SITE LINKS  

The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Selected Links
4b Lots O' Links!
5. Computer MJ
6. "Rosetta Stone"
7.
  7a. Types of Sets
  7b. Is It Complete?
  7c. What's It Made Of?
  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
  -   7c3. One Word: Plastics
  7d. Bits And Pieces
  7e. "Mystery Tiles"
  7f. Playing Tables
  7g. How Old Is It?
  7h. How Much Is It Worth?
  7i. Cards... and Kards
  7j. Tips For Buyers
  7k. Where To Buy (US/Eur.)
  7m. Where To Buy (Asia)
  7n. Tips For Sellers
  7o. Cleaning & Restoring
  7p. "Tell Me Anything"
  7q. "I Need Blank Tiles!"
  7r. "I Need Jokers!"
  7s. Tiles 4 Sight-Impaired
  7t. DIY Joker Stickers
  7u. Manufacturers
8. Strategy
9. Etiquette & Errors
10. MJ For Dummies
11. History of Mah-Jongg
   11a. Definitions, sources
   11b. Precursor games
   11c. Who created MJ
   11d. Earliest MJ writings
   11e. Earliest MJ sets
   11f. Proto-MJ & CC
   11h. History timeline
12.
13. Fewer Than 4 Players?
   13a. 3P/2P/5P/6P American MJ
   13b. 3P/2P Asian Forms
   13c. 3P/2P Japanese MJ
   13d. I Dunno, I'm Just Starting
   13e. Solitaire Tile-Matching
14. Table Rules
15. Finding Players & Teachers
16. The NMJL Card
17. HKOS
18. MJ Symbolism
19. American Mah-Jongg
20. Misunderstood Asian Rules
21. How To Run A Tournament
22. Chinese Official Scoring
23. Mah-Jongg Demographics
24. How To Get Technical Support
25. Can't Win Japanese Majan
26. Mah-Jongg Teaching Tips

Maj Exchange Boards
Q & A Bulletin Board
Find Players/Teachers BB
Sets For Sale BB
Sets Wanted BB
Tiles For Sale BB
Tiles Wanted BB
Accessories For Sale BB
Accessories Wanted BB

Weekly Strategy Column

Mah-Jonggy Fun
The 2002 WCMJ
The 2003 CMOC
The 2005 OEMC
The 2005 CMCF
The 2006 CMCF
The 2007 OEMC
The 2007 WMJC
Pictures of Japan
Beautiful Nikko, Japan
A Hong Kong MJ Adventure
Pictures of Beijing
Mahjong in India
Shanghai & Ningbo
Mah Jongg Madness 2012
Mah-Jongg Friends

Other parts of Sloperama:
Hanafuda (Go-Stop)
Game Design Section
Business Section
Sloperama Home Page

The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. My name is Tom Sloper. Welcome to my mah-jongg Q&A Bulletin Board. Here you can ask questions about Mahjong (you can also ask about Hanafuda or Go-Stop). You will get answers here on this board (usually the same day). 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.

PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon pointing to it, or just click this.) PLEASE READ THE FOREGOING!

  • If you have a question about the NMJL card, please read FAQ 16. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon: pointing to it.)

  • PLEASE do NOT ask ANY computer-game support questions here. Read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support. (See links at left.)

  • If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.(See links at left.)

    Email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome. And don't ask me to click links, either. Give me all the information in your email.


    To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

    After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.

    No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply.

    For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.

    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.

    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).

    This is an information exchange, not a social site. I'm not a programmer, and to keep spammers out, I had to go low-tech. Due to the actions of spammers, I had to remove the ability of visitors to post here without my involvement. As a result, all users' posts now have to go through me, and I when I post them, I omit email addresses (with exceptions as stated above). I learned from bad experiences that many (if not most) posters want their contact information to be kept private. Please do not ask to be put in touch with other people who've posted here, if their email addresses are not shown here. Please don't put me in that uncomfortable position.

    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about the League's card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.


    Custom Search

    Share

    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!

    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.





  • She says I have to keep my hands off her rack! Is that really a rule??

    >From: andi c
    >Sent: Friday, September 19, 2014 4:23 PM
    >Subject: exposed jokers
    >HI,
    >One of the girls I play with insists that she is the only one that can touch or handle her exposed joker on her top rack. So, if I want her joker I have to ask her for it. Is that so? I never played like that before but she actually removed my hand from her joker and insisted in handing tit to me. Is that a rule??
    >thanks
    >Andi

    Hi, Andi.
    There is no written rule that says you have to keep your hands to your side of the table. But written rules cannot cover everything. There are also two other factors no player should disregard: etiquette and common sense.
    If she says she doesn't want your hand touching the tiles on her rack, then etiquette would dictate that you act accordingly. Her private space zone extends to the rack, and it's polite to respect her space.
    If you think about it, common sense should show some reasons why one would want other people to keep their hands off one's rack. I certainly wouldn't want other people fiddling with my tiles. What I do when I want to redeem a joker is this: I hold out my hand with the redeemable tile in my palm, and I ask the other player for her joker. Nobody has ever complained and told me "just take it, why doncha already!?"
    If you are a looser type of player, and you don't mind other people's hands doing things with the tiles on your rack, there's no need for you to start getting all in their faces. You're just a little less uptight about your personal space, is all.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 19, 2014


    Column 618

    >From: Julia C
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:00 AM
    >Subject: Column 618, Strategy "finding your keys"
    >Tom:
    >Thank you so much for your amazing web site. I LOVE it. This article was so great, helping me spot what's needed to play defensively!
    >I want to point out that
    >6. 222 (cracks) 4444 (dots) could also be the 2nd hand under 2014
    >222 DDD 1111 4444
    >this is one of my favorite hands, so I immediately thought you were referencing it (but when I play it, I almost never expose the dragons, b/c then my cover is blown!) It never occurred to me that you were discussing 22 33 222 333 4444, funny how our minds work :-)
    >I'm sure I'm not the 1st to point this out, but thot I'd throw it out anyway.
    >Julia C

    Good, Julia. So instead of saying "this is exactly the same as problem 2 above," I should say "if 2B and 3B are dead, she can still make 2014 #2." I'll make that edit to the column.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 17, 2014


    What kind of set(s) should I buy to play five variants?

    >From: ken w
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 5:07 PM
    >Subject: Few questions bout Mahjong variants
    >I am brand new to Mahjong and I know the different variants to sets. According to the questionnaire we did there's 5 variants that we would be very interested in learning (Japanese, Chinese classical, Chinese government, American and western) . I know each set has different tile amounts and some have red fives or jokers, is there any set that's pretty universal to least few sets, or do we need to buy 3-5 different sets? I didn't know if there is ways to getsome of missing tiles for that region separate (joker for American for example) or if there was a set that was bigger than others for those who play the different variants. I am sorry if this question is little redundant, I been looking at multiple websites to make sure I get right set(s). We came from dominos which we done train and may other styles, from easy to hard and inbetween, so difficulty isn't issue. Tho its just 2 people here who will play (need to find others, central usa). Thanks for any help you can offer, excited bout starting a new enjoyment, but before we do random big leap xD, wanted to see what all sets we would have to have to do those 5 variants listed above.

    Hi, Ken.
    This is easy. Buy an American set - it can be used to play all those variants. It won't have red fives, but you can easily mark one each of the 5B, 5C, and 5D (with stickers or nail polish, for instance) to have the red five functionality.
    But just because the questionnaire indicated those five variants doesn't mean you should jump in and learn those five variants. I recommend you pick one to learn and master first. And since the American variant is the hardest to learn (and since it can be difficult to subsequently learn an Asian variant after first learning American), I recommend you start with any of the other variants you named. Come on back with follow-up questions anytime.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 16, 2014


    When did the League start listing hand values with 2-digit scores instead of 3-digit scores for E and non-E players?

    >From: Seymour & Boots H
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 7:52 PM
    >Subject: Question about values of hands
    >Dear Tom,
    >Started playing mah jongg in the early 1950's and have a question from
    >one of our newer players. I showed her NMJL cards I have from 1958 and
    >1963 and she was intrigued by the way the value of the hands was
    >written...120-240, etc. She asked me when they stopped listing them in
    >that fashion, and I didn't have a clue. I had stopped playing for a
    >number of years, and when I returned to the game in the 1990's, the
    >current style was on the cards. Hope you can give us an answer.
    >Boots H

    Hi, Boots. You asked:

    ...when [did] they [stop] listing them in
    >that fashion[?]
    1970.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 15, 2014


    Column error

    >From: Barbara I
    >Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2014 6:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I know you are very tricky, but on column 617, shouldn't #7 be 2014 #4?

    You're right, Barbara. I goofed. All fixed now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Is this a table rule?

    >From: Katherine T
    >Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 9:13 AM
    >Subject: asian mahjong
    >tomster:
    >My friends mahjong group get anal about the first tile the dealer tosses out. They say that one can earn
    >one point if your have a pong. What difference is it if they make a chow, pong or even a kong. The person
    >that picks up is to the right of the dealer.
    >Is this just a rule unique to their group?
    >kathy t

    Hi, Kathy.
    The term "asian [sic] mahjong" is very vague. Are your friends of Japanese ancestry, or Chinese, or Vietnamese, or Philippine, or...? I have knowledge of the rules of several Asian variants, and in none of them does a player earn 1 point instantly for punging the dealer's first discard. Your friends are using what's known as a "table rule." You should read FAQ 14 to learn more about table rules. You can link to the FAQs above left. You might also find FAQ 20 useful - there are a lot of rules that are universal to all, if not most, Asian variants of mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2014


    How many tiles are there in a mah-jongg set?

    >From: "Gussie2500
    >Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >how many tiles in a set excluding extra?

    That depends on the type of set, Gussie.
    Please read "Frequently Asked Questions" 7A and 7B. You can link to the FAQs above left. 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
    September 12, 2014


    Set evaluation

    >From: Vince W
    >Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:24 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Set Evaluation Request
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am hoping you would be willing to give me an evaluation on Mah Jongg set.
    >It was purchased in Hong Kong in the late 1950s and it has never been used and 3 of the 4 trays of tiles are still wrapped in cellophane.
    >Checklist:
    >1. 148 catalin or bakelite tiles (I have no idea)
    > 1 plastic rotatable round wind disk with window
    > 6 tiny dice
    > 4 black old wooden racks with no end pieces
    > 1 cheap brown vinyl case
    > 1 really old Mah Jongg rule book
    > 60 plastic coins
    >2 Condition of everything is as new or mint as nothing has ever been used. The outside of the case is pretty beat up though.
    >3 I was hoping you could tell me if the tiles were Bakelite or catalin
    >4 Purchased in Hong Kong in the late 50’s by my dad when he was there on leave from the Air Force
    >5 2.9cm high, 2.2 cm wide, 1.3 cm thick
    >6 The basic 136 piece set is complete, there are 4 flowers and maybe another 4 flowers but they have NESW on them instead of numbers. There are 4 blanks and no jokers
    >Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    >Thanks,
    >Vince

    Hi, Vince.
    It's worth about $40, give or take ten.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 11, 2014


    It can't be used for X, but can it be used for Y?

    >From: bookielemler
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 6:57 AM
    >Subject: Mah jongg rule
    >Thank you so much for considering my question ... I looked very carefully at the faq's and did not see it covered. It is this: I know that when a player discards a tile that could have been exchanged for an exposed joker that it cannot be called by another player and exchanged for that same exposed joker. However ... is that discarded tile dead, or can it be called by another for use in their hand? Thank you!!!! Bookie
    >Over and out, Bookie

    Hi, Bookie.
    I wrote in FAQ 19G (answer two): "Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure." So there's your answer (it's right there in FAQ 19G). I guess that's not clear enough. So, let me try to clarify:
    The rule forbids calling a redeemable tile for redemption, because the League says you can't do that (it's in the official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy," at the bottom of page 19). But nothing in the rule says that a redeemable tile is not still a tile. If you can create a pung, kong, or quint from a discarded tile (any non-joker tile discarded by someone other than yourself), then you can go right ahead and call that tile to create a pung, kong, or quint. If that tile gives you mah-jongg (as itself, not "if redeemed for a joker," since the rule says you can't redeem it), then you can go right ahead and say "mah-jongg."
    Of course, as always, the "price" of taking that discard is that you have to expose it atop your rack, with other tiles from your hand, at the moment of taking it. A discarded redeemable tile is still a tile, and can still be used as a discarded tile (it just can't be redeemed).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 9, 2014


    Are there other tests, part 2

    >From: Dan M
    >Sent: Monday, September 8, 2014 3:29 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong set
    >Tom,
    >Thank you for information the composition of the tiles in my Mah Jongg set.
    >Dan
    >dan m

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

    September 8, 2014


    Are there other tests to use?

    >From: Dan M
    >Sent: Monday, September 8, 2014 9:54 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jong set
    >Attached are images of a Mah Jong et that was left to me by a dear friend. The “hot pin” test made only a superficial dent in the material. Cleaning the unmarked tile with Scrubbing Bubbles didn’t result in a color on the cloth or on the tile.
    >How can I tell if these are ivory?
    >dan m

    >From: Dan M
    >Sent: Monday, September 8, 2014 9:55 AM
    >Subject: I have more homework to do on this et so please disregard my previous email & images.
    >dan m

    >From: Dan M
    >Sent: Monday, September 8, 2014 11:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Set
    >Tom,
    >The “hot pin” test left a minute indentation in the end of the white part of a tile. There was no distinctive odor during the pin test. Using Scrubbing Bubbles on an unmarked tile didn’t produce a discoloration on the cloth or on the piece. Are there other tests to use?
    >Dan
    >dan m

    Hi, Dan.
    I saw that your second email said to disregard the first, but when I only read the third, I got confused about what it was you wanted to find out with some kind of test. Sounded like you wanted to know what kind of plastic your tiles were, which confused me when I looked at the picture and saw that they're bone.
    If you want to be sure that your tiles are not ivory (I'm pretty sure they aren't), you should read FAQ 7C2, and take the Is It Ivory checklist. All you need is bright light and good vision (a magnifying glass could help, too). You can click the FAQ 7C2 link above left.
    I have now deleted all mentions of "scrubbing bubbles" and "hot pins" on my website. Nobody should scrub or poke their tiles to try and figure out what they're made of - it's just not necessary.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 8, 2014


    How old is my enrobed set?

    >From: David G
    >Sent: Sunday, September 7, 2014 8:52 AM
    >Subject: Enrobed Tiles - How old?
    >Dear Tom,
    >First of all, I wanted to say you have a wonderful site - a daily home base as I become obsessed with Mah Jong! I recently scored my first vintage set from a Kijiji seller here in Toronto, Canada. I was delighted to find that it was one of the "enrobed" tile sets. I understand they are sought after and perhaps valuable; I'm mostly interested in its approximate age, for starters. Please see my short answers in the following checklist:
    >Write a factual detailed list of all the contents of your set. Describe all the contents, listing all dice, chips, racks, etc.
    >Tiles (164), 5 racks, plastic chips, “leather”/vinyl case
    >2. If the set contains any paper materials, like an instruction booklet or scoring card, write the title, author's name (if any), and date (if any) of those materials.
    >None unfortunately
    >3. What are the tiles made of? (See our FAQ 7c.)
    >I believe bakelite - it has a chemical-like odor when rubbed vigorously (I haven’t done a Scrubbing Bubbles test)
    >4. Describe what you know about when the set was made or purchased, if you know. Describe the history of the set to the best of your knowledge….
    >I purchased it from an owner who had no knowledge, other than “her mother played it when she was a little girl, in the ‘50’s-’60’s”.
    >5. What are the dimensions of the tiles? Use either inches or metric (one or the other, not both - doesn't matter which; just be precise). Height, width, depth.
    >1 ¼” h x ?” wide x ?” deep
    >6. How many tiles are there in the set?
    >164: The 36 of each suit, 16 winds, 12 dragons. There are 28 flowers, some of which are duplicates (?) and some have been painted with red nail polish, presumably to make jokers at some point.
    >7. What kind of container does the set come in? If it's wood, is it one of those flat boxes with a sliding top, or is it one of those squarish boxes with drawers, and if so how many drawers? Does the container have any clear signs of age?
    >Its in a long, faux leather case. The case is in very good condition, other than a faint odor of an old basement. There are no labels of any sort, unfortunately.
    >8. Which kind of craks are in this set -- the older kind or the later kind? Take a picture to provide to the appraiser.
    >The later kind of crack/character.
    >9. Provide a picture of the One Bams. These tiles can sometimes tell a lot about which part of China the set came from.
    >Please see attached
    >10. Provide a picture of the dragons too. These tiles can sometimes tell a lot about which era of mah-jongg history the set came from.
    >As above. Please note the white dragon - I have not seen one like this in my research.
    >11. And provide a picture of the flowers/seasons. These tiles are sometimes exotic and can provide information about the age of a set. And you need to tell me how many flowers/seasons there are. Note: You can just call them all "flowers," I don't care how many of them are "seasons" vs. "flowers" (seasons = flowers - they're the same thing, functionally. I just need a number). This is especially important for American-style sets, since the NMJL required differing amounts of flowers and jokers for a number of years.
    >There are 28, as per photo.
    >12. How many jokers (if any) does the set have?
    >No jokers.
    >I appreciate your time in looking at my email and any expert options you may provide.
    >May the tiles be with you,
    >DAG

    Hi, David. Your question, you said, is how old it is. Since it has 28 flowers and no jokers, it was made in the early fifties. In 1966-67, the previous owner of the set colored 6 of the flowers (probably with nail polish) to mark them as jokers. How do I know that? See Column 509 (you can click the purple banner above to get to the columns).
    I don't see anything rare or unusual about your white dragon tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 7, 2014


    Mystery tiles

    >From: W A V
    >Sent: Sunday, September 7, 2014 2:31 AM
    >Subject: faq Mahjong
    >Dear Mister Sloper
    >Recently we bought a Mah Jong set.
    >It's a 152 tiles set without western symbols.
    >Most of the tiles we know. See the attachment.
    >From your 7e answer we identified the upper row as jokers.
    >In the second row we found numbers 1,3 and 4 on your site.
    >We could not identify, row 2: number 2, row 3: complete and row 4: number 4.
    >We wonder where the set originates from and would like to identify the tiles unknown to us.
    >Could you please help us?
    >Thank you in advance and kind regards,
    >Walter V
    >Lelystad
    >Netherlands

    Hello, Walter.
    Your two middle rows are all flower tiles. I do not know anything about Chinese history, mythology, or stories to be able to tell you what your flower tiles depict. I would just call them all "flower." If you want to dig further, I recommend some books on Chinese symbolism at the bottom of FAQ 7E (link above left).
    I don't know which kind of mah-jongg you play. If your game's rules need the flowers to be numbered (to correspond to seat positions around the table), then you would need to somehow assign numbers to all your flower tiles. I imagine this assignment could be arbitrary, unless you learn the story behind those 8 tiles and a logical order is thereby knowable.
    The bottom right tile is surely your white dragon.
    The probability is very high that the set originates from China.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 7, 2014


    You would not believe the furor

    >From: Eric B
    >Sent: Thursday, September 4, 2014 11:32 AM
    >Subject: question about the value of my mahjong set
    >hey Tom;
    >over the past week you would not believe the furor my selling of my set for $150 has caused.
    >long story short, i learned i was ripped off for $150, and i immediately canceled the transaction.
    >so i was referred to you by a woman from whom said you helped her in the past.
    >the following link is to my old auction on eBay:
    >http://www.ebay.com/itm/251631640094?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1559.l2649
    >could you take a look and give me something ballpark valuewise ?
    >ive heard so many numbers, i think i've beat infinity at its own game !
    >all id like to do, is sell my set, and get a proper price for it.
    >im tired of the drama and the scam offers i am recieving on a daily basis now, since i listed this.
    >never knew mahjong has such a strong following.
    >thanks,
    >--Eric B
    >This message is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which
    >it is addressed, and may contain information that is privileged,
    >confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader
    >of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent
    >responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are
    >notified that any dissemination or copying of this communication is
    >strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please
    >notify us immediately and destroy the original message and any copies.

    Well, Eric, I don't think the "furor" is so much about the price as it is about the claims you made. I had to jump through a couple of hoops to find what you wrote in the auction, and to see your photos (which could only be viewed a little at a time through eBay's magnifying glass):

      1800's ANTIQUE CHINESE MAH JONG SET WITH BONE & BAMBOO PIECES
      You are bidding on a 1800's ANTIQUE CHINESE MAH JONG SET WITH BONE & BAMBOO PIECES. Hand crafted Chinese ivory and bamboo mahjong set with brass accented teakwood box. Set includes ivory numbered sticks, and game pieces in a fitted wooden box with 4 drawers - one drawer is missing. . Each mahjong piece is hand etched. Age appropriate conditions with normal use and wear.
      i believe there are a few pieces missing; i don't play this game so i'm not sure which ones, but every piece pictured above is what is included;
      please message me with ANY questions you may have before you bid !
      condition:
      please see the photos above as they outline any imperfections visible.
      Domestic Shipping is $25.00


    You make two claims about the set that are flat-out wrong:
    That the set was made in the 1800's;
    That the tiles and sticks are made of ivory.
    As for the first, read FAQ 11 and you'll see why this is wrong. As for the second, read FAQ 7C and 7C2 and you'll see that it's not ivory. (You can link to the FAQs above left.)
    Anyone who'd been led to believe that she was buying an 1800s ivory set from you would certainly have a right to be upset!
    So, as to the value: you don't tell me enough to know whether it ought to be worth $150 or not (nothing in your auction mentions condition), but I can say that since it's missing a drawer and a South and has no paper (no rule booklet), it's seriously flawed. If it had all the drawers and the original booklet, and was not missing a tile, then yes, it could be worth $150 since the box is a bit more ornate than most. But it's missing some parts, and is therefore probably worth under $100.
    Lastly, I saw the legalese in your email signature. Well, I have legalese all over my website, too (appended below, and also visible above in the header).
    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.
    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.
    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    September 4, 2014


    Do all players have to wait for everyone before picking up the 2nd left?

    >From: Sandy S
    >Sent: Thursday, September 4, 2014 5:21 AM
    >Subject: Passing Question
    >Hi,
    >Playing Maj do all players have to wait for everyone to receive their first left pass before they can pick up the 2nd pass?
    >Thank you
    >Sandy

    It depends, Sandy. Does your group have a friendly ethic... or a screw-your-neighbor ethic? Those are the only two possible ethics a mah-jongg group can have. If your group does not espouse a philosophy of friendly mah-jongg play, then your group believes it's a game of every man for himself, and to hell with everybody else.
    Or maybe your group has never realized that friendly-versus-competitive is an issue that needs to be discussed. Or maybe your group is composed of some who espouse one ethic and some who espouse the other; a group with three friendly players and one aggressive player (for instance) is not likely to stay together for long.
    I can already see the emails that I'll be getting, saying that the game can be friendly and competitive at the same time. Of course it can! But consider: a player who is friendly-competitive is entirely different from a player who's competitive to the extent that she thinks it's okay to pick up her second left before everyone has had a chance to think about the tiles received in the first left.
    And what about the new player who has just barely wrapped her head around the rules, and hasn't yet had a chance to start thinking about the importance of etiquette and harmony, much less the usual causes of mah-jongg disharmony? Well, it's never too early to start thinking about how to play harmoniously, and shame on the teacher who doesn't include this aspect in her lessons.
    Or what about the player who just acts without thinking, who thoughtlessly picks up the second left without even considering whether she should or not? I ask you: doesn't thoughtlessness often lead to unfortunate consequences? Note that the term "thoughtless" is essentially the same as the term "inconsiderate." Just because most of the time a 2nd Charleston proceeds doesn't mean that one can run ahead every time.
    Then again, there is a subtle impact of the desirability of having the 2nd Charleston - most players get upset if someone stops the dancing after the 1st Charleston, and therefore have a reason to act in such a manner as to prevent anyone from stopping it. This desire to continue dancing may be more reason to conveniently forget to be considerate.
    The best practice is to develop the habit (in everyone at the table) of being sure of consensus before picking up the 2nd left. Consensus can be unspoken. I like a game in which all the players are observant (nobody asking "which pass are we at now") and considerate.
    So. I wonder, Sandy: have I answered the question satisfactorily?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 4, 2014


    Column 617

    >From: "krrrad
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 2:11 PM
    >Subject: Column 617
    >Hi Tom,
    >Greetings from the D.C. metro area. Re the above referenced column, the fourth example, wouldn't the hot tiles be 6 dot and 6 crack. I don't see where discarding a bam would be a problem. Take care, Karen R

    You're quite right, Karen. Once again I typed a B when I should have typed a D (I don't know why I keep doing that). I'll fix that right now. 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
    September 3, 2014


    "this beautiful Mah Jongg set" part 3

    >From: gary s
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 8:43 PM
    >Subject: "this beautiful Mah Jongg set" part 3
    >Hello Again Tom,
    >Thank you for your quick post and evaluation on my Mah Jongg set. I appreciate your expertise and assessment of the set.
    >I have a few other questions and comments, if you wouldn't mind?
    >1. Although the box is the weakest aspect of this set, I am curious what the value might be with a more traditional rose wood or carved box from the 1920's. The reason Im asking is that there seem to be some extremely expensive sets for sale on this website from the "Mah Jongg museum" http://www.mahjongmuseum.com/forsale.htm. I would imagine you might have visited this site before. From my limited knowledge and perspective, it seems that my set has more beauty and accessories than most of the sets going for $350-$700 range. The only difference is the box. Are those sets just way over priced or does the beautiful wooden box add that much value?
    >2. I would be interested in acquiring a beautiful box from that time period to house my set and make it a completely handsome set to cherish and admire. I have no intention of selling it. Do you know how I might find one?
    >3. I want to reach out to Ray and let him know how much I appreciate the depth of his knowledge regarding the flower tiles, that was truly an education that would have taken me a long time to learn on my own. Much thanks, for your post.
    >4. I am enclosing another pic or two depicting the set packaged in the original leather box. Once again I greatly appreciate the opportunity to chat and learn a little more about this wonderful set. FYI we paid $30.00 for this set at the garage sale, what a deal!
    >5. In appreciation, after, this post is sent and after I forward another pic or two, it will be my pleasure to make a $10.00 donation to your site...this has been a real pleasure, thanks again gary
    >P.S. On your site, I believe you said you were able to determine region of china where the set was made, based on the one dot. any thoughts on this set?

    >From: gary s via PayPal
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 8:53 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    >PayPal
    >You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from gary s
    >Receipt ID: #######
    >The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    >View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Confirmation number: #######
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: gary s


    Look again at what I wrote before. I said the crummy box reduces the value by about $50. So add the $50 back. Know, though, that this is very rough guessing. But the valuation is meaningless unless you just want to know for insurance purposes.
    Buy a set, if you can't find someone just selling a box.
    I'm not interested in going to the trouble of downloading, resizing, renaming, and posting four more pictures after having already stated a value. But I looked at one photo, and it tells me that that box is probably not original to the set.

    You can pack your tiles in in five rows -- and that says that the box was not designed to hold those tiles. Tiles come in fours, not fives, and no manufacturer would pack a mah-jongg set in a box that needs the tiles to be in fives. So go ahead and buy a proper box.
    Got it, thanks.
    What it says somewhere is that the one bams can provide information as to origin. (One bams, not one dots.) And I didn't actually say that I know which part of China a particular bird design indicates (yes, I admit, I sorta implied it -- I thought I would learn that, but I haven't). You can try checking the Mah Jongg Cyber Museum website, and Michael Stanwick's site, and CHarli's website, and Carli van Emde Boas' site, and Cool Old Games (find the links at the bottom of FAQ 4a).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 2, 2014


    "This beautiful Mah Jongg set" (part 2)

    >From: Ray Heaton
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 12:42 AM
    >Subject: Re "This beautiful Mah Jongg set"
    >Hi Tom,
    >Gary's flower tiles shown on Monday are beauties, aren't they (and I couldn't see similar ones shown in FAQ7e).
    >Flower tiles are a bit of a passion of mine, and I have seen examples using the same Chinese characters as Gary's several times before. The tiles show the following:
    >
    >The lower set with the green Chinese characters...
    >西, West (Xi),
    >湖, Lake (Hu),
    >佳, Beautiful, (Jia) and
    >景, View (Jing).
    >
    >Together these mean "Beautiful views of the West Lake" or the "Beautiful scenes of West Lake", and refer to the West Lake in Hangzhou; in China the lake is well known as providing inspiration for poetic works and has been commemorated since the Song Dynasty in the Xihu Shi Jing,
    >西湖十景 or the "Ten Scenes of West Lake". The tiles show examples of these "ten scenes", tile #1 for instance shows Leifeng Pagoda. The ten views are easily found on the internet.
    >
    >The top set with the pagodas and red Chinese characters...
    >樓, Lou, a multi-storied building, tower
    >臺, Tai, terrace. The set uses a simplified version of this character, 台
    >亭, Ting, pavilion, kiosk
    >閣, Ge, two-storied pavilion. The set uses the simplified version, 阁
    >
    >I have seen this translated to "high towers and pagodas" and is sometimes used in literary works, poems etc., where they provide 'nostalgic associations with imperial palaces or the vanished glories of remote or bygone eras' and the buildings give open views of distant landscapes prompting 'transcendent aspirations'!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Awesome, Ray! You've come through again!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 2, 2014


    "This beautiful Mah Jongg set"

    >From: gary s
    >Sent: Monday, September 1, 2014 8:36 PM
    >Subject: Looking for an evaluation of a 1920's era bone and bamboo Chinese MAH JONGG Set.
    >Hello Tom,
    >I would like an evaluation of the following Mah Jongg set:
    >148 Bone and Bamboo pieces, in good to very good condition
    >set includes: 6 bone mini dice in a small wooden box
    > 4 bone disks, in bone round container
    > Bone betting sticks 36..red #1
    > 36 black.. #2
    > 8 red ...#5
    > 36 black ..#10
    > Red Instruction Book..."How to Score The Chinese Game Of Sparrows" in very good condition
    >The leather box has a working lock and key, but the binding of the top of the box is completely torn, worn away from the body of the box. The box closes completely, and the tear is not noticeable when the box is closed.
    >there is a tray for the betting sticks, the box has stitching all around in good condition and there are 4 brass colored metal feet on the bottom of the box
    >the 8 flowers are unlike any I have seen on any website, regarding the detain and complexity of the scenes
    >Dimensions of the tiles, ( as best I could determine) 1 1/4 X 3/4 X 1/2 inches the bone to bamboo measurements are 5/16 inch bone, 3/16 inch bamboo
    >I Have no knowledge of the History of this set, my father bought it recently at a flea market
    >I am sending under separate e mails 10 photographs of the set. They will come in the requested format, but there will be only one photo per e mail, sent from my I phone. Sorry for any inconvenience.
    >Thank you in advance for your time and consideration, my father and I are very excited to learn more about this beautiful Mah Jongg set
    >gary s

    Hi Gary,
    It was a bit of a pain to get 11 emails, and 10 identically named photo attachments, but that's the day and age we live in (and thankfully, Windows 8.1 automatically renames identically named files).

    The good:
    The book is unlike any book I've seen before. It appears to be hardcover, but it appears to have very few pages. I'm thinking the book is probably fairly valuable by itself (but should remain with the set). It's not worth more than $20 by itself.
    All the parts appear to be there (even the sticks are divisible by 4). And it has a six-dice coffin, not the usual 3 or 4 dice.
    The flowers of every set are unlike the flowers of other sets. But your flowers are nice. In your photo, you didn't line them up by color and number to see what they say. Here, I've arranged them left-to-right.

    Actually, the Chinese would probably arrange them right-to-left. I don't know what your tiles say (nor what the pictures represent), but if you work at it, you can find websites that help you look up Chinese characters. I don't remember the names of the two sites I used to use.* They might be mentioned in FAQ 7E. You should definitely have a look through FAQ 7E anyway, and see if you can identify some of your flower tiles there. You show your green dragon upside down.

    The bad: it's in a cruddy leather box. I don't know if that box is original to the set, since you didn't send a photo of the set packed in the box. The box detracts greatly from the overall value. But that does not mean you should re-box the set in an effort to increase its value - it is what it is.

    Because of the book, the set is worth about $20 more than a comparable set. Because of the nice flowers, it's worth a bit more. Because of the poor condition of the box, it's worth maybe $50 less than a comparable set. That gives it a range of somewhere around $80-100 (rough guess).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2014

    * P.S. Sept. 7: I remember now. They're MANDARINTOOLS.COM and ZHONGWEN.COM. Added those links to FAQ 7E.


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

    >From: Phyllis B
    >Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 7:46 AM
    >Subject: dead tiles
    >If a tile is called for exposure and it was for a concealed hand and a joker is involved. The hand is called dead. Is that joker considered dead and therefore not replaceable?
    >thanx phyllis

    Welcome to my website, first-timer!* 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-P. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 30, 2014

    * [sarcasm]


    Win by joker redemption: who pays double?

    >From: Marlene W
    >Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 2:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment A player put out four of a kind using a joker. On my turn I replaced the joker with the correct tile, taking the joker for mahj. Does this count as picking the mahj myself? Or did the person who I took the joker from mahj me?

    Welcome to my website, Marlene. 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AN.
    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
    August 30, 2014


    Where can I get antique racks?

    >From: Ina Claire S
    >Sent: Friday, August 29, 2014 10:43 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Racks
    >Hi Tom -
    >I teach Mah Jong at my local Senior Center and at the last class of an 8-week session, I make that lesson into a Chinese Party and use the antique bone/bamboo tiles and the bone sticks. My classes have grown so in size that I find I need to find more racks that can hold the bone sticks. Can you direct me in my search?
    >Thanks......Ina Claire S
    >Worry looks around...Sorry looks back....Faith looks up!

    Ina, the only place I've seen antique racks (and especially that particular rarer type of antique racks) is on eBay. Good luck!
    May the racks be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 29, 2014

    [P.S. I'm also posting this on the Accessories Wanted bulletin board]


    Misheard and exposed

    >From: Bgrr17
    >Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player calls a tile puts up her tiles, but she misheard the tile, although it was called correctly, is she dead?
    >Thanks

    Hi, Bgrr.
    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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AM. Your player "misheard" (something went wrong with regards to her hearing for a moment) - how about her vision? What stopped her from looking at the tile before exposing tiles from her hand?
    You might also be interested to read the post "Mistaken exposure" from Ruth S on August 20, below.
    May the tiles be with you, Bgrr.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 28, 2014


    Looking to set up a So. Cal. mahjong group

    >From: Tang Weijie <tang.weijie89gmail.com>
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 7:46 PM
    >Subject: Southern California Mahjong Group
    >Hi!
    >My name is Weijie, and I've been looking to set up a Southern California Mahjong group (riichi, MCR, Hong Kong rules) and a friend of mine who's more into the Mahjong circles posted a link to your site that you posted back in 2009 here: http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column430j.html
    >I was wondering if there's any information regarding that Jansou, and whether or not you know of anyone who would be interested in joining this mahjong group? I've setup a Meetup on Meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/Southern-California-Riichi-MCR-Group/ here and I'm looking for more players and organization to get this on the road.
    >Thanks in advance,
    >~Weijie

    Hi, Weijie,
    I have not been to that jansou in years, and I don't know if it still operates. My friend Ricky Shiraishi moved to Japan, and I have not gone the extra mile to try to cultivate new contacts with the local jansous, if they still exist. The way I found them before was by looking in the Rafu テレフォンガイド (Terefon Gaido=Telephone Guide, which I picked up at the corner Mitsuwa) and looked in the yellow pages under "Mahjong." I tried that just now with the current テレフォンガイド and there was no Mahjong listing. If you want, you can try going to the old jansou locations and seeing for yourself if they're still there:

    Tokyo Kaikan
    1648 G Carson St.
    Torrance CA 90501

    Ryozanpaku
    1555 W Sepulveda Blvd. #P
    Torrance Ca 90501

    As for people who might be interested in joining your group, the best I can do is post this on my Find Players bulletin board (so I'm doing that, as well as answering your question about the jansou on my Q&A bulletin board). I would be interested, but my schedule is just crazy. I might check out your meetup (no guarantee I can ever join a game with my schedule).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2014


    Claiming a joker and immediately discarding it, part 2

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Claiming a joker and immediately discarding it
    >Hi Tom,
    >I haven't seen my post below yet on your site so I thought it might have been in your spam. Do you agree with my strategy on this?

    >On Aug 21, 2014, at 11:21 AM, Belinda wrote:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I can think of one situation where there is a good reason to redeem a joker then throw it away if you do not need it. If another player has two exposures one having one or two jokers in it and that tile(s) is already discarded or exposed by another player and s/he has a second exposed pung with a redeemable joker and the other tile for that pung has not yet been discarded. I believe it would be a wise choice to redeem the joker in the pung so that no one else can redeem it.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee. I guess it did get waylaid to spam (I just found this one there).
    You're saying it isn't dumb to redeem and discard if the other player's joker exposure is a pung and she has another joker exposure besides the one you're redeeming from (in which case you're eliminating a joker from redemption and not making someone jokerless)? I did say that [added later] in the August 21 reply to Irene Z. If you're saying something different from that, I'll try again to wrap my brain around what you're saying.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2014


    Why Won't The Computer Let Me Claim Mahjong, pt. 2

    >From: Joshua R
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 7:47 AM
    >Subject: RE: Riichi Mahjong, How would one NOT be able to call win after declaring Riichi?
    >Tom,
    >Thank you kindly for your answer. Let me pose a follow-up question, just to ensure I understand the concept correctly. Had the 1 Man I discarded been, for the sake of this example, a 3 Pin instead, is it a correct statement that, assuming nothing but that tile changed in the game, that would have been a valid hand?
    >I keep forgetting one of the basic rules of Furiten; it shows that I still have a long way to go.
    >Thanks again!
    >~JR

    Hi, Joshua.
    To put it differently: if you had not previously discarded a tile that you later needed to win, you would not be in this furiten situation, and the computer would have let you declare the win. And if you were in a live game with flesh people and plastic tiles, you would not have been penalized for chonbo.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2014


    Why Won't The Computer Let Me Claim Mahjong?

    >From: Joshua R
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 12:56 AM
    >Subject: Riichi Mahjong, How would one NOT be able to call win after declaring Riichi?
    >In the situation above, I am East. It is South 1st Round.
    >I declared Riichi, waiting on a two-sided wait for 1 Man and 4 Man. The hand is fully concealed, and I have Dora 2 at minimum (Red 5 Pin, as well as 4 Pin). The 4 Man from South was the last discard, as well as a tile I would need to win. As far as I'm aware, had I been able to win off the 4 Man, I would have have Riichi, Haitei, Pinfu, Dora 2. Is there a rule that could potentially be in place that could prevent me from winning this specific hand?
    >Thanks for your assistance!
    >~JR

    Konnichiwa, Joshua.
    See FAQ 25 (there's a link above left). The most common reasons for a computer game preventing a win declaration are furiten and below-minimum score. In real life there would be nothing stopping you from making your play, but other players would see that you'd made a mistake, and would hit you with a chonbo penalty. Some computer games disallow that kind of play (and some computer games give the option of permitting chonbo mistakes). In your case, there's a definite furiten.
    You said you're waiting for a 2-way wait, 1M / 4M. I looked at the other player's discards to see if you had missed something in the most recent go-around, and then I looked at your own discards. Have a look at FAQ 25, then look again at your discards.

    You are welcome to email me again if you still don't see it. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2014


    To my column readers

    This week's column is a reprise of a classic column from years ago. Extra-heavy workload this week! New columns shall be forthcoming soon as usual.


    Is this different than drawing a joker, part 2

    >From: Gwen <jmelody
    >Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 8:21 PM
    >Subject: joker for majh
    >I guess that I am wrong. I thought that if you needed only one more tile to majh , needing a singleton or a doubleton to complete the majh, and you drew a joker it could be used to majh. Using that joker that you just drew, in place of the singleton or as the second tile in a doubleton. My mistake, as you said that there were NO exceptions to using a joker as a singleton or as the second tile in a doubleton, EVER. Thanks for your response. Gwen

    I wonder where you got that idea, Gwen. If it was from something I wrote here on my site, then I'd like to know, so I can rewrite it.
    And it's not I who says NO exceptions EVER -- it's the League, and they say that right on 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
    August 22, 2014


    Is this different than drawing a joker to complete a doubleton or singleton

    >From: Gwen <jmelody
    >Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 9:07 AM
    >Subject: Fw: mahjongg/joker
    >Another joker question to mahjongg. If I need a singleton or a doubleton to Mahj..........I draw a tile to complete the set in my hand, can I use the joker that I am using in that set to claim mah jongg as it is the last tile that I need ? Is this different than drawing a joker to complete a doubleton or singleton that can be use to mahj ? Gwen

    Hi Gwen,
    Since you can NEVER (all caps, bold, and underlined) use a joker for a single or a pair (see the back of the card and see FAQ 19E, above left), I'm not sure what you're asking.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 22, 2014


    2014 #5, "2 or 3 suits"

    >From: Arthur S
    >Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 8:04 AM
    >Subject: Mah jongg question
    >Tom,
    >Is the following hand a Mahjongg?
    >On card it has: FFFF DDD 2014 DDD. It is a closed hand. Card states "any two dragons, 2 or 3 suits". I had 4 flowers, 3 green dragons, 2014 in cracks with 0 being a white, and 3 red dragons. We were confused with statement of 2 or 3 suits. So, is my hand a Mahjongg?
    >Thanks.
    >D. S

    Hello, D.
    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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. 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
    August 22, 2014


    Column 616

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:40 PM
    >Subject: Column 616
    >My mah-jongg comment is:
    >Column 616: my choice for #5 would be 2014 #1 as there are 7 tiles for that hand with the joker. It also already has five of the six singles that you need for the hand, needing only the 4D. The other options contain far fewer tiles. I would consider myself very lucky to have seven tiles dealt to me, and would hope that others pass the winds! I would choose to pass three of these: 4C, 5C, 2B, 3D or 5D.
    >But as my luck lately has been running very cold, all 4Ds would be thrown in the first few rounds of discards!
    >Thanks Tom.
    >Bee

    Your reasoning is sound, Bee. In the cold light of Thursday morning, I would probably do the same. I won't change the column, though - I'll append this to the column instead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 21, 2014


    Claiming a joker and immediately discarding it

    >From: irene z
    >Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 5:01 AM
    >Subject: question on jokers
    >Hi Tom,
    >Is there a Mahjong rule that states is you claim a joker you cannot immediately discard it. You have to wait until your next turn.
    >Thanks,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene.
    You can never claim a joker, so I don't know what you're asking. The only two ways you can obtain a joker (after the deal) are to pick it from the wall or to redeem it from atop someone else's rack. You can discard it immediately after picking from the wall if you want. There is no rule against discarding it after redeeming it, but you can expect people to react with astonishment or dismay if you do that (players react with astonishment or dismay anytime someone discards a joker, especially novice players).

    I imagine you are thinking of a scenario in which a player's hand is almost complete, waiting to complete a pair, and has just picked a redeemable tile from the wall. She might redeem the tile from atop another player's rack and discard the joker... but why? There is no good reason to do that.* If my hand is waiting to complete a pair and on my turn I pick a redeemable tile, I would discard that redeemable tile (unless I could redeem it from atop my own rack). Yes, other players will react with astonishment or dismay, and a novice player might think I'm stupid for not redeeming it, but I don't care what she thinks. A novice player might think she could claim my discarded redeemable tile in order to redeem it herself, but only a novice player who doesn't understand the redemption rules (FAQ 19G) would think that.

    There is no good reason* to redeem a joker from atop someone else's rack and discard the joker, especially since it might make that opponent jokerless, but there is no rule against it. If the joker is atop my own rack, then I'd want to redeem it and become jokerless myself. There's no rule against doing that in one turn.

    * [Added later]: There's an exception to everything, including this sentence. I can think of only one good reason for redeeming a joker from atop someone else's rack: if the other player's joker exposure is a pung and she has another joker exposure besides the one you're redeeming from. When those two conditions are met, redeeming one of her jokers and discarding it keeps a redeemable joker out of circulation. If those two conditions are not met, though, it's still unwise to redeem her joker, if you're just going to throw it away.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 21, 2014


    "Rooshing"

    >From: Elaine L
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: is rooshing the same as the charleston?

    Hi, Elaine. My initial reaction to your question was to respond with a question of my own, and ask you to describe rooshing and when it occurs during the sequence of events in a game of American mah-jongg. But then I decided to Google it, and I found an August 3, 2009 email from Michelle P: http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive10.htm#rooshing. Click that link, and you'll see that the answer to your question is "yes." If you need more information about how rooshing works, go to FAQ 19 (there's a link to the FAQs above left). FAQ 19-AG answers the questions, "How does the Charleston work? When can I stop the Charleston? When can I blind pass?"
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 21, 2014


    She was called dead but she wasn't dead. What now?

    >From: Marilyn M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 4:28 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg question
    >Today we had a player who called someone dead. She was not dead. In the past I learned that if you call a player dead and she is not, then you are shown the hand by the player who is not dead and you are out of the rest of that hand. Now I read that you continue playing, but pay the player who was not really dead 25cents. Are you then able to still continue the hand and win after you have been shown that the player was not dead?

    Marilyn, what you have read is correct but what you repeated to me does not tell the whole rule. You filled in the gap with what you were erroneously taught before, so it's understandable that you're confused. Nobody shows what's in her hand to anyone (until after someone declares mah-jongg).
    This question is 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-AA and 19-AB. 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
    August 20, 2014


    Column 613

    >From: Gay L
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:29 AM
    >Subject: column #613 on July 27.2014
    >Hello Tom,
    > I’m trying to learn from your columns and while studying #613 today I cannot figure out your responses on a couple of the examples. On #4 you said that Odd #1 has 7 tiles. I can only come up with 3 tiles that would go with Odds #1 they are the two 7 dots and the 9 dot.
    > In example # 7, you said that Consec #6 has 7 +1 J. I can see 9 +1 J. They are: 2 of 1 dots, 1 of 2dots, 3 of 1 bams, 2 of 2 bams & a 3 crack +1 Joker.
    > I know you are the expert and probably doing this to see if anyone will notice, or I’m totally misinterpreting you.
    > Thank you for your column and I appreciate your expertise, it is helping me to learn.
    > Gay
    >P.S. I am probably looking at these the wrong way or something, I know you are right but please explain??
    >Gay L

    Gay, you are absolutely right on both counts! The mention of Odds #1 was wrong in example 4 (I was looking at example 5 when I wrote that). And #7 was also wrong. I have made corrections to the column, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2014


    Mistaken exposure

    [Note: this email has been edited to protect the privacy of a third party. The incident described happened at a tournament]

    >From: "ruths
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 12:57 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Trying To Get It Right
    >...South threw a 7 Crak and named it CORRECTLY. West THOUGHT that South said 7 Bam and therefore put up three 7 Bams. When West went to pick up the 7 Bam she realized that the tile thrown was a 7 Crak. West then wanted to take back the three 7 Bams and put them back in her rack, stating that because it was noisy she heard 7 Bam. All other players at the table agreed that 7 Crak was clearly stated. These are the facts as I know them...
    >Based on these facts, my conclusion is that West is dead. Reason being, she put up three 7 Bams. Once you put up your exposure, you can never take it down and put it back in your rack. I am pretty sure that this is a rule. Even if it was noisy and West misheard the tile thrown, it is her responsibility to look at the table to determine what tile was actually thrown. All good Mah-Jongg players do that automatically. At a tournament we should expect that of all participants.
    >...with what happened here with South correctly naming the tile thrown, and with West putting up the wrong tiles as her exposure... West is dead and in my opinion should not have been allowed to continue playing...
    >Sincerely,
    >Ruth S

    Hi, Ruth.
    You are correct; the party who erred, and who should suffer the consequences of the error, is West. As I always say, "shoulda looked!" See the "Change of Heart" rules in Frequently Asked Question 19-AM (you can link to FAQ 19 above left), and read FAQ 9: philosophies 3, 4, and 5e.
    That only leaves the question: is West dead in this case (is that the appropriate penalty)? Yes, she is. She exposed bams without proper justification under the rules, and it was a tournament, in which strict rules apply. There is a written rule from the League saying that once a play has been committed to, it cannot be rescinded. The National Mah Jongg League ruled on this in the January 2007 newsletter. West committed to the exposure, and the League says it cannot be taken back. It was exposed improperly (whether or not she adds the 7C to her exposed seven bams, regardless), so she is dead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2014


    Somebody said there should be 19 stacks in each wall; part 2

    >From: Pat L
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 5:55 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom, thank you for your prompt reply to my question about how many tiles in the walls. We make walls but one may have 17 and another 20. We do not worry about if each have the same number because we felt everyone got the right tiles even if each rack did not have the same number of tiles in front of it. At the tournament they made a big deal of each rack having 19 and I just wondered why this was so important. I just found your site and it is fascinating. Pat

    Hi, Pat.
    Thanks for coming back with the follow-up. I never heard of anyone doing it your way, and I imagine nobody at that tournament had heard of it either. In general, mah-jongg players are happier if things are neat and symmetrical on the table, especially at the beginning of a hand. For one thing, equal-length walls are a clue that all tiles are present on the table. Doing it your way, if by chance two tiles were hidden in the hollow under someone's rack, those two tiles would never enter play - but if the walls are of equal length, two tiles being missing would be noticeable immediately. Your group can continue doing things your way if you want, but it's advisable to make walls of equal length so missing tiles are noticeable. And, of course, like it says in FAQ 14, if you go to a tournament or play at someone else's house where they play the normal way, you have to be ready to adapt. I recommend you 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
    August 19, 2014


    Somebody said there should be 19 stacks in each wall; is that a rule?

    >From: Pat L
    >Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014 4:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is there a rule that says how many tiles are in each wall? Our friends at a tournament said there should be 19 sets in each wall but we had not been playing that way. Thanks for your response! Pat

    Hello, Pat.
    This raises the fascinating question: "how the heck have you been making your walls, then?" Consider: American mah-jongg (we are talking American mah-jongg, right? NMJL card?) uses 152 tiles. Walls are built 2 tiles high. Diving 152 by 2 gets us 76 stacks of tiles around the table. We need to make four walls, so divide 76 by 4, and we get 19. Each wall is 19 stacks long (usually longer than the racks themselves, which Chinese manufacturers make to be about 18 stacks long, since the Chinese game uses 144 tiles, not 152 tiles). See pages 9 and 10 of the official rulebook.
    If your question is prompted by the use of such practices as a "tail," that's just a matter of preference and group consensus. The "tail" is not documented anywhere in the official rules. See FAQ 19-BK. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions, above left.
    If your question was not prompted by practices such as the "tail," then I really would like to know how you've been making your walls.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2014


    In 2014 #2, do the twos have to be dots to go with the zeroes?

    >From: Nancy C
    >Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014 8:23 AM
    >Subject: White dragons
    >The second line under 2014 reads 222 000 1111 444 (any two suits). Are the white dragons dots and therefore requiring the 2's to be dots or are they neutral so the 2's can be any suit as long as it is different than the 1's and 4's?

    Hi, 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. 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
    August 18, 2014


    I believe this one to be of ivory (part 3)

    >From: CTJP Marie
    >Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2014 7:29 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mahjong set
    >Sorry it wasn’t more…that’s why I was hoping for the golden egg :O :P Peace & J
    >Ps. you’re funny! :)

    Yes. I'm hilarious!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 17, 2014


    I believe this one to be of ivory (part 2)

    >From: CTJP Marie
    >Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2014 6:13 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mahjong set
    >OMG…thank you. What a quick education for today. J Thank you so much. Peace & J Marie

    >From: marie t via PayPal
    >Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2014 6:15 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from marie t
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from marie t. You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Confirmation number: ##########
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: marie t
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    You're welcome, Marie. Thanks for the donation.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 17, 2014


    I believe this one to be of ivory (judging by the dove tail)

    >From: CTJP Marie
    >Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2014 3:41 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong set
    >Hi there ... I have a mah-jongg set and I believe this one to be of ivory
    >(judging by the dove tail...). I've laid down a ruler next to so you can
    >have its measurement. I've taken all the pictures that you requested. It was
    >my aunts...she died at age 83... 5 years ago and this was in her belongings.
    >I hope you can give me some answers as to what the prospects are regarding
    >pricing etc.
    >I would say this is in very good condition if not close to excellent. One
    >(the number two below is slightly chipped... none are broken. )
    >The box itself measures 8.5×7 3/8×3.
    >Looking forward to hearing from you.
    >Will forward 2 miniature sets as well for your opinion, if you would be so
    >kind.
    >Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated.
    >Kind regards,
    >Marie T. W

    Hi, Marie. You asked for:

    what the prospects are regarding
    >pricing
    You're asking how much it's worth. You didn't give me all the information I need, but I'll do what I can from the photos, blurry as they are. You have all the tiles your set is supposed to have, plus a miniature set of dominos. I can't tell if the paper pictured is a set of instructions or an envelope for a score card, or just an ad. I have to assume it's just an ad, or just an envelope, since you didn't say. Your tiles are not ivory. Dovetails do not make a set ivory - all bone/bam tiles are dovetailed, and not all ivory tiles are bamboo-backed. I don't know where people get the idea that a dovetail means ivory; if you saw that somewhere on the Internet or something, please tell me where, so I can post a counter-argument. Your tiles are bone (I can see Haversian system in the blurry picture of the 2-bam). You're missing one of your wind indicator discs. You say the set is Very Good; let's assume that's so. The set is worth maybe $60-70. I don't know what your miniature dominos are worth; maybe $10-20. They are not part of your mah-jongg set.

    etc.
    Can you be more specific, please? Read FAQ 7p; I can't answer "tell me anything" questions.

    Will forward 2 miniature sets as well for your opinion, if you would be so
    >kind.
    Next time please give me the information requested in FAQ 7H, and please lay out your tiles like those in FAQ 7H, and please ask specific 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
    August 17, 2014


    Column 614

    >From: "oiveah
    >Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 8:10 AM
    >Subject: Mistake on Defense Column
    >Hi Tom,
    >thank you for your informative strategy column. I did notice that on your last defense column (8/3), you forgot to include that #7 could also be W-D #6. Reds and Greens are also hot.
    >Thanks,
    >Michael

    My hat's off to you, Michael. Well spotted.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 15, 2014


    Where to buy mah-jongg sets

    >From: Dana H
    >Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 4:12 AM
    >Subject: Mahjogg
    >I am visiting my daughter in Tampa Fl
    >I want to teach the game of Mahjogg to her and my granddaughter. We are waiting for recovery from surgery and the results of this surgery
    >This is a hard time for all of us and I want to help pass the time by having something to concentrate on.
    >I cannot find a set to buy . Can you help me?
    >Is there a store in Tampa where a set can be purchased?

    Hi Dana,
    I do not have information about stores that sell mah-jongg sets in cities across North America. The most reliable place to obtain mah-jongg sets is the internet. Please read FAQ 7K, and see the vendors listed in FAQ 4A. You can link to the FAQs 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
    August 15, 2014


    Taiwanese scoring, part 4

    >From: Minh H
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:02 PM
    >Subject: Thank you very much for your response
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks again for your latest explanations, it certainly made thing a whole lot clearer now. Also, I'm terribly sorry for all the confusions. Truth be told, the example given was actually a hand I won with recently and we scored it as Nei Long according to the winning patterns that I printed out for all of my friends from the information I gathered. Since I was the one who introduced them to this new Taiwanese style, I've been feeling a bit guilty ever since winning that hand. I felt like I might have cheated them because I kind of convinced them that was a Nei Long even though at the time I wasn't 100% sure whether that was Nei Long or Wai Long. Anyways, thanks for clearing my conscience and thanks for creating such a good website where Mahjong enthusiasts can come and learn more about this wonderful game!
    >Jack.

    You're welcome, Jack. I'm glad I could help. I have gone back and added some words to my original response below, so any readers who come along won't also be misled by my original choice of words.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 14, 2014


    Taiwanese scoring, part 3

    >From: Minh H
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:24 PM
    >Subject: Questions about Taiwanese Style scoring (continued) :)
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for your quick response for my first e-mail! However, I'm still a bit confused about the answer and would hope you could clarify a bit more. Also, like any good discussion, good answers prompted more questions :). I'm copied and pasted the example from my previous e-mail so we know which one we are talking about:
    >
    >Example: I have 123, 456, 79 of characters and waiting for 8 of characters to go out and complete my 1-9 sequence (assuming the rest of the tiles are in the right order for a winning hand). If someone discard 8 of characters and I claim it to win, will it be counted as an exposed or a concealed 1-9 sequence? (5 or 10 tais).
    >
    >Confusion:
    >In your response, you said: "In your example, the chow is not a scorable set. The rest of the hand can be scored as concealed." Are you saying that my 1-9 all characters sequence is not valid in this example so I will not get any tais for it at all, or are you saying that since the last sequence 789 of characters is made up of one discard tile, that it will be counted as a External Dragon (1-9 sequence with one or more melded chow)?
    >
    >New questions:
    >1. If the answer to the above question is that my 1-9 sequence is invalid and cannot be scored for tais, is it correct to say that in order for such a pattern to be valid, my winning tile that I'm waiting for cannot be one of the tiles that would complete one of the three chows in the 1-9 sequence if winning on discard, but ok if selfdrawn?
    >2. In the same vein as question #1, assuming I'm trying to win with an All Pungs hand as follows: pung of 3 characters, pung of 2 bamboos, pung of 6 characters, pung of 4 Dots, a pair of North Winds and a pair of Green Dragons). I'll be waiting to go out with either a North Wind or a Green Dragon.
    > a. If someone discard either a North Wind or a Green Dragon, I will win with an All Pung hand, but that last pung of either North Wind or Green Dragon will not be counted for tais (assuming pung of any dragons and any winds will give player 1 tai), correct? ("But sometimes you might complete a scorable set in that process (like a pung of winds or dragons), and when that happens, you cannot claim extra points for the set completed by the discard.")
    > b. If I self draw either North Wind or Green Dragon to win, will that last pung be counted then?
    >
    >Hopefully this e-mail is not too confusing in itself. Thanks again!
    >Jack.

    Hi, Jack. You wrote:

    In your response, you said: "In your example, the chow is not a scorable set. The rest of the hand can be scored as concealed."
    I added that at the last minute. And when I wrote it, I was kind of worried that it would cause questions. Of course, it was added to clarify. :rolleyes:

    Are you saying that my 1-9 all characters sequence is not valid in this example so I will not get any tais for it at all, or are you saying that since the last sequence 789 of characters is made up of one discard tile, that it will be counted as a External Dragon (1-9 sequence with one or more melded chow)?
    The 789 cannot be scored as exposed, since chows are valueless anyway. The "rest of the hand" that I mentioned before includes your Dragon (1-9), which is not exposed until the moment of winning. IN MY OPINION (assuming Amy Lo doesn't specify - I don't have time to check), the Dragon should score Nei Long, since you did not expose a chow prior to exposing the Dragon (you exposed the dragon when you exposed the rest of the hand). It is possible that you might meet players whose opinion differs from mine. My opinion is based on how this principle works in Japanese mah-jongg and other variants. The 789 chow is the only part of the hand that must be regarded as "exposed," since Amy Lo did not state explicitly that win by discard does not count, or that Nei Long cannot be won by discard.

    If the answer to the above question is that my 1-9 sequence is invalid
    Stop there, since I didn't say that.

    assuming I'm trying to win with an All Pungs hand as follows: pung of 3 characters, pung of 2 bamboos, pung of 6 characters, pung of 4 Dots, a pair of North Winds and a pair of Green Dragons). I'll be waiting to go out with either a North Wind or a Green Dragon.
    > a. If someone discard either a North Wind or a Green Dragon, I will win with an All Pung hand, but that last pung of either North Wind or Green Dragon will not be counted for tais (assuming pung of any dragons and any winds will give player 1 tai), correct?
    Wrong. You still have your North Wind. You still earn 1 tai. Notice that the tai for Tsu does not depend on the pung being concealed. You earn 1 tai for Tsu whether it's exposed or concealed, in Lo's description of Taiwanese rules.

    In some forms of mah-jongg, concealed pungs earn more points than exposed pungs. If you complete that pung by discard, that pung cannot be scored as Concealed. Looking through Lo's scoring pages just now, it looks like no such distinction exists in Taiwanese. So perhaps I didn't need to make the distinction in response to your question. I was stating a principle that applies to numerous other variants, but (apparently) not Taiwanese.

    b. If I self draw either North Wind or Green Dragon to win, will that last pung be counted then?
    It's counted. In Lo's Taiwanese rules, it doesn't matter if the pung is exposed or concealed - it scores regardless. So forget I ever said anything.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2014

    [Because of the necessity of this follow-up question, new text was added to the previous answer, below - newly added text is shown in red to clarify previously unclear points]


    Oops, didn't need to put up that joker

    >From: "dakacz
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:06 PM
    >Subject:
    >A person calls for a tile and uses a joker to rack the tiles, missing that he had a matching tile in his hand. Thus he did not need to use the joke. Can he replace the joker with the tile that is in his hand and reclaim the joker?

    Yes, dakacz, he can. He can make the change before he discards, or he can make it on his next turn. Read Frequently Asked Question 19AF and FAQ 19M. 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. 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
    August 13, 2014


    Taiwanese scoring, part 2

    [Some new text has been added to the response to this question - newly added text is shown in red to clarify previously unclear points]

    >From: Minh H
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:30 PM
    >Subject: Questions about Taiwanese Style scoring
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm playing Taiwanese 16-tile Mahjong and I have a couple of questions regarding the scoring of winning hands.
    >According to Amy Lo's book and Mahjong Time's scoring rule:
    >1. If I go out with Three Chows of 1 suit, Step 3 (123, 456, 789 of the same suit), I will get 5 tais for an exposed (one or more of those sequences are melded, aka External Dragon) and 10 tais for a concealed (none of the sequence are melded, Internal Dragon). My question is if I were to win on a discard that belongs to one of the three sequences of the Dragon, will it be counted as exposed or concealed? For example, I have 123, 456, 79 of characters and waiting for 8 of characters to go out and complete my 1-9 sequence (assuming the rest of the tiles are in the right order for a winning hand). If someone discard 8 of characters and I claim it to win, will it be counted as an exposed or a concealed 1-9 sequence? (5 or 10 tais)
    >2. If I go out with a Chow hand (all sequence and a pair) with the absence of Honors (as the eye that is) and Flowers tiles, it will be worth 10 tais. My question is could No Flower and No Honor (each is worth 1 tai) be counted toward the winning hand, making it 12 tais total or are those tais already implied in the winning of the hand?
    >Sorry for the lengthy questions, and like always, thank you very much!
    >Jack.

    Hi, Jack. This was not a lengthy question. You explained yourself very clearly, without a lot of unnecessary words.

    if I were to win on a discard that belongs to one of the three sequences of the Dragon, will it be counted as exposed or concealed?
    When you win by discard on a concealed hand, the hand itself scores as concealed. But sometimes you might complete a scorable set in that process (like a pung of winds or dragons, which in some variants might be scored differently if concealed versus exposed), and when that happens, you cannot claim extra points for concealment of the set completed by the discard. In your example, the chow is not a scorable set regardless, since chows are inherently valueless (so whether or not it's technically exposed is a non-issue). The rest of the hand can be scored as concealed.

    If I go out with a Chow hand (all sequence and a pair) with the absence of Honors (as the eye that is) and Flowers tiles, it will be worth 10 tais. My question is could No Flower and No Honor (each is worth 1 tai) be counted
    No Flowers is implied by the description (all-chow hand with no honors and no flowers). Therefore you cannot also claim another point for No Flowers. Likewise, No Honors is implied by the same description. Therefore you cannot claim that point. The points for Wu Hua and Wu Tsu are built in to the score for Dar Ping Hu. FAQ 22 is about MCR, not Taiwanese, but check it out and read the "Prohibition against implied inclusions" (10.1.5.1.). That's a fairly universal principle.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2014

    [Text in red was added later to clarify previously unclear points]


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?

    >From: Nancy C
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player exposes a suit using a joker and picks up the matching tile herself can she take the joker back in her hand?

    Hello, Nancy.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19M. 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. 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
    August 13, 2014


    Personal preferences

    >From: John W
    >Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 9:40 AM
    >Subject: Re: Find Players/Teachers
    >I first learned if Golden gate park with oriental/phillipino co-workers playing chinese mahjong. Here is Albuquerque they play American mahjong at our JCC and a few of the City Senior Centers. American style seems harder to pick up because of understanding the current NML card. I have the card but need to pay how to read the card quickly to formulate your hand. We are moving to Phoenix in a few years and they have several instructors for hire. If I was close to LA I would hire you instantly. Question: Which style do you personally prefer to play. Do you like the fact the American way changes the card every year??
    >John W

    Hi, John. You wrote:

    Which style do you personally prefer to play.
    I enjoy the excitement of Japanese riichi/dora majan, but I would enjoy the game more if I could play it for no money, or for very low stakes. I also enjoy simple basic Chinese style, and MCR (in which the scoring is simple addition, no multiplication or doubling).

    Do you like the fact the American way changes the card every year??
    I think the American game would probably become very boring if it didn't change every year (if there was one card that stayed the same from year to year).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 12, 2014


    What does "2 or 3 suits" mean when there are three colors, part 2

    >From: Ice Land
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 10:17 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mahjong question.
    >Awesome Tom! You made me feel good about losing my $2.80. Enjoy the day!
    >I am in awe of your awesomeness! HAhahHHaa
    >Cliff.


    Questions about black Japanese sets

    >From: Robert Hornbek
    >Email: rhornbekgmail.com
    >Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 11:51 AM
    >Subject: "Premium Mahjong tiles Hokuto blackish?"
    >Hello Tom,
    >I only just recently discovered you bulletin board while doing some heavy research into how to play Mahjong and what types of sets are available.
    >Things I am looking for:
    >Riichi Style (red fives etc)
    >Without Western number / letter guides (top right / left corner)
    >Quality White Dragon image (not blank or picture frame)
    >Quality engraving / paint (no offset paint)
    >Quality tile material (won't fade or wear down to reveal sub-surface color)
    >Inline image 1
    >Source: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/pochitto/item/mt-janpai-hokuto/
    >In my search I came across the set shown in the image above, which appears to cover every expectation I have. Being unable to find any reviews on the product, and experiencing language difficulties with the support, it leaves me with a few questions:
    >Are the tiles (bottom-center) just under the red fives in white paint the White Dragon tiles?
    >Why are there two Red Fives of Spots?
    >Where is the Red Five of Characters? Is it the tile with the red circle / gem next to the Red Fives?
    >Would you know if this set it worth the $95 price tag?
    >I really appreciate your time and any information you are able to provide!
    >Cheers!
    >PS: Would you happen to know of any websites that provide highly customizable sets, more than just the color of the back of the tile?
    >Double Cheers!
    >Robert H

    Hi, Robert. You wrote:

    Being unable to find any reviews on the product, and experiencing language difficulties with the support...
    Yes. That is a Japanese site. There are ways to translate the site - but doing a search would require using Japanese. You might possibly find "reviews" on reachmahjong.com (in the forums).

    Are the tiles (bottom-center) just under the red fives in white paint the White Dragon tiles?
    Yes. They're marked with the Chinese character for "white."

    Why are there two Red Fives of Spots?
    Because manufacturers want their tiles to always come in multiples of four - the set wouldn't look pretty if there was an empty space there. And it's normal for Japanese manufacturers to provide four red fives (including a second five-dot).

    Where is the Red Five of Characters? Is it the tile with the red circle / gem next to the Red Fives?
    I suppose it must be! I had a set of gray-speckled tiles with a tile like that one. I must have sold the set on eBay earlier this year.

    Would you know if this set it worth the $95 price tag?
    Worth is subjective. Only you can make that determination. It's not unusual for Japanese sets to go for prices like that (and even higher). I bought a black Japanese set once - it was probably more than $95. If I had it to do over again, I might not buy it, I suppose (my financial situation isn't the same as it was then).

    Would you happen to know of any websites that provide highly customiz[ed] sets...
    You can try the vendors listed in FAQ 4a. Note that MahjongMart specializes in Japanese goods. You can link to the FAQs 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
    August 10, 2014


    Sticky window, part 3

    >From: Paula F
    >Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 7:49 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah Jongg Question
    >Not a problem, I just didn't want to bug you. :)

    Fuhgeddaboudit! So bug me, already!


    Sticky window, part 2

    >From: Paula F
    >Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 7:29 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hey Tom, can you post directly on the board or do I need to email you first?
    >By the way, I think your website is great and refer to it quite often.
    >Thanks!
    >Paula

    Thanks, Paula. Like it says above, I'm not a programmer, and to keep spammers out, I had to go low-tech. Due to the actions of spammers, I had to remove the ability of visitors to post here without my involvement. As a result, all users' posts now have to go through me via email.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2014


    What does "2 or 3 suits" mean when there are three colors?

    >From: Ice Land
    >Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2014 5:09 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong question.
    >Good day Tom!
    >Have $2.80 riding on this question. Twice in one night an opponent won the hand because we could NOT officially dispute their claim of a win. On the 2014 card there is a hand with FFFF DDD 2014 DDD and the first DDD is green, the 2014 is red and the second DDD is black. Is also states in the parenthesis, (any 2 dragons, 2 or 3 suits).
    >In both of her hands, the 2, 1, and the 4 were of the same suit as one of these sets of dragons, so the both hand only has two colors, and so yes two suits. We felt that the 2 or 3 suits in parenthesis trumped the colors of the card and so we let her win the hands. Did we do the right thing?
    >Also, it states any 2 dragons so can it be made up of all three suits of dragons which she had in both hands as the card would indicate based on colors? If you answer yes, then your statement about the parenthesis always trumping the colors would have to thrown out the window Tom. Be careful!
    >Cliff.
    >p.s, I just love the game! And I can see why you must find these questions entertaining.
    >p.p.s, And then again, maybe you're absolutely sick of getting mahjong e-mail. Oh well, here's another.

    Hi, Cliff. You wrote:

    We felt that the 2 or 3 suits in parenthesis trumped the colors of the card and so we let her win the hands. Did we do the right thing?
    Yes. The parenthetical trumps the color-coding in this case.

    Also, it states any 2 dragons so can it be made up of all three suits of dragons
    You can't use "all three suits of dragons" - the zero is just a zero (soap doesn't count as a dragon when it's used as a zero).

    which she had in both hands as the card would indicate based on colors?
    Um... what? You can make a three-suit hand or a two-suit hand. See below. First, some three-suit hands. Then, some two-suit hands.

    If you answer yes, then your statement about the parenthesis always trumping the colors would have to thrown out the window Tom. Be careful!
    I get what you're saying. If I answer contrary to FAQ 19J, then I'd be contradicting my FAQ, thus the FAQ must be wrong and I'd have to rewrite it - and then next time somebody asks that question, I'd need to make sure I gave the answer in the FAQ. Makes sense! I guess I'd better tread carefully, all right!

    I think I'll also add this to FAQ 16 for the 2014 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
    August 10, 2014


    How do we do a Charleston with three players?

    >From: Tina J B
    >Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2014 1:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding playing with three players....
    >1. Are you required to complete at least one Charleston and then an option prior to beginning the game, or do you not do a Charleston at all when playing with three players.
    >2. If a Charleston is required for three players, what is the proper procedure.
    >Thank you.
    >Stbaker127
    >Aiken, SC

    >From: Tina J
    >Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2014 1:50 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >FYI,
    >I did find an answer(s) to my question(s) below, but found more than one procedure for American Mahjongg depending on whose website you go to, so I would guess the table decides which way prior to starting.
    >Thanks.....again.

    Hi, Tina.
    If you found multiple 3P Charleston answers online, then perhaps you have not yet found the official rule about the 3P Charleston. Read FAQ 13A and column 532.

    And, in addition, see 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
    August 10, 2014


    Is it okay to say "wait"?

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2014 6:20 AM
    >Subject: question
    >Tom,
    >Is it okay to say "wait" when you are not sure if you are going to call a tile? I was told that this is okay in tournament playing.
    >Karen G

    Is it okay? It's common. It happens all the time, and just about everybody does it. Does that make it okay? The purist in me wishes nobody would do it. I don't do it - I know what tiles I need to win. But there's no way it can be outlawed, unless the League decides to state a ban on it in print.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 9, 2014


    Taiwanese scoring

    >From: Minh H
    >Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2014 1:52 AM
    >Subject: Question about Taiwanese Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your previous response about picking a new style of Mahjong to play! My friends and I decided to pick the Taiwanese Rule and here's where my questions lie. We were confused about the 2 extra tais awarded to any winners (this is not mentioned in Amy Lo's book, but was included in the Mahjong Time Taiwanese Style Scoring Rules) and the 1 extra tais for winning on a one-chance chow or on a pair. Are those tais only applied after winning or can they be used to complete the minimum tai requirement for winning any hands (we set a minimum of 5 tais, according to some sources)? Lastly, when discarding tiles, do they have to be placed in an orderly fashion like in Riichi Mahjong or do we placed it randomly in the center like in old HK style? Thanks!
    >Jack

    Good morning, Jack. The answer is "yes and no, and no and yes." You asked two different questions about two different tais.

    the 2 extra tais awarded to any winners (this is not mentioned in Amy Lo's book, but was included in the Mahjong Time Taiwanese Style Scoring Rules) ... Are those tais only applied after winning or can they be used to complete the minimum tai requirement for winning
    Tais awarded for winning cannot be used towards the minimum. Imagine the minimum was 2 tais, and one gets 2 tais for winning. "I get 2 tais for winning, and I'm required to have 2 tais to win, so I win!" See how that doesn't work? 2 tais for winning may not be counted towards the minimum required for winning.

    and the 1 extra tais for winning on a one-chance chow or on a pair. Are those tais only applied after winning or can they be used to complete the minimum tai requirement for winning
    Tais awarded for winning in a particular manner may be counted towards the minimum. "7 tais for Clean, and 1 for one-chance chow. 8 tais (3 more than the minimum), and I get 2 tais for winning - total: 10 tais! Pay up!" See how that does work?

    (we set a minimum of 5 tais
    What is it with you folks and your insistence on minimums? I think it adds to the complexity and not to the fun. By the way, Dragon Chang awards 10 tais for Chicken Hand.

    when discarding tiles, do they have to be placed in an orderly fashion like in Riichi Mahjong or do we placed it randomly in the center like in old HK style?
    The only variants that use orderly discards are Japanese riichi and MCR. But if you like it, you can do it. There's no mah-jongg police to tell you otherwise.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 9, 2014


    Sticky window

    >From: Paula F
    >Sent: Friday, August 8, 2014 7:00 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hi Tom -
    >You taught me and a group of girls how to play mah-jongg a number of years ago. I checked your web site and don't see an answer to this question.
    >"I actually picked my mah-jongg tile from the wall. Before I could say mah-jongg, another player called for the previously discarded tile. Because I thought it was the right thing to do, I put my mah jongg tile back in the wall and let the game proceed with the player claiming the discarded tile. Needless to say my mah jongg tile was never thrown and someone else claimed mah jongg.
    >Had I called Mah Jongg after the 2nd player called for the previously discarded tile, would it have been Mah Jongg for me? At the time I picked my mah jongg tile, I had not racked it so I was thinking that the 2nd player was allowed to still claim the discarded tile. But it then dawned on me (of course a couple of games later) that I wouldn't have racked a mah jongg tile to begin with.
    >I appreciate your help.
    >Thanks Tom!
    >Paula

    Hi, Paula. Nice to hear from a former student.
    The situation you describe is something I've thought about some - but I have no official answer for you, and I can see two opposing approaches to it.
    Technically, you did the right thing - since you had not spoken yet, the other player was within her rights to call the discard, and you were right to put your tile back.
    On the other hand, "mahj trumps everything." I would probably have flashed the tile I picked, and said, "no - this is mah-jongg." Once you say "mah-jongg," the hand is over. But you have to do that very quickly....
    ...Other player discards, you pause a beat and pick, another player says "call," you say "no, this is mah-jongg." Rapid succession after you pause a beat before picking. Most reasonable people would let it end with your win. She had time to call during your pause (yet another reason why it's a good idea to pause for a beat before picking).
    There is a chance that she would contest it, but it's reasonable for her to concede the win at that point.
    Note, however, that this is my opinion only - not official. Only the League could rule on this officially.

    To respond to some things you said...

    Needless to say my mah jongg tile was never thrown and someone else claimed mah jongg.
    "Needless to say"??? Not hardly! I didn't assume that outcome at all! I would have assumed (unless you gave yourself away by your expression or body language) that the next player would discard the tile and you'd win on the spot.

    Had I called Mah Jongg after the 2nd player called for the previously discarded tile, would it have been Mah Jongg for me?
    It depends on the timing. As I said above, you need to do it immediately. In my opinion.

    But it then dawned on me (of course a couple of games later) that I wouldn't have racked a mah jongg tile to begin with.
    Assuming you take the time to look before racking. Some people prefer to rack first and look second.

    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
    8/8/2014


    We need a new mah-jongg

    >From: Minh H
    >Sent: Friday, August 8, 2014 5:19 AM
    >Subject: Suggestion for new Mah Jong style
    >Hi Tom,
    >My friends and I have been playing the old HK style Mah Jong (flowers and seasons included) with 3 fan minimum for a while now and are a bit tired of the lack of varieties in winning hands. We often went out with all pung, clean and once in a long while - pure hands. I've been looking at the Shanghai and Taiwanese 16-tile style as written in Amy Lo's "The book of Mah Jong" and I'm leaning more towards Taiwanese style for its higher winning combinations compared to old HK's, but not as overwhelming as Shanghai's. I was just wondering what's your opinion on this and I would also greatly appreciate it if you could recommend any other styles of Mah Jong that would offer more ways of winning, but not as overwhelming like Shanghai. Sorry I know that's a lot to ask. :). Thank you very much!
    >Jack.

    Hi, Jack. You wrote:

    My friends and I have been playing the old HK style Mah Jong (flowers and seasons included) with 3 fan minimum for a while now and are a bit tired of the lack of varieties in winning hands.
    Of course you are! 3-fan HKOS totally limits one's options. I would think dropping the minimum to 1 would help spice things up.

    I've been looking at the Shanghai and Taiwanese 16-tile style as written in Amy Lo's "The book of Mah Jong" and I'm leaning more towards Taiwanese style for its higher winning combinations compared to old HK's, but not as overwhelming as Shanghai's.
    I don't know why you see Shanghai mah-jongg as "overwhelming," yet not so with Taiwanese. I haven't counted the scoring combinations between the two variants as described by Lo, but I imagine they're about equally challenging to learn.

    I was just wondering what's your opinion on this and I would also greatly appreciate it if you could recommend any other styles of Mah Jong that would offer more ways of winning, but not as overwhelming like Shanghai.
    If you're tired of 3-fan HKOS and looking for variety, I would think you'd like MCR. But if you think Shanghai style is overwhelming, maybe you'd also think MCR is overwhelming (but you don't find Taiwanese style overwhelming, so I don't know what's overwhelming to you). Shanghai and Taiwanese and MCR all have a variety of scoring combinations, and the solution is to make a pocket-size card listing them all (no matter which of the three you go for). Of course, your group has to be willing to learn a new variant, and will need to work together to learn the new combinations. You might be able to choose your new variant by means of the questionnaire in FAQ 2a - print it out (or copy and paste it into Word), and delete all variants except O, N, T, and G. Then take the questionnaire and see which you come up with.

    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
    8/8/2014


    Mixing things up, part 2

    >From: Nathan L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 7, 2014 10:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mixing things up...
    >I have also heard it referred to as "washing" the tiles.

    That's right, Nathan. I'd forgotten that one.
    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
    8/8/2014


    Called me dead but I'm not - what now?

    >From: Alan G
    >Sent: Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:59 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >what happens if a player declares another player dead and it is not a dead hand?
    >Mrs. G

    Welcome to my website, Mrs. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AB. 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. 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 should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 7, 2014


    Soapbox rant about ink color

    >From: "cindydalm
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 6:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question, or Just a Comment, Depending......
    >Hi Mr Sloper,
    > I very much enjoy reading the information on your web site. I have never failed to find an answer to any question I may have. I especially enjoy the clarifications of the hands on the NMJL card. Of course all in our group were very sad not to have the "NEWS" hand on this year's card, except in Singles and Pairs. But I find this card much more forgiving if you have screwed up and have to find another hand to play.
    > Our group of about 20 plays on Friday mornings. On Tuesdays, any one can come and play, but it is mainly an instruction day for new players and beginners. The understanding with members of the group who come "just to play" is that play might be slower than they might like, but it's their choice to come or not. I put a short ad in our town's paper to let people know about our group. I have been instructing for three years, and I am proud that when I look at our group playing and having fun on Fridays, I see more than half of them have learned the game from me. This does not mean that I am a good player, just that I can teach others! Be that as it may, every time I have a new student, I have to ask myself: "Why on earth does the NMJL insist on using red and green on the card?" It takes hours for students of the game to come to terms (or, as I say, "Have the penny drop") that green on the card does not mean it has to be bams, and red does not mean it has to be craks. I understand about the cost of three-color versus four-color cards. But for cryin' out loud, can't they use blue and yellow to designate different suits? Or purple and orange? Mauve and taupe? ANYTHING but red and green.
    > Off the soap box now. Thank you.
    >Cindy D

    Thanks for the rant, Cindy!      (^_^)/
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 6, 2014


    Why does plastic fade?

    >From: Karen W
    >Cc: Karen W
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 2:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a 70"s set with what once was mint green tiles. Quite a beautiful set, complete with catalin (?) racks each a different color. The tiles have faded to the point that you can't tell they were once mint green. I have researched this and no one has ever heard of tiles fading. Do you have any clue why this happened?
    >Thank you,'
    >Karen W

    Hi Karen,
    I don't know why some plastic fades over decades. You could try Googling "why does plastic fade", I suppose.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 6, 2014


    Mixing things up

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 7:29 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Is there a term for mixing the tiles before building the walls besides shuffle ? I was asked this question and didn't know of any other term.
    >Thanks, Jan K
    >Have a wonderful day!

    "Mixing," "mushing," "schmooshing," "shuffling"...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 6, 2014


    Can I claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Christine D
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:04 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >Tom, if a player is exposing 4 tiles on a tray with one being a joker, can that person pick up a just discarded tile by another opponent to replace the joker in the exposed tiles and use the joker for another group to call Mah Jongg?
    >Thanks.
    >Chris
    >Sent from my

    >From: Christine D
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Tom, I didn't see this question addressed on your website:
    >If a player has four tiles exposed with one being a joker and another player discards that tile, can the player with the exposed tiles pick up that tile to replace the exposed tile and use the joker to complete another group and call Mah Jongg? Hope I explained good. Thanks. Chris
    >Sent from my

    Hi, Christine.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19G. 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
    August 6, 2014


    What if two players go dead in a 3P game?

    >From: judyrm
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:07 PM
    >Subject: Maj Question
    >Playing at table of 3, two players were called dead, do they pay the remaining player ?
    >I guess it could happen w/ table of 4 also, does remaining player get paid ?
    >Thank you,
    >Judy M

    It depends on how the two players went dead, Judy. Two players going dead in a 3P game is the same thing as three going dead in a regular 4P game (as I told Karin on July 29 and Cathy on July 8, below). Read Frequently Asked Question 19-BW. 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. 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
    August 6, 2014

    Since this question has been asked three times in the past four weeks, I've now added FAQ 19-CC to answer it. - Tom


    What does "like" mean?

    >From: Sara M.
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 2:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Refers to the 2014 Card under the “369” section; 3rd and 5th hand configurations. Can the configuration “33 66 99 3333 3333” (any 3 suits, Like Kongs, 3, 6 or 9)
    >For example is the following configuration ok? 33 66 99 = Bams; 3333 = Cracks; 3333 = Dots. But would 33 66 99 = Bams; 6666 = Cracks and/or 9999 Dots be valid?
    >Similarly for the configuration “333 66 999 333 333 (Any 2 Suits, Like Pungs 3, 6 or 9) - Does “333 66 999" = Bams; Then a second suit is cracks can you use 333 or 666 or 999? Or does it have to be “333 333” which would mean using two jokers?
    >Hope this makes sense. It came up in our game today.
    >Appreciate your answer.
    >Sara D

    Hi Sara, you wrote:

    Can the configuration “33 66 99 3333 3333” (any 3 suits, Like Kongs, 3, 6 or 9)
    >For example is the following configuration ok? 33 66 99 = Bams; 3333 = Cracks; 3333 = Dots. But would 33 66 99 = Bams; 6666 = Cracks and/or 9999 Dots be valid?
    No. Nines and sixes are not "like kongs." "Like" means "similar." The League wants the two kongs to be either both threes, both sixes, or both nines. Because the two kongs are different colors, they have to be different suits (and different suits from the 33 66 99).

    Similarly for the configuration “333 66 999 333 333 (Any 2 Suits, Like Pungs 3, 6 or 9) - Does “333 66 999" = Bams; Then a second suit is cracks can you use 333 or 666 or 999? Or does it have to be “333 333” which would mean using two jokers?
    It says "like pungs," and the two pungs are shown in one color. You have to have two identical pungs of either threes or sixes or nines. You do have to use at least two jokers. Read Frequently Asked Question 19-AU. 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. 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
    August 5, 2014


    Column 614

    >From: "krrrad
    >Sent: Monday, August 4, 2014 10:25 AM
    >Subject: Column 614- example #10
    >Hi Tom,
    >Greetings from the Washington, D.C. metro area. Re your example, since the 1's are in cracks, and the dragons are green, then the 9's have to be dots, not cracks, right? Keep up the good work on your column. It's very informative Karen R..

    Very good, Karen! I've made that fix.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 4, 2014


    Surely you have lists of clubs or meet-ups

    >From: Tyrone C
    >Sent: Sunday, August 3, 2014 7:00 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong in Orange County
    >Hi Tom,
    >Great site! My friends and I have played Taiwanese style Mahjong for a couple months now. We are all beginners and I'm afraid we're not learning much from each other. Do you know of any clubs or local meet ups in the Orange County, CA area? I browsed the "find player" forum, but did not find anybody close that plays Taiwanese style.
    >-Tyrone

    Hi Tyrone,
    I have put everything I know into this website. I am not sitting on any secret treasure trove list of players or clubs. You should also try doing some of the things listed in FAQ 15. Good luck!
    May the players be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 3, 2014


    The ratio of luck to skill

    >From: Ian L
    >Sent: Sunday, August 3, 2014 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is.
    >Hello Tom. Thanks for being there! I just purchased your book from Amazon, and am looking forward to receiving it.
    >What would you say the percentage of luck to skill ratio would be for Mah-jong? Backgammon, I believe, is 75% skill. Also, is there more luck in the American version of Mah-Jongg?
    >Many thanks,
    >Ian

    That's excellent that you've ordered my book, Ian. I hope you enjoy it. To address your questions:

    What would you say the percentage of luck to skill ratio would be for Mah-jong?
    This is a topic we discussed a lot on the mah-jongg newsgroup (news:rec.games.mahjong) some years back, when usenet was oft used.  We were not able to come up with a standardized method for quantifying how much skill vs. how much luck is involved in a game beyond this:  
    1. To begin, it should be assumed that luck comes to everyone in fairly equal amounts, in the long run.  In the overall scheme of things.  
    2. At the end of one night of play, the skillful player has probably done pretty well.  But sometimes it's a lucky player who has won overall.  If you examine players' win/lose ratios over a longer period of time (like a year) then it's bound to be the skillful player who is way out ahead in the long run.  
    3. We each have cycles of winning and losing when playing against other players who have about equal skills.  But when playing with players who are very skilled, you are likely to win a lot less overall.  
    4. When playing in tournaments, it's mostly skillful players who compete, and it's usually the same extremely skilled players who win consistently.  So skill is more important than luck. In the long run.  
    5. To truly come up with numbers for this question, I guess, we'd need a ratio of unskilled players who beat skilled players.  In my experience, unskilled players do sometimes win over skilled players, but it's the skilled players who win in the end.  
    Hope that helps put the "skill versus luck" question into some perspective?

    Also, is there more luck in the American version of Mah-Jongg?
    It's pretty well balanced. The same principles arrived at by the international participants of the newsgroup apply equally to American mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 3, 2014


    There ought to be a rule... or then again...

    >From: Chris S
    >Sent: Saturday, August 2, 2014 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Table Talk
    >Hi Tom,
    >In response to Rhendy's note about table talk [July 30, below], I thought it would be an
    >interesting experiment where table talk was explicitly encouraged. Now
    >of course it should be illegal to show anyone your tiles, but I'd like
    >to try a few sessions where I could say anything I like about my tiles.
    >Of course, it would be up to the other players to determine if I were
    >telling the truth, or if I were hoping to nudge a certain discard from
    >their hands. :)
    >Best,
    >Chris

    Hi Chris,
    That's another way a group could go. At the very least, the suggestion to step up the table talk opens the door to discussion about the wisdom of table talk (or the wisdom of listening to table talk).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2014


    When can she redeem a joker?

    > From: Carla B
    > Sent: Friday, August 1, 2014 10:44 AM
    > Subject: [no subject]
    > Hi,
    > Some one exposed two 5's and two jokers. Then a few minutes passed and she said she realized she had another 5 in her hand. When can she take the joker? Does she have to wait for her turn?
    > Thanks

    Hi, Carla.
    "A few minutes passed," you say - so I assume she discarded and it was not her turn any more. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19M and FAQ 19AF. You'll find links 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. 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
    August 1, 2014


    There ought to be a rule against table talk

    >From: Rhendy R
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We have a player that always says things like "I didn't get any jokers again or do you have any jokers." Is there a rule about this type of table talk?
    >Thank you.
    >Sent from my

    Hi Rhendy,
    There is no written rule in American mah-jongg. If she did this in a tournament, though, she'd be warned (assuming someone complained to a judge). There is a written rule against this in some Asian forms of mah-jongg. There really ought to be a rule against it in American, too. Isn't it unbelievable that some people think it's a good idea to exchange information about jokers like that? I guess those people just rack it up to "sharing" - or they just enjoy kvetching so-o-o much!
    Of course when she says such a thing, you either remain silent or say, "why on earth would I tell you that?" You could also try the Marge Simpson approach. Marge Simpson says: "This can be fixed with a little gentle nagging."
    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
    July 30, 2014


    If I'm playing a concealed hand, part 2

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:08 AM
    >Subject: Re: Re: question on concealed hand
    >Thank you!


    What if two players go dead in a 3P game?

    >From: Powers K
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:44 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >You’ve been kind enough to answer a question for me in the past which was very helpful.
    >Can you tell me what to do when there are 3 players; one of the players declared mahj jongg in error, the second player ended up with 12 tiles so hand was dead. What does the third player do? Continue to play on their own to have a possible mahj, or is the game considered over?
    >Thank you,
    >Karin P
    >Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust - See more at: http://www.justfeelgreat.com/...
    >Never squander an opportunity to tell someone you love and appreciate them.

    Hi, Karin.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BW (two players going dead in a 3P game is the same thing as three players going dead in a 4P game, as I told Cathy C on July 8, below).
    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. 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 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
    July 29, 2014


    Value of my set, part 2

    >From: garabed k
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Re: consulting/appraisal services regarding mah-jongg sets
    >Hello Tom,
    >Many thanks for your comments. The situation is clarified and simplified!
    >Best
    >DK

    You're welcome, David.
    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
    July 29, 2014


    A thank you note

    > From: Carol G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:52 PM
    > Subject: a thank you note
    > Thank you for your columns on singles and pairs. I know they will help me play better and consider playing this part of the card.
    >Carol

    I appreciate the note, Carol!
    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
    July 28, 2014


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:20 AM
    >Subject: question on concealed hand
    >When playing a concealed hand, am I allowed to replace a joker with the needed tile on another player's exposed tiles if I have the needed tile?
    >Karen G

    Hi, Karen.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked 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. 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 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
    July 27, 2014


    What is "an honor pair waiting on a two way call?"

    >From: JANICE W
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 3:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q
    >On page number 185, the chicken hand in Chinese mahjong, what is "an honor pair waiting on a two way call?" Thank you, Jan W
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi Jan,
    Actually, it's "A three-suit hand with an honor pair" (comma missing here, my bad), "waiting on a two-way call." The honor pair is not waiting two ways (that's not possible). See the illustration below the description:

    See the 3B-4B combination at the right? It's waiting two ways: 2B or 5B would complete the chow (and the hand).
    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
    July 24, 2014


    Value of my set?

    >From: garabed k
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 8:07 AM
    >Subject: consulting/appraisal services regarding mah-jongg sets
    >Greetings Tom Sloper!
    >I have read a good bit of the information on your website about mah-jongg sets, and would like to engage your services for an appraisal or simple evaluation of the set which I believe has been in my family for a long time.
    >I enclose some photos. There are 157 tiles, 119 sticks, dice, etc. It looks to me like a standard (if there is such thing) bone-and-bamboo set from the 1920s. The tiles have the shallow dovetail described in your FAQ page. The back of the holders is inscribed “Carter’s Improved Scale and Doubling Score,” and “Series 107 Copyright 1923 by The C & G Company, San Francisco, Calif.”
    >I appreciate your attention to what must be a very familiar task and request.
    >Best wishes,
    >David K

    Hi, David.
    As I wrote in FAQ 7H, condition is everything. You didn't tell me the condition of your items (and I can't determine condition from photos alone), so I have to assume they're just "Good." And I have to assume that this is everything. There is no wood box, no paper booklet, and no wind indicators or mingg cylinder (just the black mingg lid). So the set is woefully incomplete. It's a set of tiles, racks with score tables, sticks, a complete dice coffin, all in Good condition. Your question is value. I'd say perhaps $50 or thereabouts -- far less than a typical (and complete) standard 1920s set.
    The one bamboo tile doesn't belong with the set, and has no value.
    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
    July 24, 2014


    Custom designs, part 3

    >From: Nathan L
    >Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:30 AM
    >Subject: A rock and roll mahjong design...
    >Hi Tom,
    >Still obsessed. Still playing with designs. Still trying to figure out a way to get some of them made. Here's my rock and roll set. On the left is a close up of the back of a tile, and a line of nine tiles in proportion to the box.
    >Nathan

    Cool, Nathan. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! - Tom


    NMJL member tiles

    >From: Sherry M
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Member tiles
    >Tom,
    >I have recently been collecting Bakelite tiles that are stamped with National Mahjongg Member tile. The ones that I have found are either red or yellow, have a hole in them for a keychain, and a couple have decoupaged flowers on them. I have asked NMJL about them and originally they replied, “WE HAVE NEVER SOLD THOSE!”. I sent them a photocopy of my tiles and was rewarded with a reply that yes indeed NMJL had sold them but when, why and for how long was unknown. (Wouldn’t you think they would have records SOMEWHERE regarding them?)
    >The last tile I bought I asked the seller if she had had any information regarding them. She told me that they were sold with mahj sets through the NMJL and these were attached to the case of the member that had purchased them. She dated them during WWll and the profits were donated for the war effort. I have recently bought a vintage set from the early 30’s and in it were 3 member tiles! Along with the 3 member tiles, there was also 2 blank Bakelite tiles with the exact same decoupaged flower on them.
    >So…was wondering if you have ever seen them and if you have any additional information regarding who long they were sold for and where?
    >Thank you!
    >Best regards,
    >Sherry M

    Hi, Sherry. You wrote:

    (Wouldn’t you think they would have records SOMEWHERE regarding them?)
    Not necessarily. I used to work at Atari. When I joined, the company had been bought and sold twice. I had more information about their products than they did. Then I worked at Activision. The company was bought and sold while I worked there, and a lot of "records" were being thrown away - I snagged some from the trash, and wound up being a repository of company history afterwards. The NMJL has been around a LOT longer than that. They would need someone who dedicated herself to archival storage, and that's not a top priority for businesses.

    She dated them during WWll and the profits were donated for the war effort. I have recently bought a vintage set from the early 30’s and in it were 3 member tiles!
    That's great information you got there!

    Along with the 3 member tiles, there was also 2 blank Bakelite tiles with the exact same decoupaged flower on them.
    I explained the deal with those flower tiles in FAQ 19-AI and column 509.

    was wondering if you have ever seen them
    Just pictures.

    and if you have any additional information regarding who long they were sold for and where?
    No, sorry. You know more about them than I do.

    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
    July 23, 2014


    Where was the St. Louis tournament held?

    From: lydia west
    Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:44 PM
    Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    Location (St. Louis, Missouri):
    My kind of mah jongg is: AMJL
    I am looking for the last venue in St. Louis, MO, for a AMJL tournament. A Mah Jongg Director from New York who holds two tournaments in Florida every spring asked me to find the last location. She held a tournament in Southern Illinois in October, 2013, and likes the Midwest. Does anyone know the location of the last tournament in St. Louis?
    Lydia
    Westnest2charter.net

    Not me, Lydia! Maybe a reader will know, and will email you.
    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
    July 22, 2014


    Column 612, part 3 or 4

    >From: Nancy G
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 3:58 PM
    >Subject: July 20 column with S&P hands
    >Dear Tom
    >Yes, it would make me and probably Belinda happy if you would do a column using the same tiles as July 20 column but suggest hands from parts of the card other than S&P. I hope it would make you happy, too. Many thanks.
    >Nancy

    Absolutely, it does! I don't have to come up with new tile combinations!
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Column oopsie

    >From: Lori
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 1:24 PM
    >Subject: July 20th strategy
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm sure this was one of your obvious errors to see who's paying attention! In hand #4 you state that the 9C should be passed and the only 9 in the hand is a 9D.
    >Lori P

    Very good, Lori! You passed the test. (:p) I'm fixing that flub right now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 21, 2014


    Delete! Delete!

    >From: "[email name withheld]
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 1:39 PM
    >Subject: Re: Racking
    >Hi Tom,
    > Can you please take my question and your response off of the questions and answers. I didn't realize this would be public knowledge and I am concerned this could hurt someones feelings.
    >Thank you,
    >[name withheld]

    [name withheld], I cannot afford to spend all my time giving free private answers to mah-jongg questions. Free answers are displayed on this bulletin board (that's the "price" of the free answers). Want private answers? Say so in advance, and pay me! I've deleted your name, but that's as far as I can go. You should have checked out the rules here before asking me a question. As it says above:

      Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.

      No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).

    As for hurting the other lady's feelings, it's not the worst thing in the world if she comes here and recognizes herself in your question -- after all, she'll have an answer to a thing that's been bugging her for a long time!
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Must I place a picked tile in the rack?

    >From: "[email name withheld]
    >Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 10:18 AM
    >Subject: Racking
    >hello,
    > There is a woman who plays in my may jongg group that insists the only way a discarded tile becomes dead is when the next person picking racks the new tile picked. She went on and on about how it is a rule you MUST rack. She quoted a beginners mah jongg book (which you endorse and she added that) on the definition of racking. The definition includes nothing about having to rack....just a strong suggestion. Racking makes sense if are a beginner or you want more time to think about the tile. I don't rack and many in this group do not rack. The woman who insists on racking talks incessantly and writes down all moves. I believe she distracts herself. I pick and put down immediately. Most people in the group play that way. She lost out on some tiles and then claimed I am playing wrong. The mah jongg card states in rule #5 under Standards based on eight flowers and eight jokers:
    >5. A tile may not be claimed for Exposure or Mah Jongg after player next in turn has picked and racked or discarded a tile.
    >So does one have to rack?
    >Thank you,
    >[name withheld]

    Hi, [name withheld]. You wrote:

    There is a woman who plays in my may jongg group that insists the only way a discarded tile becomes dead is when the next person picking racks the new tile picked.
    So, according to her, if the person declares mah-jongg, the last discard is still alive? And according to her, if the person discards instead of racking, now there are two live discards? Clearly she is wrong.

    She quoted a beginners mah jongg book (which you endorse and she added that) on the definition of racking.
    So now I have to agree with every single thing Elaine Sandberg said in her book. I don't think so - I reserve the right to cherrypick which things in that book I agree with. In my own book, and here on my website (in my FAQs), I set forth my views on racking very succinctly.

    does one have to rack?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 19-BL. 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. 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
    July 21, 2014


    Using jokers when playing a goulash hand? (Western/British/Australian mah-jongg)

    >From: "besterolhc
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 11:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A simple one for us learners. When playing Goulash can you use the joker and one other tile in your hand to form a Pung from the discard?
    >Eg You have a 6 Bamboo and a Joker. Can you pick up a 6 Bamboo from the discard fro the person before you?
    >Regards
    >Laurie

    Yes, Laurie. You may. I guess you are playing by Thompson & Maloney rules, using jokers only during goulashes?
    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
    July 21, 2014


    Column 612, part 2 (or part 3, depending on how you look at it)

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 7:56 PM
    >Subject: July 20th column
    >I love your column, gives great advice and makes me think if I would do the same or maybe go another avenue, depending on my level of risk taking I think I would probably do the following for
    >#7 as there are nine tiles for Consecutive run #6, not as risky as the S&P, but a lower payout, I guess it would depend on how I felt, lucky or not
    >#10 as there are also ten tiles for Consecutive run #6, not as risky and you already have your pairs, but requires passing 4D and both 5Ds, I'd go for that unless I had no pie left, then I'd go for the S&P!
    >Thank you Tom,
    >Bee

    Cool, Belinda! This gets me a start on column 613, when I'll revisit the same deals without the S&P!
    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
    July 20, 2014


    But I practically never go for S&P, so... (Column 612)

    >From: Nancy G
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 3:44 PM
    >Subject: July 20 column
    >Tom
    >In today's strategy column on what to pass during the charleston, almost all the hands you suggested were S&P hands. My group is made of rather new players (only been playing a couple of years), and we practically never do any of those hands because they are too hard for us since we cannot use jokers, and we cannot pick up discards.
    >I see how these hands could work, but I also saw many hands on the card in other sections that could use jokers and discards. Some of those suggestions for the same hands would be helpful.
    >I enjoy the columns, and I think I am leaning a lot from them.
    >May the tiles be with you.
    >Nancy

    Hi, Nancy.
    Today's column was in response to a request:

      >From: Carol G
      >Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:43 PM
      >Subject: help on Singles and Pairs
      >Perhaps you can have a column showing hands before the Charleston which might be a good choice for a Singles or Pairs hand. Or, give a choice of hands and reasons why a Singles or Pairs might be the best way to go.
      >I never go in that direction because I just don't think about that part of the card.

    So, I guess my next column could be a response to your request, if I can figure out what it is! I think it's "repeat the same deals but don't go for S&P this time"? (^_^) Would that make everybody happy?
    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
    July 20, 2014


    What kind of paint should I use? (FAQ seven oh)

    >From: Lisa
    >Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Painting the tiles
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have a vintage set and I am pretty sure the tiles are Bakelite by the looks of what I've seen online. I would like to touch up some of the tiles with a little paint and a very fine brush. The only information on the type of paint to use that I have found anywhere is a little modeling paint. There might be more than one type but I would think a tiny bottle of glossy enamel modeling paint might be correct. Is this right? Will you be able to email the answer back?
    >Thanks very much,
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa.
    I have not yet touched up the paint on any of my tiles. There are discussions of paints in FAQ seven oh - you can link to FAQ 7o above left. I would think model enamels should be fine, but you should see what others have said in the FAQ.
    And no, I do not email answers to mah-jongg questions. Maybe I should -- I could charge for that added service, say $25 or $30 a pop. Thanks for the idea!
    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
    July 20, 2014


    What is a "follow-up tile"? (NMJL p.28)

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2014 9:12 PM
    >Subject: NMJL rule about "follow-up tile"
    >Hi Tom,
    >On p. 28 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, it says, “A follow-up tile should be named by the discarder. If it is for Mah Jongg, the second discarder pays double value.”
    >What is a “follow-up tile?”
    >Thanks,
    >Lynn M

    Hi, Lynn.
    I don't remember reading that before. If I read it before, it seemed self-evident so I didn't make special note of it. They're talking about a player discarding the same tile as the previous discard. Imagine that a player needs 2D for mah-jongg but she's not paying attention, or another player is using the pickandrack technique -- a player discards 2D but our poor lady misses her chance. Then the next player in turn discards 2D -- perhaps she says "two dot," or perhaps she says "same" (it doesn't matter which, both are kosher) -- so the lady who missed her chance gets a second chance. When she says "mahj," the one who owes double to the winner is the second discarder. Following up with "same" discard is not a guarantee of safety.
    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
    July 20, 2014


    Can I redeem a joker for mah-jongg?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 1:59 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >If someone has a joker exposed and someone else has the tile to take it and it gives them mah jong, can they do it?

    Hi, Mary.
    Yes, you can. It's called "joker redemption."
    Of course, that would only work after you'd started your turn by taking a fourteenth tile into the hand (one could not be mah-jongg with only thirteen tiles). Read FAQ 19M (you can link to the FAQs above left). Also read FAQ 19AN.
    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
    July 18, 2014


    Can I claim a redeemable tile, part 2

    >From: Peggy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I guess I'm thick, but since I used it for a mah Jongg I'm confused by your FAQ. I did read your FAQ but am still not sure about this particular situation.
    >Peggy-Jo...Sent from my iPad

    Peggy, FAQ 19G-2 says (color and underlines added):

      A2: Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.

        When a joker or a redeemable tile has been discarded, the usual response is to tear out your hair and scream to the heavens, "Oh! I wanted that!" Because the players who've witnessed someone discarding a joker (or a redeemable tile) have zero other options. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

    She discarded a West. You needed a North. You want to claim a W for mah-jongg when you need a N - while taking the W for redemption is not permitted. You say you took the W "for a mah-jongg," but I say you took it for joker redemption.
    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
    July 16, 2014

    Original reply edited after the fact.


    Can I use a chow to form "sisters" with one set, and then use that chow to form "sisters" with another set, and then use those other two chows as "sisters" with one another?

    >From: Beverly C
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have three chows, each crack, bam, and dot, 4, 5, 6. I understand “sisters” which counts as 1 point, but would the three also count as another point, or two points (crack, bam; crack, dot; bam dot)
    >Thanks for your years of support.
    >Bev Cox

    Hi, Bev. I assume you are describing three "similar" chows, like this:

    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant you play, so I can't give you a definite answer. You might want to have a look at FAQ 22, though, and see if the "combine-just-once" principle applies to your variant. After you've read FAQ 22 (section 10.1.5.5), please do come back and tell me which variant you play (and which book/author you use as your mah-jongg bible), so I can give you a more definitive answer!
    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
    July 16, 2014


    Can I claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Peggy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:25 PM
    >Subject: situation that came up - rules confusing
    >Hello again Mr. Sloper. I had a situation playing Mah Jongg the other day and couldn’t find the rule written clearly enough for my addled brain to understand.
    >I was “on call” for Mah Jongg, needing only a North or a Joker to win. I had an exposure of three Wests and one Joker, (i.e. a Kong of Wests). The player to my left, a newbie, missed the opportunity to swap a West for my Joker and discarded it. It was my turn, so I then called for the West and redeemed my joker to Mah Jongg – was this legal? I told them at the time I wasn’t sure and would check. We weren’t playing for money, as I was teaching 3 newbies. I don’t want to teach them incorrectly.
    >Please advise! Thank you!
    >Peggy A
    >When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world….

    Hi, Peggy. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19G-2. I assume you know how to get to FAQ 19.
    If the wording of the FAQ is unclear, please tell me exactly which wording is unclear so I can improve it.
    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
    July 16, 2014


    Evaluation

    > From: Gene B
    > Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:01 AM
    > Subject: Evaluation
    > Tom,. Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my set.... I found this set at a auction and want to sell it on EBAY. I have never played the game but now after some research I'm a lot more interested in playing the game myself.The following information is yours and please feel free to use it any way that you want. It took me a few hours to give you all the details that you ask for and I hope that I did a good job. So here goes at giving you my best description of this set.....
    > #1. There is one pair of small dice that are not regular size. I see no flaws at all in these and are in fine or excellent condition. Do you know what these are made of? I did not want to test these in fear of damaging them.
    > #2. There is 58 RED chips, 38 dark Blue chips, 29 Green chips with one of them being a different color light green, 34 White chips, and 35 more White chips/tokens that are different then all of the other chips .The different white chips have the words Mississippi State Tax Tokens on them. Some of these are a little warped. All of the other chips are in fine to excellent condition.Is there any value to these types of chips/tokens?
    > #3. There is a total of six racks in all. Three of the racks (the darker ones) have the words MAH-LOWE N.Y.C ASHRACK on them. Two of them are of a light brown color and seems to be some kind of plastic. One of them is a light green and says pat pend on it. They all have stickers on them with numbers all the way across them. There's 2 smudge marks on one of the stickers but is still able to be read. All seem to be in fine to excellent condition. Do you know what these are made of? What do the stickers mean?
    > #4. There is a total of 154 tiles. The basic 136-tile set is complete. It has 8 flowers, and 10 jokers. 5 of the jokers have a red sticker that says Big Joker on them. 3 of the jokers had the words DIRECTIONS Lift jokers off backing and place on tiles. NATIONAL MAH JONGG LEAGE INC 250 West 57 St. New York N.Y 10019 I couldn't resist from curiosity to see what was behind one of those and found a #5 with a person figure on it . There is a small brown box that holds 8 of the jokers that is in pristine condition. There are two more jokers that have what looks like red nail polish on them spelling the word joker. These two tiles are of the same color but seem different since they are more squared then all of the rest. So I don't think they came with the original set. These tiles are in fair to excellent condition. The defect being that some of the tiles vary in color from tile to tile. Was it a mistake to remove that sticker? Should I replace all the stickers with nicer newer ones? Would that increase the value of the set? Are these tiles made of Bakelite or Catalin? I was afraid to do the test in fear of damaging them?
    > #5. The container is a dark brown wooden box covered in a leather type alligator material 19 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 4 1/2. All of the metal on the box works just fine closing and opening ect. There is wear on the corners and a 2 inch tear on the leather on the side. It does show some scuffs and marks here and there. The leather on the handle is very worn on each edge. The inside of the box looks pristine. But since the outside is as worn as it is I would say that the box is only in good condition. How much should I try selling this Mah-Jongg set for on EBAY? Is there anything that I can do to increase the value of this set before trying to sell it?
    > Tom, Thank you again for your time and May The Tiles Be With You........... Doyle "Gene"

    Hi, Doyle Gene. You wrote:

    Do you know what these [dice] are made of?
    They look like plastic to me.

    Is there any value to these types of chips/tokens?
    I assume you're asking about the tax tokens? The tax tokens do have value, but not to a mah-jongg player. I assume a previous owner added them in to use as extra chips.

    Do you know what these are made of?
    I assume you are asking about the racks, which appear to be Bakelite. The odd thing is you say some of your Mah-Lowe racks are marked with the name "Ashrack." Some previous correspondence made me believe that Ashracks were supposed to have ashtrays (see my Sets Wanted board). And I don't see any ashtrays in your set.

    What do the stickers [on the racks] mean?
    They look like scoring tables for the Chinese Classical game. They have no meaning for players of any other form of the game.

    Was it a mistake to remove that sticker?
    Don't worry about it.

    Should I replace all the stickers with nicer newer ones?
    You can do that.

    Would that increase the value of the set?
    Pretty stickers are better than cruddy old stickers, assuming the buyer of your set will use it to play the modern American game (and not just as a collectible).

    Are these tiles made of Bakelite or Catalin?
    Yes. I believe the set would usually be referred to as a Bakelite set, but (if I believe what my friend told me in FAQ 7C3) the tiles might actually be Catalin.

    How much should I try selling this Mah-Jongg set for on EBAY?
    As is, in the cruddy beat-up case, I think it's worth maybe $90. But if "Ashrack" sets are rare or desirable, then perhaps it's worth more, but I don't know how much more. You might want to check CHarli's site (see FAQ 4A) and see if she has any information on the set.

    Is there anything that I can do to increase the value of this set before trying to sell it?
    If the case is original to the set, and if the whole set (with the exception of your two odd jokers) is a Mah-Lowe Ashrack set, AND if Ashrack sets are rare (as some on eBay have said), then you shouldn't do anything to it. But if it's a Frankenstein (put together with parts of different sets), then it might be the thing to do to put it in a nicer case. Maybe remove the scoring charts from the racks and polish the brass, polish the chips, discard broken or damaged chips (nobody uses the chips today). But the cost of those improvements might not reap you a price that compensates you sufficiently (beyond the unimproved set's price). And I had a set in a case like yours (my set was not like yours, but my case was like yours, and also in not-great condition), and I sold the set and case without doing any improvements to the case.

    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
    July 15, 2014


    I'll bet you didn't know about "killer rabbit" joker tiles

    >From: swarren l
    >Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 11:41 AM
    >Subject: fyi
    >Hello Tom,
    >I know how old my set is; I purchased it on a visit to Amsterdam, Holland about 1970, although that doesn't tell me when it was made. The face of the sliding cover has green chinese lettering. No instructions.
    >My set is in a wooden box with sliding top and included plastic sticks with dots for scoring, four green plastic coins for seating, four tiny dice, two die with some blank faces. The tiles seem to be bamboo and plastic, and the images are inked, and are very susceptible to water making the image run. Only one red dragon is seriously blurred.
    >What seems different about this set is the jokers which are white rabbits with the word "Joker" on each tile. However there are no white dragon tiles, and the set had eight blanks. I use the blanks as jokers and the "killer rabbits" as White Dragons.
    >You do not picture "rabbit joker" tiles on your websiite. So if you ever get another question about "killer rabbits" you have an answer.
    >swarren l

    Hi, Swarren.
    While it's true that I may not have put up any photos of rabbit jokers, I actually do own a set that includes them. It's in the same type of box you describe (sliding top type). Mine are bone and bamboo, though, not plastic and bamboo. You said:

    However there are no white dragon tiles, and the set had eight blanks. I use the blanks as jokers and the "killer rabbits" as White Dragons.
    It's not true that there are no white dragons. Four of your blanks are your white dragons. Please see FAQ 7E. The FAQ links are 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    I wanna be certified

    >From: Veronica K. C
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 6:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How does one become a certified mah Jongg instructor?

    Hi, Veronica. Please read Frequently Asked Question 26. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 6:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah jongg
    >What purpoe do the numbers on flowers have? Thank You Mary Ann

    Hi, Mary Ann,.
    In Chinese mah-jongg, the numbers correspond to the seat positions of the players seated around the table. At the end of a hand, flowers add to the score depending on whether the number on the flower corresponds to your seat position. If East has flower #1, he gets extra score. If South has flower #2, he gets extra score, and so on. I'm guessing you don't play Chinese mah-jongg (since you asked), so you don't need to know 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    How do I order the large print grey visual aid book?

    >From: sandra t
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:24 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How can I get a number to order 2009 lge.print book (grey) visual aid book.
    >Sandy

    Hi Sandy,
    I don't have a phone number for the Wright-Paterson Mah Jongg Group, but I do have the address - see Frequently Asked Question 4A. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 10, 2014


    Can I expose a 201x or use a joker in it?

    >From: Mary H
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah jong question
    >Is the 201x in the game considered a grouping? If so, can you use a joker in it, or call a tile to complete the group? Thank You, Mary Ann

    Welcome to my website, Mary. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. 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. 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 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 9, 2014


    Where's the FAQ about a cheating bettor?

    >From: Jackie B
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One of my fellow players picked up
    >The bettor to place her bet and
    >Realized the person before her
    >Cheated. She said she bet on the
    >Winner but the bettor indicated
    >Someone else was bet on.
    >What FAQ deals with how to handle
    >This situation. I have several ideas
    >But wanted to check it out with you
    >First. FYI- I did check the FAQ's
    >First but cannot find what
    >I'm looking for
    >Thank you so much
    >Jackie

    Jackie, this is not a frequently-asked question, so there is no FAQ. When picking up the wind indicator ("bettor") and realizing that the bettor had claimed winnings wrongly, you would of course just say, "hey, wait a minute, this says you bet on Betty." And of course the previous bettor would then say, "oh, did I? Oops, I'm sorry! What do I owe everybody?"*
    * Or she might say "doesn't 3 mean Betty?" To which you reply, "No, Betty is 2, not 3. We discussed this before." And she'd say "Oh my poor widdle brain, it simply can't handle numbers or remember anything. How much do I owe everybody?"
    ... Or you could take her out behind the woodshed and put a bullet through her [widdle] brain. (Although the police, not to mention the mah-jongg gods, are unlikely to see things your way.) Now I'm wondering what "several ideas" you were entertaining.
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 9, 2014


    Something about old set, part 2

    >From: leonor f
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 9:10 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah jongg old set
    >Thanks so much for your prompt reply.
    >I checked on the sticks and they are made of bone. I guess the set is newer. Anyway I think my son will enjoy it.
    >Thanks again,
    >Leonor

    Newer? Hard to be sure. Just say it's from the twenties (it probably is).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    What if 2 go dead in a 3-player game?

    >From: Cathy C
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >3 people are playing. 2 players have dead hands. Does 3rd person keep playing out or does game end (wall game) OR does 3rd player automatically win?
    >Cathy

    Hi, Cathy.
    It would be silly for one person to play all by herself. Having 2 go dead in a 3-player game is exactly the same thing as 3 going dead in a 4-player game, so please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BW. 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. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 8, 2014


    Something about old set

    >From: leonor f
    >Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 11:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah jongg old set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I bought a set for my son and would like to be able to tell him something about it
    >; and if it's worth something. I have only seen a similar one in Charli's page, so I think it might be special. I would really appreciate anything you might tell me about it.
    >Here are the Checklist questions:
    >1. It is complete
    >2. It is in good condition with the following problems:
    >a. Dots are faded and one stick is broken
    >b. Need cleaning, but I am afraid to do it. Does not smell.
    >3. The set is made of bone and bamboo
    >4. I bought the set from an elderly Scottish Lady. I have a feeling it is from the 20's but am not sure.
    >5. Dimensions are:
    >a. 1 cm H x 3 cm L x 2.2 cm W
    >b. The bone is .5cm high
    >6.
    >a. 36 dots
    >b. 36 bams
    >c. 36 craks
    >d. 16 winds
    >e. 16 dragons (4 red, 4 green, 4 blank)
    >f. 8 flowers
    >7. It has 120 sticks (one broken)
    >a. 2 handmade dice
    >b. 4 wind indicators in cylinder (very faded)
    >8. Container is of Rosewood with beautiful hand-made engravings of children playing. It has 5 drawers.
    >a. Front panel has two girls dancing.
    >b. Back panel two children flying a kite.
    >c. Side panels a boy serenading a girl inside her house.
    >d. The top is a two headed lion that seems to be guarding a pineapple?
    >e. Door has a primitive opening mechanism (has to be pulled down and pressed at the bottom to open)
    >9. The container has a few chips. One side of the lid is cracked and chipped. The door's nail cut through the wood.
    >10. No instruction materials
    >11. Craks have the older design.
    >12. -14 Please see pictures.
    >Thank you so much again for anything you can tell me.
    >Leonor

    Hi, Leonor. You wrote:

    would like to be able to tell him something about it... appreciate anything you might tell me about it.
    I don't know what to do with "anything" questions. I do better with focused questions.

    I think it might be special.
    As you seem to have guessed, the only special thing is the box. I don't have a box like that in my collection, but I've seen pictures of a number of them. I suppose it adds a little to the set's value.

    and if it's worth something... 2. It is in good condition
    "Good" condition isn't great. If the whole thing is in only "good" condition, then it's probably worth only around US$100 or less (value deducted for condition and missing parts, and value added for the fancy carved box).

    I have a feeling it is from the 20's but am not sure.
    I'm not, either. Might be 30s instead. Those counting sticks look plastic - if they're original to the set, then that makes the set younger, not older. They might be late additions. In fact, there's a chance the tiles might be artificially aged to make the set seem more valuable.

    16 dragons (4 red, 4 green, 4 blank)
    You should recheck your math. (^_~)

    2 handmade dice
    Not as many as there should be, and no coffin.

    Container is of Rosewood
    If you say so! I don't know woods.

    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 8, 2014


    Sorry for your loss

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 6:01 AM
    >Subject: Sorry for your loss
    >Tom,
    >So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. We will say a prayer for both if you.
    >Bee

    Thanks, Bee.


    Donation with condolences

    > From: valerie m via PayPal
    >Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 10:38 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > PayPal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from valerie m
    > Receipt ID: ###########
    > The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    > View the details of this transaction online
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $25.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: #########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: valerie m
    > Message: I'm sorry to hear of your loss, Tom. Valerie M
    > Sincerely,PayPal

    Valerie, my heartfelt thanks for the kind thoughts and the donation. My father passed on the 4th of July at age 88.
    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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 7, 2014


    If East rolls doubles...

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 9:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If East rolls doubles and wins that game,does everyone pay her double? Also if doubles are rolled, does that player that won get paid double? (even if it's not the dealer who won)
    >Ann

    Hi, Ann.
    You and your group are using a made-up rule, so you get to figure out all the details among yourselves. Read Frequently Asked Question 14. 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
    July 2, 2014


    My mah-jongg set has an unexpected number of flowers and jokers. What's up with that?

    >From: maregrant
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:37 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I just got my first Maj Jongg set today and inventoried my tiles. I have 16 flowers plus 3 blanks and two extra jokers. Should we be playing with only 8 or all 16 flowers? I think my group has been playing with 16. Is that wrong?
    >If it's 8, why did they include 16 in with the rest of the tiles? The extra jokers and blanks were packaged separately.
    >THANKS, M.

    Hello, M. You wrote:

    I just got my first Maj Jongg set today and inventoried my tiles.
    Good! Many people don't bother to count their tiles, and then get all puzzled when the walls don't add up right. Good for you, intentorying your tiles. Way to go!

    I have 16 flowers plus 3 blanks and two extra jokers.
    Two "extra" jokers, you say. Does that mean you have a total of two jokers in your set? You gave me a total number of flowers and blanks, but categorized your jokers as "extra." That's not confusing at all! :op

    Should we be playing with only 8 or all 16 flowers?
    At this point I need to know which kind of mah-jongg you play. See Frequently Asked Question 2B. (You can link to the FAQs above left.) Some variants do not use any flowers. Korean mah-jongg uses four flowers. Singaporean mah-jongg uses twelve flowers. Most variants use eight flowers. If you play American mah-jongg, you can look on the back of the NMJL card, and read the all-capitals sentence near the top of the left pane. ... And you can read FAQ 7B (the FAQs are above left).

    I think my group has been playing with 16. Is that wrong?
    If your group has been playing before today (today is when you say you received your new set), you've been using another person's set - so you could simply ask that person how many flowers you've been using.

    If it's 8, why did they include 16...?
    For a complete answer, read FAQ 19-S, FAQ 19-AI, Column 311, and Column 509. You can link to the FAQs above left, and you can get to the columns by clicking the purple banner atop this page.

    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
    July 1, 2014


    Is there a rule that says where you can look at your picked tile?

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 5:17 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Dear Tom,
    >Is there an "official" area to bring your tile when it's your turn to pick a tile from the wall? Does it have to reach your rack, pass your rack?
    >Lou

    Lou, there is no "rule" about where you can look at your picked tile. But it's a very bad idea to look at it where another player can see it. Rules are enforceable - but you can't do much about a player's dumb habits.
    I teach the game, and I have difficulty turning off the teacher side of me. When I see that a player looks at her tile in such a way that I can see it, I might mention to her that I can see her tile. (If she's a snippy kind of person, she might just reply, "well, don't look!")
    If she persists in letting me see her tile after I've mentioned that I can see her picks, and it's starting to bug me, I might go so far as to speak, one time, the name of the tile she picked - "Oh, you got a One Bam this time." But that's me, and I would do it only to show her one last time the real-world folly of her bad habit, and I would not want it to escalate into disharmony so I would stop mentioning it thereafter (and would still make a mental note of what she picks and lets me see).
    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
    June 30, 2014


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (FAQ 19G)

    >From: Bonnie M
    >Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 5:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player uses a joker to make 4 like tiles. Another player throws down that same tile but doesn't recognize she can replace the joker. Can another player call that tile and replace the joker with the called tile.

    Hi, Bonnie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19G. 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. 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
    June 30, 2014


    When to go for S&P?

    >From: Carol G
    >Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:43 PM
    >Subject: help on Singles and Pairs
    >Perhaps you can have a column showing hands before the Charleston which might be a good choice for a Singles or Pairs hand. Or, give a choice of hands and reasons why a Singles or Pairs might be the best way to go.
    >I never go in that direction because I just don't think about that part of the card.
    >Thank you for your column as it has helped me become familiar with the card each year.
    >Carol G

    Hi, Carol.
    I guess it's time to do a Charleston column soon. And I will keep in mind S&P when I do it.
    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
    June 29, 2014


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. FAQ 19AY doesn't help.

    >From: Nancy C
    >Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:07 AM
    >Subject: Clarification FAQ [19]AY
    >Miscalled tile - Player A discards a 2 bam calls 2 crack, Player B is looking at her rack hears the call and immediately says "hold, mahjong". However needs a 2 crack not a 2 bam. Now what? A lengthy discussion of FAQ [19]AY took place with several different points of view and the "harmony" was a bit shaky.
    >Thanks in advance for your clarification
    >Nancy C

    Hi, Nancy. You wrote:

    Miscalled tile
    The term "miscalled" might mean two different things. It might mean "misnamed" or it might mean "erroneously claimed."

    Player B is looking at her rack hears the call and immediately says "hold, mahjong". However needs a 2 crack not a 2 bam. Now what? A lengthy discussion of FAQ [19]AY took place with several different points of view...
    Why isn't FAQ 19AY good enough? It says:

      Q1: She misnamed her discard. Someone wanted it for mah-jongg. What now?
      A1: The hand is over. The misnamer must pay four times the value of the hand to the player who wanted the tile for mah-jongg. No other players need pay. Deal and play the next hand.

        For further reading:
        RDWW - p. 61 (rule 95), p. 97
        NMJL - p. 17 (rule 6)

    I think that's very clear, and not in the least open to misinterpretation. Where is the confusion? I don't understand. You can look in the official rulebook on page 17, or in my book on pages 61 or 97 if that isn't enough...? Or you can send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the League and ask them for the ruling. If it's just that some people (like the misnamer, for instance) don't like the rule, well, that's just sour grapes, doncha think?

    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
    June 26, 2014


    Two people say mah-jongg at the same time - who wins?

    >From: Doris J. B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: the person to the left of me discarded her tile. My turn next and I did not need her tile I had mah jong and yelled out. Person to the left of her called out also for her discarded tile mah jong. Who wins?

    Hi, Doris. What you did doesn't make sense, unless you picked a tile from the wall before you said mah-jongg.
    I assume what you're asking me is, "one person said mah-jongg with a picked tile at the same moment another person said mah-jongg on the live discard - who wins?"
    I believe the answer would be, "next person in line from the discarder wins." You can also check FAQ 19H, but the precise question you're asking isn't exactly in there...
    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
    June 2, 2014


    Column 606

    >From: "matzger
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 3:28 PM
    >Subject: May 25 column
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can number 12 really be consecutive 2? You show three 6 dots with four 8 dots; seems to me that the four 8's would have to be in a different suit for consecutive 2. Sorry to be so late with this question.
    >Valerie M

    Hi, Valerie. That image shows three 7-dots (not 6-dots) with the four 8-dots. If it was three 6-dots and (let's say) four 8-bams (a different suit, as you said), then that couldn't be Consec. #2 - it would have to be 9B, not 8B, to fit Consec. #2. Thanks for writing anyway - I'm delighted that you're reading my column!
    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
    June 25, 2014


    What if the caller speaks exactly at the split second that the wall tile touches the next player's rack?

    > From: Bernie M
    > Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:55 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player called for a discarded tile and another player picked a tile and racked at the same time. What do you in the case of a tie?

    Well, Bernie, then I ask myself how quickly the next player made her move. Did she hurry to pick and rack so as to ensure that she got the wall tile (trying to prevent anyone from stopping her)? Or, did she pause a beat so as to give other players a chance (thus the caller had hesitated a little too long)? If the former, let the caller have the discard. If the latter, the caller hesitated too long.
    I wish the National Mah Jongg League (I assume you're asking about American rules) would issue a rule similar to the 3-second rule used in Majiang Competition Rules. Three seconds is a verifiable, measurable amount of time.
    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
    June 25, 2014


    What if three players go dead?

    >From: Connie H
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If 3 players hands are dead does the 4th player win and what does she get paid?

    Hi, Connie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BW. 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. 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 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
    June 25, 2014


    Found this at Goodwill

    >From: Dakota W
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:38 PM
    >Subject: Questions about a Mah-Jongg Tile Set
    >During a recent trip to a GoodWill Outlet I stumbled upon an incomplete set of what I think is a bone and tile Mah-Jongg Tile set. I am very unfamiliar in this area and any help validating that it is indeed that or an idea of a price range is greatly appreciated. There was a wooden box that came with it, but I was unable to salvage that as it had been crushed by a microwave. Any help or advice would be helpful as I am still trying to research the set online.
    >Thanks,
    >Dakota W

    Hi, Dakota. You asked:

    any help validating that it is indeed ... an incomplete set of... a bone and tile Mah-Jongg Tile set
    Yes, it is an incomplete bone and bamboo mah-jongg set.

    or an idea of a price range
    It depends on the buyer. A vendor who sells replacement tiles might give you $15-20 for the lot. A collector who has a set that needs a replacement for a missing tile might give you $4-5 for the one tile he or she needs. A player who wants four blank tiles to add to her set so it can be used to play American mah-jongg might give you $40 for four of those blank tiles (the blank tiles are the most prized, because they can be engraved). My recommendation is to post it on eBay and take whatever you can get.

    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
    June 25, 2014


    Where was it made, part 2

    >From: Sarah V
    >Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg (I gave it my best to follow your instructions!)
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you so much for the courtesy of a reply! I very much appreciate your time.
    >All the best,
    >Sarah


    Where was it made, and how much should I ask for it?

    >From: Sarah V
    >Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg (I gave it my best to follow your instructions!)
    >Good morning Tom Sloper,
    >I hope this finds you doing well. I found your website and contact information while I was researching what sort of Mah-Jongg set I have. I am writing to you for an evaluation, my intention is to sell the set I have.
    >My questions:
    >--Can you tell where in the world this set was made?
    >--Can you tell me what you think a good asking price is for the set?
    >Information that I have, per your instructions:
    >My set contains:
    >---144 tiles (36 Dots, 36 Bamboo, 36 Cracks, 16 Winds, 12 Dragons, 8 Flowers, 4 Blanks)
    >From my research, the Bamboos are "barbed", the set has Arabic numbers, the Red Dragon symbol is for the word "center" in Chinese.
    >The tiles are made of bone and bamboo (I could see the Haversian system with streaking).
    >They measure: 3cm (H), 2cm (L), 1.3cm (W)---the bone part of the width is 1cm.
    >I think the set was made before 1960 because there are no jokers.
    >Excellent condition for all tiles
    >---40 scoring sticks worth 10pts
    >---10 scoring sticks worth 5pts
    >---61 scoring sticks worth 2pts
    >---46 scoring sticks worth 1pt
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining.
    >---2 dice
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining.
    >---6 wind indicators (2 large, 2 med, 2 small)
    >Fair to Good condition. The dye has smeared from use, some staining and some chipping along the edge.
    >---Wood Case (Rosewood, 5 drawers, brass embellishments on corners + drawer pulls + carrying handle)
    >Good to Excellent condition. It looks like I am missing a slat that would slide down over the drawers. However, the brass and wood are all in very good condition.
    >--This set does not contain any written, paper material.
    >I am including some photos to illustrate what information I have gathered. I have done by best to provide you with the right vocabulary and information you requested, however, if I have missed something you need, please let me know.
    >Thank you kindly for your time,
    >Sarah V

    Hi, Sarah. You did a good job describing your set and stating your questions! You wrote:

    I think the set was made before 1960 because there are no jokers.
    I think it was made in the 1920s because that type of set was made in the 1920s.

    6 wind indicators (2 large, 2 med, 2 small)
    Actually, those aren't all wind indicators. Some of them are lids for the cylindrical container (mingg) for wind indicators. It looks like you're missing the cylinder itself. You have two North discs and two East discs. If they are not marked West and South on the other side, you're missing two discs. And you have two extra discs and an extra mingg lid.

    . It looks like I am missing a slat that would slide down over the drawers.
    You sure are. We call that part the "front."

    where in the world this set was made?
    China.

    what you think a good asking price is for the set?
    Since you don't have the paper materials or the box front, you're missing the dice coffin (the little wood box that contains the dice), you're missing the mingg cylinder and two discs, and some of your sticks are unattractively smeared, the value is only a part of what a complete comparable set would be worth. You might want to see if you can buy the missing parts from one of the vendors in FAQ 4a so you can sell a more complete set. As it is, you might get $60 or $70 for it. If you get a front and a coffin and a mingg cylinder and the missing discs, you might get $80-90 for it ($100 if it also had the original instruction booklet, but it's not a certainty what instruction booklet originally came with it, and you could mislead someone with the wrong booklet, so don't try to fill that gap).

    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
    June 20, 2014


    When is a tile considered down?

    >From: Connie H
    >Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player starts to lay a tile down and says 9, (which is a crack) and realizes that there is a a kong of 9 cracks with two jokers exposed on another rack. She had the tile touching to table but never set it down, when she sees the jokers. When is a tile considered down?

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19A. 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. 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 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
    Juneteenth, 2014


    What if I'm dealer and I have a complete hand after the Charleston?

    >From: Judi I
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:52 PM
    >Subject: How do I score this?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I met you during a lesson you gave at The Hideaway Club in La Quinta a few years ago and would love your input on how to score a hand I won on recently. I was east and we had just finished the charleston when I realized I had mah jongg.
    >Thoughts?
    >Judi I

    Hi, Judi. Nice to hear from you again.
    This hand is not "heavenly hand" - that is when the dealer has mah-jongg before the Charleston even begins. I wrote about "heavenly hand" in column 476, and in FAQ 19BJ. You can read columns by clicking the purple banner above, and you can link to the FAQs above left.
    But to get back to your situation - it scores double from everyone (it counts the same as self-pick).
    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
    June 18, 2014


    I need six enrobed tiles

    >From: Jill S
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:39 PM
    >Subject: Enrobed Tiles
    >Greetings Tom, I recently got my grandmother's mah Jongg set. It is so lovely. I have been searching all over for 6 tiles to complete the set. According to CHarli, it is a "met set". Do you have any suggestions for me? The NY Mah Jongg League and CHarli did not have a match. Many other collectors do not have a match either. Perhaps you have some suggestions.
    >Thank you,
    >Jill Sandler
    >jillsandlergmail.com

    Hi, Jill.
    The problem with rare sets like yours is that replacement tiles for it are even rarer. I'm posting this on my Tiles Wanted bulletin board - up top you'll find a link to Matthew Shin's website. If he can't help you, you should try Johni Levene's Facebook group, "Mah Jongg Collectors Assn." You'll have to join Facebook, and you'll have to ask to join her group. If Matthew and Johni can't help you, I don't think anyone can.
    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
    June 18, 2014


    Can you call a tile to complete a singles kong?

    >From: Barbara O
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 3:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you call a tile to complete a singles kong? For instance: 2014?
    >Barbara O

    A "singles kong," eh? (^_^) That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. 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. 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
    June 17, 2014


    What happens to that particular joker on the dead player's rack?

    >From: Robin O
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:42 AM
    >Subject: seeking clarification on one of your FAQ answers
    >Hi Tom -- In FAQ 19 P you address the question of redeeming jokers from dead hands. Members of my group have read your answer but drawn different conclusions about a recent situation. Could you clarify for us?
    >A player called for a tile and exposed a kong of twos with 1 joker. In a subsequent turn, the same player called for a tile and exposed a pung of wests. Her hand was then declared dead since the only hand with that combination of tiles (Winds-Dragons #5) is supposed to be concealed.
    >Some in our group feel that this situation is covered by the general rule: the joker in the first exposure should remain available since it was a valid exposure when it was made and the hand was declared dead later in the game.
    >Others feel that since both exposures were from a hand that should have been concealed, the cause of death was "exposure of a concealed hand" and therefore all of the tiles should be returned to the rack as per your list of more specific rules and rule 3b of the official rule book.
    >We would appreciate your insight --
    >Thanks!!
    >Robin

    Hi, Robin.
    FAQ 19P says (italics added):

    • Jokers which were exposed properly are valid for redemption. If you make a kong, nobody has enough information about which hand you're making, so you can't be declared dead on the basis of that exposure alone. Any jokers in that kong are live, and stay alive even if you are declared dead later.
    • Jokers which were exposed improperly are not available for redemption. Let's say that your first exposure was a kong of fours (with a joker) and your second exposure was a kong of dragons (with a joker). Let's say that the card does not have a hand that allows kongs of fours and dragons (let's imagine that the hand is clearly not anywhere on the card). Anybody could now declare you dead, based on your improper second exposure. Any jokers that had been exposed PRIOR to the blunder (the jokers in the first exposure) are still valid for redemption, but any jokers exposed in the course of making the blunder (the jokers in the second exposure) are dead. All portions of the hand exposed erroneously are to be returned to the sloping front of the rack, including and especially the now-dead jokers.

    So let's look at the example you cited. Player made two exposures (on different turns), and let's say she used jokers in both of them:

    On the 2014 NMJL card, the kong of twos is a legal exposure. But she made an illegal second exposure (the pung of wests), and was called dead for it. Therefore, the W pung must be returned to the sloping front of the dead player's rack - the west joker is now unavailable for redemption (nobody can even see it anymore, once the pung is returned to the sloping front of the rack). The kong of twos remains on the top surface of the rack (because that's the NMJL rule per the 2007 newsletter, and that's what it says in FAQ 19P), so the joker in that kong remains live and available for redemption.

    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
    June 17, 2014


    Should you say "call," or are other ways acceptable?

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:03 AM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your website! I've spent a lot of time on it already. One question I don't see is What is the correct etiquette for calling a tile? Should you say, "Call" or are other ways acceptable? Thanks.
    >Jan and Maury in MN

    Hi, Jan. English is a flexible language. What you can say includes (but is not limited to): "call," "take," "I'll take that," "I want that," or even just "gimme."
    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
    June 17, 2014


    Called me dead but I'm not. What now?

    >From: Stacey S
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:06 AM
    >Subject: Calling a Hand Dead
    >Hi, Tom...what if a player calls another player dead and she is not? What is the penalty or pay out or what happens?
    >Thanks...Stacey

    Welcome to my website, Stacey. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AB. 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. 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 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
    June 17, 2014


    How old is it?

    >From: Tabatha J
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 7:17 AM
    >Subject: mahjong set
    >Checking date on mahhong set.....amber butterscotch bakelite catalin? looks like amber bakelite?....unusual flowers or gold fill embedded into tiles?.......plz help...and i agree to publishing and all i read it ...thx so much!

    Hi, Tabatha.
    I think it was made in the sixties. So it's about fifty years old, plus or minus a decade. (Possibly as old as the forties.)
    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
    June 17, 2014


    Thanks

    >From: Rita H
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 7:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank You so much for answering my question. I did look at the 19 FAQ first but I guess I just missed it. Sorry.
    >Rita


    Dead and deader

    >From: Dale P
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 4:15 PM
    >Subject: two questions about going dead
    >HI Tom,
    >I've read your section on going dead don't see an answer to either of my questions. I've also scanned your newsletters, but you've been at this for some time, and I may have missed an answer some time back - if so sorry in advance.
    >Question #1:
    >East claims a Flower that is discarded by South then exposes a kong of three Flowers and a Joker and discards properly. North exchanges a Flower tile for the exposed Joker from East's rack before either claiming a tile from the table or drawing a tile from the wall. South calls North dead for too few tiles.
    >Q: Does the Joker exchanged by North stay in North's dead hand or does it go back to East's rack where it may be claimed by the other remaining players? It seems to me the joker was claimed illegally and therefore should remain in play but I can't find a clear answer.
    >Question #2:
    >I've read your section on calling yourself dead, and I understand that it's not legal to call yourself dead.
    >Q: Today a player discovered she had too many 15 tiles and called herself dead. I reminded her that she can't legally do that, and she said she had read that she could if the reason was the wrong number of tiles. Did I miss this memo?
    >Thanks again for your help.
    >Best,
    >Dale P
    >Miami Beach

    Hi, Dale. To answer your questions:

    Does the Joker exchanged by North stay in North's dead hand
    Yes. North made a play. Admittedly, it was a bad play, but the play was made. As a result, she's dead, and what she did remains done did. (En Français: "c'est un fait accompli.")

    she said she had read that she could if the reason was the wrong number of tiles. Did I miss this memo?
    Didn't you ask her for her source? Show her your source (the official NMJL bulletin for 2005, and probably other years since, or, second best, my book on pages 64 and 101), and ask her to show you her source. The one who can show the rule in writing has proven her point. After a player tries to call herself dead, anyone else can simply look and see if she's demonstrably dead or not, and if she is, then just call her dead - she won't mind.

    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
    June 16, 2014


    Was Ms. Right wrong?

    >From: Edward M
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 3:50 PM
    >Subject: calling attention to a disgard
    >Hi Tom, It seems every week after our Mah Jongg session I have to forward a rule to my teammates about something they question. Today something happened that is not covered by the rules and I wondered your opinion of this action.
    >I discarded a tile ( a 3 Dot) naming it as I placed it on the table. The player to my right asked the player to my left if she did not want this tile? (I don’t believe the player to my left had any tiles on her rack) But she said, “I don’t know, let me look and think about it for a minute” She studied her tiles and declared she did want it and this is the tile that gave her Mah Jongg.
    >This seemed very irregular to me (in fact I have never seen this done) that is one player urging another to consider a discard as a needed tile. In fact couldn’t we all do this? Is there a rule? I did just re-read them and didn’t find anything about this action.
    >Thanks Tom, love your site!
    >EMily m
    >p.s. I have the most boring film on You Tube about a Mah Jongg game and this must be some indication of how nice Mah Jongg players are as no one has said anything mean!

    Hi, Emily.
    There is no written rule against asking a player "are you sure you don't need that?" But it's bad strategy, and it can make half the players at the table upset (harming the game's harmony). I assume your Ms. Left is a novice player, your Ms. Right is a kind person, and knew that the discard was Left's mahj tile (based on Left's exposures).
    When I'm teaching, I sometimes do what Ms. Right did. But when I'm in a regular game, I would only do what Ms. Right did if poor Ms. Left was clearly struggling or going through some awful life circumstances and needed a morale boost. There is no written rule against it. It should normally not be done (and certainly never in a tournament), but sometimes a supportive friendly group will not object. In Chinese Official rules, this is not permitted - it's called "giving information," and the player who does it would be penalized. But you don't need to know that, since you're not playing Chinese Official (so forget I said anything).
    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
    June 16, 2014


    Can a 25 cent win really become a whole dollar??

    >From: Rita H
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 2:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We play Mah-Jongg for money. When a person picks a tile themselves that gives them Mah-Jongg the payout is double. 25 cent hand = 50 cents
    >If a person gets a Mah-Jongg without any jokers the payout is double. 25 cent hand = 50 cents
    >My questions is: When a person picks a tile that gives them Mah Jongg and it is joker less is the payout double twice? Meaning the 25 cent hand will now = $1.00??
    >Thanks for your help
    >Rita

    Yes, Rita. Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19W. 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. 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
    June 16, 2014


    On stopping the Charleston

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 9:44 AM
    >Subject: Stopping the charleston
    >My thoughts on stopping the charleston, for what those thoughts are worth!
    >Many players will stop the charleston if they have two hands going and cannot decide which to continue and which to throw away. Of course as soon as you throw one away, you get more tiles for that hand rather than the hand you kept. But sometimes it is best to just choose and deal with the consequences.
    >Others will stop the charleston if they have three or less tiles to pass.
    >From a strategy point of view it might still be worth passing those three, but if you get one or two tiles you need on that second left, you will now have to pass across tiles that you need, the last pass you can always blind pass all three if necessary. You may also get the tiles you passed across back in the optional.
    >Sometimes it is better to stop the charleston, if you have a very good hand simply because you may not get any more tiles, while continuing may only help the hands of others. I think most people just go with their intuition, sometimes stopping and sometimes not. It has been my experience that when I have few tiles that go together, my hand will fill in on its own and quite often will win with that horrible hand. As you stated it is the players choice to stop or continue and part of the game. That is one factor that makes this game so challenging. My advice is that players should sit back and enjoy the game, don't fret over it.
    >Bee

    One thing you said, Bee:

    it might still be worth passing those three, but if you get one or two tiles you need on that second left, you will now have to pass across tiles that you need, the last pass you can always blind pass all three if necessary. You may also get the tiles you passed across back in the optional.
    Highly unlikely. Consider: you pass three tiles to your opposite, then she passes three tiles to her right (your left). In the optional courtesy pass, the player at your left is the one who's likely holding those tiles you passed across, and she might just exchange those with her opposite (your right).
    The "second across" is The sticky pass, if you do not stop the Charleston. I tell my novice students that, but they usually don't get it until they come back for the intermediate class.

    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
    June 16, 2014


    Official Chinese Mahjong

    >From: Rohn
    >Sent: Monday, June 16, 2014 12:09 AM
    >Subject: 2 ?s about official chinese mahjong
    >1.In a recent game of Official Chinese Mahjong we had a disagreement about going out on a replacement tile. The person who declared mahjong had picked up a discard that completed a kong and then drew a replacement tile from the dead wall which completed his mahjong hand. 2 of us believed that this made it a self-drawn mahjong which meant the other 3 should give him points but one person argued that the rule was unclear and that the person whose discard gave him the kong should have to give points and the others only owed 8 points. I argued that drawing from the dead wall is the same as taking from the wall, who was right?
    >2. who gives up points when mahjong is won by robbing the kong? I thought it was the person who was robbed because if the tile was a discard then it would be claimed by priority, and that the only way then would be that the tile was drawn from the wall and was being added to a melded pung. Same person believed that it could be done on a discard that was being added to a pung. Who is right?
    >Thank you Rohn

    Hi, Rohn.

    The discard didn't give the player mah-jongg; the replacement tile did. Consider a string of standing dominoes with a little bell at the far end. You touch the first domino, and they all fall over, and the last domino rings the bell. Which domino rang the bell (who pays extra to the winner)? The domino that rang the bell was not the first one, or any in the middle of the string; it was the last one.
    I don't know which book your group uses as its guide, but in my book, this (Out with Replacement Tile) is fan #46 (page 152). The wording in 46.c. answers your question. It says, "May not combine with Self-Drawn (implied)." That means that picking a kong replacement tile IS self-pick, but you just don't get to add an extra 1 point to the score count (since you get 8 points for winning on kong replacement). Although you don't get the extra 1 point, since it IS self-pick, then the full payment is due from every other player.

    In my book, this (Robbing the Kong) is fan #47 (page 152). It says in 47.c. at the top of page 153, "Treated as win by discard." Your friend says that a pung can be promoted to a kong with a discard? See rule 50 on page 136 of my book: an exposed pung may be promoted "only when the player self-picks the fourth tile (a discard may not be taken for this purpose)."

    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
    June 16, 2014


    How do we deal with serial Charleston stoppers, redux

    >From: Carol P
    >Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2014 1:07 PM
    >Subject: re: 2nd Charleston
    >It seems to me that many players (especially "new" players) automatically say"no" to a second charleston because they just don't want to think about it. That is their right, of course, but . . . .
    >Is there a "rule of thumb" about whether or not a second charleston would be a good choice. Someone once told me that if a player had a specific number of tiles they might still pass, they should opt for the second charleston. Is that true? If so, what is the specific number?
    >Are there any other guidelines about when to agree to a second charleston?
    >Thanks for your help

    Hi, Carol. To respond to what you wrote:

    It seems to me that many players (especially "new" players) automatically say"no" to a second charleston
    Really? I have not observed such a thing.

    That is their right, of course, but . . . .
    Ah, there's that "but." Let's forget the "but" and remember that it is the right of every player to stop the Charleston if she so chooses.

    Someone once told me that if a player had a specific number of tiles they might still pass, they should opt for the second charleston. Is that true? If so, what is the specific number?
    Strategy does not have hard and fast "rules" governing what any player "should" do, without regard for circumstantial vagaries. It doesn't work like that. I'm sure your friend has strong ideas as to exactly how many tiles one "might still pass," and how many different options one should go for. But those ideas are her strategies - not any hard and fast rule. Strategies and rules are separate things.

    Are there any other guidelines about when to agree to a second charleston?
    Sure, every player has different ideas about this. Read columns 493 and 494 (click purple banner above), and see the response I gave to Lisa K, who asked "How do we deal with a serial Charleston stopper?" on Saturday, June 7, below. And again, don't forget that it is every player's right to stop the second Charleston if she wishes. The other players do not have to "agree." That's the rule.

    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
    June 15, 2014


    Can I combine Mixed Double Chow with Mixed Triple Chow?

    >From: Bob K
    >Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:54 PM
    >Subject: question
    >If one goes out with a Mixed Triple Chow worth 8 points,
    >can a Mixed Double Chow also be counted?
    >thanks

    Hi, Bob.
    I assume that the Mixed Double is fully contained within the Mixed Triple (that you are trying to use two chows for one fan, and add a third one to them both and use them also for a second fan)? Look at rule 10.1.5.1. "Prohibition against implied inclusions" in FAQ 22. You can click the FAQ 22 link above left. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question.
    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
    June 12, 2014


    Tell me anything about my new set, part 2

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:21 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Well Tom, I have not yet read your entire wealth of knowledge about Mah Jongg, though I have accessed what you suggested. I have yet to find any reference to a set entitled "Mah Chung". Since you appear to be the expert in all things Mah Jongg I was hoping you could enlighten me about this odd item. Thank you so much.
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa.
    I still don't know what it is you want to know. Something about the set's name, or its manufacturer? And what is it that you think is "odd" about it? What is it you need "enlightenment" about exactly? I don't have information about specific sets, or manufacturers, if that's what you're looking for. You might find that kind of information on www.mahjongmuseum.com, or www.charli.org.
    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
    June 11, 2014


    Tell me anything about my new set that I don't have yet

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom. Pleased to meet you. I am new to the Mah Jongg world and recently purchased a set in a wooden box with front sliding panel that says Mah Chung and Made in China. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I have not received this item yet so I can't give more information until then. Thank you so much.
    >Lisa

    Hi, Lisa. Welcome to my site. You wrote:

    Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Sure. Just tell me what information you want. But before you ask me a question, please look for the answers in the Frequently Asked Questions. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg sets are found in FAQ 7.

    May the tiles be with you soon.
    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
    June 11, 2014


    What's the title of the official NMJL rulebook?

    >From: Fern H
    >Sent: Monday, June 9, 2014 1:36 PM
    >Subject: NMJL rulebook
    >Sorry to contact you rather than the NMJL but they don't do e-mail!
    >You frequently refer to the NMJL rulebook. I wanted to buy a copy and so looked carefully at their website. The only book I could find was "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Is that really what the rulebook is called?
    >Thanks,
    >Fern H

    Yes. 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
    June 9, 2014


    This week's column

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, June 8, 2014 7:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Column 608, #14, wouldn't another hot tile be 8B?
    >Bee

    Yup! Good 4 U, B.! Wonder why your email was in my spam folder. Oh well, at least I found it eventually.
    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
    June 9, 2014


    This week's column

    >From: Gay L
    >Sent: Monday, June 9, 2014 11:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello Tom,
    >I’m a beginner at Mah Jongg. I have been reading your column which is a great help. ( I also purchased your book, you are the expert for sure.) In the latest column #608 the defense question #13, could it also be consecutive #1? I would be watching for 1, 2 and 4 dots with the 1 & 2 dots being “key”. ??
    >I look forward to your response and your future columns.
    >Thank you,
    >Gay L
    >This message and any files transmitted with it may contain legally privileged, confidential, or proprietary information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are not permitted to use, copy, or forward it, in whole or in part without the express consent of the sender. Please notify the sender of the error by reply email, disregard the foregoing messages, and delete it immediately.
    >P Please consider the environment before printing this email...

    Good job, Gay! That, er, "intentional" error is now corrected, thanks to you.
    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
    June 9, 2014


    When can I redeem a joker? - Can I redeem a joker after I take a discard for exposure, and then add that joker to that new exposure?

    >From: Veronica H
    >Sent: Sunday, June 8, 2014 11:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >First, I would like you to know that I bought your book and it has answered many questions raised during MJ sessions.
    >I am asking a question by citing an example:
    >East displays a segment of her hand - 8D-J-J-8D.
    >South discards a 7B.
    >West has an 8D in her hand and two 7Bs. Can she call for the 7B and then display two 7Bs, exchange her 8D for a Joker and then display Joker and the fourth 7B?
    >I did not find this in your book and it came up the other day during a MJ session.
    >Thanking you in advance for your help. I will check your website for an answer.
    >Sincerely.
    >An Avid Mah Jongg Player
    >Roni

    Hi, Roni.
    In my book, see the following rules:
    - Rule 58.a. on p. 52
    - Rule 86.a. on p. 58
    - Redemption rule #1, on p. 91
    ... put those all together, and you get the rule as stated right here on my site - see FAQ 19M. You can click the FAQ 19 link 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
    June 8, 2014


    Today's column

    >From: Dale P
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 11:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In your most recent column #608 6/08, 2014. Hand number 12 is dead. It's concealed. It is the hand you say in your notes, but if anyone plays 3 wests on this card they are dead. Right?
    >Also couldn't hand #4 be either Evens #3 or #4?
    >Thanks for your weekly columns and insights. Love it.
    >Dale P
    >Miami Beach

    Right on both counts, Dale. The column is all patched up now, thanx 2 U!
    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
    June 8, 2014


    The maj tile wasn't completely named

    >From: Arlene S
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 9:35 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Tom,
    >Here is what happened this past week at the maj table.
    >A women had an East in her (physical) hand, about to discard it on the table. She said Essssss (t was not spoken, or did not sound like the complete word...), she looked around, realized another player had a West exposure, and instantly the woman with the West exposure called "Maj."
    >The East tile had not hit the table and the discarder began to pull it back to her rack. The discarder argued that she could bring it back since it had not left her hand, completed the whole word, or touched the table.
    >There was enough time for the rest of us to hear "Esssss" very clearly and obviously enough time for the player to call "Maj". Yes there was tension at the table and yes I did read through your Q&A board but could not get this actual situation described.
    >closest I came to it: A: No. When a tile is "down," it is too late for the discarder to take it back. If you've said its name, you must put it on the tabletop and take your hand off it.
    >I guess it comes down to, for us, does the whole tile name have to be said?
    >Your site is incredibly helpful and informative. Thanks in advance.
    >Arlene ? S

    Hi, Arlene.
    Okay, so the discarder should have looked before discarding, and the winner jumped a tad quickly. But the operant principle here is "maj trumps everything" (Philosophy 5f in FAQ 9). The fact is, the winner said "mah-jongg." So even though the discard was arguably not completely named, it's too late for backsies. Saying "that was an invalid mah-jongg call because whatever" doesn't work - too many hard feelings can result, and the game cannot go on (the erstwhile winner is at an extreme disadvantage now, and the unwise discarder has to kill her own hand, so the rest of the game (if continued) would be about the other two players only).
    She won, and that's that. Pay the lady and redeal.
    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
    June 7, 2014


    How do we deal with a serial Charleston stopper?

    >From: Lisa K
    >Sent: Saturday, June 7, 2014 5:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Etiquette
    >Hello,
    >Can you please explain how to educate someone (who almost always stops the Charleston pass after the first left) to figure out how not to stop the pass? It is causing quite a lot of animosity in my game, as we all really like the woman who does this.
    >Thank you,
    >Lisa

    I'm afraid that the one who needs to be educated is you, Lisa. Your habitual Charleston-stopper already knows "how not to stop the pass." She already knows that all she would have to do is not say "I'm stopping." She also knows that the rules permit her to stop the Charleston if she wants. I presume that she also knows that she is making people upset when she does so (I presume that it has been mentioned to her, more than once), and that she persists in stopping the Charleston anyway. Therefore, I really do not believe it is she who needs "education."
    You, however, don't understand that people cannot be made to change. They have to first want to change, before any change can happen. I remember Marge Simpson once advising a young bride that her new husband "can be fixed with a little gentle nagging." Well, I don't know if that'll work on your wallflower or not. I'm mindful of another old saying: "You can't teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." Nagging your friend to stop the Charleston less might just irritate her and increase the disharmony.
    And does your group understand that most of the time nothing much changes in the second Charleston? How many times have you heard the kvetch, "Oy - same old crap going around again"? That's what one hears a LOT during the second Charleston. So if one is counting on miracles in the second Charleston, one is engaging in overly optimistic wishful thinking. Yes, sometimes something new and interesting can happen in the second Charleston, but that's not very common. I think this is something your play group needs to be "educated" about.
    It's interesting that despite all the "animosity," you all really like your Charleston-stopper. There is hope that your group can find some harmony. Your wallflower needs to understand that while she is free to stop the dance, the others can get upset (so she should only stop it infrequently and when she has a solid need to do so). Your group needs to understand that anyone is free to stop the dance, for any reason and for no reason, and that it's infrequent to actually get a game-changing tile in the second dance. You might want to share column 494 with your group and get a conversation going.
    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
    June 7, 2014


    How much is my set worth?

    >From: LUKE <lukespoard
    >Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 11:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I'm just after an evaluation on my mahjong set they are bone and bamboo tiles there are 146 of them and there are sticks and dice made also of bone the box is a carved wooden box with 2 Buddhas on the handle

    Hello, Luke.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 7H. Click the FAQ 7H link 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

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 7, 2014


    How do I contact them

    >From: "abbymayesaol.com"
    >Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 9:35 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi, I saw the posting regarding 3 players in the Spring City, PA area looking for another person. How do I contact them. Thanks for your great site.
    >Abby

    Hi, Abby.
    Do you mean the post on http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/findplayer-archive1.htm from August 15, 2010? Took me a while to find it - and I didn't find any other posts mentioning Spring City anywhere on my site. There was an email address in that 2010 post. Did you try emailing it? I didn't see any mention of three players in that post.
    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
    June 6, 2014


    The column's mobile icon , part 4 - was: "It's hard to see the tiles and the answers" (June 4) and "Why no mobile-friendly columns anymore?" (April 2)

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:33 AM
    >Subject: mobile icon
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your answer to Jeanne's question on 6/4 regarding the mobile icon has helped me a lot. I had the same problem she did and I also thought the icon was only for mobile use (I'm pretty ignorant on computers). Thanks to you both!
    >Linda

    I'm glad the information about the mobile icon was helpful for you, Linda. I think I should change the column template to make it clearer to all readers of future columns how it works.
    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
    June 5, 2014


    It's hard to see the tiles and the answers, part 2

    >From: Jeanne C. F
    >Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:28 AM
    >Subject: my email yesterday
    >Dear Mr. S. – thank you for your answer to my question yesterday. I assumed that little icon was for mobiles only, and since I don’t access your column on my phone, (nor do I check it every week) I ignored it and probably missed an explanation when you introduced it.
    >It’s great and of course takes care of my complaint very nicely.
    >Gratefully,
    >Jeanne F

    I'm glad that helps, Ms. F.!
    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
    June 5, 2014


    It's hard to see the tiles and the answers at the same time

    >From: Jeanne C. F
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:17 PM
    >Subject: format of article page
    >Dear Mr. Sloper - I have a continuing difficulty with your article pages, wherein you show a number of hands, pungs, whatever, with a question posed on each of the sets of tiles. – Namely – one can’t look at the row of tiles and read the answer to the question at the same time. The space between top and bottom of the article portion of the screen is not large enough (high enough) to see both at the same time. This makes it harder to understand the answer to the question posed. Am I clear on this?
    >Maybe it would be clearer if I said you can’t see all the tiles and all the answers at the same time. Reading the answer without being able to see the tiles at the same time – not so good.
    >Perhaps you could have the screen formatted to show the entire layout and your whole set of answers to your question full screen – eliminating the introduction at the top of the page, and your list of columns.
    >I hope you catch on to what I’m trying to say here.
    >I’ve learned a lot from your website and your book and your FAQs–just hope you can make it easier for us fans to catch on to the question/tiles/answer piece.
    >Best wishes.
    >Jeanne F

    Hi, Jeanne. You wrote:

    one can’t look at the row of tiles and read the answer to the question at the same time.
    Sorry you find that inconvenient!

    Am I clear on this?
    Absolutely.

    Maybe it would be clearer if I said you can’t see all the tiles and all the answers at the same time.
    It was clear enough the way you said it the first time.

    Perhaps you could have the screen formatted to show the entire layout and your whole set of answers to your question full screen – eliminating the introduction at the top of the page, and your list of columns.
    You can click the little mobile icon instead of the worded link when you go to read a column, or when you're in the column, you can click the little mobile icon. Clicking that icon makes the nav frames go away (the column itself is then full-screen). Maybe that would help?

    I hope you catch on to what I’m trying to say here.
    Absolutely. Got it. You communicated everything very clearly. And I hope the Mobile interface solves the problem for you, or at least improves it. The mobile icon has been there since January 1st (before that I used a text link that says "Mobile" to do the same thing - since April 2012). Please let me know if this makes the column easier to read for you.

    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
    June 4, 2014


    Can I exchange a joker for a natural tile (can I reverse-redeem a joker)?

    >From: Cherie M
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:14 PM
    >Subject: American Mahjongg Q
    >Tom,
    >American Mahjongg Question
    >Can I redeem a tile from someone else’s tray, using a joker to replace a non-joker tile, in order to complete a pair?
    >Example: Someone has exposed a three 6 bams. Can I use a joker to redeem one of her 6 bams to complete a pair in my hand, concealed or not a concealed hand.
    >Thank you,
    >Cherie

    Hi, Cherie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AL. 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. 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 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
    June 4, 2014


    Column 590, part 3

    >From: Mary E
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 6:08 PM
    >Subject: non-joker exposure
    >AHA!! NOW she gets it. Sometimes I need to be playing to understand what's being said. Sorry, sorry, sorry!
    >Thanks for your patience!
    >Mary

    No prob, 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
    June 3, 2014


    Can I put a taken discard into my hand?

    > From: cheryl S
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:47 PM
    > Subject: American Maj Jongg
    > hello there Tom, have read a lot online rules and questions. I need
    > your help to clarify something.
    > 5 tidbits first:
    > 1. 60 years old
    > 2. MBA
    > 3. Retired Banker
    > 4. no MJ aspirations other than more wins than others
    > 5. The Bronx (Riverdale, New York)
    > When it's my turn, can I pick up the tile just discarded and put in my
    > rack without exposing?
    > I used to play that way but someone said it is "calling" and must expose
    > even if it's my turn and want what the player to my left just threw out
    > (in lieu of picking from the wall)
    > HELP and much thanks. Cheryl from the Bronx

    Hi, Cheryl
    I guess you must have looked at my video game career advice bulletin board (http://sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm) before you came here to this board to ask me your mah-jongg question. I only need those "5 tidbits" when people are asking me for career advice (I don't need to know all that to answer mah-jongg questions!). (^_^) You asked:

    When it's my turn, can I pick up the tile just discarded and put in my
    > rack without exposing?
    No, never!

    I used to play that way
    Really? That has never been permitted, in any form of mah-jongg!

    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
    June 3, 2014


    Column 590, part 2 (was: Waylaid to the spam folder)

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:07 PM
    > Subject: re previous question re column #590 question #3
    > Hi, again, Tom,
    > I understand now what you are saying. My confusion (& I think Dennis's) lied in the wording of 'in an exposed set'. That past tense of 'exposed', to me, meant one already upon the rack, not one requiring a discarded tile to then make an exposure, whereas, one already upon the rack wouldn't need to have a non-joker, right?
    > Tricky indeed, Master Tom!! Like I said before, keep my brain cells firing, kind sir.
    > Mary

    Hi Mary,
    The only way to make an exposed set (prior to declaring mah-jongg) is to claim a discarded tile and put up some tiles from your hand with it (one is never permitted to simply expose a set from the hand prior to declaring mah-jongg, unless claiming a discard).
    The taken discard has to be a natural (non-joker) tile. And it will stay that way (reverse redemption is not permitted). Therefore, any exposed set (prior to declaring mah-jongg) must include at least one non-joker.
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Can you use flowers, part 3

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 1:23 PM
    > Subject: Flowers
    > Thank you. You answered my question. I was interpreting (any) to be any tile. My mistake. Will use flowers where flowers are indicated from now on. This is such a fun game to play.
    > Anita Frost

    I'm glad we got that straightened out!
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Donation

    > From: "service@paypal.com"
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:28 AM
    > Subject: You have a new automatic payment profile for Anita F
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > A new automatic payment profile for Anita F has been created. Here's the automatic payment profile information:
    > Customer name: Anita F
    > For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Automatic payment details
    > Amount paid each time: $5.00 USD
    > Billing cycle: Monthly
    > Payments start: Jun 3, 2014
    > Help Center | Security Center

    > From: "service@paypal.com"
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:12 AM
    > Subject: You received a payment
    > PayPal
    > You received a payment
    > Jun 3, 2014 10:12:15 PDT
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > You received a payment from Anita F for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Subscription details
    > Amount received: $5.00 USD
    > For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Amount paid each time: $5.00 USD
    > Maximum amount you can bill: $5.00 USD
    > Billing cycle: Monthly
    > Next payment due: Jul 3, 2014
    > Help Center | Resolution Center | Security Center
    > Please don't reply to this email. It'll just confuse the computer that sent it and you won't get a response.
    > Copyright © 2014 PayPal, Inc. All rights reserved. PayPal is located at 2211 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95131.

    Wow, Anita. That's very generous. I hope you will continue to find my site helpful.
    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
    June 3, 2014


    Waylaid to the spam folder (re: "The latest column")

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 7:58 PM
    > Subject: column 606/ #8
    > Oh wow, Tom.......it WAS too darned late!! I saw those 2s as 3s!! (Too much time on the computer no doubt!!). That's why I drew the wrong conclusion. Sorry 'bout that! :)
    > Again, thanks so much for your tremendous website. Don't know what I'd have done without it, esp. now with the teaching thing!
    > Regards,
    > Mary Edgar

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 2:05 PM
    > Subject: question re column #590
    > Hi, again, Tom,
    > I like to give my students a quiz after the 3rd session and was looking thru your columns for other things when I spotted the quiz in this column #590. I question your answer key at number 3. I believe 'b' to be the correct response and also that the asterisk after the letter 'a' should be after the answer to question # 4. Is this correct?
    > Your columns and FAQs and strategies are more than good for keeping the brain cells working, just like the game itself!!
    > Thanks for everything!
    > Mary Edgar

    Hi, Mary. I don't know why your two emails got waylaid into my spam folder. Just found them today. Sorry about that! On Friday you asked:

    the quiz in this column #590. I question your answer key at number 3. I believe 'b' to be the correct response
    That's a tricky one -- see the way I worded the question (italics added for emphasis):

      3. You must have a natural tile (a non-joker) in an exposed set of identical tiles (pung, kong, quint).
          a. Real rule
          b. Apocryphal (not a rule)
          c. Deprecated (used to be a real rule)

    It says there must be a non-joker IN AN EXPOSED SET. And this is true. Dennis questioned this in January (that exchange has fallen off the bottom of this board, and can be seen at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive29.htm). I told him: "Think about how an exposed set is created. You'll see that it's not possible to make a lone exposed kong made of all jokers (without a natural tile in the finished exposure)... [since] The rule is that you can never claim a discarded joker!!!"

    and also that the asterisk after the letter 'a' should be after the answer to question # 4.
    No. The asterisk says you can't claim a discarded joker, which is the explanation for the answer to #3 being (a). The answer to 4 is (c), and I didn't feel it necessary to add an asterisk for that. It used to be a rule that a player could pick up the most recent natural when the next discarder discards a joker and says "same" - but the NMJL retracted that rule a long time ago.

    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
    June 3, 2014


    Can you use flowers to make pairs, etc. (part 2)

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 7:29 AM
    > Subject: Flowers
    > Good Morning,
    > Thank you for your reply. I realize that where it says F(flowers) on the card flowers are to be used, but what about where it says any pair or just shows PPP, KKKK or QQQQ and says any in the parenthetical. That is where our disagreement is. I understood that any meant any.
    > Thank you,
    > Anita

    Hi, Anita. You wrote:

    what about where it says any pair
    Are you looking at the National Mah Jongg League card, or are you looking at some other card? Because I don't see anything like that on the NMJL card.

    or just shows PPP, KKKK or QQQQ
    Those examples aren't helping me understand what you're asking, since the letters P, K, and Q are never used in any hand on the card. Can you pick one specific hand on the 2014 NMJL card and show me where you think flowers might be used even though it doesn't say F there?

    and says any in the parenthetical.
    The word "any" is usually qualified, like "any suit," or "any number." There's no place on the card where it says "any tile," or implies "any tile." The only place where you can use flowers is where you see F on the card. When you see F on the card, the only tile you are allowed to use is a flower. The word "any" never allows substituting another tile for a flower, or a flower for another tile. I'm sorry if my book seems to you to be ambiguous on this point.

    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
    June 3, 2014


    What about the Charleston, when there are three players?

    > From: Hellen M
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 5:26 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing American Mahjong with only 3 players, what do we do about Charlestons?

    Hi, Hellen. Please read FAQ 13A and column 532. You can click the FAQ 13a link above left, and you can click the purple column banner atop this page. 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!
    Every player 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
    June 2, 2014


    Grandma's set: valuation

    > From: Ellen O
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 1:42 PM
    > Subject: Grandmas set valuation
    > No racks, 144 tiles plus. 5 blanks, 1 die, 83 tokens asst colors, condition is good, dimensions are 7/8" x 1 1/2" x 1/2" thick, bone with bamboo backs, 8 flowers, no jokers, ornate wood box with no front door, no papers or instructions, 1 bam is peacock in pix and crack is also in pix.
    > Thank you for your time!
    > Tim &Ellen O

    Hi, Ellen.
    You did not send me a photo of all the pieces of your set. You say there are 149 tiles, but your photo shows only 144 of them. I assume that some of them don't match perfectly. I see that your grandma stickered some as extra flowers (thus your photo does not show your blank white dragons). I'm confused, since you say there are 8 flowers but in the photo I see 12 flowers (4 of them stickered).
    You say there is no front panel for the box, and the condition of everything is only "good." It's missing stuff and has extra stuff added, so it's not worth what it would be if it was complete. You might get $60 or 70 for it.
    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
    June 2, 2014


    Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.

    > From: Anita F
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 11:38 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg flowers
    > Good Day to you.
    > Have really enjoyed your book The Red Dragon & The West Wind. Bought it to help my group learn this wonderful game. We do have one point of disagreement that I am not quite certain about. Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.
    > In one illustration you show flowers as a Sextet. Just want to be sure all of our group is on the same page. Thank you for your time and expertise.
    > Anita F

    Hi, Anita. I'm delighted that you have my book. Today you wrote:

    Can you use flowers to make pairs, pungs, kongs. etc.
    In American mah-jongg, you can - in Chinese mah-jongg, you can't. I'm going to assume that you're asking about American mah-jongg. American mah-jongg is played using a card (a list of hands, not provided with my book). Just look on the card, and see if you see any hands with "F" in them. The F indicates that flowers must be used. Usually pairs or kongs (only rarely as pungs or sextets).

    In one illustration you show flowers as a Sextet.
    I assume you mean the one on page 77. You see that the representation of the hand says "FFFFFF" and so on -- that should tell you that when you see F on the card, you have to use flowers.

    Look on the 2014 card - the last three hands in the 2014 section. Two hands there contain FFFF, and one contains FF. I think it should be obvious that one would have to make a kong or pair of flowers in order to make those hands. When I was writing the book, I did not want to use any actual hands from any actual NMJL card, so as not to get in trouble with the League - so I made up a sextet hand. The easiest tile to make sextets from is the flower, since there are eight of them in the deck.

    But I get the point that I apparently never explicitly discussed the use of flowers in the book. I'll put it in my list of things to change if and when I do a second edition.

    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
    June 2, 2014


    What would Tom do?

    > From: Donna
    > Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 9:39 AM
    > Subject: The hand that got away!
    > Hi Tom,
    > Played in a tournament yesterday and had to make a decision on which way to go, either 2,4,6,8 #5 or Consecutive #7. I was sitting with the following:
    > 2D 6D6D 7D 8D8D8D RR GG JJJ
    > I usually try to avoid needing a pair, but since I was closer to the Consecutive and it was very early in the game, I chose this hand. As luck would have it, I pulled in 2 more jokers which of course I couldn’t use. Someone got Mah Jongg before I could pick one of the 7Ds, all which were in the wall. Would you have played the hand this way?
    > By the way I won first place - -my first big win!!!!
    > Thanks,
    > Donna

    Hi Donna, you wrote:

    since I was closer to the Consecutive
    A LOT closer! For the Consec. hand you have to get rid of only one tile, but for the Evens hand you have to get rid of three.

    I pulled in 2 more jokers which of course I couldn’t use.
    You could use one (throw the 2D), and you have to discard the other since you need 7D for mah-jongg.

    Would you have played the hand this way?
    Yes. Congrats on your win!

    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
    June 2, 2014


    2 things: MCR and Chen Yumen

    >From: Ray H
    >Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 3:27 AM
    >Subject: MCR 2014 rules
    >Hi Tom,
    >I plan to go through the 2014 MCR ruleset released recently and compare it to the previously issued rules (dated 2006 I think) to see if any notable changes have occurred; but I wondered if perhaps you had already done this? (For other readers, the 2014 ruleset is linked in FAQ22!)
    >If you wish, I'll send you the results of my comparison.
    >One thing I have noticed is some clarification and additional examples in Appendix 1 (which now shows examples for most Fan). This has included and corrected at least some of the issues raised in your errata.
    > (Again for other readers, the errata is also available on at http://sloperama.com/tour/rulebook.htm...would be useful in FAQ22 too, unless I missed it!).
    >For example,
    >Your errata included;

    >The older ruleset showed;

    >And the 2014 ruleset now shows that two terminal chows are excluded hence agreeing with the errata;

    >On a different tack, do you have a high-res image of the biography of Chen Yumen shown on FAQ11c (the left hand part of the image)? I wanted to see if anything useful is written therein, but the image is too low-res to make out the characters. If you do have, could I possibly have a copy? (I know this was photo was taken quite a while ago, so it's a rather hopeful long shot!)
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

    I wondered if perhaps you had already done this?
    I glanced through it but didn't see anything noteworthy. I didn't spend a lot of time with it.

    If you wish, I'll send you the results of my comparison.
    Sure, that would be great.

    One thing I have noticed is some clarification and additional examples in Appendix 1 (which now shows examples for most Fan). This has included and corrected at least some of the issues raised in your errata.
    I'd forgotten I had collected errata of that ruleset.

    would be useful in FAQ22 too, unless I missed it!).
    I agree, so I added that link there this morning.

    the 2014 ruleset now shows that two terminal chows are excluded [from Four Shifted Chows] hence agreeing with the errata;
    Good.

    do you have a high-res image of the biography of Chen Yumen shown on FAQ11c
    That's a scan I made from the booklet of the Display Hall of the Birthplace of Mahjong, in Ningbo's Tianyi Pavilion. The image in the booklet is very small. Here's a new scan I made just this morning:

    That's the best I can do. I don't know if my scanner can do better than 200 dpi, and I don't think a photo I might take with my phone could do any better. As far as I can tell without a microscope, it appears that the tiny characters are illegible on the printed page. You would need to go to Ningbo and ask to see what they have on Chen Yumen (and I wish some bilingual person would do just that)

    In closing, I ask that you don't again send me pictures of text. Not only are your pictures small and hard to read, but worse, it was a pain in the butt to retrieve them from your email and post them here as pictures interspersed among the lines of your email. Much better to simply type the text one wishes to quote.

    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
    June 2, 2014


    What's the deal with those other cards?

    > From: Sara Z
    > Sent: Sunday, June 1, 2014 1:41 PM
    > Subject: American mah jong cards
    > Hi Tom,
    > I’ve been an NMJL mahj player for the past 7 years or so, and like most who play the game, I love it!
    > Our group has always only ever used the NMJL card (plus I play the online game as well), but I have noticed lately that there are two other alternate cards available, one by the AMJA
    > and one from Marvelous Mah Jong.
    > What is the difference with these two cards relative to the NMJL card which I believe is the gold standard?
    > I think the second one is more of a fun variation and adds more hands to play with for variety, but I’m not sure about the AMJA card.
    > I was thinking to purchase one of these cards as a gift to my group, just to mix it up a bit, but I’m unsure what these cards and hands are like.
    > Any information you can offer me would be appreciated.
    > Thanks,
    > Sara

    Hi, Sara. You wrote:

    I have noticed lately that there are two other alternate cards available
    Yes, as I discussed in FAQ 7i.

    What is the difference with these two cards relative to the NMJL card
    The hands are different. Have you never heard players start kvetching (around October or November) that the current card is getting boring?

    I was thinking to purchase one of these cards as a gift to my group, just to mix it up a bit, but I’m unsure what these cards and hands are like.
    You would need to buy four of them, of course.

    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
    June 1, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Mary E via PayPal
    > Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:05 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary E
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Mary E. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $25.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Mary E
    > Message: Wish it could be more but will try to help out here and there when I have extra! :)
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Mary,
    Thank you very much!
    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
    June 1, 2014


    The latest column

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:28 PM
    > Subject: column #606
    > Hi, Tom,
    > I think, in the latest defense column #606 that with item #8 there is another hand that could be represented by the tiles.......that would be odds hand #4 (it's too doggone late to be thinking about the 'hot tiles' though....sorry. :)
    > Mary E

    Good morning, Mary.
    That hand (a pung of twos in one suit, and a kong of fives in another suit) has twos in it, so I don't see how it could rightly belong in Odds. I'm guessing it was too doggone late last night to be thinking about the NMJL card. (~_^) Or maybe you were looking at a different puzzle.
    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
    May 30, 2014


    Column 605

    > From: "lindaz
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:46 AM
    > Subject: column #605
    > Hi Tom,
    > For column # 605, problem 10-- I think odds #2 is also a possibility. I really enjoy your quizzes!
    > Thanks, Linda

    Very good, Linda! That's another of those things I... um, intentionally... missed so a sharp-eyed reader like you could point it out. Double gotcha in that column. It's fixed now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 28, 2014


    How does the color-coding work on the NMJL card?

    From: Suzan
    Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:10 PM
    Subject: Question re: 2014 card
    Hi Tom
    On Winds-Dragons hands 4 and 5 we have one player insisting that the pair must be bams, the pung only in craks and the kong in dots. Is this correct?
    Thank you, Suzan

    Well, Suzan, it might be correct that you have a player who says that - but what she says is incorrect! She does not understand how the color-coding works on the card. Read the back of the card, and read Frequently Asked Question 19-BY and FAQ 19-J. 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. 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 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
    May 27, 2014


    Your comments on this ivory set

    > From: Rob
    > Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 8:20 PM
    > Subject: ivory set
    > Your comments please one complete set needs valuation located in Asia, it is identified as Ivory.
    > I have seen it is beautiful.
    > Under magnification there are no tell tale sign of being bone.
    > Came from a remote location and is left over from World War Two as far as we have been able to find out of its origins

    Hello, Rob. You asked...

    Your comments please
    As of Feb. 11, it is illegal to sell ivory items across state lines, and anyone who sells an ivory item must obtain a special certificate from the federal government based on proof that the item was not imported after it became illegal to import ivory into the United States from another country. So, if you are contemplating buying that set, don't. If you are contemplating selling that set, don't.

    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
    May 27, 2014


    What does "racking" mean?

    > From: alyce t
    > Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 7:59 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > The question is concerning the "racking" of the tile-- Can it be over the rack, allowing any player to call for the tile or completely in the rack?
    > Thank you
    > Alyce T

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AD. 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. 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 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
    May 26, 2014


    Column 605

    > From: "matzger
    > Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 12:27 PM
    > Subject: May 18 col. #605
    > Hi Tom,
    > First of all, THANK YOU for your super columns. My question, in example 6 (a pung of 6 cracks with a kong of 9 dots exposed), couldn't that exposure also point to a consecutive #2 hand? Couldn't it be 6pung, 7kong, 8 pung and 9 kong? You list only 369 #2 as a possibility.
    > If you've already answered this in your Q and A, I apologize. I'm sitting in my car in the Mt. Shasta area and was not able to open your Q and A site.
    > Gratefully,
    > Valerie M
    > Piedmont, CA

    Very good, Valerie! That's one of those things I... um, intentionally... missed so a sharp-eyed reader like you could point it out. It's fixed now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 25, 2014


    My new custom case, part 2

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 9:39 AM
    > Subject: Re: More Mahjong madness
    > Heya Tom,
    > Actually, now that I measure them, they are 38mm. They were advertized as 40mm on ebay. It was listed as, "Professional Chinese Mahjong "Fortune Blessing" Large Tile Set Case" and showed the attached picture.
    > That case looks pretty fancy, but it was very flimsy, and felt like it was going to fall open every time I picked it up by the handle. So I took a trip out to Harbor Freight in North Hollywood and picked up their smallest tool case. It does need a little padding around the edges, but they fit without it. They just rattle around a little bit. And the Chinese letters are spray paint. I made a little stencil and sprayed them on.
    > I've attached a pic of the inside of the new case too.
    > Thanks again!
    > Nathan

    Very nice, Nathan. Looks like you don't have trays for your tiles inside the box. That might help with the rattling. Surely there were trays in your original flimsy case (you could use those for a dimension guide anyway, if they're too flimsy to be practical).
    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
    May 23, 2014


    Dealer's hand complete after the second pass (British/Australian/Western rules)

    > From: Wendy O ...@... .au
    > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:12 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Our group plays goulashes after a dead hand. Recently one of the players was able to call Mah Jongg after the second exchange of tiles. We couldn’t decide whether that was OK and that player should be declared the winner of that hand, or whether we needed to continue with the exchange once more, although it meant that player spoiling her hand. I can’t find a definitive answer in any of the rule books, or in any of your FAQ’s. My feeling is that the exchange can be stopped at any time if a Mah Jongg hand has been achieved.
    > I would much appreciate your reply. We love our Mah Jongg. (from Wendy)

    Hi, Wendy. Nice to hear from Down Under. You wrote:

    one of the players was able to call Mah Jongg after the second exchange of tiles.
    She must have been the dealer. No other player has 14 tiles at that point, so this is possible only with the dealer. In the following, I refer to the passing of tiles as the "Charleston" (not sure if your group is familiar with that term; some authors use different terms). The goulash refers to the whole hand (which begins with a Charleston) played after a hand that nobody won.

    We couldn’t decide whether that was OK and that player should be declared the winner of that hand, or whether we needed to continue with the exchange once more, although it meant that player spoiling her hand.
    Unlike American mah-jongg, the variant you play has no governing body - no organization or committee you can contact and ask for a ruling. If neither Thompson, Maloney, Strauser, Evans, Headley, Seeley, nor Robertson can be consulted, then I guess I'll have to do. All I can do is look to other mah-jongg variants and try to figure out "what would they do." The closest thing to a goulash in the mah-jongg world is the American Charleston (used in both National Mah Jongg League and Wright-Patterson rules - and the Wright-Pat game is more similar to the rules you use in Australia). Unfortunately, the situation you describe is so utterly rare that neither rule set specifies what should happen in this case.

    I wrote to the president of the NMJL and got her ruling (in writing, in a letter) on what should happen if the dealer's hand is complete right after the deal (before the Charleston begins) - the dealer wins in that case. She declares mah-jongg and no passes occur at all. But, per the NMJL rules, the first two passes of the Charleston are compulsory. If the dealer's hand is not complete, she must pass three tiles (the first pass). And the second pass is mandatory also (regardless of the hand's completeness). Blind-passing is permitted on only the third pass (in both NMJL and W-P) - that's a procedure in which, instead of removing tiles from one's own hand to give to another player, one takes tiles being passed from a neighbor to add to the tiles being given away to the other neighbor.

    Based on the foregoing, it would seem that the dealer in your case (having passed twice) can declare mah-jongg. HOWEVER... blind-passing is not discussed in any of the British or Australian books I checked, so your group probably doesn't recognize this rule, and this may not give us an answer.

    In NMJL play, the ruling authority says that a dealer whose hand is complete after the first pass of the Charleston must pass three tiles -- and yes, that would mean breaking up a complete hand. So this would seem to argue against your dealer. But that's NMJL (the oddball of the mah-jongg world). Maybe we should look to Asia for a moment.

    No Asian game uses this "pass three" mechanism or anything like it. In most Asian variants, whenever you have a complete hand, you can declare mah-jongg. (There are exceptions when playing a game with a minimum score requirement.) In Asia, a dealer whose hand is complete on the initial deal may declare "heavenly hand" and earn a very high score. And a player who can win on a dealer's first discard may declare "earthly hand" and earn a high score. Then there's "the hand of man," in which a player wins by discard during the first go-around (before the dealer's first regular pick from the wall). In my opinion, these three ways of winning are as close as we can get (in Asian forms) to dealer wins during a western Charleston.

    Based on the Asian way, in my opinion, it's wrong to force a dealer to break up a complete mah-jongg hand during a Charleston. (Although in NMJL, the oddball variant, the dealer would have to do just that, if her hand was complete after the first pass, since that's what I got in writing from its president). In the absence of written rules forcing a dealer to break up the hand, in my opinion, the dealer should be permitted to declare the win. Max Robertson notes that the Charleston makes the game much easier, and since it is possible for a dealer's hand to become complete during the process, we can see why.

    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
    May 23, 2014


    My new custom case

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 2:06 AM
    > Subject: More Mahjong madness
    > Hey Tom,
    > A trip to the hardware store, then a trip to the art supply store and, viola! I've got a box sturdy enough and cool enough to carry my ridiculously heavy new 40mm set.
    > Nathan
    > No need to post this if you don't wish to, but I thought it might amuse you.

    Hi, Nathan.
    That looks like a really good case. 40mm, you say? I didn't know they made tiles that big! The biggest I knew of were 36mm (Vietnamese tiles). Where did you get 40mm tiles?
    But to get back to the matter of the case. When you got the tiles originally, they probably came in one of these flimsy vinyl cases...

    Those are ridiculous (the handle can tear right out of the vinyl). I can understand the manufacturers wanting to save money, but it does make our job harder as owners, trying to come up with a case that's the right size and is sturdy enough, and doesn't look like crap. You did a nice job decorating the outside -- is that tape? And I have to wonder if you had to apply padding or space fillers inside.
    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
    May 23, 2014


    I want to complain but I can't find an email address

    > From: "sandbuckee
    > Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:22 PM
    > Subject: Complaint
    > I have a complaint that I would like to lodge directly to the board of the N M L >
    > I can not find the officers' email address(es) Do you have it ?
    > S
    > Stefanie B

    Hi, Stefanie.
    Another thing you can add to your complaints is that the League doesn't do email. Use snailmail. Their address is on the card. If you want a reply, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Oh, and the president's name is Ruth Unger (see? Right there on the front page of the most recent newsletter).

    Happy complaining!
    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
    May 22, 2014


    2014 #2 again

    > From: Heather D
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:24 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > On the 2014 card there is some confusion in the 2014 section. Can the second hand be 222 bams, OOO, 1111 4444 cracks?
    > Sent from my
    > Heather

    Hi, Heather.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 16. 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

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2014


    Does the other claimant get to take the tile now?

    > From: B <b4kopolos
    > Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 8:10 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Player A and Player B both called for my discarded tile. Player A called for Mah Jongg. However when she revealed her tiles she realized that she needed my tile for a kong and the discarded tile only created a pung. We called her dead.
    > Now player B said that because Player A could not use the tile, she should be entitled to it. We felt Player B could not retrieve the tile, since Player A had already placed it on her rack.
    > Thanks for your opinion.
    > Barbara A.

    Hi, Barbara.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-i (see the answer to the follow-up question).
    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. 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
    May 19, 2014


    Value of trays and sticks, part 2

    >From: Ronald E
    >Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 5:20 PM
    >Subject: Re: Link not active - my PC assumed

    Hi, Ron.
    That rack looks pretty beat up. You say you only have three of them. And I'm guessing those are your multiple sticks. I'm guessing you can get maybe $10 or $15 for the 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
    May 18, 2014


    Value of trays and sticks

    > From: Ronald E
    > Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 2:29 PM
    > Subject: Link not active - my PC assumed
    > Question for value on 3 ea. Black Flip trays and multiple sticks of the Doubling Scale #406 by M. S. Cowen & Co.
    > Labels in all tress do show ware as do the cases. Thank you for your guidance and suggestion as to selling price
    > and possible like to sell at.
    > Ron Metro-East St. Louis, Mo.

    Hi, Ron.
    You haven't given me enough information, and you didn't send me any pictures of your items. I'm not sure what you have and what condition it's in - see FAQ 7H (you can link to the FAQs above left). You wrote:

    3 ea. Black Flip trays
    Trays aren't worth much. Are you talking about racks, like this one...?

    That's called a "rack," not a tray. Here's a picture of some types of trays...

    If you're talking about racks, then the fact that you have just three of them is a problem. They're supposed to come in fours. See FAQ 7D.

    and multiple sticks
    "Multiple" is a little vague. Like it says in FAQ 7D, a 1920s set usually came with:

    • Two 500-point chips each player. (total: 8)
    • Nine 100-point chips each player. (total: 36)
    • Eight 10-point chips each player. (total: 32)
    • Ten 2-point chips each player. (total: 40)

    If that count doesn't match what you have, then you're missing some. Or of course, you might have Japanese sticks instead of Chinese (different count, as per FAQ 7D).

    of the Doubling Scale #406 by M. S. Cowen & Co.
    I'd need to see a picture, and you'd need to tell me the condition. There's a condition description in FAQ 7H.

    Labels in all tress do show ware as do the cases.
    You'd have to be more specific about the wear before I can be of any help.

    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
    May 18, 2014


    My grandchildren

    > From: Shar T
    > Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 5:50 PM
    > Subject: Age for learning
    > Hi Tom,
    > My grandchildren have an interest in learning MahJong - what age would you recommend to be the earliest to learn?
    > They are self-directed home-schooled children ages 10, 12, 14.
    > Thank you.
    > Shar T

    The earliest? Probably 8 or 9. If your grandkids can handle rummy or Monopoly or backgammon, they can handle mah-jongg.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Elaine Sandberg

    > From: "kettenis
    > Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 2:28 PM
    > Subject: Elaine Sandberg
    > ----- Forwarded Message -----
    > Dear Mr.Sloper,
    > After my wife and I enjoyed Elaine Sandberg's book for which you wrote
    > the foreword, we wanted to express our appreciation. Sadly, we found
    > that her website "American Mah Jongg for Beginners" was not working
    > properly, and then learned that she had suffered a stroke in 2013. Now
    > we are hoping she is doing better and would like to send her a Get
    > Well note. Can you give me an update on her condition and a contact to
    > send our card or e-mail?
    > Thank you so much,
    > Albert

    Hi, Albert.
    I'm sorry to say that I don't know what Elaine's condition is now. I sympathize with your quest, but I do not give out contact information. I have forwarded your email to Elaine's daughter so that she can respond to you directly, if she so chooses.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Origins, part 17

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 8:59 PM
    > Subject: Primary source
    > > Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) [China] The game of shi pai evolved into dominoes, known as xuan he pai, in the 2nd year of King Hui Zong's reign. Poetry was no longer part of the game, and the 32 dominoes' 227 pips were intended to represent constellations. A trick-taking game, dou tian jiu (Heaven's Nine), is still played today. Today the dominoes are known as tian jiu pai. Rules for this game can be read athttp://www.pagat.com/multitrk/tiengow.html. Source: John Low, in a Nov. 2005 newsgroup post, and backed by the MJM, who states these facts a bit differently...
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.htm
    > Where does John Low and MJM(MJM is book of mahjong museum in Chiba,Japan right?) get their primary sources?

    I have no way of knowing that, Darren.
    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
    May 17, 2014


    Origins, part 16

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 6:49 AM
    > Subject: Tien Jiu Pai
    > >The most popular tricks game that developed using "Xuan He Pai" was called "Dou Tian Jiu", which means "FIGHTING SKY/HEAVEN'S NINE". "Xuan He Pai" today is usually called "TIAN JIU PAI" due to the past huge popularity of "Dou Tian Jiu".
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11b.htm
    > Tien Jiu is Tian Gow right? Do you know when does the earliest reference of Tien Gow/Tien Jiu appear in China?

    Darren, you wrote:

    Tien Jiu is Tian Gow right?
    Yes. Mandarin --> Cantonese.

    Do you know when does the earliest reference of Tien Gow/Tien Jiu appear in China?
    See FAQ 11H.

    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
    May 16, 2014


    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!


      Color key


        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently.
        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Red = a forbidden technical support question about a computer game. Or any question that makes ME unhappy.
        Orange = a weird or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment, one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


    See who's visiting this page. View Page Stats
    See who's visiting this page.

    © 2014 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.