the corners.
    >Thank you
    >Lilly

    Hi, Lilly. Two engravers are listed in FAQ 7-o (seven oh). You can link to the FAQs above left. When you get to FAQ 7-o, just search for the word "engrave."
    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
    January 2, 2017


    My Bakelite owl set, part 3

    >From: "dottt1
    >Sent: Monday, January 2, 2017 7:12 AM
    >Subject: Re: My bakelite owl mah jongg set.
    >Hi Tom,
    >I hope you are feeling better and had a restful holiday. In response to your request for more information (copied below). The tiles are in excellent condition -- no cracks, stains, pits (a few very minor scratches which you need a magnifying glass to see). They are butterscotch bakelite through and through and 1/2 inch thick. I am attaching better pictures. The dice are also butterscotch bakelite, and I have not seen them in any set anywhere (or being sold separately). I did find separate cream colored bakelite dice for sale on 1st dibs, but those were larger. In addition to the owls, please note the people tiles -- quite intricate! There is wear on the paper numbered fronts of the tile and chip holders, and there is wear on the corners of the case. Please check out the pictures, and let me know what you think. Thank you!
    >Dorothy

    Hi, Dorothy. Happy New Year. You wrote:

    The tiles are in excellent condition -- no cracks, stains, pits (a few very minor scratches which you need a magnifying glass to see).
    I disagree. I can plainly see flaws in your photos. Look at the One Dots - there's scuffing and scratches. Your Seven Dots are scratched. Your Two Bams show scratches and scuffs. Your craks have scratches and paint loss. There's a long scratch on your Plum flower (#1, depicting large person with fence), and one on your South. The tiles are not Excellent. They're worn but reasonably attractive; any normal person would notice the defects without having to look for them. That means they're just Good - two steps below Excellent.

    [The tiles] are butterscotch bakelite through and through
    I think they're not Bakelite; yellow Bakelite is less opaque, and less sharp-cornered. I think your tiles are casein, what many collectors call "Chinese Bakelite." Look at the craks picture - the tiles are more square, with very-vertical sides. Not Bakelite.

    The dice are also butterscotch bakelite, and I have not seen them in any set anywhere (or being sold separately). I did find separate cream colored bakelite dice for sale on 1st dibs, but those were larger.
    None of that information helps me give you a valuation. I see that there are two dice. The poker dice, as I mentioned before, are not standard mah-jongg accessories. Your two dice don't look like butterscotch to me.

    In addition to the owls, please note the people tiles -- quite intricate!
    You should have put the owls with the bams. And you should have organized the flowers; see my reorganization below.


    See also the photo below, from FAQ 7E:

    Now you can see what the writing on your flowers means.

    You can see lots of intricate flower tiles in FAQ 7E.

    There is wear on the paper numbered fronts of the tile and chip holders
    You mean the scoring charts on the racks, I presume. I still don't know what the racks are made of. And I don't know what condition the racks themselves are in; from one of your photos, it looks like those are very worn.

    there is wear on the corners of the case.
    The handle looks kind of ratty; very worn, and the photo you sent on the 20th shows wires hanging out of the handle. What condition are the latches and hinges in? Functioning? Shiny or tarnished? I see that there are two keys - you didn't mention those. Do the locks lock and unlock? And you also have a red wind indicator - what is its condition?

    I'm sorry, Dorothy, but I still don't have enough information to give you a valuation. As I wrote in FAQ 7H, condition is everything. I don't know what condition the racks or the case or the pair of dice or the wind indicator are. I don't know how many chips you have, and whether the amount of chips in each color are divisible by four or not (as described in FAQ 7D).
    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
    January 2, 2017


    Happy Year of the Rooster!

    Gung hei fa choi! That's the traditional Cantonese greeting for the Chinese New Year (Mandarin: gong xi fa cai). This week's column celebrates the Year of the Rooster with a new special mah-jongg hand.

    The previous series on the Charleston, following all player's hands to see if the Buffalo gals will dance up "a very interesting situation," concludes next week.
    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
    Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017

    P.S. My recovery from cancer surgery is progressing better this week. The mah-jongg goddesses willing, I'll return to work on schedule next week. The recovery period did provide me a little extra time to write a few columns - silver linings and all that. - Tom


    Can you chow more than once? And another chow Q

    >From: Frances S
    >Sent: Friday, December 30, 2016 1:28 AM
    >Subject: Chow question
    >Can you pick up a discarded tile from the player on your left for a chow more than once? Do you always have to expose a chow if you have picked up a tile from the player on your left?
    >Thank you
    >Frances S New Zealand

    Hi, Frances. Your questions:

    Can you pick up a discarded tile from the player on your left for a chow more than once?
    That depends on what rules you use (which type of mah-jongg you're playing). Many players of Australian/British mah-jongg permit only one chow. In other forms of mah-jongg, a player may make up to four chows.

    Do you always have to expose a chow if you have picked up a tile from the player on your left?
    Absolutely. Please read Frequently Asked Question 20-M; it's important that you understand the logic behind the rule. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    After you've landed at the 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 un-American* forms of mah-jongg are found in FAQ 20. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    * "Un-American" sounds weird, I know. I could have said "Asian forms" instead. But most people would not understand that British/Australian mah-jongg is in fact an Asian form. It's Asian in that there are chows, and flowers are used as bonus tiles rather than kept in the hand (2 major differences between Asian forms and American mah-jongg). Most discussions on this bulletin board are about American mah-jongg, which is the black sheep, the oddball, the weirdo, of the mah-jongg world. American mah-jongg has nothing in common with Asian forms except in that the deal is the same, and the order of play is the same, and the goal (make a mah-jongg hand before anybody else does) is the same.

    You don't really need to know this about American mah-jongg, but I needed to explain why I said "un-American" instead of "Asian." If I've confused things too much, just ignore it.
    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
    December 30, 2016


    She named the discard - can she change her mind about discarding it?

    >From: Ione & John
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 3:56 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Re: Player announces their discard but as she is about to place the tile on the table realizes that it is good for a joker from another players exposure.
    >Does she qualify to get the joker because her discard had not reached the table?
    >Or because she announced discard does she have to discard and not get the joker?
    >Thank you.
    >Ione

    That's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ), Ione. I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-A and 19-B. And it would also be a good idea to read FAQ 19-AM. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 27, 2016


    Column 661

    >From: Lori B
    >Sent: Monday, December 26, 2016 1:35 PM
    >Subject: RE: Strategy #661
    >Hi Tom
    >The number 1 player and his 1st pass, you mentioned passing the white dragon; If we were to try for "like numbers" wouldn’t it be best to keep the soap (white dragon) and perhaps pass the 4 Crak?
    >Thanks for your input.
    >Lori P

    I'm completely lost, Lori. Player 1 doesn't have a soap in column 661 - player 3 does. And player 3 never passes soap.

    Perhaps you're talking about a different 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
    December 26, 2016


    New column posted

    New column is up! Today's column is on the Charleston, following all player's hands to see if the Buffalo gals dance up "a very interesting situation." Continued from last week, and continuing on.
    Tom
    Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016


    Happy holidays and speedy recovery

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 4:13 PM
    >Subject: happy holidays
    >Dear Tom,
    >I'm so sorry to learn you needed surgery. I will pray for a speedy recovery.
    >Be well, Linda

    Thank you, Linda. Happy holidays and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    December 24, 2016


    My Bakelite owl set, part 2

    >From: "dottt1
    >Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 10:00 AM
    >Subject: Re: My bakelite owl mah jongg set.
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for responding in spite of your medical challenges (which I hope will be swiftly taken care of and your health completely restored!). As for condition, the tiles are perfect -- no chips, scratches, burns, pits or anything else I can think of that might occur to these. I think the dice belonged to the set, but I can't say for sure. There have been only two owners -- my other half and his grandfather. It is remembered as always having the dice. The case has areas of wear on the outside. The papers on the sticks are worn, too. But chips, tiles and so forth are all in excellent condition. The photos are fairly accurate (not a little washed out). Let me know what you think.
    >Thank you.
    >Dorothy

    Hi, Dorothy.
    I really need more detail, and a couple more photos. The detail I need is spelled out in FAQ 7-H. I need a list of all the parts. I need the quality of all the parts ("areas of wear" is not specific enough, for example). I need to see the owls and the flowers. You wrote:

    the tiles are perfect
    So you're saying "Item looks the same as when it came from the factory. No defects of any kind." Really?? They look like they were made yesterday?

    The papers on the sticks are worn
    You mean the scoring charts on the racks? I don't see any sticks in your photos. Please read FAQ 7-D and use proper terminology for the bits and pieces. Also, "worn" isn't very specific - what kind of wear are we talking about? Edges brown, wrinkled, torn...? If you can't describe the wear in words, send a closeup photo of the worst wear so I can at least see.
    Another piece of information I need to know is what your racks are made of (wood? plastic?). YOU can touch and examine your set closely, but I cannot. You want me to tell you how much your set is worth, but I can't do that without sufficient information from you. Please read FAQ 7-H. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    But chips, tiles and so forth are all in excellent condition.
    Aha, they're "Excellent," are they? That's not at all the same thing as "Perfect." You're saying that everything "has only very minor defects which only a purist or expert would notice or care about." (That's how the word "Excellent" is interpreted in an evaluation.) These defects must be described in detail (as it says in FAQ 7-H).

    And please, take a photo of all your tiles laid out like this:

    Please read FAQ 7-H. It doesn't work to just send me a couple of photos and alakazam, I give you a valuation. You have to work a little harder than that. Standing by...
    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
    December 24, 2016


    Wishes for your speedy recovery

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 9:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: This is a comment about you Tom, my favorite Mah Jongg advisor. I just saw your answer to someone else about your hospital stay. Sorry that you had to have surgery and am surprised you are already on your site. Those anesthesia side effects will be with you for a few months so take it easy driving and even walking and getting up quickly. I had surgery May 2 and Dec. 2 so I found this to be true. Please know my prayers and thoughts are with you for a quick and successful recovery. Happy (as much as they can be now) Holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year. You are the BEST! Lynn P.

    Thank you, Lynn.

    I'm surprised at how much I did on the site today, too! Just now I read online that I shouldn't sit in this chair for more than 45 minutes at a time, so I know I broke that rule! I'm taking it easy, don't worry. By the way - your email came through just fine, without getting shunted to spam! Maybe it's the start of a new reality. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you. And may you have a happy holiday.
    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
    December 23, 2016


    Donation, part 2

    >From: Wanda H
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 2:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Wanda H
    >Thanks for your message, Tom. I trust all went well with your surgery. Wishing you the best.
    >Wanda

    Thanks for your concern, Wanda. The surgery was successful. I'm in some discomfort now but improving daily. The best back at you!
    Tom


    Find players in [wherever], part 4

    >From: Ruby S
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 1:47 PM
    >Subject: Re: Players
    >of course not. never implied that you did. i didn’t see the tampa woman.
    >happy holidays.

    Look again, Ruby. Hedy Gelb posted on October 12 that she was looking for players in Tampa.
    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
    December 23, 2016


    A frequently-asked question

    >From: Kay Potter
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 8:37 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >I think I looked everywhere, but.....
    >May I pick up a tile that has been discarded, if I only have jokers to complete the pung/kong, or must I have at least one of the named tiles in my hand?
    >Thanks,
    >Kay Potter

    Hi, Kay.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-L ("Do I have to have a natural tile?"). You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 23, 2016


    Update FAQ 5

    >From: Mahjong Helper
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 6:13 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 5 - Update to Mahjong Helper app? (Now supports MCR)
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just put out an update to my mahjong scoring assistant app, "Mahjong
    >Helper", and was hoping you could update the listing on FAQ5 for it?
    >(Thanks again for listing it!)
    >The new update brings support for Chinese Official (MCR) scoring (to
    >add to Japanese Riichi, European Classical, and Hong Kong styles).
    >It's available for Android and iOS, and also Windows 10 (phones,
    >tablets, and desktop... so no longer just smartphones. :)
    >http://www.mahjonghelper.com
    > (On that note - if you would like a copy on any platform, let me know
    >and I could furnish you with a free version!)
    >Thank you!
    >Mike.

    Hi, Mike.
    I updated FAQ 5. I'd like the app for iOS and Windows 10, please.
    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
    December 23, 2016


    Donation

    >From: PayPal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 10:58 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Wanda H
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a payment of $25.00 USD from Wanda H
    >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
    >Payment details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Item/Product Number: MJ@Sloperama
    >Item/Product Name: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Buyer: Wanda H
    >Message: I am a new player and use your site a lot. Thanks!
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Wanda!
    Sorry for the delay in replying. I went into the hospital for cancer surgery on Monday the 19th, and just got home last night (Thursday the 22nd).
    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
    December 23, 2016


    Find players in [wherever], part 3

    >From: Ruby S
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:50 AM
    >Subject: Re: Players
    >I am SO sorry to have disturbed you.
    >Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
    >Thank you for your immediate response. When you are feeling better, i would appreciate if you would send me an email. i don’t know why i have difficulty with these types of websites. I do not want to disturb any more than i have.
    >Happy Holidays.

    Ruby,
    2 minutes after you sent me your question on the 18th, you also sent me a Find Players post, and the Find Players bulletin board is all I have for you. I post all players and teachers who contact me, and I SWEAR that I am not withholding any names and I am not sitting on other secret information about vast numbers of players all over the place. All I have is what people send me to post on the Find Players board. As I responded to you on the 18th (the day before my surgery), there is one other Tampa player listed on that board. Why don't you contact her? Just search the board for the word "Tampa." If you need help using the Worldwide Web, try asking Google. 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
    December 23, 2016


    Find players in [wherever], part 2

    >From: Ruby S
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 8:42 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Players
    >Please respond.

    From: Tom Sloper
    To: Ruby S
    Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:38 AM
    Subject: Re: Players
    I responded on the bulletin board on Sunday and had surgery Monday. Still in hospital. Please see response on board.
    >Sent from my iPhone. -- which hopefully explains weird typos, terseness, and, like, you know; stuff.


    My Bakelite owl set

    >From: "dottt1
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:01 AM
    >Subject: My bakelite owl mah jongg set.
    >Hello Tom,
    >I visited your website and am wondering about the value of my set. I think it is 1930's Chinese made for export. It has the barn owl and 144 tiles. Pictures are attached. Please let me know what you think. Thank you.
    >Dorothy

    Hi, Dorothy.
    Sorry for the delay in replying. I went into the hospital for cancer surgery on Monday the 19th, and just got home last night (Thursday the 22nd).

    You didn't give me enough information. If you want to know about your set's value, you have to tell me about its condition, using specific terminology and enough detail. Please read Frequently Asked Question 7-H. You can link to the FAQs above left. And of course I'm going to need better photos of your owl 1-bams and your flowers (preferably arranged in order, as can be seen in flower tile photos in FAQ 7E). And I'll need to see for myself what color the tile backs are. You may be able to pick up your tiles and examine them with your fingers and eyes, but all I have to go by are your photos and your words.
    One thing I can tell you is that your set has poker dice in it. I would have thought that the poker dice didn't belong in the set, but yours fit so neatly into your case that it's possible the manufacturer threw them in to add value to the set. But it's odd that the tray for the dice are a different color from the tile trays.
    Anyway, I'll await further information from you so I can give you my guess as to the set's value.
    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
    December 23, 2016


    Find players in [wherever]

    >From: Ruby S
    >Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:57 AM
    >Subject: Players
    >As a new resident of Tampa FL, when searching the internet on how to find players in my area, sloperama kept appearing for other cities, as far as I could tell.
    >Would you mind telling me how i would best go about locating games/players in my new area, 33626 zip code?
    >Thank you in advance.
    >Ruby

    Looks like you already figured it out, Ruby -- 2 minutes after this email, you sent in your Find Players bulletin board post. I see there is another Tampa player listed there. Hope you find a game!
    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
    December 18, 2016


    Local automatic mahjong table stores

    >automatic table
    >George Z
    >Hi Tom -- love your website!!!!
    >I'm thinking about buying an automatic table for my wife for Christmas. We live in Los Angeles, are there any local places that sell them?
    >Thanks in advance.
    >Best,
    >George
    >George Z

    Hi, George.
    That's a very nice idea! Unfortunately, I do not know of any places where you can walk in and see an automatic table or a selection of them on display. I list some California suppliers in FAQ 7F, but I don't know how up-to-date that list is. I recommend you make a whirlwind effort and contact every supplier in FAQ 7F (including Aotomo in China, who surely has American outlets). I know that tables ARE available in the US, but you have to find them yourself. It might even be possible to get one delivered to your home in the next 2 weeks. Your wife will be the toast of the local mah-jongg community if she has a machine that can deal up American walls (you have to make sure you know which kind of mah-jongg she plays, since American mah-jongg is very different from Chinese and Japanese mah-jongg - see FAQ 2B).
    Good luck! May the tables turn for you.
    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
    December 11, 2016


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack? (FAQ 19-M3)

    >Rita W wrote:
    >Subject: Redeeming joker
    >Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016, 8:24 PM
    >I have a question about something
    > that happened to me recently. I had claimed a tile and
    > displayed it in a kong using two jokers. Later, I discovered
    > that I had three of the tiles for the kong and should not
    > have used but one joker. When it is my turn and I have
    > picked from the wall, can I redeem one of the jokers with
    > the tile that I have on my rack.
    > Thanks,
    > Rita A.

    Hi, Rita.
    Yes, you may. Read Frequently Asked Question 19-M3. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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. Also...


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. In 2016, some wording was changed and
    some new wording was added. And many frequently
    asked questions are answered on 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
    December 8, 2016


    Donation, part 2

    >From: Mary E
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 5:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary E
    >You're very welcome, Tom. (Still waiting for the 2nd edition of The Red Dragon & The West Wind) :D
    >Mary

    Getting the publisher to go along with that is easier said than done! - Tom


    Donation

    >From: PayPal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 4:49 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary E
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a payment of $25.00 USD from Mary E
    >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
    >Payment details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Item/Product Number: MJ@Sloperama
    >Item/Product Name: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Buyer: Mary E
    >Message: Yours is the very best site, Tom! I recommend it to all my students. May the tiles be with you! Mary
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal
    >Copyright © 1999-2016 PayPal. All rights reserved.

    Thanks very much, Mary!
    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
    December 6, 2016


    To what extent must exposures be viewer-friendly?

    >From: Vivian W
    >Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 7:56 AM
    >Subject: etiquette question
    >I was playing a consecutive hand & when partially (when I requested a tile) exposing I placed the tiles numbered hi to low. (facing me)Was told it's etiquette to place them in the rack when exposed : low to hi.(so that the other players can more easily figure out what hand I was playing.) I would like to know if this is mahjong etiquette or the player's wish.
    >Thank you.
    >vivianw

    Hi Vivian,
    I wrote in Frequently Asked Question 19-Z that it is accepted customary practice to place exposures in chronological order. Read that FAQ for an explanation (you can link to the FAQs above left).
    I am guilty of not always turning my tiles the same way (all "right side up," either readable by me or by my opposite), since I play in Asia where there are no corner indices and players there don't care which way tiles are rotated. But it's good etiquette in the Western world to have all your tiles oriented the same direction (accepted customary practice is for the tiles to be "right side up" from your own point of view). And as I wrote in FAQ 19-Z, to be viewer-friendly, there must be spaces between each exposed grouping. 
    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
    November 4, 2016


    She missed her turn. Now what?

    From: Robin P
    Sent: Monday, November 28, 2016 5:00 PM
    Subject: Mahjongg question
    Hi Tom,
    During the middle of a game with 3 players, the person left of East missed her turn. No one noticed it right away.
    East picked and discarded. The person to the right of East picked and had not yet racked or discarded when the error was noticed by the person who had missed her turn, player to the left of East. What should be done?
    Thank you,
    Robin P

    Hi, Robin.
    I suppose a tournament judge might say she's dead, or maybe not. I've never seen a ruling from the League that a missed turn is a valid reason for calling a player dead. She doesn't have too few tiles or too many tiles (both of which are death); she just didn't pick and discard when she was supposed to.
    So Lefty was sleeping - too bad for her, but she can't blame anyone else for it. In my opinion, she can have a turn again after East's next turn.
    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
    November 28, 2016


    How to download the game to my Apple Book?

    >From: Anita D
    >Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2016 3:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I play on the internet on my computer — not an apple. I also want to play on my Apple Book. How do I download the game to my Book?

    Hi, Anita. I don't know how helpful my answer will be, since I am not The Tech Guy, and I don't know which game you're talking about. Depending on what game you play on your computer, you might just be able to go on the worldwide web with your Book (your MacBook?) and maybe the game will just work. If not, you may need to play a different game (a web game) on your Apple; or maybe you just need to go on the App Store to get it.
    This kind of question isn't what I do here. Read FAQ 24; you can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 25, 2016


    Not available in Australia

    >From: "tsmurf8
    >Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2016 9:58 PM
    >Subject: New/old hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >I purchased my first Mah Jong set in New Guinea in 1973 from “the Chinese Shop” (there was no TV nor even listenable radio). We fell in love with the game, don’t know exactly what game we were playing but from my current reading it was a mish mash of Chinese, Japanese with a little bit of local New Guinea thrown in. Game was put into storage when we returned.
    >It seems the American game is very big and it caught my interest. I tried to join one of their associations, couldn’t do that, the web site not set up to deal with anything outside of the US. I am fascinated by the Cards that are used in America, tried to buy some. No! “Not available outside of the US” It seems that Mah Jongg in the States stays in the States and is not available to Australians. Do you know why?
    >I have some of your publications and am in awe of your knowledge of the game and would be interested in the card system that seems to be the orbit around which the American game travels but I guess I’ll never know.
    >Kind regards
    >Terry M

    Hi, Terry. You wrote:

    I tried to join one of their associations,
    That's not how the League works. You become a member of the League for one year when you purchase a card, but membership just means your name is on a mailing list. There are no associations to join.

    the Cards that are used in America, tried to buy some. No! “Not available outside of the US”
    If you can't order it online through the NMJL website, there are other ways. You could make contact with the League through other means, or you could order a card from another online vendor.

    It seems that Mah Jongg in the States stays in the States and is not available to Australians. Do you know why?
    I was under the impression that the League did have players in Australia. I don't remember where I got that idea - maybe it was something in a conversation I had with the late president of the League. You could try sending snailmail to the League, and ask them directly.

    interested in the card system that seems to be the orbit around which the American game travels but I guess I’ll never know.
    Try contacting a vendor from FAQ 4a (the FAQ links are above left).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 25, 2016


    Am I teaching my students to be rude, part 2

    >From: R███ H
    >Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2016 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Re: Thank you
    >Thanks Tom, for your speedy response.
    >I must admit, though, that your answer stings because I'm such a big fan of yours. I did try (unsuccessfully) to find the answer to my question before bothering you with an email.
    >I purchased your excellent book years ago, and perused it frequently. I also visited your comprehensive site often and recommend both your book and your website to my students.
    >Your comment embarrasses me. I understand that it is your property, but if you would kindly remove my name (if not the entire topic) I'd be most grateful.
    >Again, thanks for all that you do.

    It's anonymized now. Sorry you were stung by my reply; just saying how I feel about 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
    November 24, 2016


    Am I teaching my students to be rude?

    >From: R███ H
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 8:03 PM
    >Subject: Re: Thank you
    >Dear Tom,
    >I'm being accused of teaching my NMJL students to be "rude." Am I?
    >I encourage my students to rack their new tiles after they're pulled as quickly as possible for two reasons:
    >1. It keeps the game moving.
    >2. It prevents the opponents from calling a discard, unless they're really quick!
    >So, is it rude to rack new tiles as soon as they're picked up? If so, how long should one wait before racking to prevent being called "rude?"
    >Your help is much appreciated.
    >R███

    Hi, R███.
    I guess you haven't read a lot of my answers here, or you'd know that this is one of my pet peeves. I don't approve of a game that moves so fast that players have very few chances to call a discard. I disagree that "preventing an opponent from calling a discard" is a good strategy. It's certainly not a friendly way to play. In my book, I wrote of "pickandrack" and said that it's aggressive and ungracious. The late president of the NMJL, Ruth Unger, quoted me in a newsletter a few years ago and added, "The League is in agreement." I recommend that players pause a beat before picking, in order to give others a chance to call for the current discard. Having first paused a beat, then you can pickandrack as quickly as you want.
    If you'd been following me here, you'd also know that I espouse the 3-second rule used in Chinese Official mah-jongg tournaments. I don't say that a player should pause 3 seconds before picking; I'm just saying that in Chinese tournaments, if a caller speaks within 3 seconds, he or she gets the discard. So "pickandrack" doesn't accomplish anything in China; and I wish people would give American players a reasonable window of opportunity to call 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
    November 24, 2016


    We designed a 2-player variant, part 2

    >From: Charlie V
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 5:31 PM
    >Subject: Re: A Two Handed AMJ Method
    >Tom - Thanks for responding - we have checked Gladys' method and it looks like the game play referred to in this paragraph of my original note:
    >There are numerous other variant forms of two handed play - one of them allows a full combination & exchange of tiles between a player's two "hands", essentially playing a "hand" of 26/27 tiles as play progresses, but we have found our method more satisfactory, since we feel it preserves the spirit of the traditional 13/14 tile play more closely, and does not permit concentration of Jokers.
    >Our method is the "13/14" tile play method and it looks like Gladys' is similar to the 26/27 version we mentioned.....either method could be fun for situations with only two players; we felt the 13/14 tile method just a bit more like the real four player ambiance for us......Thanks again for providing this forum. Players looking for alternate play have several options, with enough info in your post to help them go either way.....hope we helped someone looking for a good solution, and have a great Thanksgiving !!!
    >Charlie V

    Got it. Thanks, Charlie.
    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
    November 24, 2016


    Confusing Charleston habits, part 2

    >From: Betty H
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 5:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: Question
    >Tom,
    >I've never been able to find the response you indicated was posted to my question. I just finished reading every Q/A--very helpful--but still don't see a response. Could you be more specific in directing me please. I'm quoting the question again below:
    >" find it confusing when doing the Charleston if players pass tiles and begin sorting them onto the board rather than waiting for all players to pass. It just seems more courteous and less confusing to me if everyone passes and then players pick up their tiles at the same time. Your thoughts?"
    >Betty H

    Hi, Betty. I posted my response to your question on November 16. As I wrote in the notification email I sent you, sometimes when you can't see the reply, you need to refresh your browser or use a different browser. If you can see this November 24 response, you can either scroll down to Nov. 16, or you can search the page for "Betty H" and you'll find what I wrote last week.
    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
    November 24, 2016


    We designed a 2-player variant

    >From: Charlie V
    >Cc: Penny V
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 1:12 PM
    >Subject: A Two Handed AMJ Method
    >Tom - We are sending this along for your use in any way you see fit - not sure if there's anything new in it that you haven't seen a hundred times before, but if you can use it in your FAQ or any other part of your site, please consider it a donation that you will now own. Your book and site have been a great source of info and fun for Penny & me - keep up the good work !!.......Charlie
    >
    >A Two Handed American Mah Jongg Play Method
    >After my wife Penny taught me the basics of American Mah Jongg, I found there were very few men players around, and none I could locate on-line in my immediate area. The ladies of my wife's group kindly allowed me join a few of their weekly games, but, as regular Mah Jongg players know, player groups develop a kind of unique chemistry and ambience that makes "breaking into" a group difficult for any newcomer, much less a man - clearly, conversations were sometimes being restrained by the presence of a sometimes ineptly playing male, so it was not really a satisfactory way to learn and progress in the game.
    >
    > I also felt I was not ready for the experience of Mah Jongg "tournament play" as a way to advance in the game - typically these events were attended by experienced players who would have little patience with a player constantly holding up the game with "thinking" delays or worse, playing errors that make them "dead", thus having their tiles in play lost to the table.
    >
    >At first, Penny and I tried playing two handed with a "dummy wall", but that method really only works well with three players. I also tried practicing hands with a deck of Mah Jongg "cards" - basically playing cards with Mah Jongg tile faces instead of the usual four playing card suits. This worked pretty well for practicing hands solo, but was obviously not the same as game play.
    >
    >There are some online player games available (including one through the National Mag Jongg League), but we weren't excited about not being able see other players or playing against a computer with perfect odds-calculating abilities.
    >
    >What we finally came up with was a form of two-player game where each player actually plays two hands, with two tile trays [racks] in front of them. This was, as you might guess, a little confusing at first, with many more instances of 12 & 14 tile dead hands than usual, as we struggled to get used to a four-handed Charleston with only two players. The second most common problem was remembering whose turn it was, particularly after a tile "take". Obviously, a third issue was trying to deal with deciding on two hands, since for beginning level players, getting one hand decided upon is often quite a challenge.
    >
    >Physically, we used a table setup with a round table (could as easily be a square card table), with each player's two trays [sic] arranged in front of them in the shape of a shallow "V" so that they can easily see both of their trays [sic] at a glance. Looking down from above the table, the left and right players' trays [sic] would appear something like this, with the "V"'s a bit more open to permit easier viewing by each player of both their own trays [sic]:
    > Left Player | < > | Right Player
    >
    >Here are the basic rules as we finally developed them, trying to be as true to the game as possible:
    >1. Four walls are built as normal rules require.
    >2. East breaks their wall & deals tiles to the right as usual.
    >3. Play progresses to the right as usual.
    >4. During the Charleston, each player, who can now see two "hands", passes tiles in such as way as to benefit either one or both of their hands, but is not permitted to pass Jokers (as in normal play, but obviously this rule must be "self-enforcing" - players must trust each other not to pass Jokers so as to concentrate them in one hand). Tiles are passed normally between the players' two hands, under the normal Charleston rules ("ROLLOR", First Right, First Over, First Left, Second Left, Second Over, Final Right for those not familiar with this mnemonic acronym) plus a final optional "Courtesy" pass but, and this is the part that makes this form of play challenging and fun, each player is passing the tiles knowing what tiles their second hand needs to form a particular hand, so they are strategizing how to best help "themselves" with their Charleston passes.
    >5. Other than the changes noted in #4, play progresses under normal rules, except that each player gets two turns (one for each hand), unless a "take" is called, in which case the next turn after the take is the "hand" to the right of the taking hand (which obviously might be the same player, playing their second hand).
    >6. Walls are broken sequentially to the left of East, as normal rules dictate.
    >
    >After an initial period of learning and adapting, we have become quite adept at this form of play. The most entertaining aspect of playing two-handed was the opportunity for two "chances" at a winning hand rather than the normal single one. We found that sometimes we would actually be trying for two competing hands, while at other times, one of our two hands simply became sacrificial to the other, an interesting kind of play strategy not available in the normal game.
    >
    >There are some other "quirks" of playing this two-handed method that you'll discover after playing for a while. One involves the amount of time each player has after the opponent's discard to determine if they will "take" the discarded tile - after a player's first discard (playing their first "hand"), that player can turn quickly go to their second "hand" and discard there as well, giving their opponent very little time to consider a "take" of the first discarded tile. This is more like real four-handed play, where the next player to the right can quickly draw a tile from the wall after a discard, leaving the discarded tile un-claimable. But in two-player play, after an opponent's second discard, the other player has as much time as they wish before drawing from the wall to decide whether to "take" (assuming you both have not placed a timer on play), a small "breather" that can assist the newer player in keeping their two hands straight in their mind. In other words, since there are no other players who can potentially decide to "take" that second discard, but only you, being the only other player at the table, you are able to take bit of time to decide what to do.
    >
    >Another interesting strategic quirk in this two-handed world is the decision point for each player to elect whether to "take" an opponent's tile for their second hand, thereby foregoing the turn for their first hand, or to just use that next turn to draw from the wall as usual, guessing that might bring them a better tile (perhaps late in the game when the wall is growing short).
    >
    >One more fun "quirk" of the two-handed game is the ability to "stockpile" different single tiles in one hand that can become a winning discard (and then "take") at the critical moment when the player has come within one tile of Mah-Jongg. This obviously works very nicely when the last needed tile is one of a pair, or year-date groups, since these cannot be exposed except upon Mah-Jongg. This can make one of a player's two hands a "sacrificial" hand, but can set up a nice win when their other hand requires pairs.
    >
    >As mentioned above, a unique feature of this method of play is that a player may, of course, decide to either work both of their hands or just one of them to win - we have had games where both of a player's hands were competitive right up to Mah-Jongg, as well as games where it was obvious one of the hands had a far better chance of winning, and where the player could "feed" their good hand from the poorer hand during Charleston, or during play by discarding from one hand, quickly "tapping" it on the table, and then "taking" the discard for their other hand before the opponent across the table can react. This is a very different kind of strategy than normal play permits, and we found it to be an interesting and fun variation.
    >
    >There are numerous other variant forms of two handed play - one of them allows a full combination & exchange of tiles between a player's two "hands", essentially playing a "hand" of 26/27 tiles as play progresses, but we have found our method more satisfactory, since we feel it preserves the spirit of the traditional 13/14 tile play more closely, and does not permit concentration of Jokers.
    >
    >For true Mah Jongg disciples, this may not be a satisfactory alternative, as they desire the unique complexity of four "minds" in game play. But, for those game fans unable to find two other players, or to find any with a satisfactory experience level, it may be a way to experience the fun of the game and develop game skills that would not otherwise be possible.
    >May the tiles be with you !!!
    >Charlie V

    Hi, Charlie.
    I didn't read it thoroughly, but it sounds like it has similarities to Gladys Grad's "Siamese Mah Jongg." You should check it out (just Google it, or go to siamesemahjongg.com). Great minds thinking alike and all that. If you want to come back with a list of differences between your design and Gladys', I'll post that here.
    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
    November 23, 2016


    Column 660, part 5

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 5:43 AM
    >Subject: Possible error
    >Dear Tom,
    >In your latest column, number 3. Would the hot tile be 1D not 1C as she has exposed the 1C's already?
    >Thank you and I love reading your column.
    >Kathryn Z

    Yep, I sometimes type a C when I should type a D. Good catch, Kathryn!
    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
    November 23, 2016


    Conflicting claims, part 6

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A/in the junk fiolder again???
    >HI Tom, am I in your junk folder again?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Concerning Donna’s letter 11/14: NMJL has said in a previous letter that if you take a called tile and put it on top of top rack you have begun your exposure so can’t change your mind and put it back. But in this letter they say that because player hasn’t exposed other tiles she must give her called tile to a player who called after her for Mah Jongg. So if the player who called the called tile and put it on her top rack had already exposed her other tiles then she wouldn’t have to give the tile to the player who called it for MJ. It seems unfair that because the player has begun her exposure by placing called tile on her rack thus can’t put it back she has to give it back (disrupt her exposure) to another player who called the same tile too late. Seems like it is OK to be sleeping/day dreaming while playing and still can get the tile she wants for MJ. Looks like a double edged sword for the alert player taking a called tile. So maybe player should display her tiles from her hand while taking the called tile or even before. I am ambidextrous so that would be no problem for me!! I actually play 2 handed some times! Then player of called tile just has to discard and hand is closed. I do play with some daydreaming players and it is not fair to the alert players who are on the ball! Daydreamers ask numerous questions throughout the game and interrupt the flow of the MJ game and many times they throw a tile and call it by wrong names. Love the 3 second rule but I know some players who won’t go along with that. Anyway MJ is so much fun and sometimes I make some money on my $3.00 purse. Where can you go for $3.00 for an afternoon with friends and even some great snacks and goodies!! Again I am glad you, Tom, are willing to host this question & answer page and to write your strategy column when you have the time. I have recommended your book, “The Red Dragon & The West Wind”, to all new players I meet. Many thanks, Lynn P

    Hi, Lynn.
    Yes, I did find your email of yesterday in my spam folder. The spam filter I created, to try to tell my mail settings that you're not a spammer, hasn't worked. I tried making a second filter today.
    To get to what you wrote:

    Seems like it is OK to be sleeping/day dreaming while playing and still can get the tile she wants for MJ. Looks like a double edged sword for the alert player taking a called tile. So maybe player should display her tiles from her hand while taking the called tile or even before.
    I don't know if the second caller really was sleeping or daydreaming. I don't assume she was. In my opinion, the second caller deserves a chance to make a call for the tile within a reasonable window of time. As with picking from the wall, the first caller should make her call and take the tile at a reasonable speed, not aggressively quickly, so that an uninterested observer could see whether the second caller had been sleeping.

    I am ambidextrous so that would be no problem for me!! I actually play 2 handed some times!
    My Japanese friends would not approve of two-handed play (as I said to you on Nov. 6). And I don't see a necessity to play aggressively. The 3-second window would be reasonable here.

    I do play with some daydreaming players and it is not fair to the alert players who are on the ball! Daydreamers ask numerous questions throughout the game and interrupt the flow of the MJ game and many times they throw a tile and call it by wrong names.
    That's a separate issue entirely. I don't think such players need to be subject to different rules.

    Love the 3 second rule but I know some players who won’t go along with that.
    Sure. It's not an official American rule (it's an official Chinese rule), and as such it's not beholden on anyone (and of course I know some players who make up their own table rules, not going along with certain official rules). It's the way I choose to comport myself, but I'm flexible in the interest of harmony.

    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
    November 17, 2016


    Confusing Charleston habits

    >From: Betty H
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 1:35 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >I find it confusing when doing the Charleston if players pass tiles and begin sorting them onto the board rather than waiting for all players to pass. It just seems more courteous and less confusing to me if everyone passes and then players pick up their tiles. Your thoughts?
    >Betty H

    Hi, Betty.

    I don't think that you should be confused by other players picking up their passes and integrating their new tiles into their racked tiles. I think you should be confused by other players passing tiles when other players haven't yet completed a previous pass.
    To put it another way, it's not picking up that confuses a Charleston, but rather putting down.
    For example: a player picks up her first right, quickly decides what to pass across, and passes across to a player who hasn't yet received her first right. "Wait, what's that? I haven't gotten my right yet."
    See what I mean? It's the passes that can confuse one. I don't see how somebody picking up and integrating tiles affects anyone else in any way.

    Okay, so now that I've talked about the thing that's bothering you, I haven't talked about a solution. The solution is to talk to the other players and say "it's better if we don't go on to the next pass until everybody has picked up the previous pass, okay?" But then, even if they all agree that that's reasonable, it's necessary that people actually pay attention to the table goings-on beyond their own tiles. And for many people, that's difficult (especially beginners).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 16, 2016


    Column 660, part 4

    >From: "paula
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 6:01 PM
    >Subject: Comment on Defense Lesson 669
    >I believe you threw in #8 to see if anyone would catch the error.
    >"8. This must be Odds #...? No, she's making Consec. #3. Sixes are hot, and they're key tiles."
    >First of all, consecutive #3 is 1111 22 22 22 3333, a completely different hand. Secondly, consecutive #4 would require the fives and sevens to be pungs, not kongs. The six and dragons would be the kongs. The correct answer is call her dead. There is no such hand.
    >Paula

    Hi, Paula.
    Thanks for writing. Yes, consec. #3 is three consecutive numbers - but any three consecutive numbers; the numbers don't have to be ones, twos, and threes. The illustration shows fives as the low number, and sevens as the high number. The middle number, six, needs to be paired in all three suits.
    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
    November 15, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-BJ

    >From: Albert G
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 6:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah jongg during the Charleston
    >Hi,
    >I know it would be extremely rare (almost impossible) but what if you acquire mah jongg in the middle of the Charleston? Can you declare?
    >Thanks.
    >Al

    Timing is everything, Al. It depends on what you mean by "in the middle."
    Before passing first right: yes, you can.
    After passing first right: no
    After passing first across: you can blind pass left, stop the Charleston, and declare.
    After passing first left: you can stop the Charleston and declare.
    After passing second left: no, you can't.
    After passing second across: you can blind pass right, refuse the courtesy, and declare.
    After passing last right: you can refuse to exchange in the courtesy and declare.
    After the courtesy: you can declare.
    Of course, you have to be the dealer (no other player has 14 tiles). Read FAQ 19-BJ. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 15, 2016


    Column 660, part 3

    >From: Pamela W
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 6:57 AM
    >Subject: Column 660 #5
    >Could also be 2016 #4; right?
    >Pam W.

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 2:08 PM
    >Subject: Column #660, Hand #5
    >I only learned to play Mah Jongg a few months ago & am very much enjoying it. I discovered your column via a google search & it has been very helpful to me. Thank you!
    >In your most recent quiz column, hand 5 has Flower Kong and a 2 Bam Kong. Your answer key said this would be either a Like Number hand or an Eleven hand. Couldn't it also be 2016 hand #4 (in which case the 1B and 6B could also be key tiles)?
    >John

    Very good, Pam and John! Quite right.
    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
    November 15, 2016


    Conflicting claims, part 5

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Monday, November 14, 2016 2:39 PM
    >Subject: Answer fm NMJL
    >Tom,
    >This confirms the scenario from Nov. 4. It's what we had thought.
    >Thank you!
    >Donna


    Click or tap image to see larger version, then use your browser's Back function to come back.

    Very good, Donna. This backs up what I said to Lynn on Nov. 5, too. Thanks for sharing the answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 14, 2016


    New column, part 3

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Monday, November 14, 2016 2:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Column 660: #8. Consecutive #3 has no Dragons, only the sixes are key.
    >Cannot be Consecutive #4 as the fives and sevens would have to be pungs, not kongs.
    >Bee

    Very good, Bee. Guess my eye must have wandered there. I made that correction to 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
    November 14, 2016


    New column, part 2

    >From: Daphne S
    >Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2016 2:49 PM
    >Subject: Column #660
    >Hi Tom-
    >Love and appreciate your work! In Column #660, item #7: Isn't another possibility Elevens #1?
    >Daphne

    Very good, Daphne. I made that correction to 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
    November 14, 2016


    New column posted

    New column is up! Today's column is on defense (what do you do when an opponent is showing exposures).
    Tom
    Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-E, part 2

    >From: Tina M
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2016 10:28 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jong Question
    >Too confusing. I'll find the answer elsewhere.

    Okay. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    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
    November 13, 2016


    Got jokers but no dice

    >From: Beth P
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2016 12:09 PM
    >Subject: Joker strategy
    >I have noticed on a few occasions over the past few years that someone including myself has been dealt a hand of four or five jokers, then had trouble determining a hand during charleston. And the result is NO win which seems shameful having those jokers. Often there are no pairs or friends and such a variety of tiles. Do you have advice/strategy for a hand when this occurs? Thanks and I love your website and appreciate your help. Beth
    >I also like the 3 second rule which our group pretty much uses without even being conscious of it.

    Hi, Beth.
    I'm glad you like the 3-second rule. As to your joker strategy question, it seems paradoxical, doesn't it, that when you get so many jokers the rest of the hand just won't come in. The thing I do when I have many jokers is I make sure I don't go for a hand that uses pairs (even just one pair), if I don't have the pair(s) already. If you've read my column, then you know that there's a hand on the card that I call "the most powerful hand on the card" (the 2nd hand in Consecutive Runs). Look at its structure: pung, pung, kong, kong. That structure is what makes it "powerful," since that structure aligns with other hands on the card - look at the 2nd hand in 2468, and in 13579, and in 369. It seems a shame to have to go for a 25¢ hand with all those jokers, but if you don't have a pair for a hand that needs one, and if you don't have tiles for a Quints hand, then go for safe pung-pung-kong-kong hands. The great thing is they're so switchable.
    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
    November 13, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-E

    >From: Tina M
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2016 8:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >My friends and I play American MJ and the other day a question came up. I was playing one of the wind & dragon games. I had a NES and needed a W to complete the word NEWS. Another player threw out the W. Could I claim that W and put up my NEWS on the rack? This was not for MJ, just for part of the play.
    >Thanks for your help.

    Hi, Tina!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 13, 2016


    Conflicting claims, part 4

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 5:17 PM
    >Subject: agressive play
    >Hi Tom--
    >Regarding your Nov.6 answer to Lynn--It's a wonder to me that the NMJL does not address courtesy or aggressive play. The "3 second rule" seems very fair. I imagine the NMJL assumes that an aggressive player will find herself without anyone to play with!

    Hi, Linda.
    I imagine the NMJL is making some assumptions, but isn't making that one. I'm glad you agree that the 3-second rule seems fair.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/11/2016


    I sorely miss your weekly WWYD columns

    >From: PG L
    >Sent: Sunday, November 6, 2016 4:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >This is merely a comment--not a question.
    >I sorely miss your weekly WWYD columns. They, more than anything else, has helped me to improve my game. But I still
    >need a lot more improvement, so I hope you are planning to start those columns again. They were such a good idea.
    >From a fan.

    Hi, PG
    I wish I could write a column every week again, but I've taken on an extra load - in addition to teaching 3 courses a semester, I'm also taking a course each semester. After I finish the program I'm taking, perhaps I'll have more time. Until then, I'm trying to write one at least monthly, but sometimes I can't manage that. I'm gratified that you enjoy the columns, and at the same time I'm sorry I'm not making you happy. Perhaps I can write one next week (but that's not a promise).
    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
    November 6, 2016


    Conflicting claims, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, November 6, 2016 5:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Back to you about Donna’s question. She had said that the player called the tile and put it on her top rack so according to what NMJL wrote in letter to Lynn M. that exposure had begun and can’t be stopped so tile can’t be put back. I think the player who called Mah Jongg on that tile was “too late”. Obviously the player calling MJ was either not paying attention or spent too much time figuring out her hand. When you are waiting for a tile for MJ you should know what tile you are waiting for and call it immediately when it is thrown. (My opinion.) I have played with players who call a tile and as they are picking up that tile with one hand they are exposing with the other. Nothing’s going back for them!
    >We, Mah Jongg players, are so glad we have someone like you to turn to when we have a question, comment, or to just explain something or give added info about MJ like “ It is the year of the whatever”. As always thank you for being there with your expertise. Lynn P

    Thank you, Lynn.
    You may be right. I'm a proponent of the Chinese 3-second rule, as I've said before - because it doesn't honor aggressive play. In the case of Donna's question, I would consider how quickly the first claimant grabbed the live discard. And I know "not paying attention" and "spending too much time figuring out her hand" when I see it.
    As for that two-handed playing you describe: I played with Japanese, who play for high stakes (yes, I lost a lot of money I could ill afford); they have a strict "one hand" rule. Their reasoning was that it's easy to cheat when using two hands (think about magicians' sleight-of-hand). But I think you can guess from what I've said herein that I dislike two-handed play because it can become aggressive (making it difficult for other players when there isn't enough time to make a call).
    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
    November 6, 2016


    Conflicting claims redux redux

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, November 5, 2016 9:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: In reference to your answer to Donna on 11/4 about calling a tile, exposing on your rack and then someone calling same tile for Mah Jongg,
    >I remember someone named Lynn M who wrote to the NMJL about exposing called tile. They said once a called tile has been exposed it cannot be put back since the “exposure has begun...”. So wouldn’t that mean that the person who called for the tile for Mah Jongg couldn’t have the tile since it is too late? From below it doesn’t seem that both placing the discard atop the rack AND exposing tiles from the slanted rack have to be completed.
    >A: 2. Calling a discard, either for an exposure or for mah-jongg. Once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play (you may not backtrack - it's too late).
    >For further reading:
    >RDWW - p. 65 (rule 111), p. 100
    >Sources:
    >NMJL - 2007
    >The Mah-Jongg Q&A BB March 2, 2015
    >Food for thought. Wondering...? Thanks, Lynn P

    That's a good point, Lynn. Touching the taken discard to the rack makes it too late for the taker to undo the action. Does it also make it too late for another claimant to claim the tile, even if for mah-jongg? The statement that "the exposure has begun" makes one think so. But when you mentioned the NMJL letter from March 2, 2015, I went back and looked at that post. In it I mentioned something the League said in January, 2007:

      "Once a tile has been called for exposure and the exposure is put on top of the rack... PLAYER CANNOT DECIDE THAT SHE DID NOT WANT THE TILE... A CALL FOR A TILE IS JUST LIKE A PICK FROM THE WALL, ONCE TAKEN... IT CANNOT BE PUT BACK."

    When a player picks a tile from the wall, she can't put it back... unless another player calls for the live discard. Then the tile has to go back on the wall. My point is, the picker crossed a line when she picked up the tile - but even though she crossed the line and can't decide to put it back, someone else can decide that for her. So, if one player wants a discard for exposure and puts it on her rack, she crossed a line and can't put it back. But maybe, since mah-jongg trumps most things, perhaps a claim for that discard for mah-jongg can trump the touch of the discard to the other player's rack. A claim for mah-jongg does outprioritize several other actions. I can accept that a mah-jongg claim is too late after the first claimant exposes tiles from her rack (even though that rule can cause some to decide to act aggressively) - but I find it hard (in the absence of a clear ruling from the League) to accept that a mah-jongg claim is too late after the first claimant merely touches the taken discard to her rack. The former is a considerably more obvious "exposure beginning" than the latter is. None of this tells us definitively what the League would rule, of course - just my opinion based on existing precedent.
    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
    November 5, 2016


    Conflicting claims redux (FAQ 19-H)

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 9:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I love your whole site and your answers to the questions! You are the best.
    >Here's a question we can't figure out totally and would like your opinion.
    >Player A discards a tile. Player B calls it, picks up the tile and puts it on top of his rack correctly. Player C then says 'call for Mah Jongg'. Does player C get the tile or does it stay with B?
    >I know MJ trumps a call but the single tile was already on top of the rack. If the tiles from the rack had already been added to the tile on top prior to C calling for MJ, would that have changed the situation?
    >Thank you very much!
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna. Your question has two parts:

    Player A discards a tile. Player B calls it, picks up the tile and puts it on top of his rack correctly. Player C then says 'call for Mah Jongg'. Does player C get the tile
    I believe the answer is yes, because Player B has not exposed tiles from his rack. See FAQ 19-H, which relays what the League has said officially.

    If the tiles from the rack had already been added to the tile on top prior to C calling for MJ, would that have changed the situation?
    Definitely - Player C spoke too late. But now she has a problem, of her own making: everyone knows that is her maj tile. Once Player B exposed tiles, Player C should not have spoken.

    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
    November 4, 2016


    You are rude, part 4

    From: Belinda - Frontier
    Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:23 PM
    Subject: You are NOT rude
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I, too, like Lynn, appreciate you and your website. Unfortunately, one cannot hear the tone of the writer of the written word as they would if it were spoken. Also depending on the mood of the reader at the time they read the written word, the reader may completely misunderstand the writer's mood or intent. I think I have read every word on your site regarding American MJ and it is easy to see that you have a great sense of humor. Your answers are very informative and to the point while also throwing in a special kind of humor. I hope you don't change.
    Bee

    Thank you, Bee. (^_^)
    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
    November 4, 2016


    This is what I receive

    >From: Adel K
    >Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2016 1:53 AM
    >Subject: need your assistance
    >Hello Tom ,i have mahjong fortune telling 144 cards of Dereke walters the author and i practice for my self-and i have used for one issue concern me
    > Appreciate your response-- this what i receive -the below result:if you want charge me for this service it o.k for me via Pay pal.
    > (direction) (cards)
    > - CENTER = SEVEN STARS
    > EAST 1-2-3 = SOUTH --- - 2 CIRCLE(PINE) ----- 4 CIRCLE(JADE)
    > SOUTH 4-5-6 = NORTH---- 1 WAN(ENTER) ---- 5 WAN(HOUSE)
    > WEST 7-8-9 = 6 CIRCLE(PEACH) -- 5 CIRCLE(DRAGON) ---- 6CIRCLE(PEACH)
    > NORTH 10-11-12 = WEST -- 9 CIRCLE with CHRYSANTHEMUM -- 6 BAMBOO (WATER)

    Hi, Adel.
    I take it you are asking about a fortune reading, and that regular mah-jongg tiles would form the arrangement as follows (I do not have graphics for Walters' elaborate cards):

    I'm sorry, but I have not studied Walters' book, and I have never tried to do a reading from it. If you are looking for someone to interpret this particular set of cards, I can't help 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
    November 3, 2016


    My tiles are peeling

    >From: Pat A
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 2:15 PM
    >Subject: Question about tile condition
    >Good afternoon, I have been going through the Q & A’s and have not found an answer to my question If I may take your time to inquire about tiles. I have a set given to me by my sister I believe from 1970’s. I play mahjongg regularly at our local senior center. I would like to sell the set given to me by my sister. I am not sure what they were made from. The tiles could be made from fish bone and appear to be peeling (some not all). I have taken several close up photos to show you what I mean. I have set out the full set as you describe, however, wanted to send you a few close up photos. One tile is cracked on the edge. Would the peeling of the tiles, still be a salable set to someone? I am not sure how to describe the defects other than peeling.
    >I have 152 tiles, two dice, 11 extra flowers, 1 additional joker and 2 blanks. A total of 166 tiles. Theset comes in a brown faux leather case.
    >Thank you for your time and input, and I will refer my player friends to your site when they have questions etc. It is a wonderful site for mahjongg players both beginner and advanced.
    >Pat A

    Hi Pat,
    I doubt that "peeling" is the right word, unless you are finding flakes in the case or on the table. I believe what we're seeing there are manufacturing defects. Take a look at photo #5 in the August 30, 2016 post From: Judy Faintich titled "Looking for what my set might go for, part 2." The tiles were probably molded and stamped that way.
    And yes, I would say that such defects make your set less valuable. You can find someone who's willing to buy the set, but it won't fetch the amount a well-made set will.
    Oh, and your tiles are definitely plastic, not reconstituted fishbone. Probably high-density polyethylene (see FAQ 7c3).
    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
    November 2, 2016


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Kathleen E
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:if I am working a closed hand can I take an exposed joker from another player?

    Hi, Kathleen!
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-BD. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 2, 2016


    Two people call for the discard, part 2

    >From: PayPal
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 5:41 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Mary Kay C (kayc103
    >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
    >Payment details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Item/Product Number: MJ@Sloperama
    >Item/Product Name: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Buyer: Mary Kay C
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Kay! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    November 1, 2016


    Two people call for the discard...

    >From: "kayc103
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 2:29 PM
    >Subject: book and Mah-J question
    >Mister Mah-Jongg,
    >Yes, I want to buy your book. I'm just learning. We do the Charleston exchange, does that mean American? Need to know which book to buy.
    >Question: If 2 people call a discarded tile at the same time, and one caller is next in turn, and is going to expose with that tile (not declaring Mah-Jongg), but the other player will declare mahjong AFTER switching the called tile with a joker in the hand of the next in turn. Who gets the tile? And since the one declaring mahjong is doing so with that exchange/trade out of turn, is that allowed...or is that a play out of turn and therefore he can't do so? Sorry that was so complicated. Thank you for your patience!
    >Kay

    Hi, Kay. You wrote:

    I want to buy your book. I'm just learning. We do the Charleston exchange, does that mean American? Need to know which book to buy.
    The Charleston is used in both American and British/Australian rules, but since you also mentioned joker redemption, the answer is yes, you're talking about American mah-jongg, and yes, my book is a good book to get for American mah-jongg - and I also recommend that someone in your group have the official NMJL rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy - and someone in your group should buy the card direct from the NMJL so you all have access to the yearly rule updates given in the January newsletter from the League. For info about books that describe American mah-jongg, see Frequently Asked Question #3 (you can link to the FAQs above left).

    If 2 people call a discarded tile at the same time, and one caller is next in turn, and is going to expose with that tile (not declaring Mah-Jongg), but the other player will declare mahjong AFTER switching the called tile with a joker in the hand of the next in turn.
    Okay, there was a lot in that question. The key part of your question (the part that causes me to answer the way I do) is this:

    the other player will declare mahjong AFTER switching the called tile with a joker in the hand of the next in turn.
    So, then, that player is NOT ready for mah-jongg, yet. Therefore the discard goes to the next in turn from the discarder.

    is that allowed...or is that a play out of turn and therefore he can't do so?
    No, a player may not call a discard for the purpose of redeeming it. But yes, a player can call a discard and make a complete exposure with it, and then redeem a joker and declare mah-jongg. That is a legal play. But such a player is not yet ready to make a mah-jongg call. Please read Frequently Asked Questions 19-G & 19-M. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 1, 2016


    You are rude, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 5:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I am shocked to see such a letter as the one on 10/31 from Nonee (can’t reveal his/her real name because he/she realizes emailing letter was wrong). Obviously this unpleasant, nasty person has too much time on his/her hands to defame Tom Sloper who has been nothing but pleasant, helpful, humorous and knowledgeable in his columns for the past several years that I have been following him. Through his column I have learned the rules of American Mah Jongg and many strategies that have helped me to be better player. I, in turn, have taught these to my fellow Mah Jongg players and we have played many enjoyable games thanks to Tom. Why would this sneaky person bother writing in to Tom’s column and use swear words, take quotes out of context, and denigrate this wonderful man who doesn’t get paid for his work in the Question and Answer section and the Strategy section. Tom, ignore this nothing of a person whose name is” Nonee”. You, Tom Sloper, are a wonderful man who devotes his time and life to helping us who love Mah Jong and are thankful for you and your help. Many thanks, Lynn P.

    Thanks very much for the continuing support, Lynn!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    November 1, 2016


    You are rude, part 2

    >From: Beth P
    >Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 7:53 PM
    >Subject: tom's style
    >Please don’t change your style of writing. I love love your style and wit. You provide information as to why a rule works in certain ways and helps much with understanding the rule. (Also I have never seen your answer with blocked out words that would be unprintable as in your last e-mailer.) Thanks much for your web site. Beth

    Thanks for the kind words, Beth.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    November 1, 2016


    You are rude and condescending; here are some examples

    >From: Nonee Friend <noneefriend@mail.com>
    >Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 11:56 AM
    >Subject: Is there any particular reason
    >you are such a p****? Your rudeness and condesccension is completely uncalled for. You must be very miserable person.
    >Is thess kinds of responses really necessary? People write to you for help and you berate them. You have a lot of chutzpah to talk about "harmonious playing." F*** you. BTW, I have never and will never write to you for advice.
    >No player is required to pass more than she wants to in the courtesy pass. If she only wants to pass two, you may not force her to give you three. Besides, you don't really expect anything new to get passed at this point, do you? Get real!
    >Secondly: it's not called "stealing." It's called the "blind pass." It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to call it "stealing," and the name "blind pass" should be self-explanatory. (See... it's not called the "peek pass.")
    >No, of course not. Don't be silly! Start using it as soon as everyone at the table has the new card.
    >I have no idea. I am not a mathematician or a statistician. I have never studied probabilities or combinatorics, and I have no desire to do so. That information goes way beyond what I am able to offer here. And I doubt that any of my readers has done this sort of calculation, or she would have surely shared the information already. But I'm sure players all across this great land would love to have a lot of information about probabilities of various things mah-jongg related, and would appreciate it greatly if you would run the numbers for us. Note that you might have to repeat the calculations every year when a new card comes out. If you Google "books on probability and statistics," you will find several good ones.

    >There are many more examples, but I think you get my drift.

    I'm sorry you were offended by my style of writing, Nonee.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    October 31, 2016


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls, part 4

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2016 2:47 PM
    >Subject: Simultaneous rack and call
    >Tom,
    >Got the answer today! It goes to the caller and that's the way it is in most tournaments. How do they expect people to know this, I wonder?
    >Thank you,
    >Donna

    Very nice, Donna!
    That greatly simplifies the question. Time to update FAQ 19 and the RDWW errata!
    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
    October 29, 2016


    Donation

    >From: Mary S via PayPal
    >Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 1:25 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary S
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Mary S.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    >Sincerely,
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    Thank you very much, Mary!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 28, 2016


    The value of the 2nd Chas., part 2

    >From: Catherine
    >Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2016 1:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: Value of 2nd charleston
    >Thank you for your quick response to our question.
    >Our group is very cooperative and it is rare that we have disagreements about stopping the Charleston.
    >Mahjongg is new to our community. I took a class about 3 years ago and was able to get 3 people in the class to play once a week.
    >We wanted to increase the number of players, so I started teaching classes, using the "The Beginner's Guide to American MahJongg" book and a PowerPoint presentation, I developed. Your book "The Red Dragon & The West Wind" is the resource for rules. Our classes are free but each attendee has to have the 'Beginner's Guide' book.
    >I also started a Community play group at our local library and send out periodic play reminders, etc. We now have 169 people on our email list.
    >Again, Thank you for responding to our question.

    You're welcome, Catherine. Maj on!


    The value of the 2nd Charleston

    >From: Catherine
    >Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2016 6:23 AM
    >Subject: Value of 2nd charleston
    >Dear Tom,
    >We don't have seasoned mahjongg players in this area to ask, so, we are coming to you.
    >My group has been playing American Mahjongg , NMJL card and rules , for 3 years. We find that we are usually stopping after the first charleston and not proceeding with the second.
    >Is this common? Is there a value to the second charleston, that we are missing?
    >I hope this question is something you can answer.
    >Thank you,
    >Catherine Y
    >"Life is a journey, not a destination" - Emerson

    Hi Catherine,
    I like the way you asked it in your subject line: "value of 2nd Charleston." The question says something important that many experienced players don't seem to get. You asked:

    Is this common?
    No. It isn't. Usually what happens goes something like this:
    Player A: "I'm stopping the Charleston."
    Players B, C, and D: "What?" "Why?" "Such a nasty woman!"

    Most players, you see, think something magical is going to happen in the second Charleston, and they get ticked off at she who decided to stop the Charleston.

    Is there a value to the second charleston, that we are missing?
    No. The most common kvetch you'll hear during the second dance is "Oy, same old stuff going around." Once in a while, you can get something good in the second dance - but usually, you don't have a hand to target anyway, so no way of knowing what's good and what isn't. It has (rarely) happened to me that I have one hand in mind during the first Charleston, and then it comes together with one good tile during the second. But most of the time, it's just the same old stuff going around the second time.

    But I have to say something about the way you prefaced your question:

    We find that we are usually stopping after the first charleston
    Stopping the Charleston is not normally a consensus decision. It's typically mandated by one player who declares that she's stopping it. The frequent complaint I get from my readers is, "we have a player who always stops the Charleston, and we're all angry with her but she keeps on doing it!" But you make it sound like a consensus decision. If your group discusses and agrees to stop, I think that's very harmonious and laudable. But maybe that's not what you meant to imply. Maybe one of your players says, "I'd like to stop," and the others say, "oh, okay," and that also is very harmonious and laudable. If you ever go to a tournament, you'll find that most players don't want to stop.

    I wrote column 494 about stopping the Charleston.

    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
    October 27, 2016


    The Window of Opportunity

    >From: Judy M
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 4:56 PM
    >Subject: Question about Window of Opportunity
    >Quote from your web site:
    >The tile is "down" the instant a discarded tile is either named... or it touches the table top, whichever happens first. When the tile has been named and placed on the table top and the player has withdrawn her hand, the "window" opens. The discarded tile is available for claiming by another player. (And the discarder can no longer change her mind and take it back.)
    >Question: I am confused about "and the player has withdrawn her hand." I was taught that the window of opportunity closes when the discarded
    >tile is either named or it touches the table top, whichever happens first. If a tile is named but has not yet touched the table, the window is closed.
    >I also learned that even if the tile isn't named but it touches the table, the window is closed. What confuses me is the part that says "and the player has withdrawn her hand. Are you saying that the window remains open up until a person takes her hand off the tile? If yes, does this mean that even though it has been named and it has hit the table, the window is open because she hasn't removed her hand? If yes, does this also apply to when a player can take back her discarded tile? What if she names the tile and it hits the table
    >but she has changed her mind. If her hand is still on the tile can she take it back? Before reading the sentences from your web site, I would have always said no! It doesn't matter if your hand is still on the tile -- you named it and or it hit the table so you cannot take it back.
    >Second question: If a player is taking a tile from the wall and fumbles and drops it on the table, does she just pick it up and continue playing? A very fast player today, dropped a tile while she was picking it from the wall. I don't know if this was a mistake or deliberate.
    >The tile landed face up and she saw what tile it was (and didn't want it) and immediately said the window of opportunity to claim the previously discarded tile was closed because her tile hit the table. Is she right?
    >Thank you for your help. It is greatly appreciated.
    >Judy from Rochester

    Hi, Judy from Rochester. Your questions:

    I am confused about "and the player has withdrawn her hand."
    You're right. That phrase doesn't belong there. It's misleading. So just now I went to FAQ 19 and found that phrase and deleted it entirely. Thanks for finding that error for me!

    If a player is taking a tile from the wall and fumbles and drops it on the table, does she just pick it up and continue playing?
    I think it should be apparent to all that she simply had a hand tremor or something, or it just slipped from her fingers. I would advise her to quickly say, "oops, slippery fingers," and pick it up and go on. I don't think a reasonable player would deny her the right to do so.

    A very fast player today, dropped a tile while she was picking it from the wall. I don't know if this was a mistake or deliberate.
    >The tile landed face up and she saw what tile it was (and didn't want it) and immediately said the window of opportunity to claim the previously discarded tile was closed because her tile hit the table. Is she right?
    Sure, why not? As I wrote to Puffins Donna on October 18, I think it's gracious and kind to other players to pause a beat before picking from the wall. You say your player is "very fast." As long as nobody wanted to claim the previous discard, is there a reason to dispute that the tile is now down?
    "Oops, slippery fingers. Oh, I see what it is, let it stay there." What's wrong with that?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom from Rochester
    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
    October 25, 2016


    Do you still do that, part 2

    >From: Gwen B...
    >Sent: Monday, October 24, 2016 2:22 AM
    >Subject: mahjong set evaluation
    >Gwen B
    >Langley, BC
    >Canada
    >email: glb...
    >October 24, 2016
    >Attention:
    >email: tomster@sloperama
    >Re: Evaluation of mahjong set
    >Hello again,
    >A few months back I emailed you with some questions about my mahjong set. I now provide information in the order set out in the FAQ 7 Evaluation Checklist.
    >No. 1. list contents
    >Tiles:
    >Dots nos. 1 thru 9; 4 sets = 36
    >Bams nos. 1 thru 9; 4 sets = 36
    >Blank = 8
    >Craks nos. 1 thru 9; 4 sets = 36
    >Winds E,W,S,N - 4 of each = 16
    >Dragons 4 green and 4 red = 8
    >"Flowers" nos. 1 to 4/ 2 sets = 8 (different storeys)
    >Total = 148 tiles
    >Others:
    >Small (bone/ivory?) container; holds 4 disks with red and green markings;
    >Four (4) carved dice in wooden(?) box with sliding top;
    >40 hand carved 2 dot sticks;
    >36 hand carved 10 dot sticks; and
    >44 hand carved sticks (with either one dot or X in red).
    >Please note: sticks, dice and disks are all hand made as they are all different widths and sizes.
    >No. 2. Condition of tiles and container
    >The tiles and components are in very good condition with the obvious signs of age. The box itself is in good condition other then a portion at the top of sliding door which is slightly damaged. The box and contents weigh around 10 pounds or so.
    >No. 3. What are the tiles made of
    >I truly believe that these tiles are ivory. I have checked them so many times following your directions and can tell for sure that they are not plastic or bone. I also did the (unadvised) burn test. I heated a needle and put it on the ivory quite a few times without a single mark on the tiles (my finger is another matter).
    >No. 4. History of set
    >The set was left to me by my great great Aunt Thora and then actually given to me, by her sister, my Nana on my wedding in 1977. I remember sitting with my Aunt when I was little looking through all her "stuff" this set was one of our favorites. I was told the set was a gift from one of Thora's boyfriends who was a sailor. He gave it to her sometime in the late 30's early 40's (not sure and no one to ask). I can't recall if he got it in China or Singapore. However, I do remember Aunt Thora always saying it was ebony an ivory. I am now quite sure of the ivory although I can't say the same for the ebony as there isn't much online other then information on larger pieces for woodwork projects.
    >No. 5. Dimensions
    >Height 1 1/4 inches;
    >Width 7/8 inches; and
    >Depth 1/4 inches (but obviously a bit more where dove tailed)
    >No. 6. How many tiles
    > There are 148 tiles. pictures attached, 10 in total, for your review.
    >No. 7. List Other Pieces
    > Small (bone/ivory?) container; holds 4 disks with red and green markings;
    > Four (4) carved dice in wooden(?) box with sliding top;
    > 40 hand carved 2 dot sticks;
    > 36 hand carved 10 dot sticks; and
    > 44 hand carved sticks (with either one dot or X in red).
    >Please note: sticks, dice and disks are all hand made as they are all different widths and sizes.
    >No. 8. Type of container
    > Wooden hand crafted box with sliding door and 5 drawers.
    >No. 9. Condition of container
    > The box is in good condition. The door is slightly damaged at top, more like one upper side has been chipped. It all works perfectly and not really noticable. It, like the tiles, all just fit together no screws, glue etc. The drawers have slots for fingers not handles. Two per drawer.
    >No. 10. Are there any papers/manuals
    > Nope
    >No. 11. Craks older or later
    > It is the later (I think) re: #6 tile.
    >No.s 12 to 14.
    >Pictures attached
    >No. 15 If Jokers are blank there are 8.
    >There are 10 pictures attached. The 5th picture is of "flowers" tiles. I was unable to match them with anything similar and hope that you are able to share with me their story(s). I also note that at the tops, on opposite side from numbers, there are chinese characters and am curious if that is unusual or not. Also in picture number 9 you will note there is writing on the inside of of box door. I do not know if that helps or even means anything, my Aunt could have done it for all I know.
    >So dear Sir, I look forward to learning the story of the flowers (if you're able), the age and perhaps origin of my set and (yes) an idea of what this set is worth.
    >One last query, will you email me once you've had time to do an evaluation and will be posting it on your board? So I will know when to start looking. I await your timely and educated response,
    >truly yours,
    >Gwen B
    >Canada (Eh :))

    Hello, Gwen, eh. To reply to things you wrote:

    The tiles and components are in very good condition with the obvious signs of age.
    From what I see in your photos, your tiles are heavily discolored (very yellow blotches, and maybe mold on the ends).

    I truly believe that these tiles are ivory.
    You have not convinced me. I would need better photos, and a detailed run-through describing your step-by-step results from FAQ 7c2. Also, it's a mystery what your tiles are backed with. What is that blue material on your tiles' backs? I never saw ivory tiles backed with some unknown blue material, and I never saw ivory as yellow as your tiles. So, je répète: you have not convinced me that your tiles are ivory. I will not give you an ivory value since I am not convinced.

    I do remember Aunt Thora always saying it was ebony an ivory.
    Ebony? That blue backing is ebony? If the tile backs are ebony, then the colors in your photos are not trustworthy, and better photos are a must.

    pictures attached, 10 in total
    I received just 5 photos (plus 5 ghost duplicates). I did not receive 10 unique photos. I am only showing 4 of the 5 photos I received, since two showed essentially the same thing (what all the tile fronts look like).

    44 hand carved sticks (with either one dot or X in red).
    Your sticks all number in amounts divisible by 4, which indicates they might all be present. But I never saw sticks with an X instead of a dot, and I can't tell you what's up with that. I see in one photo a stick with 5 dots - is that what you mean by an X?

    See, in the photo above, there's a 5-dot stick between two 1-dot sticks.

    If Jokers are blank there are 8.
    They are not.

    The 5th picture is of "flowers" tiles. I was unable to match them with anything similar and hope that you are able to share with me their story(s).
    I did not receive a photo of just the flowers. And I can't read Chinese. I recommend you take a look at the Mystery Tiles FAQ (FAQ 7-E).

    I also note that at the tops, on opposite side from numbers, there are chinese characters and am curious if that is unusual or not.
    It is normal. Please see FAQ 7-E.

    Also in picture number 9 you will note there is writing on the inside of of box door. I do not know if that helps or even means anything, my Aunt could have done it for all I know.
    I did not receive that picture. I do not think it would influence a valuation (I could be wrong).

    the story of the flowers (if you're able),
    Probably not. But maybe your flowers match some flowers in FAQ 7-E that have been translated by others already.

    the age
    It was surely made in the 1920s.

    perhaps origin of my set
    It was surely made in China.

    an idea of what this set is worth.
    I could make a stab at its worth if we could agree that it is or is not ivory. I believe it isn't, but you are positive that it is, so you should convince me. You say that the backs are ebony, but they look blue to me (and the ends and faces of your tiles appear heavily discolored to me).

    will you email me once you've had time to do an evaluation and will be posting it on your board? So I will know when to start looking.
    I think you know the answer to those.

    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
    October 24, 2016


    Don't know how much I should ask for, part 2

    >From: palframen palframen
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 5:30 PM
    >Subject: Re: Query regarding mahjongg set
    >Thanks Tom!

    You're welcome, Erica.
    Tom


    Don't know how much I should ask for it/its worth

    >From: palframen palframen
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 2:19 PM
    >Subject: Query regarding mahjongg set
    >Hello Tom,
    >I have inherited a mah-jongg set from my parents and wish to sell it, but don't know how much I should ask for it/its worth. I'm hoping you can give me your opinion.
    >The tiles are bone/bamboo (about 40% bone), in fine condition (a few of the tiles have worn lacquer). Each tile is 1 1/8" x 13/16" x 9/16".
    >It is a 148 tile set, with 36 dots, 36 craks, 36 bams, 16 winds, 12 dragons (4 of which are blanks), 8 flowers, 4 other/blank tiles, no jokers.
    >There are also 6 wooden dice, 4 hinged wooden racks in excellent condition, lots of coloured plastic discs, and a slide top wooden box in fair condition (the centre panel of the lid is loose).
    >I believe the set was purchased in India prior to 1955, and was likely purchased used (as opposed to brand new).
    >I have attached several photos of the set. I would like to know when you believe the set was made, and approximate value in today's market. Let me know if you need further photos, dimensions, or information (if I have it!).
    >Thank you so much, in advance.
    >Erica

    Hi, Erica.
    Okay, so you want to know its worth. Your comments and my responses:

    fine condition (a few of the tiles have worn lacquer).
    I'm skeptical that "Fine" applies - if any normal person would notice the worn lacquer upon close examination, then the tiles are Very Good.

    4 hinged wooden racks in excellent condition
    The racks look very nice, and are probably worth a sizeable chunk of the value of the overall collection. I have seen lacquered racks from the 20s before, but yours are simple wood, and I have not seen that sort before. They are attractive just as they are.

    lots of coloured plastic discs,
    The cardboard tray of poker chips is a hodgepodge collection of chips of different sizes (they should ideally all be of the same size). You didn't include a photo of how they fit into the slide-top box (if they do; I imagine they probably do not).

    a slide top wooden box in fair condition (the centre panel of the lid is loose).
    I agree, it's Fair, maybe even Poor.

    I would like to know when you believe the set was made,
    I believe the set and racks were made in the late 20s or early 30s. The plastic chips were likely added decades later. The racks could be newer, but they're still very nice.

    don't know how much I should ask for it/its worth
    I think the tiles and sliding top box together (VG tiles in a Fair/Poor box) are worth maybe $40-50. I think the racks are worth $50 or more. The poker chips can be included with the racks, but they add no value. Any buyer of the racks, if you sell those separately, will want to know the rack dimensions. How many modern plastic tiles can fit on a rack, and when modern plastic tiles are placed atop the rack, are they compatible with a wall stacked behind the rack (see image).

    1. The back of the rack should be at least as high as the thickness of two tiles. 
    2. The horizontal top surface of the rack should be at least as wide as the longest dimension of one of the tiles. You can see in example B what can happen when the back is too short and the top is not wide enough. 

    You can find tile sizes in FAQ 7A, and more about racks in FAQ 7D. Good luck with your sale.
    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
    October 20, 2016


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls, part 3

    >From: "Puffins@
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 11:33 AM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna...
    >Tom,
    >You know what, I'll send that question to the league. It seems every time I do that, I tend to get a "non answer answer".. I'll send it today and will report back when I get a reply.
    >Thank you for all that you do for the MJ Community!
    >Donna

    Cool.
    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
    October 20, 2016


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls, part 2

    >From: donna e via PayPal
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 10:46 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna e (puffins@
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from donna e (puffins@). You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: donna e
    >Message: Thanks Tom, great answer but I wish the NMJL had a clear answer. Donna
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks for your generous donation, Donna. I echo your wish that the League would fill in its rule gaps.
    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
    October 20, 2016


    Jokers in the goulash, part 2

    >From: Robyn and John
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 9:44 PM
    >Subject: Re: Goulash question
    >Thanks Tom
    >That is exactly the answer I needed. Very logical and fair.
    >Many thanks
    >Robyn

    You're welcome, Robyn! (^_^)
    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
    October 19, 2016


    BIG NEWS

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:06 AM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I enjoyed watching your videos on sinovision. Re # 24550--the jokers are marked "BIG" in green. What does this mean?
    >Also an unrelated question: My MJ buddies have lamented on "there are no NEWS" hands on the last 2 cards. Do you have any comment? As always, we enjoy your insight!
    > Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    I think "big jokers" go back to the time when American players were treating flowers as "wild," and maybe those manufacturers thought American jokers were going to be wild also but somehow different from wild flowers. In short: I don't know.
    Here's news for you: no, I don't have any comment.
    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
    October 19, 2016


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls for the discard?

    >From: "Puffins@
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:02 PM
    >Subject: "simulataneous occurence"
    >Tom,
    >I know that in most tournament play if someone racks a tile at the same moment as player A calls that tile, player A gets the tile.
    >When you are not in a tournament, I thought it was the "other way around" that the "racker" got to keep the tile because of the phrase "you snooze, you loose". However, I can't find this info in my search.
    >I would appreciate it if you would clarify this for me or point me in the direction of the rule.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Donna

    Actually, Donna, the League has never issued a written ruling on this. Or should I say, in the years from 1998 to now, I have never seen the League rule on this question (they might have, before 1998, for all I know). I have a definite opinion on this, though, and I've stated it many times (but not in FAQ 19 - and I guess I should). In my opinion, if the next player was picking and racking quickly, the caller should get the tile. I think every player should pause just a beat before picking from the wall, precisely to avoid the quandary you're asking about. If the next player paused a little before picking and racking, then a call simultaneous with the tile hitting the rack is too late.
    I've also said before that I like the Chinese Official rule: the window of opportunity is open for 3 seconds. So if the 3 seconds have passed and the caller speaks, she's too late. Cut and dried (as long as players can agree that 3 seconds had passed). I really like the 3-second rule. ... But, you aren't asking about Chinese mah-jongg.
    My opinion is sort of grounded in the Chinese rule, but without the 3 seconds - think back, did the next in turn act more quickly than is appropriate for a friendly and unhurried game? If so, give the caller the discard. Otherwise, caller is too late.
    For more related to your question, FAQ 19-B points readers to column 458, and there are a number of related emails beneath column 458. Column 458 points to column 639, but that doesn't come anywhere near your particular question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2016


    Frequently asked question #19-L 

    >From: Joanne Mc
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hi Tom. Please answer this question..... about use of Jokers.
    >I am trying to make the following hand: CONSECUTIVE RUN 11 22 333 444 555 (Any one suit)
    >I have in DOTS: 11 22 333 555
    >Can you use Jokers (and only Jokers) for the missing 444 or do I have to have at lease one 4 DOT title to declare Mah Jongg ?
    > One can not use Jokers for/in a pairs or a single. But can you use them (and only them) in Pungs, Kongs, Quints, Sextets?
    >This came up at our game today and I can't find an answer to it.
    >Thank you very much.
    >Joanne Mc

    Hi, Joanne.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before (most recently, last week, by Bernadette on Oct. 12). Your question is a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-L. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2016


    Jokers in the goulash

    >From: Robyn and John
    >Sent: Monday, October 17, 2016 10:55 PM
    >Subject: Goulash question
    >Hi Tom
    >We play the Maloney and Thompson rules and have come across a situation we can't find in this book. We play a goulash when no-one goes Mahjong. We put in four blanks (I think you would call them jokers). We have been allowing that should you have a tile that could replace the blank another player has exposed on the top of her rack, you can swap it. Whether it is your turn or not. This has caused a bit of confusion, as when this happens a couple of times some can't remember who's turn it is. I did read on another website that you can only swap when it is your turn. Is this correct? Also when you do a swap and get a blank, you can be mahjong without indicating you have been "fishing". How do you sort it out, so it's fair for all?
    >Hope you can clarify this for me.
    >Much appreciated
    >Regards
    >Robyn

    Hi, Robyn.
    I don't have access to my library as I write this response, but I don't recall seeing many details in any of the Western books about optional joker usage. Since you've chosen to tread into undocumented territory, you have to make your own rules. See FAQ 14 about table rules - you have to explain your rules to strangers who join your game, and you have to adapt to their table rules when you join their game.
    As for joker redemption; as you noted, confusion ensues when someone can redeem a joker at just any old time. So make joker redemption permissible only on one's turn - after bringing in the 14th tile (either by picking from the wall or taking a discard). That's the way it's done in American mah-jongg, which has comparatively well-defined rules for joker usage. If you want to know more about how jokers are used in American mah-jongg, see FAQ 19 (but be advised that the Western and American games are VERY different from one another, so ignore everything else in that FAQ).
    As for fishing in conjunction with jokers, I don't see how acquiring a joker when one was not fishing before can suddenly make one mah-jongg. If, say, you are going to redeem a joker and on your turn you pick a wall tile and it makes you ready, you declare that you're fishing before you redeem the joker. And you're in line with the rules.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 17, 2016


    I am moving back to Orlando and looking for the group that I use to play with.

    >From: "Bobbie4335 aol.com"
    >Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    >Kissimmee Florida in Celebration): The mah-jongg variant I play is:
    >There is a group of women in Celebration (Kissimmee Florida ) that play Mah-jongg. I can't remember the persons name but she is a teacher also. I am moving back to Orlando and looking for the group that I use to play with. Can you help me.

    Your request is posted on the Find Players Bulletin Board, Bobbie. You can link to that board above left.
    May the players 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
    October 13, 2016


    Unspecific question about two sets

    >From: Jodi F
    >Cc: Jodi F
    >Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:41 PM
    >Subject: Used MahJongg Sets (2)
    >Dear Tom:
    >I found you online and I’m inquiring about selling two sets that I currently have in my possession. I “inherited” them after my mom died and I would love to sell them who sees value in them, though I don’t know what they’re worth. They were originally in my mom’s family in Brooklyn, New York - somewhere in the time frame of the 1930s-1960s. My grandparents were avid mah jongg players.
    >I have attached pictures. Please let me know what you think. I didn’t know if your website was still active.
    >Please feel free to call or email. I look forward to hearing back from you.
    >Thanks!
    >Jodi F

    Hi, Jodi.
    Welcome to my website. I don't know what question or questions you have in mind. Please read Frequently Asked Question 7 (especially, since I don't know what you're asking, FAQs 7a, 7b, 7c, 7d, 7e, 7g, 7h, 7n, and 7p). You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've read those FAQs, if you have questions for me, ask about one set in one email (not two sets in one email). Yes, my site is still active.
    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
    October 13, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2: Can I claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Debra K
    >Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:40 PM
    >Subject: Mahjongg Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have tried to read all your FAQ's but am sorry to say there are just to many to read them all.
    >Therefore if my question was asked before I am sorry and would appreciate an answer.
    >Question: If a player picks up a tile that could replace a joker on someone else's hand but does
    >not see this and disposes the tile. Can the next player pick up that tile and replace the joker?
    >Thank you,
    >Debra

    Hi, Debra. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-G. You can link to the FAQs above left. When you're on the FAQ 19 page, you can easily search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. I understand that this particular question ("can I claim a redeemable tile") isn't the way most folks would word the question. So just now I added words to the question in FAQ 19, to make it easier to find: "Can I claim a redeemable tile? (Somebody discarded it and I want to use it to redeem a joker)"
    Anyway, you'll find the answer to your question in FAQ 19-G2.
    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
    October 13, 2016


    Frequently asked question #19-L

    >From: Bernadette
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:31 AM
    >Subject: Jokers
    >Can you use two jokers to pick up a discard to make three of a kind.

    Hello, Bernadette!
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-L. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 12, 2016


    Made an improper exposure

    >From: Wanda R
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 7:39 AM
    >Subject: Wrong Exposure
    >If I call for a discarded tile and make an exposure with it but it is immediately obvious that one of the tiles is the wrong suit....and there is no way for me to make an exposure with the discarded tile that I called for, what do we do? Am I dead and the game continues without me? Or can I return the discarded tile to the table (as long as I have not discarded a tile to finish "my turn") and continue with the game as if I had never called for the discard? The answer may be in the FAQ but I could not find it.
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Wanda.
    Rulings by the National Mah Jongg League in recent years (in their yearly bulletins) clearly indicate that moves made are moves committed to. You made the exposure, and there are no backsies.
    The League does specifically permit one exception - if you exposed a kong but only need a pung, for instance, you can put one of the tiles (not the taken discard) back on the sloping front of the rack.
    But you say there's no way to legally use the discarded tile you claimed, yet you'd made an exposure. That exposure is improper, so you're dead. According to the printed rules, an erroneous exposure must be moved to the sloping front of the rack, and you stop playing for the duration of the hand.


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

    By the way, the reason you couldn't find that in the FAQs is that it isn't asked frequently.
    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
    October 11, 2016


    How to play American mah-jongg with fewer than 4, part 3

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Saturday, October 8, 2016 10:23 PM
    >Subject: Two handed MJ
    >Hi Tom,
    >One recent question was about playing MJ with 2 or 3 players.
    >Gladys Grad has developed rules for playing with 2 players called Siamese Mah Jongg. Players use two racks and win with two Mah Jonggs. You can put up one MJ but any jokers used in it are not redeemable. The scoring is a bit different, but it is fun and challenging? She then developed a four player version using two sets of tiles and two racks for each player, also based on her 2 player version. It, too, is challenging.
    >The rules and scoring can be found here: http://www.siamesemahjongg.com
    >If you have not played it, try it! It too is addicting!
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee.
    I'm aware of so-called "Siamese"* mah-jongg. But based on many years of answering questions on this site, I've learned that the majority of questions are about NMJL rules, and most people want to know the real rules, with as few added complications as possible. In her question on Oct. 7, Mary Lou wanted to "pass information on to our students on how to play two and three player American MahJongg." When my students ask me how to play 2p or 3p, I tell them "just skip the Charleston." If I have a class with an incomplete table, I have the students at that table just skip the Charleston. If I tried to teach those students how to play Gladys' game, I'd be spending too much time working outside the official canon. My responsibility as a teacher is to teach the official rules, not unofficial variants or commercial products.

    *(The reason I say "so-called 'Siamese'" is because here on my site, I provide information on international variants, and Gladys' version is not from Thailand, but rather Florida. It is based on American/NMJL rules, and when it was first announced, I had someone contact me and ask if it was really from Thailand. I understand the logic behind the name, and it is cute logic, but the name can cause confusion.)

    BTW, I have links to Gladys' invention in FAQ 2B and FAQ 4B.
    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
    October 9, 2016


    The frequently asked "change of heart" question

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 2:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg this afternoon a player called a discarded soap tile and put it and a joker and another soap tile. Then she said she didn’t want the discarded soap tile and started to put it back on the table. I said she couldn’t put it back since she had already put it on her rack and exposed tiles. Another player said that our game is a friendly game so she should be allowed to put discard back. Other player was new and didn’t know. I insisted she keep the soap exposure on her rack. Then I looked in my MJ folder and found below:
    >2. Taking a discard": Can I change my mind about taking a discard?
    >A: 2. Not after you've exposed tiles from your hand, no. If you've only picked up the discard and put it atop your rack, without exposing, then yes - you can. But once you expose, you're committed, and there's no turning back.
    >So in reading #2 it seems that you can call a discard, put it on top of your rack and then put it back as long as you don’t expose any other tile? Then I remembered you had posted a letter from NMJL that said.

    >Reading this letter I think that by putting the called tile on your rack you are starting to make an exposure so you can’t put it back. Maybe you can just hold it in your hand while you decide whether to keep it or not. Please tell me the correct ruling for just putting the called tile on your rack. I know player could not put her called tile back since she had exposed other tiles. Thanks again. Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn P.
    I always update my FAQs when I learn of new information. But I can't be responsible for updating your MJ folder when I learn of new information. Please take a look at FAQ 19-AM, which I updated after I got that letter from Lynn McD. See if that doesn't answer your question.
    FYI, I keep a log of FAQ updates. It's at http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/log.htm. The updates are listed in chronological order (newest updates are at the bottom).
    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
    October 7, 2016


    How to play with fewer than 4, part 2

    >From: "Mlf1022
    >Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 10:46 AM
    >Subject: Re: rules for 2 and 3 players
    >Tom,
    >I usually print the columns referring to the current card and work them out with paper and pencil. I'm about 85% correct according to your answers. It's very helpful.
    >Yes, I have heard you don't do the Charleston in 3 handed, but as you suggested we don't like that. We arrange tiles in 3's X 6 (the 7th is the first right) and use those for the Charleston. Both the way you described and what we do there is the chance of drawing a joker.
    >I will give the facts to our students and they can make their own table rule.
    >I will make a small donation next time I am on your site.
    >Thanks,
    >Mary Lou

    That would be nice, Mary Lou!
    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
    October 7, 2016


    Sign up for Beginner or Intermediate class in American mah-jongg!

    My classes at American Jewish University start on Friday, Oct. 28 (3 weeks from today)!

    To sign up for the Beginners class, go to https://reg139.imperisoft.com/AJU/ProgramDetail/3430323636/Registration.aspx

    Seats for the Intermediate class are going fast! To sign up: https://reg139.imperisoft.com/AJU/ProgramDetail/3430323637/Registration.aspx

    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
    October 7, 2016


    How to play American mah-jongg with fewer than 4 players

    >From: "Mlf1022
    >Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 4:57 AM
    >Subject: Re: rules for 2 and 3 players
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your column has been a great help to me and I always refer our students to your site. I especially find your worksheets worthwhile.
    >I would like to know and pass information on to our students on how to play two and three player American MahJongg. I have looked on the web and not found much.
    >Thanks, Mary Lou F

    Hi, Mary Lou. That information is given in FAQ 13A.
    By the way, I wonder which of my offerings you mean when you say "worksheets."
    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
    October 7, 2016


    I know of a woman in Brooklyn who is looking for a Mah Jong game to play in.

    >From: "pr2hopeⒶaol.com"
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 2:25 PM
    >Subject: From Alan Magill
    >I know of a woman in Brooklyn who is looking for a Mah Jong game to play in. Is there any help you can give in helping her to find it?
    >All the best.
    >Alan

    Hi, Alan. I'm posting your request on the Find Players bulletin board. Interested people might send you an email to learn more about your friend - but it would probably be best for you to be pro-active rather than wait for emails. Look for the search term "Brooklyn" (or your friend's zip code) on the Find Players bulletin board, then email those from Brooklyn who are looking for players to join them. You can link to the Find Players board above left. Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 5, 2016


    Broken link

    >From: HW Mystic
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:13 AM
    >Subject: ERRATA File - Page Cannot Be Found
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just picked up your book at Chapters in Toronto and plan to pencil in any updates. However, when I click on the ERRATA PDF file, I get the Page Cannot Be Found message.
    >Thanks,
    >Helene.

    Sorry about that, Helene. It's fixed now. If you still get an error, Refresh the page or use a different browser.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 5, 2016


    Column 659, problem #9

    >From: Linda M
    >Sent: Monday, October 3, 2016 9:46 AM
    >Subject: Column #659, #9
    >You refer to this as Consec #4 but I think it should be Consec #2 with hot tiles 2C and 3D??
    >I have been teaching Mahjongg here on the east coast of Canada for just over a year, so I would have folks to play with! Thank you so much for all the info on your site. It has been invaluable for demonstration purposes and explanations. Thank you!
    >L

    Hi, Linda,
    I appreciate you too, but I'm afraid your mind is playing tricks on you. For some reason, it's reading those two-dots as four-dots. Look again.

    9.

    Any way, keep on keepin' on! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 3, 2016


    A discard was misnamed, but then correctly named, but then...

    >From: Peggy G
    >Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2016 6:09 PM
    >Subject: American Mah jongg question
    >What happens if you discard a tile and miscall it, but immediately correct yourself? I discarded a 9 Bam, and for some reason said 4 Bam, but immediately correctly named the tile. After I correctly named the tile, a player said she needed a 4 Bam for Mah Jongg and I needed to pay her 4 times the hand. Is this correct since she didn't say anything until after I correctly called the tile. Thank you, Peggy G

    Hi, Peggy. I think your friend knows the rules, and decided to make use of that knowledge. If it really happened the way you say (you immediately corrected yourself, and then she invoked the rule), then she seems to have been taking advantage of the letter of the law, but maybe not the spirit of it. I believe the rule was intended to cover a situation in which the discarder's misnaming causes another player to blurt out that she needed the tile but then it turns out that the tile wasn't as advertised.
    But the rule is the rule. The wording of the rule (page 17, rule 6) doesn't say anything about the timing.
    If you want to pursue clarity on this with the League leadership, I recommend you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address on 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
    October 1, 2016


    Looking for an older post? Just click the link below! Several times a year, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

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


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