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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
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4b Lots O' Links!
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  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
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8. Strategy
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19. American Mah-Jongg
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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg, and get answers, usually within hours!
  • But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and please scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.
  • PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there.
  • IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE NMJL CARD, PLEASE READ FAQ 16.
  • IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A MAH-JONGG TEACHER, PLEASE READ FAQ 4A and check the Find Players/Teachers Bulletin Board and check FAQ 15.
  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


    Ask "Mister Mah-Jongg" a question!

    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.

    Rules: 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.
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    Please do not ask computer-game support questions here; read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support.
    If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.
    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).
    The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. If your email address is protected by a service that wants me to click a link and prove myself to be human, I don't click the link. You'll need to check back here to find your answer.
    This is an information exchange, not a social site. Due to the actions of spammers, all users' posts go through me, and when I post them, I omit email addresses (with exceptions as stated above). I have learned from experience 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 awkward 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.

    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.


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  • Regarding the 2017 NMJL card, and the "Like Numbers" section:
    You may use "ANY like number."
    The League says so in their FAQ.
    Note that the section is called "Like Numbers," not "Ones."
     
    For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16.

    Did they know what they were doing?

    >From: Margie G
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks so much for answering my question! I started playing Mahj in Cleveland, a year or so ago. I just came from Florida, where my Mom played with different rules like discarding before picking a tile, which frankly makes no sense to me. They also play with 14 tiles. The whole thing seemed strange to me.
    >Did they know what they were doing???
    >Thanks ahead for your clarification of this confusion.
    >Gratefully,
    >Margie

    Hi, Margie!
    "Did they know what they were doing?" I'm guessing yes. I'm guessing they know that they play with a "future tile" (also known as "picking ahead" and "playing with 14 tiles"). If you look on my Find Players bulletin board and search for the number 14 (or the words "fourteen" or "future") you'll find a lot of other players who also know what they are doing.
    If you want more information on the way those folks play, you can read FAQ 19-R and FAQ 19-BQ (and FAQ 14). I wrote about it on page 121 in my book, too. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2017


    Joker exchange etiquette

    >From: "ssndvdsn
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 1:36 PM
    >Subject: Joker Exchange Etiquette
    >Tom,
    >I know this is not a rule, but I consider it good etiquette to ask for someone's joker when making an exchange rather than touching their rack and making the exchange yourself. Do you agree?
    >Thank you,
    >Susan

    Yes, Susan. That's what I wrote in FAQs 19-M and 19-CF. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 17, 2017


    Creative accounting practices (Frequently Asked Question 19-BH)

    >From: Jan H
    >Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:23 AM
    >Subject: Is Zero a Number?
    >If zero is a "number" which comes before one ... is it appropriate to play
    >3 white dragons, 4 (1 dots), 3 (of another suit), and 4 (of same suit as previous 3) in the second consecutive run hand on the 2017 National League Card?
    >And/or -- do the 4 (following the white dragons) have to be dots making it possible to play
    >3 white dragons, 4 (1 of any suit), 3 (of another suit), and 4 (of same suit as the previous 3) a possible hand?
    >Thanks for your attention ...
    >Jan

    Good morning, Jan!
    Welcome to my website! You asked:

    If zero is a "number" which comes before one ... is it appropriate to play
    >3 white dragons, 4 (1 dots), 3 (of another suit), and 4 (of same suit as previous 3) in the second consecutive run hand on the 2017 National League Card?
    You are not the first to ask this question. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to this particular question: Please read FAQ 19-BH. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer (your question is in the section of questions about THE CARD), or you can search the page for keywords (in this case, the word "zero"). 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!

    do the 4 (following the white dragons) have to be dots making it possible to play
    >3 white dragons, 4 (1 of any suit), 3 (of another suit), and 4 (of same suit as the previous 3) a possible hand?
    You're asking if white dragons are still associated with dots when used as zeroes. That question is answered in red text at the top of your NMJL card. You should read everything on the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 14, 2017


    What if three players go dead, part 2

    >From: Cheryl S
    >Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 5:00 PM
    >Subject: Re: American Mahjong question
    >Thank you. I did read it before I sent the email, but was confused because of how we went dead. On the back of the card there were 3 points in this regard, but it seemed to differentiate between an exposure on a concealed hand and in calling Mahj incorrectly. It says: If more than one player, other than erring declarer, exposes part or all of the hand, game cannot continue. Erring player plays double...
    >Do both erring declarers owe double?
    >The way I interpret your column[sic]* is that no money is paid by any of the three. Correct?

      Q: What if three players go dead? Who pays the survivor?
      A: It depends on how the players went dead. If one player erroneously declared mah-jongg, which caused a cascading lemminglike leap to death (in which two other players throw their hands in before it's realized that the mah-jongg was improper), then the erring declarer (who initiated the cascade) pays the surviving player twice the value of the declarer's hand (the hand she thought she was making).
      If the three players went dead by any other means, then the survivor throws in her hand (nobody gets paid). Shuffle, deal (next dealer takes over), and play another hand.

    Hi again, Cheryl. You wrote:

    I did read it before I sent the email, but was confused because of how we went dead. On the back of the card there were 3 points in this regard, but it seemed to differentiate between an exposure on a concealed hand and in calling Mahj incorrectly. It says: If more than one player, other than erring declarer, exposes part or all of the hand, game cannot continue. Erring player plays double...
    That's what I was talking about in the first part of FAQ 19-BW (the part not underlined above). That quote from the card is talking about a cascading error. What do I mean by a cascading error? This: one player declares maj incorrectly, which causes other players to start kvetching (showing their tiles or throwing in their tiles). That's what I referred to as a "lemminglike leap to death."

    That is not what happened in your case (not the way I read your previous email).

    Erring player plays double...
    >Do both erring declarers owe double?
    That quote from the card is talking about a cascading error. One player declares maj incorrectly, which causes other players to start kvetching (showing their tiles or throwing in their tiles). The "erring player" referred to is the first one, the player who declared maj incorrectly, causing the cascade of errors to follow afterwards.

    The way I interpret your column[sic]* is that no money is paid by any of the three. Correct?
    That's correct, Cheryl. After the first error, the other errors occurred independently of the first, and of one another (the way I read your previous email). So it's what I wrote about in the second part of FAQ 19-BW (the part I underlined above). The three players went dead by other means. So the game is null and void.

    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
    Friday the Thirteenth, October, 2017

    * That is an FAQ, not a column. - Tom


    Taking conflicting claims one step further, part 2

    >From: "ssndvdsn
    >Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 3:03 PM
    >Subject: Re: Conflicting Claims
    >Thank you so much. I needed affirmation. Susan

    You got it!
    May the tiles be with you.


    What if three players go dead?

    >From: Cheryl S
    >Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 1:43 PM
    >Subject: American Mahjong question
    >We all read the back of the card on this, but it still was unclear as to the payout. This all happened in one game.
    >Player A: Calls a tile and exposes 1 part of hand. Her hand is called dead for a exposing a concealed hand.
    >Player B: Declares Mahjong on a concealed hand after having exposed 1 part on a previous turn. Her hand is called dead.
    >Player C: Declares Mahjong, exposes hand and realizes it is not a Mahjong.
    >Player D: How much does each player owe Player D?
    >Do both players who declared Mahjong play double and the player who only incorrectly exposed pay single? Or does just the last screw-up player (me) pay double? I think we were all very tired this morning!
    >Thank you for your guidance,
    >Cheryl S
    >P.S. Love your column. I searched for this answer, but it is probably a rarity that 3 players mess up so badly.

    Hi, Cheryl!
    Funny. Three players all went dead, but in unrelated circumstances. Did you check FAQ 19 to read the frequently-asked question, "What if three players go dead?" I just looked there myself, but rather than tell you the answer, I'd rather you get used to finding your own answers in FAQ 19. Your question is FAQ 19-BW, which you can find it in the "You're dead" section, or you can do what I did, and search the page for the phrase "three players."
    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
    Friday the Thirteenth, October, 2017


    Taking conflicting claims one step further

    >From: "ssndvdsn
    >Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Conflicting Claims
    >Tom: I know this question has been asked and answered, but I need to take it one step further. Suppose player #1 discards, then player #3 calls for the tile. Almost immediately, player #2 (next in line) calls for the tile. Neither player needs the tile for Mah Jongg. I know that player #3 would get the tile if he/she had exposed before player #2 called for the tile. In this case player #3 has not begun to expose. Lately I have played with a few people, not my regular group, who think that once two players call for the same tile, it then becomes a race to see which one can expose the quickest, therefore claiming the tile. Should player #3, upon hearing player #2 call for the tile, STOP and concede the tile to player #2. Also, what happens if player #3 does "hurry" and be the first to expose in order to claim the tile? Should that person be dead for playing out of turn? I look forward to your response. Susan

    Hi, Susan!
    You wrote:

    I know this question has been asked and answered, but I need to take it one step further.
    Interesting. Bring it on!

    Lately I have played with a few people, not my regular group, who think that once two players call for the same tile, it then becomes a race to see which one can expose the quickest, therefore claiming the tile.
    How obnoxious is that!?

    Should player #3, upon hearing player #2 call for the tile, STOP and concede the tile to player #2.
    Of course! Player 2 is first in line, and she's spoken her claim.

    The rule saying that an exposure trumps next-in-line's verbal claim only applies if next-in-line has not spoken by the time another player exposes.
    If P2 and P3 both say I want that, then P2 gets the tile (no matter who spoke first).
    If P3 exposes before P2 says I want that, then P3 gets the tile.
    If P2 says I want that before P3 exposes, P2 gets the tile.
    This is all explained in FAQ 19-H (using quotes from the NMJL's printed rulings). The rule about exposing first trumps the rule about next-in-line taking precedence, but it opens the door to un-harmonious behavior, which I think is a crying shame.

    Also, what happens if player #3 does "hurry" and be the first to expose in order to claim the tile? Should that person be dead for playing out of turn?
    No. She should give the taken discard to the rightful claimant. Game continues (albeit with players shooting dagger eyes at one another rather than playing harmoniously).

    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
    Friday the Thirteenth, October, 2017


    Is she disqualified for saying she was hooped?

    >From: Jane M
    >Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2017 1:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >My friend was playing the other day and in exasperation with here tiles she exclaimed "I am "hooped". Someone at the table said she was disqualified for saying that. Is that correct?
    >Thanks,
    >Jane M.

    Hi, Jane!
    First, I don't know what "hooped" means. I googled it and as far as I can tell, it might mean "I'm exhausted/tired."
    Second, let's assume for a moment it means "my tiles are no good, and I can never make mah-jongg," or in other words, "I'm dead" (in the sense that "dead" means "can never make mah-jongg").
    Third, let's assume that "disqualified" means "dead" (in the sense that "you have to stop playing," as per NMJL rules).
    Fourth, if "hooped" means "dead" and "disqualified" means "dead," are you asking "can a player be called dead for calling herself dead?" Because that doesn't really make a lot of sense.
    I guess I'm saying I don't really follow the scenario you painted for me. Perhaps you'll find your answer if you go to FAQ 19 and read the first four questions under the category "YOU'RE DEAD." You can link to FAQ 19 above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a mah-jongg question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 12, 2017


    I say she can't change her exposure, part 7

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 8:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding our discussion of August 27th on Pat L's question. The more I thought about the scenario, I agreed with your thoughts. The player called a tile but placed nonmatching tiles with it on her rack. Was she dead for a wrong exposure or was she allowed to take down the nonmatching tiles and put up the correct ones with the called tile?
    >So I wrote to the league and have a letter back. I am attaching it. Yes, she can remove and replace those tiles as long as she did not discard which would have ended her turn leaving her with an incorrect exposure.
    >Yay! You were absolutely correct (as usual)!!!!
    >Bee

    Great, Bee! Thanks for sharing that official ruling!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2017


    Who has to say a discard's correct name? (v3.0)

    >From: "BeachGirl5C
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 6:27 PM
    >Subject: Thanks Tom (miscalled tile)
    >I'm still getting familiar with your site. Love it! And so much to read!!
    >To answer your question about the Brouhaha...I play with a group who are pretty loose about following the rules. Normally, in this case, someone usually just speaks up, that it was miscalled by saying, "That was a one Bam" (All my references were using your Flower for one Bam example). It's worked fine and we all move on, except a couple weeks ago someone stated that it had to be the person who discarded it. I had asked Donna and she said no but when I played with this group again it was restated that it had to be the discarder and a 2nd and maybe a 3rd person agreed that it was in the NMJL rule book! At this point I just said I'd like to see it in writing.
    >Questioning other people I still get the answer it is not a written rule that it has to be the discarder. At some point Donna said "write to Tom Sloper". Not familiar with the procedure I passed but I didn't know Donna had actually written & gotten an answer. Sorry for being redundant. I do like the way you handle it & I will adopt that response myself.
    >>What I always say is "that's not a flower." Then I wait for the discarder to say its name. THEN, if I want that tile, I say "I'll take it."
    >Also we decided, as there is no penalty, who cares?!!
    >Love your answers, love your humor!! We don't have a bartender or a butler so quite certain that won't be a problem with 'who correctly names the tile'.
    >A couple more....
    >1) Should I have known somehow that you had answered this question for Donna on the bulletin? If it's not in your Q&A?
    >2) Is there any way to close the blue advertisement screen at the top of the page? It takes up half my screen.
    >Sorry if I should know these things. Feel like I need a 2 day class to learn to move around your site. As it is, I can get lost for hours and have learned so much!!
    >THANKS

    Hi, Bonnie! You wrote several things for me to reply to:

    I do like the way you handle it & I will adopt that response myself.
    >>What I always say is "that's not a flower." Then I wait for the discarder to say its name. THEN, if I want that tile, I say "I'll take it."
    >Also we decided, as there is no penalty, who cares?!!
    Sounds good to me!

    Should I have known somehow that you had answered this question for Donna on the bulletin?
    Well, there are a couple ways you could have*, but I'm not complaining!
    * (You might have played with Donna again and she might have told you - or you could have come to the bulletin board and scrolled down a little ways and stumbled on it, or you could have done a search on the page for the term "misnamed.")

    Is there any way to close the blue advertisement screen at the top of the page? It takes up half my screen.
    If you're talking about FAQ 19, there's a way to do that there. You can just click (with your mouse, if you're on a PC) or tap (with your finger, if you're on a mobile device with a touch screen) where it says  Mobile users: to display only this frame, touch here. Anytime you see that mobile phone icon, you can hit that to get rid of unwanted frames.
    Anyway, sorry about the layout - it was originally designed for desktop monitors (and that's what I mainly use myself), but when I figure a way to offer mobile-friendly features, I implement those (but I'm not a web wiz, so my repertoire of tricks is limited).

    Sorry if I should know these things. Feel like I need a 2 day class to learn to move around your site.
    Not to worry.

    As it is, I can get lost for hours and have learned so much!!
    Hope you enjoy, then!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2017


    Broken link

    >From: Kathleen
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:21 AM
    >Subject: Found a problem on Links page
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was checking your website when I notice that there’s a broken hyperlink on your Links page. I tried to click on it and am getting an “error message”, it seems that the site that you were linking to has moved.
    >I didn’t know if you wanted me to point it out to you to fix or remove, so if you do, just let me know.
    >Thanks,
    >Kathleen

    Kathleen, of course I want to fix broken links. But I can't remove it if you don't tell me what the link is, or the address of the Links page it's on. Is it a game career advice link? A mah-jongg link? A hanafuda link?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/10/2017


    I was the bettor and noticed the Mah Jongg was wrong.

    >From: Barbara M
    >Sent: Monday, October 9, 2017 3:42 PM
    >Subject: Bettor
    >One of the players called Mah Jongg. I was the bettor and noticed the Mah Jongg was wrong. I know the bettor is not supposed to say anything but no one noticed. Am I supposed to pay the (supposedly) winner when I know it’s wrong? So I said it was wrong and an argument was started. What should I have done?
    >Barbara M

    Hi, Barbara!
    The fact that an argument was started ought to tell you everything you need to know, shouldn't it?
    Read FAQ 19-W4. You can link to FAQ 19 above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2017


    Do you have to call her dead or can you let it slide to keep her jokers alive?

    >From: pat l
    >Sent: Monday, October 9, 2017 1:42 PM
    >Subject: Maj Jongg and calling dead
    >Three 2 red cracks were exposed. The player picked up two 8 bams and exposed them with a joker. The players did not want to declare this player dead because they wanted a chance at the exposed joker. The hand was obviously dead because there was nothing to play with the exposures on the rack. Do you have to declare the person dead or can you let it ride?
    >I did read the "dead" part of your writings but saw no answer. Please let us hear your thoughts. Thank you,
    >Pat L

    Hi, Pat!
    Interesting. So the players like to exploit loopholes in the rules to gain an advantage. They know they should call the player dead, but that would make that joker go away and they know that the rule is unenforceable. I think that's downright sneaky and underhanded. In my opinion, if you know she's dead you should call her dead. They apparently don't realize that the advantage of having more tiles to pick may well outweigh the advantage of having her joker available for redemption by anyone (even by the rightfully-dead but nonetheless alive player).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2017


    Who has to say a discard's correct name? (v2.0)

    >From: "BeachGirl5C
    >Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 10:28 PM
    >Subject: Miscalled Tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >1) Is there a specific player who has to name a misnamed tile correctly?
    >Most often the person discarding is unaware they have miscalled the tile and someone else at the table corrects them (as in your 1 Bam/Flower example) but lately some ladies are telling me it has to be the person who discarded the tile. In checking your site and speaking with other people we can not find a NMJL rule that clearly states that it has to be the player who misnamed the discard. Could you please point out the NMJL rule that states that?
    >Misnamed discard. For instance, a player discards a One Bam but says "Flower." The rule is that the player must say the correct name of the tile she discarded (she does not have to discard a flower; the League has said this, in print, several times, in yearly newsletters).
    >What if someone wants the One Bam? After the discarder corrects her error and says "One Bam," the other player can claim the discard.
    >2) If the discarder does not correctly name the tile and I say "I call that One Bam" is there a penalty?
    >Thank you,
    >Bonnie

    Good morning, Bonnie! Your questions:

    Could you please point out the NMJL rule that states that [it has to be the person who discarded the tile]?
    The rules are written too loosely for my liking. The League has always just said that the game can't continue until the tile is correctly named (it does not actually say by whom). If my interpretation (that it has to be the discarder who says the tile's correct name) seems like an unreasonable leap to an unwarranted conclusion, then I'm sorry. In my opinion, it's reasonable to assume that the discarder should acknowledge her error. As I wrote in response to Donna last Friday (below).
    As far as I know, the League does not say anywhere in print that it must specifically be the discarder. But what's the big deal? If you're the misnaming discarder, just say the correct name and move on. If another player is the misnaming discarder and she refuses to say the correct name, then say it for her and move on.
    Again (as I wrote in response to Donna): I have to wonder what incident prompted this question. Did a discarder believe that she had in fact spoken the actual name of the discard, when another player believes she said the name of a different tile instead? Was there a disagreement as to either which tile was discarded, or what words had been uttered by the discarder?

    If the discarder does not correctly name the tile and I say "I call that One Bam" is there a penalty?
    There's no penalty to you for calling (requesting to take) a misnamed tile. But OF COURSE you can't take that One Bam to use as a One Bam if it's not a One Bam. And of course you can't make an exposure of flowers with a One Bam, or an exposure of One Bams with a flower. Your question is not precise as to the situation with this misnamed tile and your saying that it's a One Bam (I don't know what the discarder said the tile was).
    If the discarder named the tile "flower" and you say "I'll take that One Bam," then you're confusing everybody by NOT saying, "that's not a flower, it's a One Bam, and I'll take it." Is that what this brouhaha with you and Donna is all about?

    What I always say is "that's not a flower." Then I wait for the discarder to say its name. THEN, if I want that tile, I say "I'll take it."
    To me, a much more important matter than "who should say the tile's correct name" is "what penalty applies when an error occurs as a result of a misnamed discard." See FAQ 19-AY (which you quoted in your email).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2017


    Column 687, #3 (part 3)

    >From: Al D
    >Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 2:06 PM
    >Subject: Wrong answer
    >Hello,
    >Regarding FAQ 19 BJ.
    >I believe it has a wrong answer. It states: So there must be at least one natural in an exposed set. Not specifically stated in rulebook, but logical from accurate knowledge of the way the rules work.
    >**See FAQ 19-BJ.
    >I called the National Mahjongg league and was told a Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet may be composed of all Jokers!
    >Jean

    Hi, Jean!
    I tricked you with the tricky wording of a quiz question, and the tricky use of two asterisked footnotes to the quiz answer key.

    You are not referring to FAQ 19-BJ (FAQ 19-BJ discusses "heavenly hand"). You are instead asking about Column 687, question 3. There is one asterisk on the answer to question 3, which refers to a footnote as follows:

      *You cannot claim a discarded joker - you can only claim a discarded natural. So there must be at least one natural in an exposed set. Not specifically stated in rulebook, but logical from accurate knowledge of the way the rules work.

    Question 8, however, has two asterisks, which refers to the footnote about FAQ 19-BJ. Question 8 is about a dealer who has a complete hand before passing any tiles in the Charleston. It's question 3 that talks about having an EXPOSED set of all jokers. Linda Z also wrote me about my answer to question 3, on September 1. I explained to her then:

      It says "in an exposed set" - it doesn't say "in an exposed hand" - I'll try again, with a picture. Here's what a player has exposed atop her rack:

      That's all she has atop her rack. No other tiles.

    Jean, if you say that a player can expose a pung or kong or quint of jokers, and no other tiles, then I challenge you to explain the series of events leading up to such an exposure.

    How is an exposure made? By taking another player's discard, and then placing other tiles beside it from one's own hand. BUT: what tile could have been discarded to initiate the cascade of actions resulting in an all-joker exposure? It could only be a joker... BUT it's illegal to call for and take a discarded joker. You can scroll down and see my conversation with Linda Z on September 1. Standing by for further discussion if necessary!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2017


    Appreciation too

    >From: Rebecca L
    >Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 1:31 PM
    >Subject: In Appreciation of your work!
    >Dear Mr Sloper,
    >I am a relatively new Mahjong player (2yrs )who is obsessed.
    >I have enjoyed your site so much and it has helped me enter Mahjong playing at a much higher level than most novices-(at least so I am told by people I play with)
    >I have been trying to help a non computer savvy friend to ID a set she was given and has been playing with that is missing the 3 crack.
    >It is a longer more interesting story but here is the gist.
    >All parties involved (beside myself) are Mahjong playing ladies in Queens, NY all over 90 years of age who I got to know this summer on the East coast.
    >My friend received a set given to her through a senior center contact. She thought it was new as it was /is in great condition.
    >However, as she described it to me, using information between your site and the mahjong,mahjong site, I believe it is an older possibly rare set.
    >I read your disclaimer that all emails sent are yours, and I looked through all the information links that you provide on your site (thank you) and I believe we have correctly identified the set. The gals can not believe folks would even pay a lot of money for a set- ; ) and really just want to get another 3 crak.
    >My friend was letting people take tiles to look for matches at flea markets. After speaking with her and doing some sleuthing-we have put an end to that -I told her the set must stay together!!!
    >I had her search the box( we don't live near ) and a tag fell out from under the case lining
    >The Label says:
    >Royal Imported Club
    >Hand Engraved-color fast
    >A&L manufacturing
    >But after sleuthing thru your site: I believe this is a Vintage Royal Imported Club N.Y. three colors hand engraved Mah Jong tiles.
    >It looks gorgeous to me through photos.
    >So I will use your find a tile page to try to get a new 3 crak for the ladies.
    >I want to thank you for your tremendous site!!!! as I work to help the “Golden Girls group(who are really quite brassy-as my friend says ) as they call themselves” another 3 crak.
    >This has been a fun detective story for us this summer.
    >In appreciation,
    >Rebecca L

    Hi, Rebecca! Thanks so much for writing. I hope you find a tile that rescues that lovely old set!
    May the tile literally be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2017


    Appreciation

    >From: Facebook
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Saturday, October 7, 2017 8:43 PM
    >Subject: Martin Rep mentioned you in a comment in Mahjongnews.
    >Martin Rep October 7 at 8:42pm  
    >Tom has been SOOOO important for international mahjong. He helped a great deal in making MCR and riichi popular in many countries. Keep up the good work, Tom Sloper!!  
    >Like
    >Comment
    >View on Facebook
    >Edit Email Settings

    Thank you so much, Martin! I have been honored here at the WRC 2017 by so many players telling me they'd gotten their start in riichi/dora majan from my humble old website. It was gratifying to realize I'd had such an effect!
    You, too, Martin, are to be honored for creating MahjongNews and for hosting the first European Mahjong Championship in 2005. My hat's off to you, old friend.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    October 8, 2017


    Who has to say a discard's correct name?

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Friday, October 6, 2017 8:47 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Tom hi,
    >Thank you for all of your expertise on your website. It's fabulous and we refer to it often to answer questions.
    >In your answer below AY, (where I highlighted) you say "the player" must say the correct name.
    > Misnamed discard. For instance, a player discards a One Bam but says "Flower." The rule is that the player must say the correct name of the tile she discarded (she does not have to discard a flower; the League has said this, in print, several times, in yearly newsletters).
    >I interpret that as meaning the "person who miscalls the tile" but in Mah Jongg Made Easy p. 17 #6, it just says, " a tile cannot be claimed until it is correctly named". Does it matter who names it? Thank you for your reply.
    >Donna E

    Hi, Donna!
    I believe it matters who names it. Absolutely it must be one of the players seated at the table playing the game. (It absolutely cannot be the butler or the bartender or the bettor.)
    I believe it is the discarder's responsibility to speak the tile's name. Another person might speak its name, but it is (in my opinion) a requirement that the discarder acknowledge the correctness of the speaker's words. Of course there might be exceptional situations - the discarder is mute and cannot speak, or the hostess's cat suddenly leaps up and grabs the discarder's tongue, preventing the discarder from uttering meaningful words, for instance. In those situations, it would not be unreasonable for another player to speak the correct name of the tile that was discarded, so that the game can continue properly.
    If you wish to have a more definitive ruling, you should send your question in writing to the League.
    I have to wonder what incident prompted this question. Did a discarder believe that she had in fact spoken the actual name of the discard, when another player believes she said the name of a different tile instead? Was there a disagreement as to either which tile was discarded, or what words had been uttered by the discarder? Because if the discarder acknowledges that she had said the name of a tile other than the one she'd actually discarded, then it seems to me that (now that all players know which tile was actually discarded) the game can continue with the mutual consent of all at the table.
    But if an error had occurred as a result of the misnaming, then there are rules governing what to do next.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 6, 2017


    How much time can be used by each player when taking her turn?

    >From: "rfoglio
    >Sent: Thursday, October 5, 2017 11:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:how much time can be used by each player when taking her turn?

    There's no rule, rfoglio. Are you asking because your group has a slow player? Or are you asking because your group has been complaining that you take too much time? Does your group focus on the game during play, or does your group chat while playing? Have you ever observed how long one game takes with your group? (Experienced players usually finish one game, one hand, in about 15 minutes.) Have you ever observed how much time normally transpires during a player's turn?

    Most of the time, a player's turn takes less than 2 seconds. Once in a while, a player looks at the tile she just picked from the wall and has to think for another second or two - and less frequently, a player faces a quandary and has to really think. It's polite to apologize to the group when thinking longer than 5 or 6 seconds (unless that's not an unusual turn length in your group). It's impolite to take more than 12 seconds during your turn, even if you did apologize... unless you play with a group that chats during play. Especially if you do it frequently. If all the players but one keep the game moving, and one constantly halts the game when it's her turn, then disharmony can result.

    If your group has a slow player, you should read columns 375 and 621. And read pages 109 and 110 in my book.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 6, 2017


    Wrong tile count, part 2

    >From: Veronica H
    >Sent: Thursday, October 5, 2017 4:51 PM
    >Subject: Clarification
    >Hate to bother you again, but what I was really looking for was a cut and dried, in black and white ruling on dead hands due to too many or too few tiles that I could print and hand out to my club members.
    >Simply that if a player has too many or too few tiles that player still picks and discards but the hand is dead and is no longer eligible to mah jongg (Chinese version) and player sits out and does not pick or draw (American version). I am assuming that this is correct?

    Yes, Veronica. For your players, "If a player has too many or too few tiles that player still picks and discards but the hand is dead and is no longer eligible to mah jongg," as you said. You should add that the dead player is forbidden to take any discards or to kong or take kong replacements.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 5, 2017


    Do I have to call myself dead?

    >From: Sandy W
    >Sent: Thursday, October 5, 2017 12:33 PM
    >Subject: Dead
    >If you know beyond doubt that your hand is dead, must you drop out of the game? Thanks

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


    Appreciation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 7:54 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Joel E
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Joel E. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Joel E
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal
    >Copyright © 1999-2017 PayPal, Inc. All rights reserved. PayPal is located at 2211 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95131.

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


    Wrong tile count, in modified Chinese rules.

    >From: Veronica H
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 11:46 AM
    >Subject: Chinese Mah Jongg Question
    >I believe in American MJ if a player has too many or too few tiles, the hand is declared dead and player sits out the rest of the hand without drawing or discarding tiles.
    >What is the ruling for this in Chinese MJ? We had a situation where a player did not get a replacement tile for her flower tile so she discovered a few plays later that after drawing she only had 13 tiles. We had established a rule that the player's hand is dead but the player would continue to pick and throw which would allow her to possibly get a kong or hidden kong but could not Mah Jongg.
    >There are some of our members who feel they should be able to receive another tile when it is discovered that she is short a tile. Question then becomes from where does she take this tile. From the garden wall or the regular wall? Also, for a player who has too many tiles, some feel that on their turn they should just not pick but just throw a tile to get back to the correct number of tiles in her hand.
    >I feel that the hand should be declared dead but the player should continue to play until game is finished with no possibility of having a mah jongg.
    >I have written to you before and mentioned that we play a modified version of Chinese mah jongg. As I am chairperson, I would like to have your opinion or ruling if there is one on this situation.
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Veronica! You asked:

    What is the ruling for this in Chinese MJ? … We had established a rule that the player's hand is dead but the player would continue to pick and throw which would allow her to possibly get a kong or hidden kong but could not Mah Jongg.
    Close. Very close. Except for the konging part. A "dead" player is required to pick and discard but may not make any exposures whatsoever, and may not call any discards.

    There are some of our members who feel they should be able to receive another tile when it is discovered that she is short a tile. Also, for a player who has too many tiles, some feel that on their turn they should just not pick but just throw a tile to get back to the correct number of tiles in her hand.
    So they want to play by kindergarten mah-jongg rules, not grown-up mah-jongg. What other "backsies" do those players want? How many more modifications are you willing to concede? This can be a slippery slope!

    we play a modified version of Chinese mah jongg. As I am chairperson, I would like to have your opinion or ruling if there is one on this situation.
    I'm giving you the ruling from MCR (Majiang Competition Rules). It's safe to assume this ruling applies in numerous other Chinese variants as well. I don't know what other modifications you have to the Chinese rules, but I'd go with the "grownup" rule, and not start adding an ever-expanding list of "backsies" forgivenesses. Mah-jongg is a game for grownups who can accept the consequences of their own mistakes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 4, 2017


    You have been a great help, part 2

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Sunday, October 1, 2017 8:31 PM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Linda L L
    >LOL - the main reasons are: I think you are doing something that is of value, something that helps a lot of people, and something that builds respect for the game and it's players!
    >Best of luck getting everything done on time. Thanks for telling me what happened with the weekly column. I was so surprised to see my last letter to you was still at the top of the column. Best, Linda

    Okay, good to know, Linda!
    By the way, THIS part of my website is not the "column." This is the "bulletin board." The Sloper On Mah-Jongg column is an entirely different thing. I try to update the column once a week when I can, and the topic is solely of my choosing. But this bulletin board is driven by reader emails. I usually reply to emails within hours, and post those exchanges here on the BB. So if nothing appeared here between Thursday and Sunday, it just means nobody wrote to me. The explanation I gave you an hour ago (below) is why there is no column this week, not why there were no new bulletin board posts since Thursday.
    You don't need to know about my obscure nomenclature for the various parts of my website, so if the previous paragraph bored you, then don't read it! :p
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2017


    You have been a great help more than once

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, October 1, 2017 6:27 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Linda L L
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$50.00 USD from Linda L L
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Linda L L
    >Message: Dear Tom, Making a donation today in appreciation for all you do for those of us who are part of the Mah Jongg world. You have been a great help to me more than once. May the tiles be with you! Linda
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Wow, thank you, Linda!
    I'm so glad my website has been of value to you. Unfortunately, my university teaching schedule is so crazy right now that I was not able to write a column this week. And next weekend I'll be focusing on a mah-jongg tournament (and hopefully not falling behind on preparations for midterms). So no column next week, either. Hopefully, the column isn't the only/main reason for your generosity! :p
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 1, 2017


    Some rulings from the League, part 3

    >From: Linda L L
    >To: Barney G; Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:13 AM
    >Subject: NMJL
    >Good morning, Guys.
    > I just got off of the phone with Joy at National Mah Jongg League headquarters asking for a verification of the correction for my September 19 letter the line that reads "If player C does...," should read " If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles..."
    >She stated again they are working on updating the Mah Jobgg Made Easy book, and they have also started work on the 2018 card. She said the book will have all updates/ rule changes, and, except for the annual bulletin, there isn't any other way to know what other letters have gone out across the country.
    >That's all the trouble I'm stirring up today! Have a great afternoon wherever you are. Some of us out here on the west coast will be busy playing Siamese Mah Jongg. ?????????
    >?????????
    >Linda L. L

    >From: Barney G
    >To: Linda L L
    >Cc: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: NMJL
    >Funny. I missed the typo - although I knew what she meant. Thx Linda. Enjoy the day !
    >??????

    I'm still missing something.
    The League's last "what if" scenario doesn't make sense in the context of Linda's question. Player C has already exposed some 1-dots with a joker. "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead." What does this mean, did Player C take Player A's joker and give Player C a joker? How's that make her dead? I can see this in an entirely different scenario - if Player C had 1-bams with a joker, and Player A handed her a flower and got a joker in exchange, then yes, Player C has an illegal exposure and can be called dead. Perhaps that's what the last "what if" scenario is referring to.
    The big news here is that the League is going to incorporate all their rulings into a revised rulebook. That'll be a huge benefit for the players.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 28, 2017


    Some rulings from the League, part 2

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:28 PM
    >Subject: My Letter to NMJL
    >Here is the letter I sent to NMJL:
    >Thanks for your previous comments!
    >Keep on mahjing!
    >������⛩
    >Linda L. L

    >From: Linda L L
    >Date: Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:28 PM
    >Subject: My Letter to NMJL
    >I forgot to say Donna E and I think NMJL made a typo - that last line should likely read: If players C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes your tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead.
    >"doesn't" bring the operative word. I'll call NMJL tomorrow to get that corrected.

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:36 PM
    >Subject: NMJL Response
    >Help ! Now I see my own typos.
    >Third time will be a charm!
    >"If player C does (sic) realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead."
    >Does should be doesn't.
    >������⛩
    >Linda L. L

    Good morning, Linda! Let me get this straight: In the League's second letter below, the last "what if" scenario, you're saying, ought to read: "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead."
    In any case, The Player A in your letter to Joy clearly made a blunder in placing her tile on the discard floor. The fact that she had taken the wrong tile out of her hand simply confounds the blunder (now she hasn't only wasted a redeemable tile - she's wasted a joker). In a tournament, her turn would definitely be over. But in a home game, the League's response in their second letter below seems to indicate, the players can try to rectify the error if it's realized immediately.

    If Player C (the holder of the joker exposure) realizes Player A's mistake, the League is saying, she can just say to Player A, "don't put that on the discard floor, silly! Give me a 1-dot and the joker is yours." (Again: this assumes a home game, not a tournament.)
    But the League's last "what if" scenario doesn't make sense in the context of your question. Player C has already exposed some 1-dots with a joker. "If player C doesn't realize the mistake and exposes her tiles with the incorrect tile, her hand is dead." What does this mean, did Player C take Player A's joker and give Player C a joker? How's that make her dead? I can see this in an entirely different scenario - if Player C had 1-bams with a joker, and Player A handed her a flower and got a joker in exchange, then yes, Player C has an illegal exposure and can be called dead. Perhaps that's what the last "what if" scenario is referring to. But there are too many if-what-ifs to be certain.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 28, 2017


    Some rulings from the League

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:27 PM
    >Subject: NMJL Letters
    >Hi Tom, thought you might be interested in what NMJL had to say about my most recent questions. Please feel free to use them as you see fit. Do you have an reaction to either?
    >Thanks for all your hard, consuming work! Linda
    >����️��️⛩
    >Linda L. L

    Hi, Linda! Thanks so much for sharing those. You asked for my reactions:
    As for the ruling on picking from the wrong end of the wall: I had not realized that I'd never addressed the question, either in FAQ 19 or in my book. The closest thing I found was a correction in the errata (accessible from the RDWW page on my site), in talking about taking tiles during the deal:
    P. 59 - Rule 90.c. is wrong. If the wrong wall is used, game is thrown in. Note, though, that if someone made mah-jongg while the wrong wall was in use, the win is honored. Source: 1997 and 1999 bulletins.
    I see that I need to address picking a single tile from the back end of the wall, in both FAQ 19 and in my errata. I can't say that I knew, before, that this was a death penalty. All I can say now is: "good to know."
    Putting a tile on the table and saying "give me that joker, please" - I have long taught my students not to do that. And I say in FAQ 19-M not to do that.
    As for Player C and Player A and some mistake someone made, I don't know what question is being answered, so I can't really respond. If it's about a player giving a joker-holder the wrong tile to exchange for a joker, then it's up to the joker-holder to make sure she's getting the correct tile. If it's about a joker-holder giving the wrong tile to a joker-redeemer, it's the responsibility of the recipient to make sure she's getting a joker. But now I've spent two "if" sentences that may have no bearing whatsoever on the question! So don't read those two sentences.
    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 27, 2017


    Eighteen Monks, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 1:10 AM
    >Subject: Eighteen Monks - how's it possible?
    >Hi Tom,
    >The Eighteen Monks hand referred to by Liz B is indeed a hand in some Asian variants of Mahjong, certainly in Singapore. It is known as 十八羅漢, Shiba Luohan (or Sap Baat Lo Han depending on local accents), which means "eighteen arhats". An arhat is (in this case) one of the original followers of the Buddha, hence can be thought of as a monk.
    >This is certainly a hand that you dont want to deal the winning tile into, as if you do you pay all the points (and I think it's a limit hand too, so it'll cost you dearly).
    >You may see the hand expressed as:
    >18 Arhat
    >18 Luohan
    >18 Lohan
    >Or (as in Liz's example) 18 Monks
    >The hand is made just as Liz described, 4 Kongs and a Pair.
    >Best Regards
    >Ray

    Thanks for that information, Ray!
    I'm more familiar with the name "Four Kongs." In Japanese, suu kan tsu.
    四槓子
    四槓
    四杠
    The Mahjong Wiki, I see, lists the term "18 Buddhas."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 21, 2017


    Eighteen Monks - how's it possible?

    >From: liz b
    >Cc: nita
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:05 AM
    >Subject: Re: just a ton of appreciation
    >one off the wall question, and i have searched with no luck, so i
    >implore you.
    >winning hands that have more than 14 tiles? have you ever heard of
    >one called Eighteen Monks?
    >four kongs and a pair of eyes?
    >inquiring minds really want to know. i cannot imagine a better resource
    >than you!

    Hi, Liz!
    Interesting question. I never heard the term "Eighteen Monks" before, but I'm familiar with Four Kongs hands, from Asian forms of mah-jongg. In Asian mah-jongg, a kong is treated like a glorified pung. The tile count in a hand can go over fourteen when there's a kong in the hand. You may be familiar with how in checkers, one piece can be "kinged" or "crowned" by stacking two checkers - the two-checker stack is treated like one piece. In Asian mah-jongg, the typical hand is "four sets and a pair (of eyes)." The set can be a chow or a pung … or a kong. Chows and pungs are sets of three, and the fact that the kong is a set of four necessitates taking an extra tile into the hand so that one can still have "four sets and a pair," whenever a set is a kong. See FAQ 20-D.
    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 20, 2017


    Just a ton of appreciation

    >From: liz b
    >Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2017 9:06 AM
    >Subject: just a ton of appreciation
    >from me and so many friends who live in the love of this game.
    >your explanations and sense of humor make learning new ways irresistible!
    >thanks for being you.

    Thank YOU, Liz! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 17, 2017


    Looking for cleaning tips, part 2

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 6:02 PM
    >Subject: Re: Pung Chow Set
    >Thank you....I did read your post. I just was not sure if Pyralin can be cleaned with alcohol.

    Sorry, Ruth - I honestly don't know. I haven't tried everything in that FAQ. If alcohol is safe on Bakelite and catalin, then I imagine it's safe on Pyralin. I don't even know if alcohol is safe on paint! 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
    September 15, 2017


    Looking for cleaning tips

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 5:11 PM
    >Subject: Pung Chow Set
    >Hello,
    >I just purchased a Vintage Pung Chow set made of Pyralin. Please let know what to use to clean the tiles with. Can they be polished? What would I use?
    >Thank you for your time.
    >Best,
    >Ruth B

    Hi, Ruth! All the cleaning tips I've collected are in FAQ 7o ("seven oh," not "seventy"). You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left. Good luck! And I guess it's pointless to add… 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, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v7.0

    >From: "kayc103
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:29 AM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Question 1: the 2017 card shows Like Numbers as 1111 and 2222, says any 2 suits, with no mention that it incudes any like numbers as did the 2016 card. Does it mean that only the numbers 1 and 2 are applicable?
    >Why are flowers numbered? Very confusing..---looks like the 1 Bam. For example if you're doing 3's, 6's, 9's do the flower numbers have to somehow coincide?
    >Thank you!
    >Kay C

    Hi, Kay! You asked:

    the 2017 card shows Like Numbers as 1111 and 2222
    I don't follow you. I don't see any twos in the Like Numbers hands on the 2017 card.

    Does it mean that only the numbers 1 and 2 are applicable?
    If you scroll up a short distance, you'll see the answer right there. You can also find the answer in FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Why are flowers numbered?
    See FAQ 19-CB. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!

    if you're doing 3's, 6's, 9's do the flower numbers have to somehow coincide?
    Nope! The flower numbers are meaningless in American mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017


    Is she rude, or just unwittingly inconsiderate?

    >From: Rosemary R
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 9:21 AM
    >Subject: Is this rude?
    >Tom, I am currently playing Maj twice a week, On Monday's I play with 4 or 5 women...depending on who shows up...at a community center. When I have displayed 2 sets of tiles, she will stop at her turn to scour the playing card to determine which hand I am playing. she will often use her finger to scan the page and stop and say, "Ah, I see it"!! I have told her to keep playing..and she responds. "I'm just trying to see what hand you're playing so I don't give you what you need."! Well, duh!! Of course, players should know that ...but it should be in their head, or looked for surreptitiously! Is she rude or what? It takes the fun out of the game for me. Why should I try to finish a hand under those circumstances?

    Hi, Rosemary!
    I love it. (^_^) The poor dear! She appears to be a hapless beginner who's just discovered that there's strategy involved, and thinks she's being smart. But she has not yet discovered the importance of etiquette. And she has not yet learned enough about strategy to keep her observations to herself.
    In the interest of harmony, I recommend you be careful about how you handle this. The wrong choice of words can easily make her defensive and angry. I do not have the magic words for you, but it would help the game if you can somehow find a way to gently inform her:

  • When she has two exposures, everybody else at the table knows what she's doing, and they don't shout it out to everyone.
  • When the other players see two exposures, they don't make everyone wait while they figure out what's safe to discard. The time to think about what to discard next is between turns - so she doesn't hold up the game for everyone else.

    Good luck, Rosemary. This is a tricky minefield to navigate!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017


    She was so flustered she looked at the three tiles she was blind passing

    >From: Doris S
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:52 PM
    >Subject: Incredible Hand
    >Last night the East player had Mah-Jongg at the end of the second across of the
    >Charleston. Since she could do a blind pass on the second right, she picked up the three tiles on her left and passed them directly to the player on her right. Well, not exactly "directly." She was so flabbergasted to find herself with the 14 tiles needed for Mah-Jongg, she looked at the pass before passing them along. They never touched the table, but the pass was not "blind." Should this Mah-Jongg have been disqualified?
    >Thanks.
    >Doris S

    Hi, Doris!
    Very interesting. Yes, we do get flustered when something amazingly lucky happens. (^_^)
    Although I had listed "peeking at the blind pass" as a death penalty in FAQ 19-AA, the League does not actually recognize that as a death penalty* (I just now edited that out of FAQ 19-AA). All she has to do is refuse the courtesy pass and declare mah-jongg. She wins!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2017

    *At a tournament, a death penalty might apply. That's up to the tournament judges to decide.


    Can a joker be used in a kong or pung of zeroes?

    >From: A R
    >Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2017 9:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >Hello Tom,
    >My question is: can a joker be used in the O kong in 2017 #1 and O pong in 2017 #4 ? I read somewhere that only soaps can be used for 0s
    >Thank you
    >Amy

    Hi, Amy!
    The answer is on the back of the card. The left pane, the paragraph above the numbered rules:

    Jokers may be used to replace any tile in any Pung, Kong, Quint, or Sextet only.

    The rule says "any" tile, in "any" set of three or more identical tiles. What you read somewhere, that "only soaps can be used for 0s" (perhaps you saw that in FAQ 16? I just now changed it) was not intended to mean, and does not mean, that jokers cannot be used in a set of three or more zeroes (or any other tile).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2017


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card.
    Many frequently asked questions are answered on the card.


    Column 687, #3, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, September 2, 2017 4:44 AM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I think I understand your explanation. I just could not imagine anyone exposing a pung/kong/quint of jokers before calling maj (I mean, why would you do that?) but only at the time of the win. Clever trick question, Tom!!

    Good morning, Linda!
    I'm glad you get it now. I didn't intend it as a trick question - I can imagine someone doing it. (It's a good thing you couldn't!) I can imagine two ways someone might do it -
    {1} illegally claiming a discarded joker (unaware that it's illegal) and exposing a pung of jokers, or
    {2} simply [illegally] exposing a complete joker pung after picking a tile from the wall (a thing a raw beginner might do, out of a misguided misconception that Mah-Jongg rules are the same as Rummy rules).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 2, 2017


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:35 PM
    >Subject: Fw: dead Concealed hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Hope you help me understand this issue:
    >Today a player exposed two Norths and a Joker.
    >I looked at it, thought it was a dead hand but said nothing. No one else
    >called her dead....
    >Later she put out (3)3 cracks with a joker. (she was playing
    >Winds-Dragons Concealed hand #3)
    >Then she was called dead. She stopped playing.
    >Later someone wanted to redeem a North for her joker.
    >Was the joker with the Norths good to redeem because no one had called that
    >exposure dead and we continued to play for a while??????????
    >Thanks,
    >Bette

    Hi, Bette!
    My apologies for the delay in replying. I don't know why, but your email was in my "Spam" folder. I found it just now when I was cleaning it out.
    The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-P. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!
    Answer: Any jokers exposed in the course of making the fatal blunder are dead (not redeemable). All portions of the hand exposed erroneously are to be returned to the sloping front of the rack. Those erroneous jokers were not supposed to stay atop the dead player's rack in the first place. See FAQ 19-P.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2017


    Column 687, #3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, September 1, 2017 6:19 PM
    >Subject: wait--what??
    >Hi Tom,
    >I must be very dense--I don't understand the reasoning behind your answer to question #3 in column 687. For example, if I win MJ and expose 3 jokers in place of any other pung, how is that not logical? Would you please elaborate?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    Perhaps the question could have been written more clearly. The question doesn't say what you seem to think it's saying. It says:

    3. You must have a natural tile (a non-joker) in an exposed set of identical tiles (pung, kong, quint).

    It says "in an exposed set" - it doesn't say "in an exposed hand" - I'll try again, with a picture. Here's what a player has exposed atop her rack:

    That's all she has atop her rack. No other tiles. Can she do that? How?
    Below the answers in column 687, it says:

    *You cannot claim a discarded joker - you can only claim a discarded natural. So there must be at least one natural in an exposed set. Not specifically stated in rulebook, but logical from accurate knowledge of the way the rules work.

    Make more sense 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.
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    September 1, 2017


    Can she change her exposure, part 7

    Dear readers:
    In regards to this controversial question: should it be permitted for a player who had put up the wrong tiles in the course of making an exposure to make a correction (and replace the wrongly exposed tiles with the tiles that match the taken discard)?
    - If this happened in a casual setting, such as at someone's home: I would say yes. Let the player replace the tiles. She committed herself to making an exposure, and as long as she had not yet discarded, she should be permitted to correct the exposure (of course she is not permitted to change her mind about making an exposure at all; she is required to make an exposure).
    - If this happened at a tournament, though, and I was a tournament judge: I would say no. I would declare the player dead. Stricter rules apply in a tournament setting.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2017


    I say she can't change her exposure, part 6

    >From: NA NA
    >Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2017 9:22 AM
    >Subject: Mahjonng Question
    >Good Morning From Louisiana,
    >Question: A player calls for a red dragon which has been discarded, but puts up three one craks on her board and then changes the one craks for red dragons, and said that she could change any tiles exposed on her board for the tile she really wanted to discard.
    >I say that once tiles have been exposed on her board they cannot be exchanged.
    >Please provide us an answerer.
    >Thank you.
    >Flo M

    Hi, Flo. Hope you're safe and dry there in Louisiana. I'll be calling my uncle in Denham Springs today to see how he's doing. Anyway, the question you asked was just discussed recently. Please scroll down and read "They said she can't change her exposure, part 5" from Belinda G on Sunday, August 27. Conversations here are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top - earlier at the bottom). If you disagree with my answer to Bee, or just want the official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone it in).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2017


    Where does one find this rulebook?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:33 PM
    >Subject: rules handbook
    >Hi Tom,
    >First time questioner here,
    >You quote the NMJL official rulebook but I cannot find one for sale. I see a
    >directions booklet on the NMJL site but not a handbook/rulebook.
    >Where does one find this handbook?
    >Thanks,
    >Bette

    Hi, Bette!
    If you click (with your mouse, if you're on a desktop computer) or tap (with your finger, if you're on an tablet computer) this picture, you'll go straight to the nationalmahjonggleague.org store.

    That instruction book you saw on the NMJL site, "Mah Jongg Made Easy," IS what I'm talking about whenever I say "official rulebook." Sorry if I've misled you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 30, 2017


    Can you have a pung of zeroes, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:55 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $50.00 USD from Bill P (wdP.
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
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    Thank you very much, Bill! That's generous of you. I guess I must have answered your question! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 30, 2017


    Can I call a discard to expose a 201x?

    >From: Laura G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 3:20 PM
    >Subject: 2017
    >Tom,
    >Can you call a tile for exposure for "2017"? Not for Mah Jong, just for an exposure.
    >Thanks.
    >Laura

    Hi, Laura!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-E1. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. The phrase you're looking for is "Can I call a discard to expose a 201x (or a NEWS)?" 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!
    Hint: "2017" is not a kong. It's four singles.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 30, 2017


    Can you have a pung of zeroes with a joker in it?

    >From: Bill P
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 3:24 PM
    >Subject: Zeros
    >Tom,
    >Soap, Soap, Joker can make a Pung of Blue Dragons, since two Soaps are a matching pair and a Joker made to make it a Pung.
    >But can Soap, Soap, Joker make three Zeros? Seems to me the Soaps are not matching tiles per Sandberg's definition on page 29, therefore not a pair, but simply stand for two Zeros only.
    >Bill

    Hi, Bill!
    I checked Sandberg on page 29 (I assume you mean her first book, A Beginner's Guide), and I can't see any words there that ought to have caused such confusion. Oh wait, were you talking about her last book, Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies? I see there that she did something inadvisable, pre-assigning jokers during the Charleston, and I see that she interposed a joker in a dragon pung. Even odder, the number of dragons changes from page 28 to page 29, and she never mentioned any dragons in the description of the passes. If this is what's confusing you, that's understandable. There's something wrong there but I don't know what it is, and I would stop worrying about it.

    Anyway, you asked if a joker can be used in a pung of zeroes. Here, I'll draw you a picture (actually, two):

       
    Left: a valid pung of soaps.    Right: a valid pung of zeroes.
    In both cases: a valid pung of white dragons.
    *

    "Soap" and "zero" and "white dragon" are all the same tile. (*Nobody calls them "blue dragons.") A joker can be used to represent any tile (it says so on the back of the NMJL card.) You should read everything on the card, front and back.
    I hope I have answered your question. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 29, 2017


    Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair?

    >From: Tess G
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 10:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If your program is pairs. Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair? Not a joker.
    >Thank you

    Hi, Tess! You asked:

    If your program is pairs.
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're saying.

    Is it okay to steal a tile to make a pair? Not a joker.
    I don't know what "steal" means! Honest! People use it to mean so many different things. In fact, somebody wrote to me the other day and used the word "steal" to mean "redeem a joker." Let's see, what day was that? That was on the... oh! That was you! As I told you last Wednesday (below), I think it's confusing to use the word "steal" to mean so many different things. I think it's confusing to use the word "steal" at all, except in the real-world criminal sense.

    In the context of today's question, though, I think you are asking "Can I claim a discard if I'm waiting to win on a single or a pair?" That's Frequently-Asked Question 19-E3. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    And please also read Column #353 to see what I mean about the word "steal."

    (In answer to your question: yes. You cannot claim a discard to complete a pair, UNLESS it's for mah-jongg. So yes, if you are waiting to complete a pair and someone discards your mahj tile, yes, you may claim it for the win. Mah-jongg is the trumping exception to some of the other rules.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 29, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 5
    >From: Belinda G
    >Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Another bit of info
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read your info on the question that Pat L proposed. I found the document on Mah Jongg That's It. It is a list of questions that someone proposed to Marilyn prior to her death. In particular I think the Calling a Discard section, answer #6 applies to this scenario. I will attempt to attach the screen shot of the list of questions. But if it does not attach, it is named NMJL rules and is at the bottom of the second page.
    >However, I agree with you that it seems too strict to call someone dead for this minor error especially if the person "heard" the discard incorrectly. It happened recently to one of our players. We let her continue as we were playing outside with some background noises so we felt that she simply misheard the discarder. The discarder discarded a 1 crak and she thought she said 1 dot. I like to play by the rules but I suppose some people play strictly by rules and would insist she was dead. Tournaments too, I suppose.
    >Love your site,
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    Thanks for clarifying which file in "Mah Jongg, That's It" you were referring to. That's the file "Rulings from NMJL.jpg", and the reason I didn't think that was what you were referring to is because the issue in question is not "changing my mind about taking a discard or not" but rather "changing my mind about which tiles I'm exposing from my hand." The Marilyn Starr letter only addresses the former; it does not address the latter (and the latter is Pat L's question).

    1. Someone discards a tile and says its name. You say "I'll take that." If you don't pick it up or expose any of your tiles, you can change your mind.
    2. You say "I'll take that," and touch it to the top of your rack and change your mind - too late. You have to make an exposure. If you realize that the tile was misnamed, there is a rule that applies. You goofed big time, and if you can't complete the exposure, you're dead. You should have never put the tile atop your rack.
    3. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that for the hand you're trying to make, you need a pung, not a kong. You haven't discarded yet, so your turn isn't over yet. You are permitted to correct the error, and put one of the tiles back into your hand.
    4. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that the tiles you've put up on the rack are the wrong ones - and you don't have tiles in your hand that match the discard. Whether you misheard the tile's name or the discarder misnamed it, you goofed big time, and since you can't make the exposure, you're dead. You should have never put the tiles atop your rack.
    5. You say "I'll take that," and expose three tiles from your hand, and change your mind - too late. You have committed to making an exposure. You might as well take the discard. But now you discover that the tiles you've put up on the rack are the wrong ones (they don't match the taken discard) - the correct ones are still on the sloping front of your rack. You haven't discarded yet, so your turn isn't over yet. The question raised by Pat L is, are you permitted to correct that error, and put the correct tiles up (swapping them for the tiles you had put up). This question has NOT been answered by the League, certainly not in the Marilyn Starr letter. That letter states the principles listed in FAQ 19-AM2.

    So I'm back to square one. I'm going back to what I said on August 24.  I believe FAQ 19-AF answers this question - you have committed to making an exposure. But you are permitted to make changes to that exposure as long as you have not discarded yet. I withdraw the strikeouts I made late the night of the 24th.

    But, as always, if you want an official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone the question - see FAQ 19-BN).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 27, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong, part 3

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 10:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >Thanks for note regarding Search Engine box on web site.
    >I am very careful to try as far as possible not to use local table variations and always look for definitive verification in writing of any possibly contentious queries before passing information on to new players which is why everything I work with is under documented BMJA rules as noted.
    >Here is the link to the " Goulash " variation specifically defined under BMJA rules.
    >http://www.mahjongbritishrules.com/game/variations.html
    >The "variation" it is referring to is the "Goulash" itself which is played after every drawn game and lists the rules relative to Joker use.
    >(Following your last search engine advise I also found that you have a link within your FAQs to the main BMJA web site in which this appears)
    >Once you have reviewed the Goulash exceptions as noted I would still love to have your thoughts / experiences / options on my "Wild tile pick up, additional wild tile in Kong when going Mah Jong" question which is really a query on the veracity of one specific point to see if I can i understand exactly what the intent was in the rule as written it and what I should watch for when this occurs. At the moment the two queries which I raised relating to Kongs are open as I don't have a complete understanding of them but relative to the second query it looks like the "joker replacement in a Kong in a Goulash game" may become our first "Club Table Rule"
    >Thanks again for you help and look forward to your re-considered reply to the first part of my query
    >Regards
    >Willie W

    Hi, Willie.
    I'm so used to relying on my library of mah-jongg books that I didn't think to go exploring websites. In addition, when I replied to you yesterday, I didn't want to check joker rules in Australian books out of a misplaced notion that the rules might differ. (Even worse of me, I checked only the Headley & Seeley book, Know The Game, and not any of the others.) Anyway, the MahjongBritishRules website you linked me to is not the official BMJA site, but does have the "BMJA approved" logo on it. The site describes the joker rules you cited yesterday. Going by those rules, to answer your question:

    I would still love to have your thoughts / experiences / options on my "Wild tile pick up, additional wild tile in Kong when going Mah Jong" question which is really a query on the veracity of one specific point to see if I can i understand exactly what the intent was in the rule as written
    I need to go back in time to your original question (bold emphasis added by me):

    Looking at the exceptions I can develop scenarios where the wild tile picked up can be used as an additional Joker in Pairs and Pungs and go Mah Jong but fail to arrive at a scenario where it can be picked up for a Kong and go Mah Jong - ( the Kong box replacement tile would need to be enacted after this Joker pick up and thus the precursor to the exception - going Mah Jong - wouldn't apply. Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it. 
    Now we have to refer to what it says on the MJBR website:

      There is one exception to the above restrictions. If a player picks up a wild tile which would allow him to go Mah-Jong, an additional wild tile can be used to make a pair, pung or kong.

    I guess the part that's boggling your mind is the last two words: "or kong." And guess what: it boggles mine, too. Why not just ignore those words; assume they are in error and shouldn't be there. Hmm, or then again - what if the kong-replacement tile (from the kong box) is a wild tile. The rule seems to be basically saying that if the last tile one obtains to complete the hand is a wild tile, don't worry about wild tile maximums because hey, you win. Mah-jongg trumps everything.

    relative to the second query it looks like the "joker replacement in a Kong in a Goulash game" may become our first "Club Table Rule"
    Be aware that you are permitting a suspicious and possibly illegal American immigrant into your British rules with that one. It comes with baggage, and your immigration people may not have thoroughly inspected that baggage. Joker rules confuse American players more than any other rules. As it says in FAQ 14, you have to be prepared to deal with questions or conflicts that may arise out of adoption of a foreign rule. If you go to FAQ 19, you'll see that the very first category of frequently asked questions in the American game is Jokers. And when you click the "Jokers" link, you'll see that there are a LOT of frequently-asked joker questions (that's why I put that section up top). Before you adopt an American rule, you should check out what you're getting. (~_^)

    May the tiles be with you. Cheers!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 27, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong, part 2

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2017 1:20 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >Thanks for reply on web site. Love reviewing lots of bits other than my own . Is there a search engine facility on the site? Probably there and I have missed it.
    >A small point - (and 2 supplemental queries) -
    >In a Goulash the following restrictions to the use of Jokers are noted in rules
    >Only one wild tile can be used to make a pair or a pung
    >No more than 2 wild tiles can be used to make a kong
    >You can use 3 or 4 wild tiles to make a special hand, but not as a pung/kong of just wild tiles ( note:- I think this would make you second "what if" invalid)
    >There is one exception to the above restrictions. If a player picks up a wild tile which would allow him to go Mah-Jong, an additional wild tile can be used to make a pair, pung or Kong .
    >Looking at the exceptions I can develop scenarios where the wild tile picked up can be used as an additional Joker in Pairs and Pungs and go Mah Jong but fail to arrive at a scenario where it can be picked up for a Kong and go Mah Jong - ( the Kong box replacement tile would need to be enacted after this Joker pick up and thus the precursor to the exception - going Mah Jong - wouldn't apply.
    >Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it.
    >One other question on slightly different but partly related topic whilst writing - in Goulash, in normal circumstances and not fishing, with a concealed Kong effectively really still in your hand is it ok to substitute a natural tile drawn from the wall for 1 of the 2 Jokers you are allowed in the Kong and then use that Joker elsewhere. This is obviously not drawing a wild card so still doesn't solve my query above and I know my class will be asking this additional question shortly ??- they are really keen and sharp.
    >Apologise if there are very obvious answers that I have missed in this but sometimes brain freeze kicks in.??
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie

    Hi, Willie. Welcome back. You asked:

    Is there a search engine facility on the site? Probably there and I have missed it.
    I don't know what you mean exactly. Here on this page, you can use Control-F to find key words. If you want to find information on other pages (but don't know which pages the information is on) you can use Google to search for "the information I want sloperama.com" (substituting what information you want for the phrase "the information I want"). And the list of FAQs above left is a directory of the types of information available here. I did have a Google search box on this page, but Chrome recently informed me that it was written in an insecure manner (even though the search box was written by Google - albeit several years ago), so I had to delete it.

    In a Goulash the following restrictions to the use of Jokers are noted in rules
    >Only one wild tile can be used to make a pair or a pung ...
    As I understand it, there is no one master set of rules governing goulash jokers as you describe. As far as I know, every group sets its own goulash rules and joker rules. The joker restrictions you describe are not contained in the BMJA book.

    Can you suggest a situation when this would be the case - I cannot get it.
    It sounds to me like a rather complicated and custom set of table rules. I really can't help settle arguments, or construct imaginary scenarios, that come out of custom table rules. Read FAQ 14. You can link to the FAQs above left. If I'm mistaken, and these rules are in print somewhere where I can see them, give me the book title/author or the web URL and I can have a look. But if you have a typed sheet or something like that, I reiterate that it's a table rule, and none of my concern.

    is it ok to substitute a natural tile drawn from the wall for 1 of the 2 Jokers you are allowed in the Kong and then use that Joker elsewhere.
    Use of jokers is very complicated, and optional in British mah-jongg, and no author has ever gone into that kind of detail in any book I've seen. Only American mah-jongg has a joker-redemption rule. In American mah-jongg, any player may redeem any number of exposed jokers from any side of the table, on his turn (while holding 14 tiles, before discarding). If your group wants to adopt the American rule, as a table rule, that's the group's prerogative (see FAQ 14).

    May the tiles be with you. Cheers!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2017


    Display of a Concealed Kong containing jokers (BMJA)

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 11:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: BMJA - Goulash query
    >Hi Tom
    >As before I cannot get the BMJA website to accept emails but there was a note referrring to your expert website for queries
    >BMJA rules
    >Goulash game
    >I am aware that a concealed Kong would normally have two tiles displayed face up and two face down but when playing a Goulash game how do you display a Concealed Kong which contains 2 No.Joker tiles (in our case the Joker tiles are the 2 of Bamboos)?
    >If only the two Joker tiles are displayed the make up of the Kong isn't available to other players. If only one Joker and one other tile shown other players are not then aware if both Jokers have been used. If three tiles displayed this indicates an exposed Kong
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie W

    Hi, Willie.
    It's disrespectful to others if one displays the joker tiles instead of the naturals (the non-jokers), if the player has naturals in the grouping. It's in everyone's best interest if players consciously strive for a harmonious game. If I had two naturals and two jokers for a kong, and for some reason I decided there was no other potential desirable use for the jokers in my hand, then my first instinct is to display the grouping with the jokers face down. Or (and this would go against the strategic part of my brain), I would display it with one joker and one natural.

    In fact, I recall a point of etiquette (from Japanese majan, to stave off any possible disharmonious challenge) in which the player who's declaring a concealed kong displays all four of the tiles to the [players at the] table before turning two of them face down, thus marking the kong as a so-called "concealed" kong. This prevents bad stuff from happening, like for instance:
    1. If you'd just displayed the naturals, and then another player has one or two of the non-jokers displayed in your concealed kong, or if someone picks and discards one, then it's seen that there's something odd with your concealed kong. Someone might challenge the validity of it. You would have to display all the tiles before turning two face-down again.
    2. What if you had four jokers and decided they all had to make up a concealed kong (and thereby prevent yourself from using any of them for anything else afterwards)? You would have to display two of them face-up, therefore revealing that you actually have jokers. And of course that would raise an outcry (i.e. "disharmony") from your opponents as to what the face-down tiles are.

    I think the key thing here is that the point of turning some of the tiles face-down is NOT to hide them from your opponents, but simply to mark the grouping as a so-called "concealed" kong, for scoring purposes only. So it's best to actually own up to the full actual contents of the grouping at the time of declaring the exposure, staving off disharmony.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 25, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 4

    A word about the below discussion. This confusion shows why it's important to have rules in writing, and detailed rules at that (not just broad brushstroke loosely-written rules like those in the official rulebook).
    It's unfortunate that the League actually occasionally issues rulings, both verbally and in writing, on rare "edge case" occurrences/issues to individual members, but then does not document and publish those detailed rulings for the membership.
    No person outside the League office can possibly document and record all the individual rulings issued by the League. I collect and preserve the newsletters every year (I have them going back to the late nineties), but not every "edge case" question has been answered in the newsletters. A few players have sent me ruling letters they've received, and that has added to the body of knowledge here. But there are rare edge cases that come up now and then, and all we can do is either ask the NMJL or make an educated guess based on existing rules. So in the case of the edge case question asked by Pat L, I made a guess, and Bee rightly called me out on it.
    Bee said this question was answered in writing, and that there's proof in the Files of the Mah Jongg, That's It! group on Facebook. I was tired last night and took Bee at her word. This morning I went into the Mah Jongg, That's It! group's Files folder on Facebook. I checked every file with a likely filename (I did not bother reading files that announced tournaments, for example), and I did not find this ruling. Bee has never lied to me, so I believe her, but I haven't seen the rule in writing from the League myself. If and when I see this question answered in writing by the League, I'll update the FAQs and/or the RDWW errata to cover the edge case described by Pat L.
    It does make sense that the blunder of exposing the wrong tiles cannot be taken back. It is in keeping with the strict nature of other rules about silly mistakes that can be made by players when autopilot steers us wrong. The rules encourage us to pay attention and operate with our frontal lobes fully engaged.
    May the tiles be with us all!
    Tom Sloper
    August 25, 2017

    P.S. And it bears repeating: I don't make the rules; I just interpret them.


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 3

    >From: Belinda -
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Me again, as I reread your AM-A2 answer I realize it is not quite the same scenario, but I found the answer as well on the FB group MJ That's It. It is included in the group's files. Someone, I think Johni, had written to the league for verification, their written response states that once a called tile is placed on top of the rack the player must take it. It also stated that once any tiles are exposed from the player's hand, they cannot be taken down. As she exposed the wrong tiles, her hand would be dead. The thought that she can change tiles until she discards does not apply as that rule only applies to players who want to add or delete like tiles or add or remove joker(s) before discarding.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    I just spent about 20 minutes researching and crafting my response to your first email, and now I'm past my bedtime. I'm just going to give up and concede the point, and strike through my previous reply. Maybe I should make myself a "rule" not to post long-winded replies late at night, and also not to reply to controversial questions until at least 12 hours have gone by! Nice work on your part there. Maybe this should be appended to an FAQ, or the errata... but not now. Time for bed!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2017


    They said she can't change her exposure, part 2

    >From: Belinda - F
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom, haven't been here in awhile, busy with family.
    >Regarding Pat L's post and your answer. Pat thinks that the other player could take the craks off the top of her rack and replace them with red dragons as that is the tile she originally called. Her thinking is that you can change your exposure as you want or need to unless you have discarded. You indicate that you think she is correct. However, the player exposed the craks (placed on the top of her rack), once she did that she cannot take them down and she was indeed dead. Note your answer AM-A2 which correctly explains that scenario.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee!
    Very interesting! I believe what we have here is a case where two rules overlap. It's like a Venn diagram. Both rules govern the act of making an exposure, and some aspect of undoing it.

    The question becomes, then, which one (if either one) applies to this specific occurrence. FAQ 19-AM2 says, as you rightly point out, that you are not permitted to take back an exposure. And actually, FAQ 19-AF (which I cited in my reply to Pat L) also acknowledges that rule. FAQ 19-AM2 comes from the 2007 newsletter. And FAQ 19-AM2 further cites a letter from the League to Lynn McDonald (replicated on this bulletin board on March 2, 2005. The letter refers to the taken discard - it cannot be placed back on the discard floor.
    FAQ 19-AF comes from page 14 of the official rulebook where it says, "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." Also cited is the 2009 newsletter. In fact, the 2009 newsletter further reinforces the Venn diagram problem. Here are two Q&As from 2009 (let's call them "top" and "bottom"):

      Q: A player calls for a 4-Crak and puts up two 4-Craks with a Joker. She has not discarded as yet. She really wants to expose three 4-Craks with a Joker (kong). May she put another 4-Crak up or another Joker?
      A. Yes...you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NOT DISCARDED AS YET. Once you discard, you are committed to that exposure.
      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
      Q. A player called for a tile - did not pick up the tile yet, but started to make their exposure by placing three other tiles up on their rack. They then say "never mind", thereby changing their mind. Can this be done?

      A. NO...the player started to make their exposure already, and has thereby made a play and a commitment.

    It is indeed arguable that I am stretching the "you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure" thing too far, I acknowledge that. But I think it's reasonable. To me, although the player may not change her mind about making an exposure (as the bottom rule says), the top rule implies that she is permitted to correct the exposure, as long as she has not discarded yet. I believe the intent of the top rule is that the player is permitted to make a correction but (because of the bottom rule) not to the extent of entirely changing her mind about making an exposure. That's where the two rules overlap. That's my point of view until the League says otherwise.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2017

    P.S. In writing the above, I observed that two rules overlapped. In such instances, one rule has to trump overrule the other. I weighed the two principles and judged which I thought was the overriding principle here. From a later email (farther above), I found that there may be evidence that I chose the wrong one. - Tom


    They said she can't change her exposure, even though she hadn't discarded yet

    >From: Pat L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:42 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Player calls for discarded red dragon. Player mistakenly puts up 2 one cracks and a joker, then realizes the mistake, puts the one cracks back on the rack and puts up the correct two red dragons with the joker and the red dragon originally called. Other players declared her dead and said she couldn't do that. It is my understanding that it is your turn until you discard and you can make changes between your hand in the rack and exposures on the rack. I read your questions and answers but could not clarify this point in my mind. Please straighten us out on this point. Thank you so much for your help. Pat L

    Hi, Pat!
    I believe you are correct, and I believe FAQ 19-AF answers this question. But if you want an official ruling, you should snailmail your question to the League (don't telephone the question - see FAQ 19-BN). You can link to FAQ 19 and the other frequently asked questions above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2017


    Can a redeemed joker be used in a pair?

    >From: Tess G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 12:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a person steals your Joker, can that person use the joker as a pair?

    Hi, Tess! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    If a person steals your Joker,
    I had to think for a second what "stealing" means. I never use it to mean redeeming a joker*. But anyway, I don't know why you added this to your real question, which is…

    can that person use the joker as a pair?
    Read the back of the card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules. Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined just like that).


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card every year. In 2016, some wording was changed and some new wording was added. And many frequently asked questions are answered right there on the card. Every player owes it to the other players to understand these basic rules of the game.

    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 23, 2017

    *For more about the several different uses of the word "steal" in mah-jongg, read column 353.


    Looking for suggestions that might help me

    >From: "gb...
    >Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2017 9:10 AM
    >Subject: Teaching American MJ
    >I have taught many to play American Mahjongg with success. However, I was wondering if you might have suggestions that might help me. I have read many web sites but none actually start with telling the students about the 3 suits and other tiles. Then go on from there. I looked over your web site but did not find the answer to my question.
    >Thank you,
    >Gloria B
    >Lake Charles, LA

    Hi, Gloria!
    I don't know what your question is,* but have you read FAQ 26? And do you have all the books on American mah-jongg? See FAQ 3. If nothing in FAQ 3 or FAQ 26 addresses whatever it is you are looking for, ask me and I'll see if I can answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2017

    *You made a statement about some websites, and did not say what help you are seeking, what your question is.


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 9:34 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Shopping Cart - Donation from j c m
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from j c m. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Shopping Cart
    >Contributor: j c m
    >Message: Thanks for all your hard work and keeping us on the straight and narrow.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, J C!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2017


    I noticed an error, part 2

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:20 AM
    >Subject: Re: Correction?
    >Thanks for you quick and prompt reply - I do teach American Mah-Jongg which is why I merely scanned the “BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc” rather then reading it in full which, as I see now would have answered my question before I asked it! I, like many other I expect, didn’t realize the Chinese version didn’t seat players in ‘compass’ order.
    >TimA

    Good morning, Tim!
    Glad that's straightened out. Because "un-American" seating is not just counterintuitive but also unnecessary information in American mah-jongg, I avoid using the terms "north" and "south" in seating diagrams and discussions when teaching or writing about American mah-jongg. I just refer to seat positions as "east" (or "dealer") and then either "righty, opposite, lefty" or "two, three, four."
    In Asian forms of mah-jongg (not only the Chinese forms but all "un-American" forms), the seat positions correspond to winds and season order and flower numbers, for bonus scoring.
    But since you play American mah-jongg, you don't need to know that. So don't read the foregoing. (^_^)
    And if you're not interested in un-American forms of mah-jongg, you should delete that file from your hard drive, and don't download the documents from my folder that don't apply to American mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2017


    I noticed an error!

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 1:05 PM
    >Subject: Correction?
    >Hi Tom, Really enjoy your site and have been using it for several months now to get more familiar with the game.
    >This afternoon while looking at your comments on Teaching, I followed your link to view Mary’s Quizzes and noticed an item labeled ‘BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc’.
    >Since I am about to begin my second teaching class, thought this would be something I might like to ‘steal’ so I downloaded it and looked at it.
    >I then noticed an error! On page 3, your picture has East and West (or north and South if you prefer) swapped!
    >Facing North, East is to the right, East to the left and South behind you. Your picture shows it West to the right and East to the left.
    >Tim A.
    >Nashua, NH

    Hi, Tim!
    Thanks for writing. That file describes Chinese mah-jongg, for players who are used to playing American mah-jongg. That file starts with "Basics of Chinese Mah-Jongg," and the first sentence is "There is no card." Just wanted to make sure you knew that, for starters (that file clearly does not describe American mah-jongg). You say you teach mah-jongg. Do you teach Chinese mah-jongg? Because if you teach American mah-jongg, you don't need the file "BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc" - it has no bearing on American mah-jongg, and will not help you in teaching American mah-jongg.
    Just wanted to say that up front. If you teach Chinese mah-jongg, then there is no error in my document. If you teach Chinese mah-jongg, and you teach players that the seat positions correspond to compass directions on a map, as if looking down on the table from above, then you've been teaching incorrectly. See what it says at the bottom of page 2 of that document:

    "Going counterclockwise around the table, players' seat winds are East, South, West, North. It does not correspond to the expected compass directions on a map (East, North, West, South) as if looking down on the table from above. It was never intended to!"

    This truth is also stated in FAQ 20-K. In fact, I think I'll take that illustration from "BeginnersAccustomed2AmericanMJ.doc" and put in FAQ 20-K right now.

    Note that in American mah-jongg, players don't use ESWN. That's strictly a thing used in every other form of mah-jongg on Earth - American mah-jongg is the oddball of the mah-jongg world. Only Americans use ENWS.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2017


    What is the penalty for an incorrect challenge

    >From: Christy M
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 5:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >What is the penalty for an incorrect challenge
    >Christine D. M

    Hi, Christy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AB. You can link to the FAQs above left. FAQ 19-AB is in the section entitled "You're Dead," and the question is labeled "Called me dead but I'm not. What now?" Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2017


    Column #683, part 2

    >From: "martham
    >Sent: Friday, August 18, 2017 5:20 AM
    >Subject: Re: Column # 683 #9
    >So sorry to have bothered you, I guess I should have been sleeping rather than reading your column!

    No problem, Martha! Read it anytime. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2017


    Column #683

    >From: "martham...
    >Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:20 PM
    >Subject: Column # 683 #9
    >Why isn't # 9 a possibility for consecutive run #2, being 3 & 4 dot and 5 & 6 bams? This is not a concealed hand. Am I missing something?
    >Thanks for all your help,
    >Martha

    Hi, Martha!
    I think you've misread the #9 problem. There are 1Ds (one dots) showing in the problem (it shows a pung of 1D and a pung of 5B). So 3,4D+5,6B (Consec #2) is not an option.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 17, 2017


    You're confusing me, part 2

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:45 AM
    >Subject: more questions
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your answer to my question about tournament rules. I did do the searches you advised and learned a lot. Now I have 2 more questions:
    >1. how are the rules announced in a tournament? Verbally before the competition, in writing, or what?
    >2. how can I find Q&A discussions from past years? How far back does the BB go? My search efforts have been unsuccessful but I'm embarrassed to admit I'm rather computer "search-challenged".
    >Thanks so much for your patience! Linda

    Good morning, Linda! You asked:

    how are the rules announced in a tournament? Verbally before the competition, in writing
    Yes. And yes. I described the verbal reminders below, in a Q&A entitled "Taking a called discard into the hand" From: "kkgoff1967 on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. But when you go to a tournament, you may find that the procedure varies. You might be interested in reading FAQ 21. It's about how to run a tournament. I don't have an FAQ about how tournaments work (I've gotten a lot more questions about the former than about the latter).

    how can I find Q&A discussions from past years?
    Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, find the obvious link, and click it.

    How far back does the BB go?
    I stopped just deleting old posts in 2008. The oldest post on http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive1.htm is from October 30, 2007. Thanks for asking!

    By the way, it's about time I archived the older posts on this page. At the time of this writing, this page goes back to Feb. 1 (6 months, more or less). I usually archive when the page has a lot of posts (not when X amount of time has passed).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 16, 2017


    How to darken my tiles?

    >From: Margaret G
    >Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 11:49 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Tiles
    >Tom
    >we have a set at our club that has four loose tiles that are a white opposed to the rest of the set that is cream.
    >so when using the set it is easy to see who is getting the loose tiles
    >I have tried soaking in tea , coffee , putting in the sun etc etc
    >have you any suggestions' as to what I can try next?
    >they need "aging" if you know what I mean
    >I even asked the dental technician but he wasn't remotely interested even though he makes plates and false teeth for patients
    >hope to hear from you
    >Margaret

    Hi, Margaret!
    This really isn't my area of expertise. I don't accept responsibility for bad results you might get from my suggestions; I have never tried to do what you want to do. But people have emailed me to tell me about things they've done to repair, clean, lighten, and yes even darken their tiles. All that stuff goes into FAQ 7-o (links above left).
    In FAQ 7-o, someone reported having success by soaking in coffee (just go to FAQ 7-o and search the page for the word "darken"). Makes me wonder how much time you soaked yours. I suppose you could also try Coke or Pepsi. I'd try soaking in coffee for at least a week - if you did a week, then try a month. You might get mold growing on the coffee, though, so you may need to refresh the coffee every couple days or something. By the way, putting the tiles in the sun would surely lighten before it would darken. Failing the coffee soak, you might try brown dye (first, an hour - if that doesn't work, overnight...). And if that doesn't work, I'd get the club members to chip in and buy a new set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 15, 2017


    You're confusing me, Sloper!

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 12:22 PM
    >Subject: I'm so confused!
    >Hi Tom,
    >What is the difference between an official rule and a tournament rule? I've never played in a tournament--can you please give some examples of tournament rules that differ from official rules?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I assume you've become confused by something in my latest columns (specifically #685 and #686). Sorry about that! You asked:

    What is the difference between an official rule and a tournament rule?
    It should be obvious that a tournament rule is a rule used at a tournament, when that rule differs from the official rules.

    In a home game, people are playing for dimes and quarters, but in a tournament, there can be big prizes, and there may be dozens or scores of players involved - so the competition is upped a notch (or many notches). Also, since coins aren't used, points have to be added and recorded by a scorekeeper, and the scoring system used in a home game can't be used. And penalties differ, and rules have to be stricter in order to be more fair for competition purposes.

    can you please give some examples of tournament rules that differ from official rules?
    I already have, many many times. If you search this page right now for the word "tournament," you'll find some. If you go to FAQ 19 and search for the word "tournament," you'll find lots more.

    For example, right here on this board, you'll find one such example. When calling a discarded tile for mah-jongg in a tournament, if you take the discard and put it in among your concealed tiles on the sloping front of your rack before exposing the hand atop the rack, you could be called dead. Or if you call someone dead in a tournament and you're wrong, you could be declared dead.

    For other examples, see questions 7 and 8 in last week's column (#685). Don't look for examples in yesterday's column (#686). ... Hmm, I assume that's the source of your frustration, that there were no tournament rule answers in that column? ... And now you've made me reveal a "spoiler" to any bulletin board readers who haven't read yesterday's column yet, darn you! (~_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 14, 2017


    Who pays if dealer gets a complete hand in the first across?

    >From: Jan M
    >Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2017 4:42 PM
    >Subject: column #666
    >When East obtains Heavenly Hand after the first across, blind pass, refuses courtesy, does everyone still pay double or just the across since those were the tiles giving East the Heavenly Hand; same if the H.H. comes from the courtesy pass, who pays double? thank you for keeping us informed.

    Hi, Jan!
    East does NOT have "heavenly hand" unless she gets a complete hand in the original deal. The hypotheticals in column #666 just say what options the dealer has IF her hand becomes complete in the next couple of passes. None of those scenarios is "heavenly hand" either. It's a misnomer to use the term "heavenly hand" in any scenario other than getting a complete hand in the initial deal.
    You're asking about scenario 2.3. in that column: "If she has a complete mah-jongg hand after the across." Since the passes are mandatory, the dealer is NOT permitted to instantly stop the Charleston and declare mah-jongg. She is required to do what you said - blind pass three, and THEN stop the Charleston, then refuse the courtesy. Then she's permitted to declare mah-jongg. Does that indicate a clear-cut situation in which her across clearly gave her the winning tile(s)? Unclear.*
    YOU asked the important question that Ruth Unger never answered (and that the official rules do not discuss): who pays what in such a situation?
    I'm sorry, but I do not know. I am not the arbiter of the rules. Larry Unger is. He's the current president of the League. You would have to ask him. I recommend you send the question via snailmail (or email, if you know his address). I do NOT recommend asking via telephone, for the reasons stated in FAQ 19-BN. Answers should be gotten in writing.
    And again I'm sorry, but I am not going to give you my guess, nor give you my opinion as to what I think should happen. Only Larry can say.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 12, 2017

    *Did she say anything when blind passing three? Did she clearly announce to the table, "I'm blind passing three tiles. And I'm stopping the Charleston. And I have no tiles for the courtesy, because I have mah-jongg at this moment"? If she did, then it's clear from whom she got the winning tiles. But if she didn't make the announcement at the moment, then she has to rely on convincing the others through memory and logic after the fact. I mean, what if nobody noticed she blind passed three? Consider that when someone wins by discard, she has to announce it at the moment.
    Anyway, as I said, I'm not the rulemaker.
    Tom


    Something unusual happened today

    >from: judith o
    >Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 6:22 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Something unusual happened today. Player #1 called for a discard and exposed a kong. Player 2, to her right said, “Well that ruins my hand!” Player 1 was distracted by the comment, and as the next wall was pushed out, Player 2 picked a tile and racked it. Player 1 said, “Wait. I didn’t discard and I have Mah Jongg!”
    >Since Player 2 had racked ~ even though she picked illegally, was the MJ valid? Would it have mattered if the MJ hadn’t been discovered until the pick returned to Player1?
    >JT O

    Hi, Judith!
    It's player 2's responsibility to pick only when it's her turn. Player 2 also committed what the Chinese call "giving information." It's unwise to reveal information about one's hand, but it's not a punishable offense in the American game.
    Player 1 committed a minor error - she exposed only a kong, when she should have said "mah-jongg" and exposed the whole thing. Since her turn hadn't ended because she hadn't discarded, though, she can expose the rest and declare mah-jongg. She gets double from the discarder and single payment from the others (including player 2, assuming player 2 wasn't the one who discarded the winning tile).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 11, 2017


    What does "wall game" mean?

    >From: Sandra W
    >Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 4:45 PM
    >Subject: Wall Game
    >?Tom,
    >I'm feeling sheepish about asking this question, but I truly am not sure what you mean by the term "wall game." I think I'm understanding, but not sure. Could you give me a short explanation.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Sandra W

    Hi, Sandra!
    It means "nobody won." What does your group call it when nobody wins?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 11, 2017


    My most unusual set, part 2

    >From: Linda G
    >Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:43 AM
    >Subject: RE: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for your reply.
    >I have read all of FAQ 7.
    >What I think is unusual is the size of the tiles. I have never seen another set with tiles this small. Neither have I seen a set with this 1 bam. Any idea who the manufacturer was?
    >linda

    Hi, Linda! You wrote:

    What I think is unusual is the size of the tiles. I have never seen another set with tiles this small.
    I have several sets in my collection in which the tiles are even smaller. "Travel sets" (which they're often called) are not at all unusual.

    Neither have I seen a set with this 1 bam.
    That 1B design doesn't look "unusual" to me. It may not be precisely like another particular 1B design, but that in itself is not unusual.

    Any idea who the manufacturer was?
    Sorry, but I know practically nothing about manufacturers. You can try CHarli's site and CoolOldGames and Carli's MahJonggSite (all are listed in FAQ 7u; you said you'd read all of FAQ 7). Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 10, 2017


    My most unusual set

    >From: Linda G
    >To: "tom@sloperama
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 2:57 PM
    >Subject: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >linda
    >From: Linda G
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:55 PM
    >To: Tom@TomSloperama
    >Subject: I would love your help in identifying my most unusual MJ set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I love your website. Hope you are doing well.
    >I have a MJ set without any identifying labels.
    >The tiles measure ¾ “ wide, 1-1/16” high and 5/8” deep. I believe they are bakelite.
    >Here are photos.
    >Have you ever seen these before? Do you know anything about them?
    >Thank you for your consideration
    >Linda G

    Hi, Linda! You wrote:

    my most unusual MJ set
    Care to elaborate what's so unusual about it?

    I believe they are bakelite.
    I believe they are so-called "Chinese Bakelite," which is not actually Bakelite. Read FAQ 7c3.

    Have you ever seen these before?
    Those tiles look a bit like other sets I have seen before.

    Do you know anything about them?
    Possibly, but I don't know what you are looking for. Please read FAQ 7P. Better questions get better answers. Have you read any other parts of FAQ 7?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 9, 2017


    Xiangqi Mahjong

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:43 AM
    >Subject: Xiangqi Mahjong rules?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >I've heard about another exotic game: mahjong with xiangqi (Chinese chess) pieces. I only know that each player has 4 pieces in hand and wins with 5 pieces; but what are valid combinations and how scoring works, I have no idea. Please tell, do you know anything about this variant?
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter. Sorry, no. This is the first I've heard of it. Some years back I designed a mah-jongg dice game with 8 dice - the idea was that one would make 2 pungs and a pair, or 2 chows and a pair, or a chow and a pung and a pair.

    With 5 pieces, a winning hand could be a pung and a pair, or a chow and a pair. Not that I know what would constitute a chow with Chinese Chess pieces. I guess what I'm saying is I can imagine designing a mah-jongg-like game that utilizes 5 pieces. Anyway, sorry I don't have any information for you - and thanks for the info. I'd be interested in hearing more if you find more.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 9, 2017


    Unable to play

    >From: Sally D
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 3:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: sometimes I am unable to play because it says that my user name and password is incorrect then other times it works. I am confused.
    I love your website and have told many people. Thanks Sally

    Hi, Sally! You wrote:

    I love your website and have told many people.
    Great! Hold that thought...

    sometimes I am unable to play because it says that my user name and password is incorrect then other times it works. I am confused.
    I'm truly sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. You should read FAQ 24. You can link to the FAQs above left. Hope you get that sorted out!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    8/8/2017


    Shocking house rule, part 2

    >From: "tn22
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:12 AM
    >Subject: Re: Strange Pung and Kong in Basic Mah Jong?
    >Hi Tom, thank you for your prompt reply.
    >Yes we played by the rather complicated British scoring system with lots of doubling. The U3A (Folkestone) have adopted a very simplified system which I go along with.
    >However every definition of a pung or kong that I have seen use the word ‘Identical tiles’ and I would have thought that it is a fundamental law/rule.
    >In soccer one could vary pitch size, goal size, ball size etc and still call it soccer (football in UK) but change the ball shape from spherical and it is no longer the same game.
    >I personally think that the definition of what constitutes a pung is fundamental. Allowing pungs and kongs of differing tiles compromises the strategy/tactics of forming true dragon/wind pungs and kongs.
    >House rules should not imo change things to such an extent.
    >Regards
    >David

    Hi, David.
    Are you saying that your problem is that they call a "one of each dragon" a pung, and they call a "one of each wind" a kong? It's a matter of terminology, is that it? If so, I have some suggestions. But before I get to that, another question back to you (I'm trying to get to the bottom of what's bothering you so much).
    In this game, is a player who's holding a green dragon and a red dragon permitted to call "pung" when someone discards a white dragon? Same question as to the winds. In American mah-jongg, "one of each wind" is called "NEWS" because ... [tradition, I guess]. Is someone who's holding NEW permitted to say "kong" when someone discards a south wind? Is your objection that this makes the game too easy? Because I can see that. It kind of dumbs down the game a little. Note that either way (whichever thing is what's causing you distress), I still have other questions as to how this "one of each dragon" and "one of each wind" affects scoring and, I guess, strategy (although it's hard to defend against these because they're unpredictable).

    You clearly know very well, David, that a "pung" is properly defined in the mah-jongg world as "three identical tiles" and a "kong" is defined as "four identical tiles" (all four of a non-flower tile). You are, of course, correct that a WGR (WhGR) is not a pung. A "dragon pung" would be WhWhWh or GGG or RRR.


    One of each dragon, and one of each wind.

    If your objection is that these things should not be called pungs and kongs, then I have some ideas. "One of each dragon" could be a "dung," substituting D for P because D stands for Dragon. Of course, that idea stinks. Maybe it could be called a "wigger" (from WGR) or a "grow" (from GRW). Or maybe more fun names could be found.
    Moving on. "One of each wind" could be a "wong," substituting W for K because W stands for Wind. But then, would two wongs make things right? Never mind, now I'm just getting silly.

    I don't know if I'm being helpful yet, because I'm not positive that your objection is to the abuse of terminology, or what. Let me know if I'm getting close!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    8/8/2017


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong, part 3

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 7:47 AM
    >Subject: Re: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Hi Tom...as a follow up to the email I sent; the question I guess I am trying to ask is if the is a bona fide rule that says if the exposure is deemed erroneous, and the hand declared dead, is there a NMJL rule that states that part of the hand MUST be returned to the sloping part of the rack.
    >I read your answer to this in the FAQ, however, there is no footnote detailing NMJL with a date or publication issue to cite for a reference to your answer.
    >Thank you for all the good work you do to help teach people proper rules and etiquette for Mahjongg.
    >Debbi L

    Good morning, Debbi! You wrote:

    the question I guess I am trying to ask is if the is a bona fide rule that says if the exposure is deemed erroneous, and the hand declared dead, is there a NMJL rule that states that part of the hand MUST be returned to the sloping part of the rack.
    I knew that was what you were talking about. In my reply, I referred to FAQ 19-P ("Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?"). The second bullet under FAQ 19-P says "Jokers which were exposed improperly are not available for redemption. ... 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."

    I read your answer to this in the FAQ, however, there is no footnote detailing NMJL with a date or publication issue to cite for a reference to your answer.
    Yes there is - it says (just before FAQ 19-Q) (ignore the RDWW citation since my book is not bona fide official):

      For further reading:
      RDWW - p. 58 (rule 87), p. 64 (rules 106, 107), p. 91, pp. 101-103
      NMJL - p. 16, 2007

    Forgive me for the brevity of this reply, but I have to rush out now. If you still have a question, just ask away!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    8/8/2017


    Shocking "house rule"!

    >From: "tn22
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 4:30 AM
    >Subject: Strange Pung and Kong in Basic Mah Jong?
    >Hi Tom,
    >My wife and I have played Mah Jong for over ten years but only about half a dozen times each year.
    >Recently we joined a group (U3A) to play regularly but was shocked to find that three different dragons was accepted as a pung and four different winds were accepted as a kong.
    >They play basic Mah Jong with no special hands. I am fully aware of the ‘house rules’ convention but did not think that it covered changes to the rules of the game to such an extent.
    >I have read a number of books on the subject but never seen reference to pungs and kongs including the tile combinations described in basic MJ.
    >Please let me have your informed opinion of the situation.
    >Regards
    >David A
    >Folkestone

    Hi, David! You wrote:

    My wife and I have played Mah Jong for over ten years
    That makes me wonder "which variant" you are accustomed to. British rules, perhaps?

    Recently we joined a group (U3A) to play regularly ... They play basic Mah Jong with no special hands.
    That makes me wonder how the scoring works. Like the complicated scoring used in British rules, perhaps?

    was shocked to find that three different dragons was accepted as a pung and four different winds were accepted as a kong. ... I am fully aware of the ‘house rules’ convention but did not think that it covered changes to the rules of the game to such an extent. ... Please let me have your informed opinion of the situation.
    I'm shocked that you're shocked!
        You don't remember when you first learned the game? When you were taught about chows, didn't you ask about "runs" of dragons, and winds? All my beginning "basic" mah-jongg students always ask if they're allowed to make a set consisting of one of each dragon, and one of each wind. It's a frequently asked beginner question. Doesn't it seem "friendly" to "go with the flow" and adopt such a rule in order to ease the learning curve and/or make the game accessible to new players?
        I kept asking above what variant you were accustomed to before joining the U3A movement, and sort of assuming that since you live in the UK you played British MJ rules. British rules include special hands with "one of each" of the winds and the dragons. Doesn't it seem a logical extension, then, to adopt such a rule?

    When you've played as many variants as I have (you should check out Mumbai rules!), you don't get "shocked" by such table rules (house rules, as you say).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    8/8/2017


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong, part 2

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Re: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Never mind, Tom...i opened up your site in a different browser and found your answer. Thanks a million!
    >Debbi

    Okay, well, I already posted my reply (below). Many of the answers in FAQ 19 include source citations. All a Doubting Thomasina has to do is look up the sources herself.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    This lady on Facebook says you're wrong

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 5:03 PM
    >Subject: Deadness and returning tiles to the sloping part of the rack
    >Hi Tom! Someone on a mahjongg fb page just challenged your info about returning an erroneous exposure to the sloping part of the rack, claiming it was not NMJL rules. Can you clarify?
    >Love your website!
    >Thank You, as always,
    >Debbi L

    Hi, Debbi.
    I got that rule straight from the NMJL (I don't go around making up rules and claiming they're official). In FAQ 19-P, I cite two NMJL sources: page 16 and 2007. That's page 16 of the official rulebook, and the 2007 newsletter.


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

    The 2007 newsletter says that all jokers exposed during the course of an erroneous exposure may not be redeemed. Page 16 of the rulebook describes the returning of erroneous exposures to the sloping front of the rack (that puts any non-redeemable jokers out of sight - "out of sight, out of mind").
    You can tell your Doubting Thomasina that she's welcome to mail her question directly to the League (or you can do that yourself) to obtain an official ruling.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2017


    Can I use three jokers in a kong? Do I have to have a matching non-joker to claim a discard?

    >From: Kathy K
    >Cc: Kathy K
    >Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 3:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you need a tile for a kong and you have three jokers may you call for it?

    Hi, Kathy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-L. You can link to the FAQs above left. You'll find FAQ 19-L listed under "Claiming A Discard." 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 7, 2017


    At what point exactly should I start dogging, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 8:23 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from danny l
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from danny l. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: danny l
    >Message: THANK YOU! Still yelling
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Jennifer! (^_^)


    At what point exactly should I start dogging, part 2

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 8:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: new question
    >THANK YOU!! Yes, I’m yelling. :-)))
    >I do not read your articles. Do you send them out occasionally??? I’d love to get on a “list”.

    Hi, Jennifer!
    I'm sorry but I'm old-tech. I just post new columns here on my website every week or so. You can get to it by clicking the "Sloper On Mah-Jongg column" link in my sig (signature) on most posts here, or by clicking the purple banner atop many pages on this site.

    I know, having to come back here and click things is more work than having articles emailed to you, but that's too high-tech for me!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 3, 2017


    At what point exactly should I start dogging?

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2017 1:40 PM
    >Subject: new question
    >OK - how about your opinion.
    >How far from the end of the game do you Not throw a tile that someone clearly will need??
    > - if “On Call” - I assume you throw it
    > - need 2 tiles??
    > - need 3 tiles
    >Thanks!!
    >Jennifer

    Hi, Jennifer!
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not a new question. (^_^)

    I have a 2-word phrase that applies here. Ready? ... Here it is... The 2-word phrase is: "it depends."

    How far from the end of the game do you Not throw a tile that someone clearly will need?
    It depends. When you say "someone clearly will need," are you saying the tile is a "hot tile," meaning it's one of the tiles that might possibly give her mah-jongg, or are you saying it's not only a hot tile, but her body language indicates that she's itching to jump? I played with a lady years ago who would fidget with the wall whenever she was "on call," as you say. It was her "tell," as the poker players say. When I saw her fidgeting, I would not throw a hot tile to her. Period. I "dogged" (threw safe tiles at the expense of my hand) when I could tell she was calling.

    if “On Call” - I assume you throw it(?)
    I guess you mean you'll be "ready" (another term for "on call") after you discard the hot tile. Answer: "It depends." Ask yourself: how long is the wall? The longer the wall, the lower the chances that she'll win on this discard.

    need 2 tiles?
    It depends. You can see what her hot tiles are, but can other players see what your hot tiles are? Do you have good chances of winning by discard because you aren't showing exposures? If not, how many more picks are you going to get? You can count the stacks and divide by 2. The fewer picks remaining, the lower your odds.

    need 3 tiles(?)
    It depends. Ask yourself the Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" question: "Are you feeling lucky, punk?" Discarding a clear hot tile is a gutsy move. What's your risk tolerance level?

    And lastly, "it depends." What tile does she need? Do you see some of that tile already visible among discards or exposures? Flowers get hotter and hotter (more dangerous to discard) the shorter the wall gets. Jokers are always safe to discard. By the way, have you read FAQ 8? Do you read my columns?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 3, 2017


    Am I making this hand correctly? (Part 2)

    >From: H B <hildab...
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: Valid Maj
    >Hello Tom: My question was whether 222 can be bamboo 0000 ,111 cracks and 7777 cracks. Are the 000 anything in this case---card shows 222 same as 0000. Am I just confused??? Thanks you for clarification. Hilda

    Hi, Hilda!
    Please read FAQ 16. This hand (2017 #1) is discussed in detail there, with an explanation that will help you with your specific question. You can click the FAQ links above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2017


    Am I making this hand correctly?

    >From: H B <hildab...
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 3:56 PM
    >Subject: Valid Maj
    >222 bam0000,111 crack, 7777 crack---is this a valid Maj? Am a new player.

    Hi, Hilda!
    The hand you're describing is 2017 #1. First, take a look at the hand on the card. The ones and sevens are both the same color, correct? So that means that yes, they can both be craks. I recommend you read the back of the card - this question is discussed in the blue text beneath where it says "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS." Also, check out FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) #16. You can click the FAQ links above left. 2017 #1 is discussed in detail there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2017


    Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?

    >From: Sandra C
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 3:39 PM
    >Subject: rack question
    >Hello Tom
    >I am a member of one of the online Facebook Mah Jongg groups. The question recently came up regarding picking up a discard from the table and where it has to be placed. I have always been told that discards picked up from the center of the table MUST be placed on top of your rack and not in the inside section facing the player, or the player could be called dead. Some of the people in the group claim this is not a NMJL "rule," it is a "tournament rule" and it is not required to be placed on top. I pointed out that in the NMJL book "MAh Jongg Made Easy" it is not in the "Rules and Penalties" section, but under "The Play" it does state "The claimant must then expose on the rack the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet which has been completed by the discarded tile."
    >I don't think every requirement of the game is listed under "Rules and Penalties" but they are nonetheless required. What is your opinion on this action of where to place picked up discarded tiles?
    >Thank you
    >Sandra C

    Hi, Sandra!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-K. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!

    You'll find FAQ 19-K listed under "Claiming A Discard, And The Window Of Opportunity."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2017


    Column 683, part 3

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 4:36 AM
    >Subject: Column #683 Response to your reply to my original note
    >Hand #10 from Column #683 shows an exposures of a Pung of 3C and and Kong of 9D.
    >3-6-9 #4 requires both those exposures (as does 3-6-9 #2).
    >Your reply says: "there is no pung of nines in this hand". While that is a true statement, it neither supports your answer nor refutes mine as there also is no pung of nines in the opponent's exposure.
    >I'll stand by my previous answer.
    >John

    Good morning, John!
    My eyes were deceiving me, and I must apologize. I thought I saw two pungs, but in the cold light of morning I see a pung and a kong, just as you say. I could plead jetlag, but what's the point - I was flat out wrong. You are correct about the two possible hands, and about the hot tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 31, 2017


    I have inherited the following mah jong set

    >From: Rita J
    >Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2017 6:56 AM
    >Subject: mah jongg set
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have inherited the following mah jong set. Pictures are attached. They are a light butterscotch color and completely opaque.
    >According to your chart of dimensions of the tiles, it is an American made set. (tiles measure 1 5/32" x 7/8" x 15/32")
    >It includes 164 tiles, 2 of which have joker stickers on them. The racks are a marbleized plastic. The chip holders are pitted.
    >The rotatable wind indicator with window shows both a Chinese symbol instead of a 1, and then 2, 3, 4.
    >There are two trays.
    > The case is leather, with green silky lining on the top, and brass hinges. The leather is in poor condition, especially on the
    > outside.
    > I have no paper- rules or manufacturer's information.
    >Some the tiles had been taped together and the tape marks are still on the tiles. I hesitate to clean it off as I fear damaging the tile. You can probably see the
    >tape marks in the pictures and I wanted to let you know what that was.
    >Questions: Can you tell me who made this set, and when? Am I correct that it is bakelite?
    >Since I inherited 4 sets, and don't play, I am selling them and I don't want to give incorrect information. Can you give me a sense of value to this set?
    >Thank you for any assistance you are able to give me. I read through most of your information on your site and it is truly a gift to those who collect and/or play.
    >Cordially,
    >Rita J

    Hi, Rita! Your questions:

    Some the tiles had been taped together and the tape marks are still on the tiles. I hesitate to clean it off as I fear damaging the tile.
    Tape residue should come off easily and harmlessly with Goo-Gone or rubbing alcohol or... Just read the cleaning tips in FAQ 7-o (seven oh).

    Can you tell me who made this set
    Sorry. I'm not an expert on set manufacturers. You could check with CHarli. Her website is listed as a resource down near the bottom of FAQ 4A.

    and when?
    See column 509. You have 22 or 24 flowers (the stickered tiles might be blanks) and 4 jokers. Your set might have been made in the fifties or early sixties.

    Am I correct that it is bakelite?
    It is the type of set most commonly referred to as Bakelite. Yes.

    Can you give me a sense of value to this set?
    Depends on the condition. Clean the tape residue off, remove the joker stickers, and get four new joker stickers to make 4 additional jokers. The bad condition of the case reduces the value. If the tiles and racks are in top-notch condition, you might get $150 for it (the buyer will need to shell out another $50 or so for a new case; if you do that, you might sell the set for over $200).

    I read through most of your information on your site and it is truly a gift to those who collect and/or play.
    Thanks! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 30, 2017


    Column 682, revisited

    Back from my travels without my 2017 card. So now I can better respond to this email...

      >From: Suzanne L
      >Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:05 PM
      >Subject: Column #682
      >Hi Tom
      >So glad I discovered you!
      >On hand #4 you say to get rid of the green. I would go for Like numbers #1, for which I would need the 9 craks and 9 dots, the flower and the green. I would get rid of a 7.
      >You had me fooled in hand #2, coloring the craks green, so your answer confused me at first. Teaches me to pay attention!
      >Suzanne L
      >Santa Maria, CA

    Hi, Suzanne!
    Oh my gosh, I did color craks green, didn't I?! I have now fixed it (I left a bit of green in there as a marker).
    More importantly, let's take a look at hand #4. I said it was "high odds, with no fives," and didn't count tiles; not the best answer. Your suggestion, to go for nines, is good - got seven tiles. Can discard sevens, as you say, and can also discard 9B. Kudos!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 30, 2017


    Column 683, revisited

    Back from my travels without my 2017 card. So now I can better respond to this email...

      >From: "johnh
      >Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 3:59 PM
      >Subject: Column #683
      >For hand #10, 6C and 6D are hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #2, however, 6C, 3B and 6B are the hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #4.
      >John

    Hi again, John! Now that I have my card in front of me, I can look at 369 #4. And I'm afraid you're mistaken - there is no pung of nines in this hand. My previous answer stands.* But thanks for getting in touch!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 30, 2017

    * See July 31 correction to this reply. - Tom


    Picked from the wrong end of the wall. Now what?

    >From: Linda L L
    >Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2017 7:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q + A
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have searched Q 19 and not come with an answer to my questions.So, let me see if I can correctly describe all its components:
    >Q1: Player A picks from the wrong end of the wall. I believe, if its caught, the player's hand is dead.
    >Q2: Player A picks from the wrong end of the wall. No one notices. Player B also picks from the wrong end of the wall. I believe play continues, with no penalty for anyone.
    >Q3: Player C's turn comes and she notices that they are picking from the wrong end of the wall. So, does Player C, and all other players in their turn, pick from the wrong end of that wall? When that wall is finished, and the next wall is pushed out, players pick from the correct end of the wall.
    >Sorry if I missed a previous response to this questions. Thank you very much!
    >Linda L. L

    Hi, Linda! Thanks for looking for that in FAQ 19. But I have not gotten many "wrong end of the wall" questions (it's not a frequently-asked question). In brief, if someone picks from the wrong end of the wall and it's noticed immediately, she should be told to put the tile back. As to your specific scenarios:

    Not dead. Tell her to put it back and pick from the right end.
    That's what I would do. Since the back end of the wall looks "normal" now (a 2-tile stack at the back end), all players should resume picking from the correct end of the wall. Note, though, that the League might say otherwise (you'd need to write them, not call,* to get the official ruling).
    Two choices: everybody throw in all the tiles and redeal, or just resume picking from the front end of the wall. Don't just keep compounding the error. Read FAQ 9 to see some general principles for handling errors.

    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 29, 2017

    * Write, don't phone - see FAQ 19-BN. - Tom


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 5

    >From: Rhoda J
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:58 AM
    >Subject: wall games
    >Hi Tom,
    > Since we’ve been using the new card (2017), we’ve had many, many more wall games. Any ideas about why this is happening?

    Hi, Rhoda!
    TBH, I have "ideas," but they're vague and unconfirmed. As I told Cathy C last month (see June 29, below), there may be a design imbalance in the card. But I don't have an idea what kind of imbalance it might be. In FAQ 19-BT I quoted Ruth Unger, the late President of the League, who opined that wall games are caused by players "dogging" (discarding needed tiles out of a conviction that another player was about to win) too early in the game. She wrote in 1997, "If a player has exposed part of their hand very early in the game, it is not always a fact that the player is set for Mah Jongg."
    If players are dogging more with the 2017 card, then it might mean that opponents' exposures are convincing players that they'd better play safe. Or it might mean that exposures can go too many ways. I don't know yet exactly what it might be.
    Again I ask readers to send in their theories! I'll keep exploring the issue in future defense and WWYD columns - perhaps I should focus more on defense.
    And now that the issue has come up 5 times, it's time it became an FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 27, 2017


    A couple of frequently asked Qs, with some new twists

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >The hand FF 1111 DDDD 1111 does say ANY three suits. We’ve had conflicts at our table on this. Do the dragons have to be opposing dragons to the like numbers since they are in different colors?
    > Lou

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    > If a person calls for a tile and starts to put her exposure on her rack and it touches the rack but she doesn’t take her hands off the tiles, can she change her mind and not take the called tile and make the exposure? And what if her tiles don’t touch the rack, can she change her mind?
    > Lou

    Hi, Lou! You asked:

    The hand FF 1111 DDDD 1111 does say ANY three suits. We’ve had conflicts at our table on this. Do the dragons have to be opposing dragons to the like numbers since they are in different colors?
    Take a look at the answer I gave to Susan when she asked the same question >Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017. You can scroll down to see that conversation. Also read Frequently Asked Question 16 and FAQs 19-BY and FAQ 19-J. You can link to the FAQs above left. Consider this: if you have dots and bams showing, and you put up a kong of greens, IS THAT THREE SUITS? (Hint: no, that's two suits.) I'll add this to FAQ 16.

    can she change her mind?
    Read the frequently asked "Change of Heart" question (FAQ 19-AM). 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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!

    >> If a person calls for a tile and starts to put her exposure on her rack and it touches the rack but she doesn’t take her hands off the tiles, can she change her mind and not take the called tile and make the exposure?
    The action was a commitment. She can't put the tiles back.

    And what if her tiles don’t touch the rack, can she change her mind?
    Wow, you're coming up with all kinds of questions not explicitly covered by the official rules! IN MY OPINION (and* I am NOT an official of the National Mah Jongg League), as long as she has not taken the discard and as long as her tiles didn't touch, she should be permitted to put them back. I would allow it, if it happened in my game. But to get an official ruling, you should mail your question to the League (don't phone; see FAQ 19-BN). Their address is on the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester International Airport, New York, USA
    July 27, 2017

    * Now that I'm back home, for some reason the fog cleared and I'm certain that as long as the exposure hasn't touched the rack (provided that the other conditions above are met), she may take it back. - Tom


    Can I use jokers in hands that must be concealed? 

    >From: Doris
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I use jokers for all closed hands?

    Hi, Doris! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AR. 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 25, 2017


    I inherited my father's mahjong set

    >From: Gijs S
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:44 PM
    >Subject: Info about Mahjong game
    >Hi Tom,
    >It was very interesting to read your site, and it seems you are quit an expert.
    >Out of my fathers inheritance I have received a mahjong game. I might sell it but first I would like to know more about it.
    >I have answered as much of your questions in the attached excel file, and added some photo's. I read about the lady who send you only 16kb pictures, but I did need to reduce the file size to be able to email it. So I hope the pictures are ok.
    >Based on this data can you help me with the following questions:
    >1: where is this game from?
    >2: how old is it?
    >3: Is it a special version, or a very common one?
    >4: how much would it be worth?
    >Thank you for your website, which already gave me a lot of info.
    >And thanks in advance for your reply.
    >WBR,
    >Gilbert S
    >Haarlem, The Netherlands
    >1 Write a factual detailed list "151 tiles
    >2 x tiny bone dice
    >2 x wooden dice
    >2 x wind indicators
    >Wooden box"
    >2 Condition "Looks good, some have small brown stains
    >no damage on any tiles"
    >3 What are the tiles made of. "My best indication is Bone with a fishtail connection to bamboo.
    >On the pictures you can see the Haversian system."
    >4 History of the set. This set came out of the inhertance of my father. I do not know where he purchased it, but I know he was in China a couple of times in 1965. So my best guess is he got it there.
    >5 Dimensions "Height x width x depth = 27 x 19 x 14 mm
    >Bamboo: 6 mm
    >Bone: 8 mm"
    >6 Tiles in the set "151 pieces in total
    >36 Dots, 36 Craks, 36 Bams, 16 Winds, 12 dragons, 8 flowers, 7 plain whites."
    >7 Other tiles No other tiles in the set
    >8 Container Wood flat box with a sliding top.
    >9 Condition of the container Container is in ok condition, nothing special.
    >10 Paper materials There are no paper materials or lables.


    Hallo, Gilbert!
    It was made in China.
    Could be 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s. Hard to say for sure. Probably more recent (probably not too old). You say he was in China in 1965. Probable age: 52 years or a bit more.
    It is not rare. The interesting thing is the Chinese "100 uses" jokers (they are not white dragons – four of your blank tiles are your white dragons) and the flowers.
    Value is a function of rarity, beauty, and condition. I see staining on your tiles, you're missing 2 of the wind discs and 1 blank (which reduces the value for a potential American customer), and you say the box is "nothing special." With the pluses and minuses of the set, I'd say around US$50, give or take.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 25, 2017


    I can't see the reply you gave me last month

    >From: "jaytoni25
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I asked if you can mark your Mahjongg card and you answer me. I can't find your answer and no one believed me when I said you could. Help me please.
    >Toni B

    Hi, Toni!
    You wrote me on June 19th, and I replied on June 19th. That conversation is still visible at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd.htm. Go on the internet and go to that address. Then there are several ways you can find and see our previous conversation:
    You can use "control-F" (if you are on a Windows PC) or "command-F" (if you are on a Mac PC) and type "jaytoni" in the search box. It'll find this conversation first, and you can also then click down to the next instance, and the next, until you get to our June 19th conversation.
    Or you can use control-F (or command-F) to find "June 19," then click down to the next, and the next, until you get to our June 19th conversation.
    Or you can just scroll down and scroll down past all the July and late-June conversations until you get to our previous conversation.
    It's very odd that your group is giving you so much grief about marking up your card. It's your card, not theirs! It's no skin off their noses and none of their business.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 25, 2017


    Why not just say "joker" when discarding a joker? Nobody can claim it anyway!(FAQ 19G3)

    >From: James O
    >Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 4:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg puzzler
    >On the back of the card there is a sentence I can't figure what it means. It says " Jokers may be discarded at any time during the game and named the same as previous discard". Why do you name it something instead of just saying joker when discarding? I've been taught that you can never pick up a discarded joker.
    >Sincerely,
    >Jim O

    Hi, Jim!
    Your point is perfectly reasonable, but there's a real benefit to saying something other than "joker" when discarding a joker. Read Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 19G3. (It's listed under Discarding, or you can scroll down past 19E and 19F to get to it.) 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2017


    Do you have to verbalize a joker exchange?

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 9:12 PM
    >Subject: Exchanging Jokers
    >The 2017 card says "To claim a discard, the player must verbalize their call....."
    >My question is whether you must verbalize when you exchange a joker or can you just exchange it without saying anything? Thanks, Marsha

    Hi, Marsha!
    I don't have the official rulebook (or my library of yearly newsletters) with me, but as far as I recall, there is nothing in there about verbalizing a joker exchange. So, in the absence of an official rule, we have to fall back on 2 things: common sense, and strategy, and courteous behavior (okay, so that's 3 things). While it makes strategic sense to make a ninja-stealthy exchange so as to pull one over on anyone not paying attention, it is clearly courteous to verbalize the exchange. Common sense tells us that since discarding and taking must be verbalized, it is reasonable to verbalize an exchange. If exchanging from someone else's rack, it's rude to just reach over and take her tile and put yours there – you should hold out your natural and ask her for the joker. If exchanging from your own rack, it's good practice to let others know what you're doing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2017


    Is this mahjong or not? (Part 2)

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 12:37 PM
    >Subject: Mystery domino tiles
    >Hello Tom Sloper,
    >Back in 7 July, Peter Y posted a set of dominoes shaped like mahjong
    >tiles. I believe this is a set for the game Digging Flowers (挖花). I
    >tried to glean what I could from the Chinese Wikipedia page on the
    >game[1], but I don't know Chinese and Google Translate isn't very good
    >with East Asian languages.
    >From what I can tell, it seems to be a draw-and-discard game similar to
    >Rummy and Mahjong, played with 126 or 136 tiles (six copies of each
    >domino from 1-1 to 6-6, optionally with eight flowers and two blanks; of
    >the six copies of a domino, three have no border, two have a double
    >border, and one is doubled with a single border).
    >It would be nice to know more about the game, but I think you'd have to
    >ask a Chinese speaker for that.
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S
    >[1] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%8C%96%E8%8A%B1

    Nice detective work, Ola! Maybe someone who can read Chinese will come along and follow your lead!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2017


    British Mah Jongg scoring

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 12:17 AM
    >Subject: BMJA question
    >Hi Tom
    >I cannot get the BMJA website to accept emails but there was a note referrring to your expert website for queries
    >BMJA rules
    >Mah Jong Query. 1
    >1) After calculating the individual scores for a completed hand and then calculating the settling up scores are these two added together to achieve a running total score for the game and thus progress onto the next hand with this total score.
    >Or
    >Is the settling up almost a side event and separate from the running score for the game. I.e. The running score being the running total of individual scores only for each completed hand with the settling up element ignored for this purpose?
    >2) when East Wind deals out the tiles - after 12 tiles is it then one tile to East and then one to other winds in turn with and a final one to him/herself in standard rotation or is it (as I am sure I have seen somewhere but cannot now find) -after 12 tiles the first and third tile from the top row on the live end of the wall are dealt to him/herself and the the other winds get their last tiles from live end in normal sequence?
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie

    Hi, Willie!
    I don't have my BMJA book with me today, but I'll try my best.

    After calculating the individual scores for a completed hand and then calculating the settling up scores are these two added together to achieve a running total score
    If I recall correctly that British scoring works the same as classic Chinese scoring, when the winner's score is calculated, the other players "pay" the winner immediately (handing over chips or sticks), adding to the winner's purse. Then the non-winners calculate their own scores, and settle up with one another accordingly. After all that, the tiles are shuffled and dealt for the next hand.

    after 12 tiles is it then one tile to East and then one to other [players] in turn with and a final one to him/herself in standard rotation
    No.

    or is it (as I am sure I have seen somewhere but cannot now find) -after 12 tiles the first and third tile from the top row on the live end of the wall are dealt to him/herself and the the other [player]s get their last tiles from live end in normal sequence?
    Yes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 21, 2017


    My mahj friends don't want to use this particular rule. Please give me a convincing argument!

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:54 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi Tom -
    >If a person exposes incorrectly and their hand is dead, the incorrectly exposed tiles are supposed to be put back on the sloping part of the rack, allowing previous good exposures to stay on top. My mahj friends argue this with me. They want to keep the "dead" tiles up on top, also. Please give me a good reason to tell them why they should follow the rule. For me, it is just easier - no confusion. That isn't a good enough reason for them.
    >Thank you!!!
    >Lois

    Good morning, Lois! I can't give you a convincing argument. I'm sure the reason they like their rule is that that way, jokers stay atop the rack, available for redemption. You could argue that that's against the rules, but I don't think they'll care. I suggest you read FAQ 14. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 20, 2017


    Column 682

    >From: Suzanne L
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:05 PM
    >Subject: Column #682
    >Hi Tom
    >So glad I discovered you!
    >On hand #4 you say to get rid of the green. I would go for Like numbers #1, for which I would need the 9 craks and 9 dots, the flower and the green. I would get rid of a 7.
    >You had me fooled in hand #2, coloring the craks green, so your answer confused me at first. Teaches me to pay attention!
    >Suzanne L
    >Santa Maria, CA

    Hi, Suzanne!
    So glad you discovered me too! But oh my gosh, I did color craks green, didn't I?! I guess I was either in a hurry or sleep-deprived when I did that. And I may have fooled not only you, but myself as well. Since I don't have my 2017 card with me, I don't know if my answer was any good. I'll need to look at it when I get home. Kudos 2 U!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    Column 683

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 3:59 PM
    >Subject: Column #683
    >For hand #10, 6C and 6D are hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #2, however, 6C, 3B and 6B are the hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #4.
    >John

    Hi, John!
    You know how it is when you travel – you always forget something. Looks like the thing I forgot this time is my 2017 card! I'll take a look at this when I get home.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    I'm dead. Is my exposure also dead?

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 2:35 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi -
    >I've been uncle to find the answer to this:
    >I call for exposure, do it correctly, using 2 jokers. I look down, and have 2 "down" tiles in front of me. I had been passed one when I called, apparently hadn't passed mine to the person next to me, but she claimed that I did. That gives me too many ties, so I am dead. Is my exposure also dead?
    >Thank you!
    >Lois

    Hi, Lois!
    If you discover that you have too many tiles in the course of making an exposure, that exposure is invalid and must be placed on the sloping front of your rack... and you can go get a nosh while the others continue playing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    What was the price for a typical Catalin set from the 1940s?

    >From: Hinda G
    >Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2017 12:34 PM
    >Subject: American made mj sets
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am a dedicated vintage mah jongg set eBay watcher. I've seen many American made mj sets circa 1940-1960's prices of all kinds.
    >My questions is: Do you know what the price for a typical (Bakelite,Catalina)1940's plus mj set cost at the time?
    >For example: Rottgames, Royal Depth Control,Cardinal, Tyl, MahLowe etc.
    >Very curious, can not find the answer anywhere.
    >Thank you,
    >Hinda G

    Hi, Hinda!
    I’m afraid that I’m not expert on that topic. I have two ideas for you, though:
    1. You could look through magazines from the forties (especially women's magazines from New York or the east coast). I bet libraries have microfilm of a lot of old magazines – and/or may have digitized them. And sometimes you can find old magazines still available for sale (bookstores, flea markets, etc.).
    2. You could join the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. group on Facebook, and ask the group.
    Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA
    July 15, 2017


    I was told it's illegal to move discards when a wall is pushed out

    >From: Shirley M
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:53 PM
    >Subject: Touching Tiles
    >Your website is wonderful!
    >I have read through your FAQs and could not find any reference to the following: A player moved several discarded tiles out of the way so she could push out her wall. She was informed touching the discarded tiles when pushing out a wall was not allowed. True or False?
    >I just purchased your book on Amazon. Can’t wait to get it!
    >Shirley M

    Hi, Shirley!
    I teach my students that they SHOULD move discards out of the way before a wall is pushed out. I hate it when discards are all bunched up against the wall. When I move discards, I do it with the back of my hand - that way, nobody can accuse me of taking any.
    I'm delighted you bought my book. Make sure you supplement it with the errata. But you should know that my book is not official. What you need, for those times when somebody says "X is not allowed," is the official rulebook from the League.


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

    (You won't find anything in there that says nobody is permitted to touch the discards. And you won't find anything about that in my book, either. Because there's no such rule.) If you play with a hand-slapper, you can suggest using some sort of object to move tiles away from the wall - and you can ask the hand-slapper what she suggests might be legal to use for the purpose. Chinese players don't use racks; they use straight plastic "rulers" (which are not ruled with any inch or centimeter markings - they're just shaped like rulers). Chinese "rulers" are good for moving tiles, when one is for some reason not permitted to use the back of one's hand. But those are Chinese; that means they're "un-American," thus not exactly a common accessory for American players.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 11, 2017


    I don't have a question

    >From: Marilyn S
    >Sent: Monday, July 10, 2017 8:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from my iPad

    Then I don't have an answer! (^_~)


    Alite

    >From: Lenore C
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 10:09 AM
    >Subject: 1970-1971 A & L Manufacturing Mah Jong Set
    >Hi Tom,
    >My mom recently gave me a Mah Jong Set made of Alite. Some of the tiles have transferred paint on the back side of the tile. I would like to know how I can remove the unwanted paint without ruining the tile.
    >I am also curious about Alite. Is it bakelite? The sticker reads non-fading. I was also wondering about its value.
    >Thank you for your knowledge.
    >Lenore

    Lenore! Your email fell through the cracks! I was cleaning out my inbox today and found your email from 10 days ago. I'm so sorry for not responding earlier to your questions, which are…

    I would like to know how I can remove the unwanted paint without ruining the tile.
    That's a tricky one! I recommend you check out the cleaning tips in FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) 7-o (seven oh). You can link to the FAQs above left.

    I am also curious about Alite. Is it bakelite?
    Alite is not Bakelite. You can read all I have about Alite in FAQ 7c3.

    I was also wondering about its value.
    I can help you with that if you give me more information. Read FAQ 7H.

    May the tiles be with you. Standing by…! And I'll let your emails fall through the cracks nevermore!
    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
    7/7/2017


    Is this mahjong or not?

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Friday, July 7, 2017 3:51 AM
    >Subject: Question on a Set - Mahjong or not?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >I've found a game set in an Internet shop, and I cannot understand what it is. The title is "mahjong", but it's more likely to be Chinese dominoes. With various colors and frames. Please tell, do you know anything about this set and how it is played?
    >(I found it in a catalogue of one of Taobao resellers, but I cannot find it on Taobao itself so far, or I'd give you a link.)
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Friday, July 7, 2017 5:37 AM
    >Subject: Curious Game Set (from my prev letter)
    >Hello again, Mr. Sloper,
    >I found that game set ("mahjong" a-la Chinese dominoes) on Taobao, please, take a look: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.20141003.10.2e538ffeyb5afI&scm=1007.10011.70203.
    >100200300000001&id=532077508065&pvid=53fbaa2e-88e3-4697-84b8-a19b537d49e4 .
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter. Those are dominoes (not mah-jongg)*. Rules for dominoes are easy to find with a Google search. And I'll bet you'll find rules on pagat.com too (maybe even how to use those flower dominoes). Have fun!
    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
    7/7/2017

    * Dominoes with a mah-jongg theme. The flowers suggest that the game has a mah-jongg twist to it, but I didn't find anything on pagat.com with a quick cursory look. - Tom


    Just want to know how old it is. And where it was made. And what it's worth.

    >From: Jo K
    >To: tomster@sloperama.com
    >Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2017 8:54 PM
    >Subject: Date a maj set
    >Hello! I was hoping to know the age and possible place of origin of my set. I'm not planning on selling, but I'd also be curious about a monetary value if you're able to provide that. I understand that the pics are yours once I send them over! Please let me know if there are any additional pictures or information you need. Thank you!
    >-Jo K
    >Hello, I would like to know the age of my set, possibly area of origin if you’re able. I’m not interested in selling, but would be curious about a price if you’d like to give one.
    >1) I have a bamboo set with bone sticks. It contains: 36 craks, 36 bams, 36 dots. 4 green and 4 red dragons. No white dragons. 8 blank tiles, one of which was cracked so I replaced it (although I still have the original). There are 8 flowers (4 red, 4 green, warning for one containing a swastika). Aside from the 1 cracked tile, they are all in good condition. The set contains no jokers. 16 winds.
    >There are 4 bone dice which are somewhat irregularly shaped, but generally are 6x6x6mm.
    >There are also 4 bamboo tokens which I believe indicate direction (they have the same characters as the winds). They are painted/carved green on black. They are 1.1 cm across and come in a small cylindrical bamboo box.
    >I have in total 121 bone sticks: 37 that have 10 dots on them, 8 with 5 dots, 40 with 2 dots, 36 with 1 dot. The 10s and 2s have black ink on them, and the 5s and 1s have red ink. The ink smudges easily, especially the black. Many of the sticks have their ink rubbed off, some completely.
    >It came with some wooden racks, but I doubt they originate together because the racks say they were made in San Francisco.
    >2) It comes with an instruction leaflet which has been ripped in two, but there’s no indication of a date or author.
    >3) Bamboo
    >4) I have literally no idea about the history of the set. I bought it at an antique store in Salem, Oregon a few years back for $20.
    >5) Tile dimensions: 1.1cm deep, 1.9 cm wide, 2.7 cm long
    >6) 148 tiles (better breakdown in q 1)
    >7) It came in a red tin with a pattern of bugs (I think?) and flowers on it. Much of the design is rubbing off. Inside the tin is a divider between the tiles and the sticks. On the bottom is a stamp that says “Made in China.” The tin is lined with parchment paper and some other sort of paper. I have no clue if either is original to the set.
    >8) The older kind.
    >12) no jokers
    > (I’m sorry I put the dragons with their suits! I used another layout for reference and didn’t see your example layout)

    Hi, Jo! You asked (in essence):

    How old is it?
    It was made in the early 1920s. So, it's approximately 95 years old.

    Where was it made?
    China.

    How much is it worth?
    Somewhere between $40 and $80*, depending on how attractive the tin box is.

    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
    7/7/2017

    *On second thought, considering the cracked tile and damaged scoring sheet, I'm going to say "$20" (what you paid for it). - Tom


    Can I add points for honors to a Knitted Straight hand?

    >From: Jerry P
    >Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 4:08 PM
    >Subject: Scoring Question about a specific hand
    >Tom,
    >How many points are scored with a knitted straight with 5 honors. We are confused if you can add other points other than the 12 to that hand besides having flower tiles.
    >Thanks for your time.
    >Jerry

    Hi, Jerry.
    Take a look at FAQ 22 (you can link to the FAQs above left). Step 1: your main scoring element is the knitted straight. Step 2: then combine any other scoring elements which are not inevitably included in that main scoring element. That means you can add points for honors.
    Now then: look at fan #35, Knitted Straight. The description in my book, on page 183, specifically says you can combine (add) fan #34, Lesser Honors and Knitted Tiles. Fan #35 requires all 9 knitted tiles, and does not by necessity or definition include any honors. Fan #34 requires 5 or 6 single (unpaired) honors, and 8 or 9 knitted tiles. The descriptions of both hands specifically say that combining the two hands is permissible. So right there you can see that you can claim 12 points for fan #34 and add 12 points for fan #34.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 3, 2017


    Can I call a discard to expose a pair?

    >From: Laurie J
    >Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg.....? about pairs
    >Hi Tom,
    >When playing a hand using pairs, can a player call (take?) a discarded tile and use it to complete the pair? I'm new to the game and was told no. This didn't make sense because how else would you get the missing tile for the pair unless you picked it from the wall?
    >Laurie J

    Hi, Laurie!
    Read FAQ 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. 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 owes it to those with whom she plays to know the rules of the game. Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (or my book).


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

    On page 14 of the official rulebook there's a list of the exposures you're allowed to make prior to declaring mah-jongg... the lowly pair isn't in that list. The list of exposures one is permitted to make is a mirror of the list of exposures in which one is permitted to use jokers. See the back of the card.

    And yes, it's hard to make pairs since one can't expose a pair or use a joker in a pair. That's why hands with pairs are more valuable - they're harder to make, since they have to be self-picked (unless the pairmaker is also one's mah-jongg tile, in which case you can call it). Like it says in FAQ 19-E.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The 3rd of July, 2017


    Knock, knock, knocking

    >From: Shayna S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 11:50 AM
    >Subject: knocking
    >Hi Tom
    >I have memories of my Mom playing Mah-Jongg and I believe when a player was one tile away from getting Mah-Jongg they would say "knocking" or something to that effect - is this a real thing? I have been playing Mahj for about 3 years but always with the same group so none of us knows the answer.
    >Thanks for any help you can offer.
    >Shayna

    Hi, Shayna!
    Welcome to my website! In my book, this term is referred to as "calling" or "on call," or "fishing," or "ready." In some forms of mah-jongg, one's score can be increased by declaring that one is ready for a winning tile, followed by winning. In Japanese mah-jongg, the term is "riichi" ("reach"), and one has to place a bet along with the riichi declaration. If your mom played American mah-jongg, then her group was using a table rule. You can learn about table rules by reading FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The First of July, 2017


    Proper procedure for exposing, part 2

    >From: Bobbie S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 10:40 AM
    >Subject: Re: exposing a picked tile (discard of another player)
    >THANK-YOU

    You're-welcome. (^_^)


    Is left right?

    >From: Carolyn S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 9:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: do players play to the right and put their racks out to the left or vice versa or does it matter

    Hi, Carolyn!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-Q, "Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused!" 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Come back anytime with mah-jongg questions, but please always check the FAQs first, before asking me. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 2, 2017


    Proper procedure for exposing a taken discard?

    >From: Bobbie S
    >Sent: Friday, June 30, 2017 3:41 PM
    >Subject: exposing a picked tile (discard of another player)
    >Tom, Is there a proper procedure for exposing a picked tile that someone discarded. If you set it in your rack and align it with the rest of the tiles to be exposed and then put it on the top of your rack, are you then dead? I sure got told off yesterday .
    > If you lay it in front of your rack while you get the rest of the exposure , are you dead? Exactly how must you do it? Thanks. I did read faq19 but didn't find it.

    Hi, Bobbie! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    Is there a proper procedure for exposing a picked tile that someone discarded.
    When you take a discarded tile, that's not "picking." That's "taking."

    If you set it in your rack and align it with the rest of the tiles to be exposed and then put it on the top of your rack, are you then dead?
    You're asking FAQ 19K, "Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?"

    If you lay it in front of your rack
    Sorry, but I don't follow. Do you mean on the discard floor? That wouldn't make any sense - you picked it up and you put it back down again? Or do you mean on top of the rack? Or do you mean on your card? I don't know what you mean by "front of your rack."

    I did read faq19 but didn't find it.
    This falls under the category of "Claiming A Discard."

    After you read FAQ 19K, if you have a follow-up question, you know how to reach me. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 30, 2017


    My 100-year-old set, part 2

    >From: Sgt WildCard
    >Sent: Friday, June 30, 2017 2:36 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg set
    >Thanks for the response Tom. I will get a picture off to you. I am aware of relation traveling the Orient during WWI and near Korea during the war. But I have reason to believe It was pre-Korean War. I will take a picture shortly. Thanks again! Dave

    Okay. Standing by.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 30, 2017


    My 100-year-old set

    >From: Sgt WildCard
    >Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 7:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg set
    >Tom -
    >I have a very old Mah Jongg set. I believe it is 100? years old and I do see it is dovetailed with wood/bamboo?. I did see your comments on Ebays site.
    >Let me know if this is still an accurate email and if you'd be interested in seeing a picture.
    >Thanks!
    >Dave

    Sergeant Dave, I'm so sorry that your email fell through the cracks. Your email arrived on an insane busy week, and I didn't have time to reply then and only now found it again. My apologies!
    So you think your set is from 1917? That would be quite a collectible, for sure. But I have to say that I'm skeptical. Of course I'd like to see some pictures. And I can try to answer a question, if you have one.
    As you were!
    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, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 4

    Got another email about wall games and the 2017 National Mah Jongg League card.

      >From: Cathy C
      >Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2017 5:58 AM
      >Subject: Wall Games - 2017 Card
      >I am wondering just how many groups are experiencing high numbers of wall games with the 2017 card. I have contact with 4 local groups and they all comment on high numbers of wall games. I live in a tourist area where we get summer residents from all over the US and they also say that as soon as they started playing at home with the new card they were experiencing the same thing. Just wondering why. Frustrated in Colorado.

    As I wrote on June 14, I haven't seen a connection between card design and wall game frequency, myself. If the card is causing more wall games, there may be an imbalance in the card's design. If an imbalance exists, I haven't yet pinpointed its cause in the card. Readers are welcome to offer specific theories or findings. I'll look for signs of imbalance as I write upcoming Defense and WWYD columns.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 29, 2017


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 2:35 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $100.00 USD from JAN H
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $100.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JAN H
    >Message: THANK YOU FOR KEEPING YOUR COLUMN GOING. I ALWAYS ENJOY SEEING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MAJ!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Wow! Thank you very much, Jan! Now I feel really bad about not having written one this past weekend! A lot going on. I promise to write one next weekend for sure.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 26, 2017


    It says "3 suits," but it doesn't say "3 different suits"

    >From: Susan
    >Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:05 AM
    >Subject: 2017 Like Number Question
    >Hello,
    >The like numbers hand with the dragons states any 3 suites but not the word different. 3 colors are used to show hand. Can dragons used match one of the suites used for numbers? For instance, 4 bams of #6, 4 green dragons and 4 cracks of #6.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Susan

    Hi, Susan! You wrote:

    The like numbers hand with the dragons states any 3 suites but not the word different.
    This argument doesn't make sense. It's 3 colors and it says "3 suits," which means you have to use 3 suits. "3" always means "3."

    Can dragons used match one of the suites used for numbers?
    That wouldn't be 3 suits. That would be 2 suits. If it says "3 suits," you can't use just 2 suits. "3" never means "2."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 24, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 3

    >From: Madeleine H
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 11:52 AM
    >Subject: 2017 CARD
    >As a follow up to my earlier query regarding the 2017 card and wall games, here are some personal conclusions.
    >· Hands seem easier to identify (sometimes with only one exposure) causing defensive play
    >· 7’s are a dominant tile in a number of areas which means more players competing for them
    >· Seemingly more difficult to change hands when play dictates a move in a different direction
    >And as to Linda’s comment regarding players becoming more defensive as they gain in experience. I respectfully disagree that that is what is occurring here. The number of wall games we play increased dramatically with the introduction of this card. I can’t imagine that the groups I play with all suddenly started playing more defensively because of the experience factor. There also seems to be a fair numbers of players who express a dislike for the card without putting a finger on exactly the reason.
    >On the up side, there is always a new card to look forward to.
    >Cheers,
    >Madeleine

    Well said, Madeleine. What you said about sevens is interesting, especially in light of the fact that the change-up section at bottom left isn't Sevens but rather Thirteens.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 22, 2017


    Typo in latest column

    >From: Barbara Marshall
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 5:29 AM
    >Subject: Column #679
    >Hi Tom,
    >Small correction: #10, I'm sure you meant to say "2017", not "2016".
    >Love your column!
    >Thanks!

    Quite right, Barbara! I fixed it, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Summer Solstice, 2017


    Can I mark up my NMJL card?

    >From: "jaytoni
    >Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 8:02 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can I highlight my Mah Jong card?
    >Toni B

    Hi, Toni! Welcome to my website.
    You can do whatever you want to your NMJL card, except make a copy of it. You can write on it, you can color on it, you can even cut it up and paste it back together differently. Scroll down to April and read the posts titled "I want to rearrange my card," parts 1 through 4. Even the League says so: It's your card. The only thing you can't do with it is copy 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
    Juneteenth, 2017


    Column 677

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 2:44 PM
    >Subject: column # 677
    >Hi Tom,
    >For problem #2, I would try for Consec. Run #7 (7 tiles). You've got your pair, and maybe you'll get some more dragons and jokers to help! I would d/c 2D, G, 3C.
    >Linda

    That's good, Linda!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 18, 2017


    Column 676

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Friday, June 16, 2017 10:38 AM
    >Subject: #676 Defense
    >Hi Tom..I was catching up on your past columns and think there may have been an oversight on your column from May 28th. Hand #11 on your defense column can only be Quints #1 and #2 as the hand #3 needs consecutive tiles and the 2's can only be a pair not a quint. take care, Fran

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Friday, June 16, 2017 3:54 PM
    >Subject: oops
    >Hi TOm..momentary mahjong brain burp..realize my error..ty , Fran

    No problemo, Fran!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 16, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 2

    >From: "lindaz…
    >Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2017 7:52 AM
    >Subject: 2017 card and wall games
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have some thoughts about Madeline's question (of 6/14) regarding the frequency of wall games. My opinion is that as players become more experienced, they become more skilled in playing defensively. It becomes easier to discern what other players are doing. So I don't think the 2017 card is a factor in the number of wall games. I disagree that wall games take the fun out of playing--I think it becomes more of a challenge to win!
    >IMHO, Linda

    Sounds eminently reasonable to me, Linda!
    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, 2017


    Do I have to have a non-joker to call a discard?

    >From: Nancy N
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 8:47 PM
    >Subject: Jokers
    >If i need 3 flowers and i have 2 jokers in my hand when a flower is thrown, can i call it?
    >Thanks,
    >Nancy

    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. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-L, "Do I have to have a non-joker?" 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. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 14, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games with the 2017 card?

    >From: Madeleine H
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 1:49 PM
    >Subject: 2017 card
    >Just a comment regarding the 2017 card.
    >I have been playing Mah Jongg for about 8 years and would consider myself an advanced player. The new card is difficult on some levels, but the number of games I play which result in wall games seems to be remarkably high. I play three times a week with different groups of women and it is the same at every venue.
    >I’m wondering if you have received any similar comments, or have experienced this yourself.
    >Rather takes some of the fun out of playing.
    >Regards,
    >Madeleine H
    >La Quinta, CA

    Hi, Madeleine!
    I haven't experienced an increase in wall games. I've been teaching and writing columns, but not playing (except online once in a while).
    What about this card do you suppose causes more wall games? Or what about any card might cause wall games? Too hard to figure out what an opponent is doing? Too easy? Or too hard to switch to another hand? Or something else? I haven't been able to deduce a connection between card design and wall game frequency, myself. What's your theory, Madeleine? And maybe some other readers will have some ideas.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 14, 2017


    Column 678

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Monday, June 12, 2017 5:09 AM
    >Subject: #678 question
    >Tom,
    >You say that Conc 7 is considerably better than LN 1. It is concealed and you can't use any of the Greens as you need opposite dragons. So I see 7 tiles toward Conc #7 and 6 tiles toward LN #1, W/D # 6 and Conc #5. It may be tough to get the pair of F needed for all of those. I might pass 7B or G since neither involves needing a pair. Tough call.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn

    Hi Kathryn!
    I gather that you're referring to problem #4. You're right - I goofed in regards to Consec #7 since the greens aren't an opposite dragon. Those darn flowers. They're always getting up in your face, except when you need them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 12, 2017


    Thank you so much for your columns

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 8:37 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary Ann C
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Mary Ann C. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Mary Ann C
    >Message: Thank you so much for your columns. I love Mah Jongg and I think your columns have made me a better player.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Mary Ann!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 12, 2017


    How much is it worth, part 3

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017 1:39 PM
    >Subject: Beth's set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just saw Beth's wonderful set, I thought I'd add a little to your comments.
    >Though I don't buy sets, I agree that this set would sell for over $1000, if Beth uses Ebay then please be aware that there are some buyers who would try a low offer to temp Beth to sell quickly.
    >You may have noticed that the Chinese numerals on the Wan tiles are the rather more complex "bankers" numerals, such as 玖 rather than 九 for the number 9, or 柒 rather than 七 for number 7. This is rather less commonly found on sets, and itself may well be sought after.
    >The flower tiles are quite exquisite. There are two Chinese phrases within the flowers...these are not uncommon in themselves, (I've seen these phrases many times, but then I do get to see the rarer sets I suppose), but here are particularly beautifully rendered. The phrases are 嫦娥奔月, cháng é bēn yuè, Chang'e flies to the moon and 天女散花, tiān nǚ sàn huā, the heavenly maiden scatters flowers. Both stories can be found on the Internet easily enough, but descriptions are also to be found on mahjongtreasures.com.
    >Prior to selling, it may be worthwhile Beth contacting Johni Levene who may well advise value more accurately (via for example the Facebook group shown in FAQ 4a), Johni may be able to suggest the best way to sell to maximise value.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Thank you, Ray. I'll let Beth know she should come see what you wrote. Very helpful as always!
    May the tiles be with you. Cheers,
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 8, 2017


    Isn't the discard "down"? (FAQ 19-A) Can she change her mind like that? (FAQ 19-AM)

    >From: Cyndi M
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I was playing American mahjongg today. One player named a her discard, 2 crack. I was looking at my hand and called the discard.
    >She said she hadn’t placed the tile on the table yet so I couldn’t have it. The tile was still in her hand, she was holding it in the air.
    >What is the rule on this? I insisted it couldn’t be legal to do this. Who was right and, more importantly, what is the rule on this?
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Cyndi! Welcome to my website. But wow, your opponent is a bit competitive, hmm? What was she going to do, put it back and discard something else (and never discard the 2C just so you couldn't have it)? Read FAQs 19-A and 19-AM. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. You can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.
    Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 7, 2017


    What if there's no parenthetical? (FAQ 19-AJ)

    >From: Sheila W
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 4:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >Card 2017, Under Consecutive Run,
    >1st Line.
    >Says any 1 suit, is it also these Nos. Only? As it does not specify
    >11 222 3333 444 55 or 55 666 7777 888 99
    >Thank you
    >Sheila

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


    How much is it worth, parts 2-60 (+/-)

    >From: bvail05
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 11:08 AM
    >Subject: Re: value my mahjong set?
    >Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    Hi, Beth.
    I hope you can figure out why your phone keeps sending me these images multiple times every minute. As of this writing, I estimate that I have received about 60 copies of that email. I had to create an email filter to send your emails to my trash folder, because these emails are flooding my email inbox. So I regret to say that you can no longer send emails to me, since I never check my email trash folder (I only check the spam folder, because sometimes real emails accidentally go there).
    And that's truly a shame, especially since
    * I have incredible news for you.

    Your set is a unique, highly desirable collector's item. The carving on the tiles is exquisite, ornate, and rare. I can't tell you a precise value, since your set is so unusual. It's worth hundreds of dollars, but I can't tell you how many hundreds. It's conceivable that its value might possibly cross the thousand-dollar threshold, but I don't know. That said, the set does have flaws. And if you decide to offer your set for sale, you must describe these flaws to any potential buyer.

    1. You said the case is in poor condition (I don't know; you didn't send a photo of it)
    2. As you mentioned, the set includes two foreign dice: a regular plastic die and a plastic poker die. You should take those dice out of the case (they do not belong in it).
    3. Your wind disc container is sadly empty - the wind discs themselves are lost.
    4. You mentioned a broken stick. You gave me counts of your sticks, and they're not divisible by 4, so some sticks have been lost.
    5. I can see by your photos that your tiles are made of bone, not ivory. There is Haversian system streaking on the tiles, but it looks odd - like the streaks were painted white, or whitewashed, or bleached or something.
    6. I can see by your photos that the paint has worn out or flaked off in some places. Your bottom green dragon, for instance.
    7. You say the tile count is 148. That's four short of the number that would be needed to play modern American rules - but I imagine that a collector who might buy your set would want it for show, not for play. Finding extra tiles to match would likely be difficult, since the bone portion of your tiles is quite a bit thicker than the norm.

    Those flaws decrease the value of the set (compared to a perfect set of similar carving and beauty). But still, it's a highly desirable set. Note that I do NOT give you permission to use my name in any sales pitches.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 5, 2017

    * P.S. The emails stopped, so I removed the filter. - Tom


    How much is it worth? (FAQ 7-H)

    >From: Beth V
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 7:12 AM
    >Subject: value my mahjong set?
    >Hi I am looking to possibly sell my mahjong set but I do not know what it is worth. I was hoping you could help me get a realistic valuation on this item. I acquired it from a client of whom I remodeled her home built in the 1920’s. It had been in her attic. It’s tiles are dovetailed bamboo with bone or ivory? The carvings seem to be quite intricate and I believe them to be hand carved as there are small variations from tile to tile. There are 36 dots, 36 bams, 36 craks, 16 winds, 12 dragons, 8 flowers, and 8 blanks for a total of 148 tiles. Additionally, there are 19 “sticks” with two black dots, ( one of these is broke in half) 19 sticks with 1 red dot, 40 sticks with 10 black dots, and 8 sticks with 5 red dots. Lastly there are 4 very small dice kept in a small wooden or bamboo box with sliding lid, one medium regular die and one slightly larger die with a black spade symbol on one side, 9 black spades on a side, 10 red spades on aside and a Queen on a side, a Jack and a King on each of two other sides. Then there is a small round container with a lid. When I say small the container measures 16 mm tall and the lid is 3 mm with about a diameter of about 23mm that fits on the container. This whole set is kept in a brown leather case that has locking hardware. The case is in poor shape but inside it houses the trrays for the tiles that are lined in a royal blue lining. I can send pictures if you need. I look forward to your response.
    >Sincerely,
    >Beth V

    Hi, Beth!
    Poker dice are not part of mah-jongg. If your set has just one poker die, you can remove it from your set and toss it in the trash (it's useless by itself, and poker dice are not rare). And the single die that doesn't fit into your dice coffin also can be removed. As for your set's value, please read FAQ 7h. You have more work to do; you have to tell me the condition of not just the case and one scoring stick and the trays, and yes of course I need to see it. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    Standing by...
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 5, 2017


    Column 677

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 5:25 AM
    >Subject: June 4
    >Tom,
    >On June 4 #2 hand, you have Consecutive 2 as a choice using threes and sixes and 4B. Should it not be 5B? for a total of 5 tiles.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn Z

    Hi, Kathryn!
    As for what I said about Consec #2 in problem 2 of column 677, I did indeed make a typo. Yes, I meant 5B not 4B. It's fixed now, thanks to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 5, 2017


    Want to know about those 440 combos

    >From: Pietro G
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 4:57 AM
    >Subject: All Combinations for MCR?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >in various sources on MCR I've read that for original MCR rules more than 440 winning combinations were gathered for examination. Only 81 remained, which are used now. Could you please tell, where I can find all these 440+ combinations? Just curious to see all of them. I thought that while you know so much about mahjong, you might see this list. Thank you.
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter!
    Very interesting question. I was not part of the Chinese group that formulated Majiang Competition Rules in 1989. If you want to see all of the scoring combinations that the group threw into the pot to boil down to their final list, you can just gather the rules of all the variants. Start with Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Shanghai New Style, Chinese Classical, and Japanese Riichi/Dora Majan. You'll see some duplicate fan, like for instance Thirteen Orphans and Nine Gates - but you will see some variance in how those must be obtained and/or scored. Then check FAQ 2b for more variants, like Vietnamese, Hunan, Malaysian, and Singapore style. For all I know, the committee may have even considered British/Australian, Wright-Patterson, and National Mah Jongg League hands. I can offer you another resource you can use to compile this list - FAQ 4b has links to sources of rules, FAQ 3 lists books you can use, and you can even find mah-jongg software by using FAQ 5. Note that multiple authors may have differing lists of winning hands, even for the same variant.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 5, 2017


    Can she change her exposure if she hasn't discarded yet? (FAQ 19-AF)

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Sunday, June 4, 2017 3:40 PM
    >Subject: exposure question
    > I tried to find the answer to this question, was unable to do so.
    >If a player calls a tile and incorrectly adds a wrong tile to the exposure, but has not discarded yet, can she remove the incorrect tile and replace it with the correct one? In other words, she calls a 3 crack, puts up 3 cracks with a 6 crack. Can she put the 6 back on her rack and replace with the 3 or joker she meant to put up? Or - is her hand dead?
    >Thank you!!
    >Lois

    Hi, Lois! Welcome. You wrote:

    I tried to find the answer to this question, was unable to do so.
    Sorry it wasn't easy to find. I recently redesigned FAQ 19 to make it easier to find answers. Still not easy enough, I guess. You want FAQ 19-AF. ("Can I change my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?") It's in the Exposures section. You can link to FAQ 19 above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! Hopefully, finding your answers will get easier after you've used FAQ 19 another time or two.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 4, 2017


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (Frequently asked question 19-G2)

    >From: Linda B
    >Sent: Saturday, June 3, 2017 6:58 AM
    >Subject: rules question
    >Hello Tom and thank you for answering my question.
    >If I have a display with a kong of 2 cracks with a joker.
    >The person to my left discards a 2 crack in error, may I pick up that 2 crack for my display in order to keep the joker myself?

    Hi, Linda!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-G2. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 3, 2017


    Nine Gates confusion, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >To: 'Tom Sloper'
    >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 1:36 PM
    >Subject: RE: nine gates confusion
    >Thanks!! Tom,
    >I final am seeing this clearly now. whew! And to make sure, sure. The hand must be entirely concealed. Bet we won’t see another 9 gates in eons! LOL Lynn

    >From: "service@paypal.com" >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 1:46 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lynn M P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lynn M P. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lynn M Peterson
    >Message: THanks as always! LynnP
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Lynn, you wrote:

    And to make sure, sure. The hand must be entirely concealed.
    No. See what I wrote (note: this is in regards to the Majiang Competition Rules, to qualify for 88 points): the terminal pungs and one of each simples must be concealed.

    The final tile, which must be a duplicate of any other tile in the hand, may be gotten by either picking it yourself (that would be "entirely concealed") or by claiming a discard.

    Donation
    Thank you! (^_^)

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


    Nine Gates confusion

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 10:56 AM
    >Subject: nine gates confusion
    >Hi Tom. I have searched everywhere for a “real” clarification on Nine Gates. In my confused mind on your bulletin board and errata and book I have found lots, but am still confused. We play Chinese Official and have had two nine gates happen in the last 2 weeks.(Pretty amazing) We are still unsure if we did it right. Your errata has us perplexed in that we don’t understand what really has to be concealed. And what actually has to be the winning tile?
    >On a similar note, The Wiki nine gates gives great examples, but I don’t see how there can be (regarding your errata) a pure straight and 2 Two Concealed Pungs
    >11 123 456 789 999 see what I mean?
    >The Wiki Nine Gates (from the “search” on your site) does not mention concealment.
    >example
    >c1.gifc1.gifc1.gifc1.gifc2.gifc3.gifc4.gifc5.gifc6.gifc7.gifc8.gifc9.gifc9.gifc9.gif
    >pung chow chow chow pair
    >- - Nine Gates Possibilities - -
    >Out On - - - - - Hand - - - - -
    >1   111 123 456 789 99
    >2   111 22 345 678 999
    >3   11 123 345 678 999
    >4   111 234 456 789 99
    >5   111 234 55 678 999
    >6   11 123 456 678 999
    >7   111 234 567 789 99
    >8   111 234 567 88 999
    >9   11 123 456 789 999
    >Impure Nine Gates
    >A hand that is similar in structure to Nine Gates, but without the nine possible waits, is considered an Impure Nine Gates. An example would be having the pair in hand and going out on the last tile. Holding: 111 22 345 67 999 and going out on an 8 (pair of 2's already matched).
    >I hope this is clear enough and that you can help us out. We are happy to continue donating. I thought this was too big to put on the bulletin board. Enthusiastic and Appreciative Lynn in Bishop, CA

    Hi, Lynn P #2! I re-checked what I wrote in my book and the errata, and I honestly think that's less confusing than what you found in those other places. To qualify for Nine Gates and earn the 88 points, you have to have this (concealed) BEFORE you get the winning tile:

    That isn't two terminal pungs and a pure straight - it's either two terminal PAIRS and a pure straight, or two terminal pungs and one of each simple (which is how I described it on page 177 in my book). Your winning tile can be ANY dot tile. You can pick it or somebody can discard 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, 2017


    What does "neutral" mean? What does "NN" mean if there's no parenthetical?

    >From: Jill B
    >Cc: "vicki.w; Sue S; Lorri P; Cindy N
    >Sent: Thursday, June 1, 2017 4:42 PM
    >Subject: a question about the winds
    >Hello Tom: I have recently begun to play the American version of Mah Jongg with friends and we are using the 2016 card. We note that the 'winds' and the 'flowers' are neutral. We assume that this means that they are wild cards and can be used as though they are whatever else we might need for our hand. 1) is this correct? Also, for some of the 2016 hands NN or SS are shown as part of the winning hands. 2) does this mean that we need two North or two South tiles to make a winning hand or does the winning hand only require two winds of any type to complete the hand? Thank you for your help. Jill Bernstein

    Hi, ladies! Jill wrote:

    we are using the 2016 card.
    Why?

    We note that the 'winds' and the 'flowers' are neutral.
    Where did you read that word ("neutral")?

    We assume that this means that they are wild cards
    No. "Neutral" does not mean "wild" - it means "not belonging to any suit." Read FAQ 19-BG.

    for some of the 2016 hands NN or SS... does the winning hand only require two winds of any type to complete the hand?
    No. Read FAQ 19-AJ. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions 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. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19, and FAQ 16 lists the most frequently asked questions about the card (you can go to FAQ 16 and scroll down and click the ancient moldy dusty outdated 2016 link). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 1, 2017


    My aunt's flower cards, part 2

    >From: Kenneth G
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 12:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: flower cards
    >Yes my cards are plastic
    >I hope this works

    Hi, Kenneth. Okay, so:
    - You say your cards are plastic.
    - The writing on the cards is Korean.
    - Therefore your cards are definitely Korean.
    But as I said earlier, I can't age them. But if your aunt gave them to you in 1960, then they were made before she gave them to you, which means they're over 57 years old. And thanks to you, now I know that Korean hwa-tu were made of plastic since at least 1960.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2017


    Piles instead of walls

    >From: Facebook
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 8:34 AM
    >Subject: Sharry F tagged you in Mah Jongg, That's It!
    >Facebook
    >Sharry F tagged you in Mah Jongg, That's It!
    >Sharry F
    >May 31 at 8:34am
    >Walls vs Tile Piles:
    >I would love to hear from Karen Gooen, Tom Sloper and others about the idea of not building tile walls. I am concerned that the randomness of the game is altered when piles of tiles are used. Is the opportunity for cheating increased with piles? Many sets have certain tiles that are "distinctive" and could be picked/placed with intention. My 6 yo granddaughter even knows not to pick the card with a crease in it (it is the old maid).
    >Compare to the gambling game of blackjack.....cards are placed in a shoe - not a pile on the table. No one wants to think friends would cheat, but I have seen some lovely ladies that "couldn't help themselves".
    >(sad)
    >Remember I teach and want to be certain of concepts I communicate to students. Thanks for your thoughts????
    > Like
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    >Facebook, Inc., Attention: Community Support, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

    Hi, Sharry! Why would anybody want piles instead of walls? I don't understand why anybody would want to do that. Is it that one of your students asked you a question and you want to give a good answer?
    Personally, I only use a pile for certain short teaching exercises when I want to get right to the matter being taught, without having to take the extra time to build walls.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2017


    My aunt's flower cards

    >From: Kenneth G
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 10:43 AM
    >Subject: flower cards
    >Tom I have a deck of flower cards ( Korean ) I think. I would like to know if you could tell me the year that they were made? I got these cards from my Korean Aunt Head-cha around the year 1960. I'm sure that she had them for years. I've been looking at the flower cards on net but there alittle different. Like the rain card, mine has a hat with a dog, not an umbrella, and there all a little different like that. I'm sending you a picture of my deck and if you zoom in you'll see the little differences. I hope you will know the answer or point me in the right direction to find the answer. The reason, I would just like to know about this deck from my Aunt.
    >Thank You !!!

    Hi, Kenneth. I can't tell you when those cards were made, based on that low-resolution photo. But if you send me better photos of the two cards highlighted below, I might be able to glean some information.

    The way I usually distinguish Korean from Japanese flower cards is by the manufacturing. Japanese cards (especially those made by Nintendo) are made of high-quality paper materials, with an outer paper skin that folds over from the back (resulting in square corners). Korean cards are usually solid plastic, sharply cut at the edges, with rounded corners. And another distinguishing factor is the printing. If all the writing is Korean, then yes, made in Korea. The left card above looks like it might be written in Korean, but because of the low resolution, I can't be certain. I'd really need to see the writing on both cards. If the writing on the right card is Japanese, then the deck was likely made in Japan.

    If your cards are made of paper instead of plastic and have Korean writing, then they would be exemplars of an earlier phase of flower cards in Korea. And that would tell us that the switch to plastic likely occurred sometime after 1960. So please send me closeups of those two cards!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2017


    Is something missing?

    >From: Marsha W
    >Sent: Monday, May 29, 2017 6:24 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My husband got a mahjong set while he was in the Navy in the far east in 1959. All the tiles are there and there are about 6 tiny dice. The case has a section in the center with nothing in it. Is something missing – I saw some betting sticks online and wondered if they are necessary. I think the set is Bakelite. Thank you. Marsha W, Chapel Hill, NC

    Hi, Marsha!
    I can't tell you what's missing because I can't see the set. I don't know if you have a Chinese set or a Japanese set or, as you say, a Bakelite set. Not knowing what kind of set you have, I don't know what was originally supposed to be in the empty compartment of your set. You can read about types of sets in FAQ 7A. You can read about the bits and pieces that come with sets in FAQ 7D. And/or you can send me photos of your set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 29, 2017


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, May 28, 2017 5:55 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from GIL E
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $30.00 USD from GIL E. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $30.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: GIL E
    >Message: Always enjoy your column and find it very helpful. Thank you for doing this.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    I'm so glad you find my column helpful, Gil! Thank you very much for the donation!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 29, 2017


    Found your "intentional" miss (column 676)

    >From: Rebecca Z.
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 9:31 PM
    >Subject: May 28 blog
    >In the Defense blog of 5/28, I believe the number 10 exposures could be Odds #4.
    >Thanks so much for your column - very helpful!
    >Rebecca Z

    >From: Libby S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 9:54 PM
    >Subject: Column #676
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper. In reading your column #676, I think I found one of your “Intentional” misses. In no. 10, I believe that the hand can be found in Odds, with Flowers (key) and 5 Bams being hot tiles, right?
    >Thanks for your column,
    >Libby Shipp

    Doh! I mean, good for you two! I'm posting the comments in the column now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 28, 2017


    Frequently asked question 19-Y

    >From: Jackie S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:36 PM
    >Subject: Table vs Official Rule
    >Is it an official rule or table rule when: You are down to the last remaining tiles in East's wall that you can only pick up
    >a discarded tile for Mah Jongg.
    >I hope I made that questions somewhat understandable.
    >Thanks
    >Best Regards
    >Jackie S

    Your question is perfectly understandable, Jackie. Lots and lots of people have asked the same question (or related questions about that type of rule). Please read FAQ 19-Y and FAQ 14. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 27, 2017


    Broken Hanafuda link mended

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 2:48 PM
    >Subject: Managed to find Hanafubuki
    >Hello,
    >After some searching I managed to find an available archived copy of the
    >hanafuda site Hanafubuki.
    >https://web.archive.org/web/20050723234333/http://hana.kirisame.org/
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S

    Good detective work, Ola! Thanks very much for the link. I've put it in the Hanafuda links page. And I looked at your Hachi-Hachi description; I have never played Hachi-Hachi but your description of it looks very thorough and understandable. Nice work.
    May the little cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 26, 2017


    Erroneous death challenge followed by erroneous mahj

    >from: otilia s
    >Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 11:06 AM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Walking
    >Player 1 makes a kong exposure of 9 Bams. A while later later he makes an additional kong exposure of white dragons. Player 2 at this time questions whether this is a dead hand. Player 1 responds that his hand is not dead. It is apparent that he is playing the number 1 hand of like numbers, and indeed there is no technical reason for his hand to be dead at this time. He merely has to accumulate two flowers and a kong of 9 Craks for mah-jongg. Play continues. Eventually player 1 declares mah-jongg and now exposes a pair of flowers and a kong of 9 Dots. Because his hand has only two suits and the hand calls for three suits, his hand is now dead. When the determination of who pays whom for the dead challenge penalty, is the determination based on 1) the 8 tiles exposed at the time of the challenge (hand is not dead) or 2) the 14 tiles exposed at the end of the game (hand is now dead because of erroneous play after the challenge)?

    Hi, Otilia! You wrote:

    Player 2 at this time questions whether this is a dead hand. Player 1 responds that his hand is not dead. It is apparent that he is playing the number 1 hand of like numbers, and indeed there is no technical reason for his hand to be dead at this time. ... Play continues.
    Player 2 issued an erroneous death challenge, so she has to pay him. See FAQ 19-AB.

    Eventually player 1 declares mah-jongg and now exposes a pair of flowers and a kong of 9 Dots. Because his hand has only two suits and the hand calls for three suits, his hand is now dead.
    Play continues without him. He will have to pay the winner, assuming someone else wins.

    When the determination of who pays whom for the dead challenge penalty, is the determination based on 1) the 8 tiles exposed at the time of the challenge (hand is not dead) or 2) the 14 tiles exposed at the end of the game (hand is now dead because of erroneous play after the challenge)?
    In the case of a correct denial such as you describe, it's determined by what could be observed by 3 players at the time the death challenge was issued. When a player denies being dead and is wrong, play has to continue to the end to make the determination. In your case, it was determined at the time of the challenge that he was not dead, so she owes him.
    He killed himself later on, so he's going to have to pay the winner. The two incidents are unrelated; the death challenge had nothing to do with the actual outcome.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 22, 2017


    Hachi-Hachi (hanafuda)

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:22 AM
    >Subject: Hachi-Hachi rules
    >Hello again,
    >I haven't gotten an answer from the owner of Hanafubuki yet. In the
    >meantime, though, I decided to do my own write-up of the rules of the
    >hanafuda game Hachi-Hachi[1], based on the HTML5 game Shiragiku
    >Hanafuda[2]. It's mostly complete, save for some specifics regarding
    >recording scores at the end of a game. If you see anything I've
    >overlooked, please let me know.
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S
    > [1] https://vingel8.neocities.org/hachihachi.html
    >[2] https://www.marguerite.jp/Nihongo/Games/%E3%81%97%E3%82%89%E3%81%8E%E3%81%8F
    %E8%8A%B1%E6%9C%AD/index.html

    Hi, Ola!
    I'm interested in learning about Hachi-Hachi, but I'm entering into a busy time (I'm starting classes for the summer this week). I'll look at those two links when I can.
    May the small flower cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 22, 2017


    Consec #4 (NMJL 2017 card)

    >From: Susan M
    >Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:24 AM
    >Subject: Consecutive Run #4
    >The care reads: 1122 111222 3333. I assumed it meant that the consecutive number after the run was a number HIGHER than the run as it appears on the card. But the card says any 3 consecutive numbers.
    >The following had was played and I don't think it's correct. Can you advise.
    >Thanks
    > 2233 222333 1111
    >What do you think?
    >Sue M

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    I assumed it meant that the consecutive number after the run...
    I don't know what the word "run" means to you in this context (are the sequential pairs a "run"? Are the sequential pungs a "run"? Are there in fact two "runs" in this hand?). I know the section is called "Consecutive Runs" but I don't know how to define the term "run" exactly, especially to use it in a sentence as you have done. I assume you are referring to the kong when you say "the consecutive number after the run." Sorry to get into semantics, but I have to be careful with my words when I answer questions here.

    ...was a number HIGHER than the run as it appears on the card.
    Yes, of course, you are correct. The kong must be the subsequent number following after the sequential numbered pairs and the sequential numbered pungs. You correctly interpret the hand as it's shown on the card. I'm adding this answer to FAQ 16.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2017


    The League changed the rule, part 2

    >From: Otilia S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:53 PM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Question 2
    >I personally do not have any written documentation over-riding the 2005 or 2011 newsletters. This information was given by one of the NMJL experts in a telephone conversation.

    Thanks, Otilia.
    As I wrote in FAQ 19-BN, I do not recommend getting answers over the phone. In this instance, it's possible that one of several things may have happened:

    1. You might have worded your question in a way that caused the expert to misunderstand what you were asking;
    2. You may have worded your question perfectly but the expert might have misheard you;
    3. The expert may have worded the answer imperfectly;
    4. The expert may have stated the rule for a second claimant who wanted the discard for exposure but you had asked about a second claimant who wanted it for mah-jongg (the two of you may have been talking at cross purposes);
    5. The expert may be someone who was unaware of the 2005 and 2011 newsletter ruling (the League has had several personnel changes not long ago). The expert may have extrapolated from the rule about a second claimant who wants the discard for exposure;
    6. Or it is possible that the League has decided to void the 2005 and 2011 ruling.

    The chances are very low that #6 is what happened. I think #5 is what happened, and #4 is definitely possible.

    Without seeing a written retraction of the previous written rule from the League, I have to regard the 2005/2011 ruling as holding sway. If you scroll down and go into the archive, you'll see examples of letters that have clarified or changed rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 18, 2017


    The League changed the rule, and you're behind the times

    >from: Otilia S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:37 AM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Question
    >You have answered this question before and I have used your answer to settle a dispute. The NMJL is now saying that your answer is incorrect. The situation is that two people claim a tile for mah-jongg. The first claimants hand is dead. The NMJL is now saying that the claimed tile stays in the dead hand and does not go to the second claimant. This essentially makes the 2nd claimants hand dead also. What changed?

    Hi, Otilia!
    Can you show me the source of this reversal of the League's 2005 rule? When and where did the League more recently say the wanted mahj tile stays in the dead hand?
    The "incorrect" answer I gave in FAQ 19-I is from the 2005 newsletter:

      If that tile was called for Mah Jongg by two players, and the player next in turn has declared Mah Jongg in error, that tile is given to the second player who declared M.J. at the same time. Our reason for this is that we do not think a Mah Jongg hand should be penalized for an incorrect declaration.

    The 2011 newsletter repeats the ruling (but without the reasoning). You say the League has changed its ruling on this. The League leadership is at liberty to change rules at any time. When they change rules, they normally tell the members about it in a newsletter (or in a revised rulebook). I haven't seen this rule change. Where and when was it published?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 18, 2017


    Our 3P Charleston

    >From: Cindi G
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:10 AM
    >Subject: Three player
    >
    >Tom, in Florida I play a variation when there are three players. We build a 3x7 tier so that we can use that as another hand when we do the charleston. Our argument came up in Illinois when I suggested this. We allow person to keep the joker in the charleston. It just makes it a little more fun. Otherwise ,to me, playing with three and no charleston is no fun! What's wrong with this version? Popular in Florida ! Thank you for input . Cindi gober

    Hi, Cindi! You asked:

    What's wrong with this version?
    It took me a while to figure out what you mean by "what's wrong with it?" Rereading your email, I surmise that you're having an argument about 3P Charleston methods, and you're looking to me to take sides in your argument. LOL!
    I wrote about 3P Charleston methods in column 532, and I include several folks' 3P Charleston methods in FAQ 13A. The only unique feature of your method is the 21-tile short tall wall. Although the few times I've played 3P without a Charleston have been perfectly fine, the vast majority of times I've played 3P, the other players have adamantly insisted that we have a Charleston of some kind. In most kinds, jokers are a possibility.

    Let's talk game design for a moment (that's my profession, after all). When 3 players decide that they want to make up a rule for having a 3P Charleston, they have to make decisions.

    • Should we deal to the dummy chair, and permit players to take tiles from the dummy's deal?
    • Should we instead take tiles from the dummy's wall?
    • Should we require that Charleston tiles be taken in a particular order, or allow taking any tiles at the player's whim?
    • Should a player be allowed (or required) to take back tiles that she had put on the dummy's side of the table, or take tiles put there by other players?
    • Should a player be permitted to keep a joker taken from the dummy's side of the table?
    • Lastly but most important: what is the goal of having a 3P Charleston in the first place? For example:

    If the goal is "to increase the fun," then do whatever you think adds to the fun (like the bonus surprise of picking an extra joker).
    If the goal is "to enhance a player's chance of building a hand in the Charleston," then do whatever you think accomplishes that goal.
    If the goal is "to keep the playing field level, to increase fairness to all," then figure out what might accomplish that goal.
    If the goal is "to right a wrong in the League's rules," then you'd probably have to come up with a rule requiring players to put jokers back.

    Read FAQ 14; there's nothing "wrong" with table rules - table rules are normal. But you can't expect anybody to tell you how to do them "the right way," since they're your made-up rules. I don't take sides in arguments about table rules.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 18, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question 19-Y

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:25 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >someone told me today that if you have three exposures and someone throws your MJ tile for the win, they have to pay for the whole table.
    >Is that a Nat'l MJ League rule or is that a table rule?
    >Louise

    Hi, Louise!
    Please read FAQ 19-Y. Link to FAQ 19 above left, then click the "WINNING, SCORING, PAYING" link, then click the first link where it says "Is there a penalty for throwing the winning tile?"*
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 17, 2017

    *Wow, it's a lot more work (for me) directing people to their answers with the reorganized FAQ 19. Easier for you to find, but harder for me to direct. - Whew! Who knew?
    - Tom


    Discrepancies, part 2

    >From: Linda L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Rules Question #1
    >Morning, Tom! Linda here in San Luis Obispo, CA again. I'm still a little confused about Q1. " And, you said you are just waiting for my Qs! LOL
    >I understand your "atop the rack", but the Leagues "expose on the rack" seemed to me to refer to the tiles that would be added to the called tile, not the called tile itself. NMJL doesn't say the called tile must immediately be placed on the "top". Can you help me understand, please. Like you said, "The League's rules are written more loosely then I would like-and, I'm guessing, then you would like." Right on!
    >Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recall reading that putting the tile in the rack is okay if it's for a mah jongg. Maybe that was an exception announced at a tournament?!
    >As i'm sure you have already surmised I'm a real novice at this, but find it very intriguing and lots of fun! Thanks for your patience and your help.
    >Linda

    Good morning, Linda! You asked:

    Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recall reading that putting the tile in the rack is okay if it's for a mah jongg. Maybe that was an exception announced at a tournament?!
    Yesterday I referred to the recent conversation called "Taking a called discard." Please scroll down and read that conversation. And/or please go to FAQ 19 and click "CLAIMING A DISCARD, AND THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY." Then read FAQ 19-K, "Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?"
    For your future reference, 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. Note that because English is so wonderfully flexible, the FAQs may not be worded quite the way you would word your question. You can always search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer.

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


    Discrepancies

    >From: Linda L
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:33 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Rules Questions
    >Thanks, Tom! I'm fairly new to playing mah jongg and am just finding my way around your website. Its fascinating and informative. And, I get easily confused trying figure "things" out. Can you help, please?
    >Question #1 Placement of a called tile.
    >Sloper, RDWW, 2007, p. 52, #60, says, "put it atop her rack."
    >NMJL 2013 Rule Book, p. 14, 1st paragraph says, "player wanting that tile for exposure has the right to claim it,...The claimant must then expose on the rack...which has been completed by the discarded tile." There is nothing about "on top of" that I can read/see.
    >So, it would seem a called tile can be put in the rack...unless there is a ruling from NMJL that isn't in the Rule Book, but NMJL ruled...or, I'm missing something you may have said somewhere else.
    >I did find one other source, Gladys' Tournament Rules, that says "place on top of rack."
    >So, what is the rule and what is the source? Who is right and who is wrong? Was there a correction in Errata that I did not find? Or, is there some other explanation of the conflict I'm reading between sources?
    >Question #2 Death Penalty - Peeking at the Blind Pass.
    >Sloper, RDDWW, 2007, p. 63, #101g "A player may be declared dead for several reasons, as follows:...Peeking at the blind pass."
    >NMJL Rules - no penalty indicated for peeking at a blind pass.
    >Again, what is the rule and what is the source?
    >Look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks so much for your help!
    >Linda L.

    Hi, Linda! Welcome to my website, and I'm delighted that you own a copy of my book. You asked:

    There is nothing about "on top of" that I can read/see.
    Where the official rulebook says, "The claimant must then expose on the rack," the word "on" means "on top of." The League's rules are written more loosely than I would like -- and, I'm guessing, than you would like. If you see a huge discrepancy between my "atop her rack" and the League's "expose on the rack," then where else on the rack could she expose the completed set? Or am I missing the question?

    Or are you asking about the recent conversation ("Taking a called discard") regarding taking the called discard into the concealed tiles on the sloping front of the rack, on the way to placing the completed exposure atop the rack? If that's what you're asking about, is it to suggest a correction to my book? What I wrote on page 60 is in agreement with the League's recently stated preferred procedure.

    Sloper, RDDWW, 2007, p. 63, #101g "A player may be declared dead for several reasons, as follows:...Peeking at the blind pass."
    Yeah, I would have called someone dead for that, until I learned just recently that the League doesn't deem that a death penalty offense. I'll add that to the errata.

    Standing by for more questions anytime, Linda! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2017


    Hanafuda

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:47 AM
    >Subject: Hanafuda correction
    >Hello,
    >I spotted a minor error on the page
    >http://www.sloperama.com/hanafuda/variants.htm . Under the "B" column in
    >the yaku table, which lists Nintendo's Japanese scoring rules, Rainy
    >Four Bright is not listed as having any value. However, in the rules on
    >Nintendo's official website[1], there is a small note under "Four
    >Bright", reading "Four Bright with Rain is worth 7 points".
    >Also, Nintendo's rules has the note "+1 point for each additional card"
    >on ALL ribbon and animal yaku. It's unclear how this would work in
    >practice (for instance, six ribbons, three of which are blue: 8 or 10
    >points?) so I'd recommend not noting this (or at least waiting until I
    >do some investigation, with a copy of the Nintendo-published Clubhouse
    >Games).
    >Best regards,
    >Ola Sassersson
    >[1] https://www.nintendo.co.jp/n09/hana-kabu_games/index.html
    >
    >P.S. The site hanafubuki.org, once the internet's best Hanafuda
    >resource, has gone offline. The domain is now owned by a cybersquatter
    >who has blocked the site from appearing on archive.org, and archive.is
    >only has a few pages. Do you have any archived copies of the whole site?
    >If not, I'll try contacting the original author. Thank you in advance.

    Hallå, Ola! Nice to hear from another hanafuda fan! To reply to what you wrote:

    I spotted a minor error on the page
    >http://www.sloperama.com/hanafuda/variants.htm . Under the "B" column in
    >the yaku table, which lists Nintendo's Japanese scoring rules, Rainy
    >Four Bright is not listed as having any value. However, in the rules on
    >Nintendo's official website[1], there is a small note under "Four
    >Bright", reading "Four Bright with Rain is worth 7 points".
    I let Google Chrome translate that Nintendo page for me and the Chrome translation isn't as good as yours. Chrome translates it as "Rain contains four lights with seven points." So yes, add 2 points for the Rainman card, but add 3 points if it's any other Bright (what I called "Biggies" when I made the table). I'm adding a note on the page. And thanks for the link. I added it to the Links page.

    Also, Nintendo's rules has the note "+1 point for each additional card"
    >on ALL ribbon and animal yaku. It's unclear how this would work in
    >practice (for instance, six ribbons, three of which are blue: 8 or 10
    >points?) so I'd recommend not noting this (or at least waiting until I
    >do some investigation, with a copy of the Nintendo-published Clubhouse
    >Games).
    Yes, I have "+1" for those cards in the chart too. Not sure what the problem is; I've always added the point when playing with real cards. Thanks for telling me about Clubhouse Games, too - I just ordered a copy for myself.

    P.S. The site hanafubuki.org, once the internet's best Hanafuda
    >resource, has gone offline. ... Do you have any archived copies of the whole site?
    >If not, I'll try contacting the original author. Thank you in advance.
    Sorry, no. I did not make a copy. Good luck!
    May the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2017


    Can't find this computer mah-jongg game

    >From: Kristin O
    >Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 6:32 PM
    >Subject: Myjongg for the iPad
    >A friend of mine showed me Myjongg on her iPad, but I can't find it either in the App store or on your page. Is it available?
    >Thanks,
    >Kristin

    Hi, Kristin!
    When you said you couldn't find it on my site, I opened FAQ 5 and searched for the title. It's right there! And you don't need an App Store, since the game is played through the browser.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2017


    Try the new, improved FAQ 19 - part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:01 AM
    >Subject: FAQ # 19 update
    >Hi Tom,
    >I like your new/improved format--and thanks for taking the time to do this! I think folks with questions will find answers more quickly.
    >Best Regards, Linda

    Thanks for the feedback, Linda!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2017


    Try the new, improved FAQ 19!

    I finally figured out something that I think will help folks find the answers to their questions about American mah-jongg in FAQ 19. I hope this solution helps! Check it out! And let me know what you think.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    May 15, 2017


    Taking a called discard, part 3

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 9:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding the question on placing a called discard IN your rack rather than ON your rack that the recent NMJL letter answers: I agree that it doesn't make sense and can cause problems. I believe the NMJL included this in a recent newsletter, but of course, I cannot find my newsletters that I usually keep in my mah jongg wallet! Perhaps someone who has them can find which one it appeared in.
    >Bee

    Good evening, Bee! Try the 2013 newsletter (as per FAQ 19-K and the exchange with Donna, below). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2017


    When can a joker be redeemed? What's the procedure?

    >From: "acw
    >Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:06 PM
    >Subject: Taking a joker and using it as part of exposure
    >Tom,
    >Thank you for an extremely good website. I teach mah jongg to seniors as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Galveston, Texas. Your site has been very helpful in developing class materials. I also play mah jongg several times a week with different groups.The situation below arose in one of the groups. We couldn't really figure out the correct procedure. I'm hoping that you can shed some light.
    >
    >Player A discarded a four bam. Player B wanted to pick up the four bam, but she needed a kong to expose for the hand she was pursuing. She had only two four bam tiles in her hand and no jokers. Player C had an exposure that included a joker. Player B had a tile that she exchanged for that joker and then used the exchanged joker to pick up the discarded four bam, which completed the needed kong. Was this "legal"?
    >
    >Although the group discussed the action and Player B agreed to abide by their decision (that the action was okay), Player A then called Player B a cheater when she went on to win the hand. I admit that this was said in a sort of joking way, but it still caused a bit of unpleasantness in an otherwise enjoyable game.
    >
    >I'm sorry if I missed this in the the FAQs on your site. I did look for it before I emailed you.
    >Thanks,
    >Alice W

    Hi, Alice! You wrote:

    Player B wanted to pick up the four bam, but she needed a kong to expose for the hand she was pursuing. She had only two four bam tiles in her hand and no jokers. Player C had an exposure that included a joker. Player B had a tile that she exchanged for that joker and then used the exchanged joker to pick up the discarded four bam, which completed the needed kong. Was this "legal"? ... I'm sorry if I missed this in the the FAQs on your site. I did look for it before I emailed you.
    Thanks for looking for it! Sorry you couldn't find it, and wish I knew how to organize the FAQs better. I just use Google to find stuff, even on my own site - works every time, but then I know what words I use! Just now I went to FAQ 19 and searched for the words "when can" and FAQ 19-M came up right away (but then, I happened to know that the way I worded the question was "when can I redeem a joker?").

    FAQ 19-M looks like this in the index atop the FAQ:

    So you see, your situation is FAQ 19-M2. A frequently asked question for sure. And clicking the "M2" will take you right straight to the answer.

    Player A then called Player B a cheater when she went on to win the hand. I admit that this was said in a sort of joking way, but it still caused a bit of unpleasantness in an otherwise enjoyable game.
    A lot of jokes are not funny. Especially when the jokester has to add, "it was a joke."

    But in this case, you'll see that player B's play was not legal. She can't take a discard in the middle of her turn. That's not how things work. See the official rulebook p. 20 (rule 7), and also see the yearly newsletters of 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2016.


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2017


    Column #274 posted: WWYP

    You have the new 2017 card, and a random deal of 13 or 14 tiles. And you also know about the four steps strategy - but does that strategy always work? Check out this week's strategy column!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    May 14, 2017


    Taking a called discard, part 2

    >From: "Puffins@
    >Cc: kkgoff1967
    >Sent: Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Tom,
    >I am a friend of Karlene Goff's and she asked you the question last week about putting a called tile IN your rack, not ON your rack.
    >She got a response back from the NMJL recently and as we talked about it we still have some questions that perhaps you might be able to clarify for us.
    >
    >1. Many of our friends who are really "old timers - 50 years of playing" have always put the called tile ON the rack. Where did they learn this if it's "not a rule"?
    >2. Since it's not a rule to put it "ON" the rack, why did NMJL in 2013 in their bulletin say, "when you call a tile for MJ, you are allowed to put it IN your rack'? It seems according to what the attached letter says, you have always been able to do that.
    >3. We are also wondering if in the 1984 Mah Jongg Made Easy book could this have been a rule then and it just got omitted in the 2013 edition?
    >
    >I agree with you, putting a called tile IN your rack makes no sense for all of the reasons you gave in your reply. But if we are following NMJL rules, if someone does this no one can tell them they are going against the rules.
    >I do realize tournament play has their own set of rules.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Donna E
    >PS I have no problem writing to NMJL for any further clarification.

    Good morning, Donna!

    That letter puts to rest the question about putting a taken discard into the hand. I'll change my teaching on that point. You wrote:

    Where did they learn this if it's "not a rule"?
    The same way they learned other unwritten rules and not-exactly-rules: based on etiquette or common sense or standard practices, including standard practices borrowed from other mah-jongg forms or other games.

    why did NMJL in 2013 in their bulletin say, "when you call a tile for MJ, you are allowed to put it IN your rack'?
    Because people asked. And don't forget that the 2013 ruling covered only taking a discard to win.

    It seems according to what the attached letter says, you have always been able to do that.
    I don't reach that conclusion from that letter.

    I've said before and I'll say again, "if it's not in writing, it's not a rule." (How is the playership supposed to know it's a rule if it's not in writing?) It wasn't a rule until it was in writing. Now it's in writing, but not in a way that all players are reasonably guaranteed of seeing it, and that's a shame.

    We are also wondering if in the 1984 Mah Jongg Made Easy book could this have been a rule then and it just got omitted in the 2013 edition?
    That didn't happen.

    I agree with you, putting a called tile IN your rack makes no sense for all of the reasons you gave in your reply. But if we are following NMJL rules, if someone does this no one can tell them they are going against the rules.
    Someone who puts the taken discard into the hand is not going against the rules. I've seen the rule now (you just showed it to me).

    I have no problem writing to NMJL for any further clarification.
    I have no problem with that, either. I don't see a reason to do so at the present time.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2017


    Do the rules change when we're picking from the last short wall?

    >From: Renee G
    >Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 7:29 PM
    >Subject: Last wall
    >I called the NMJL and got two answers so now I am confused...
    >For the last wall, can you only call for a tile if it is for mah jongg?
    >Can you call for an exposure as well?
    >Renee G

    Hi, Renee! You wrote:

    I called the NMJL and got two answers so now I am confused...
    That's why I wrote in FAQ 19-BN that you should request a ruling in writing. Would you believe, there are six ways a phoned-in question can go awry!

    For the last wall, can you only call for a tile if it is for mah jongg?
    >Can you call for an exposure as well?
    See FAQ 19-Y. The rules governing calling for a discard do not suddenly change when the wall crosses some magic line. The League has addressed this in the yearly newsletter several times.


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2017


    Can I exchange a joker for a non-joker? ("Reverse redemption")

    >From: K M
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Joker use question
    >I read the faq' s and did not find an answer so here we go:
    >If I have a joker in my hand but cannot use it because all I need Is a pair to make Mahjong can I use the joker to take an exposed tile from another player in order to make Mahjong?
    >Thank you,
    >Kerrie

    Hi, Kerrie!
    Sorry it was hard to find that FAQ. I think it's because I used the word "natural" for "non-joker," but nobody knows that a non-joker is called a "natural." This is the second time in 4 days that someone couldn't find an FAQ because I used the term "natural." So I've changed the wording of the FAQ; now I refer to non-jokers as "non-jokers" rather than "naturals." You want to read FAQ 19-AL for the answer to your question. Or read rule 7 on page 20 of the rulebook.


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 9, 2017


    Column 669

    >From: Tom and Jane
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 3:49 PM
    >Subject: column 669, hand #5
    >Hi Tom, fun site and helpful! I donate, so not a freeloader, here is my question:
    >Why would you not save the 5B to try for Consecutive Run #3 which would have 6 tiles toward it? Then pass 1C & both winds? I know it would mean passing two winds to save the 1 bam for the LN hand, but the CR #3 hand seems a worthy goal.
    >Thanks, Jane

    That's a good suggestion, Jane! Adding this to column 669.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 9, 2017


    What material they're made from

    >From: Adele B
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 11:29 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong Set
    >I was wondering if you could help me identify the material that tiles are made from. The set weights a little over 8 pounds. At first I was thinking marble, when when held up to the light they do have a translucent appearance, so then I was thinking catalin, but with the varies in color I wasn’t sure that correct either. The pieces are just barely over 1” wide, and just under 3/4” thick. The pieces appear to be carved. No jokers but there is one blank tile, which I assume is to be used for missing 2 crak. Any assistance would be appreciated. I purchased the set at an Estate Sale, 144 pieces that is the original box, which contains four card board trays.

    Hi, Adele.
    Your tiles look like plastic to me. But not Catalin (those tiles are always yellow, not bright white -- and your tiles have sharp edges and corners, unlike the rounded corners and edges of Catalin tiles).
    Also, it looks like your tiles have a manufacturing flaw similar to the ones reported by Pat A on November 2, 2016 ("My tiles are peeling"). You can see Pat's question at http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive39.htm (copy and paste that address, then search the page for the word "manufacturing" or "peeling").

    I don't know what plastic your tiles are. Try reading FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 9, 2017


    Thanks!

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 10:49 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > paypal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from JANE R
    >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.
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JANE ROBINSON
    >Message: Thanks!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Jane! May the tiles be with you.


    Early NMJL cards

    >From: "bkj
    >To: Webmaster
    >Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 4:08 PM
    >Subject: seeking scanned image of 1946 nmjl scorecard
    >I am trying to locate both front and back scanned images of the 1946 NMJL scorecard. Can you please post this on the accessories wanted page. Hopefully some kind Samaritan will be able to assist me with the images. I have collected every year from 1940 to 2017, except 1946.
    >Also, do you know if there were cards made by the NMJL pre- 1940? I have not been able to find any information about rule cards and hands pre-40’s.
    >Thanks.
    >Barb j

    Hi, Barb.
    I'm sorry, but I cannot host your scan request due to copyright law. Copyright takes a long time to expire. Google it. "For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first." For a work by a known author: "life plus 70 years or 95 or 120 years, depending on the nature of authorship." I cannot facilitate the infringement of the League's right to decide who may copy its intellectual property.
    Your collection is more complete than mine. As far as I can tell, there were no standalone cards prior to 1940; the "card" was contained in the booklets the League published in those early years. If you have those booklets, you essentially have the "cards" for those early years of the late 1930s.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 8, 2017


    She throws without regard for obvious exposures

    >From: "carynb
    >Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 8:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >First, is it a formal rule that a player cannot throw a tile to a definite exposure?
    >Second, if this isn’t a formal rule, what suggestions do you have (aside from discussion, etc.) to stop a player from constantly doing this because she simply will not break up her hand? Other than kicking her out, any suggestions?
    >Many thanks; love your site.

    Hi, Caryn! Thanks for numbering your questions for me.
    Please read FAQ 19-Y.
    Reading between the lines here, it sounds like you're a smart cookie, and your group is mostly smart cookies who prefer to play defensively in the face of obvious exposures. Sounds like it's not that you don't like taking Player D's money, but that you'd enjoy the game more if everybody would play at the same high level. Since mah-jongg is not a partners game, I don't see why you can't simply take her money. I know, you have to pay a quarter whenever Player D throws an opponent's hot tile, but you collect a dollar whenever she throws your hot tile. I suppose there are fewer wall games when she plays, which improves your odds of winning somewhat.
    If you've discussed this with Player D, and she's aware of the danger of throwing hot tiles in the face of exposures, then perhaps she simply has a higher tolerance for risk-taking, coupled with a higher spirit of competitiveness. If she comments while discarding (something like "this is risky but I gotta do it"), then she clearly does know what she's doing.
    The alternative is that she doesn't know, because she simply doesn't pay attention. If that's the case, then the question is whether she can improve her playing skill. Some can, and some can't. And those who can improve have to be motivated to try to improve — and not all who are capable of improving can become motivated to do so (and some become embarrassed or even upset to have it pointed out that there is room for improvement).
    But in the end, playing defensively is a choice. A player has a right to take a risk if she chooses.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 7, 2017


    American mah-jongg program to add to FAQ 5

    >From: Sheila W
    >Sent: Saturday, May 6, 2017 10:09 AM
    >Subject: New mah jongg game missing from your site
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have been on your website looking up different rules and mahj history… it’s a great resource for mah jongg players! I’m also a part of the Mah Jongg That’s It Facebook group where your name comes up every now and then. I wanted to let you know that there is a new Mah Jongg game that I’ve been playing and it’s amazing, realmahjongg.com. You should list this site to keep your listings up-to-date as all my friends are playing on this new site. I just thought you aught to know about this.
    >Thanks
    >Sheila

    I'll add it to FAQ 5, thanks. I should have added it after Mary T wrote me (below) a question about it last week. I have to wonder what's so amazing about the program. Six dollars a month, that's $72 a year* (every year). That's more than the NMJL/Sigma game! At that price, it had better be amazing. I'll check out the two-week trial and see for myself. Thanks for letting me know, Sheila!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 6, 2017

    *P.S. I found out on May 9 that there is a yearly option: $60 minus a penny. - Tom


    Very interesting.

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 5, 2017 6:04 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Agnes J
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Agnes J
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Agnes J
    >Message: I find your site very, very interesting. Thanks for the work.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Agnes! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 6, 2017


    A link and a think

    >From: Johni Levene
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 8:00 PM
    >Subject: Various Mahj stuff
    >Hi Tom, someone pointed out that you don't have the Facebook page "Mah Jongg That's It" on sloperama under web links. I would be honored if you would include us :)
    >https://m.facebook.com/groups/857265604318287?ref=bookmarks
    >
    >I also peeked in on your strategy column #669. I only looked at example one, but it's fun so I'm going to do each exercise. I did it without looking at your answer first, and I came up with a completely different scenario!
    >Key tiles for me were WSS, all three bam dot crak 4's, the bam 5 and crak 6, joker of course. I would pass the dot 69 and crak 9.
    >This would allow me to play 6 hands:
    >1) WSS J (w&d 1) four tiles, safe hand, I have my pair. This is my main safe hand until my pairs fall into place below. Since winds get passed a lot in the Charleston I can anticipate picking up several tiles towards this.
    >2) W, SS, 4 crak, 4 bam, 4 dot (s&p 1) - six tiles towards it. Don't ask, don't get right?
    >3) F, 4 bam, white, 4 crak, J (LN1), five tiles towards it.
    >4) F, 4 bam, 4 crak, 4 dot, J (LN2), five tiles toward it.
    >5) F, 4 dot, 5 bam, 6 crak. (consec 3) four tiles
    >6) 4 bam, 4 crak, 4 dot, 5 bam, J. (Consec 6) five tiles towards it.
    >It would pretty quickly winnow down depending on the passes I get, but there are lots of options here.

    Hi, Johni!
    I wasn't sure you would want the hordes of people who'd join your group as a result of my adding a link. I've now added a link to FAQ 4A. And I'll include a link in future columns about American mah-jongg.

    Your strategy for problem #1 in column #669 is very interesting. Makes me wonder if I'm coddling my readers when I limit the number of hands to consider, and when I discount hands that have only four tiles when there are five- and six-tile hands. And although I'd follow the high-count hands, you're right that you don't know what's going to come in. I like your thinking re the S&P hand, and your "safe hand" strategy.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 4, 2017


    Everybody's telling me I don't need a natural to call a discard for exposure

    >From: Ruthless777
    >Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 11:06 AM
    >Subject: Crazy question
    >It must be there, so I am blind.
    >At a game yesterday, all players said one could call a discard even if they did not have that tile in their hand...just sufficient jokers, as jokers can be anything. ( I.e. Call 6 dot, expose two jokers from your hand and add called 6 dot to make a pung).
    >Maybe that is why I am soooo bad. I thought you had to have at least one of called tile, plus joker ( I know pairs cannot be called nor jokers used) to expose a pung.
    >Leslie

    Hi, Leslie!
    I didn't see a question in your email. You wouldn't be asking "is everybody but me wrong," would you? Perhaps the problem is that it's difficult to word the question for a search of FAQ 19. The key to that search is the word "natural" - that's what mah-jongg writers call a tile that is not a joker. Anyway, see FAQ 19-L, that should answer your question. As always, you can link to FAQ 19 above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 4, 2017


    Taking a called discard into the hand

    >From: "kkgoff1967
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 9:13 PM
    >Subject: Placement of a called tile
    >Is it a rule that a called tile must be placed on the rack, rather than in the rack? In other words, may a player call a tile, put it in their rack, and then make an exposure from their rack? I always understood that if a called tile is placed in the rack, NMJL rules say you are dead, but I cannot find that anywhere in your webpage.
    >Thank you.
    >Karlene

    Hi, Karlene!
    As noted in FAQ 19K, the 2013 NMJL newsletter included a written rule about putting a taken discard into the hand when declaring mah-jongg. But I have never seen a written rule specifically permitting or prohibiting putting a taken discard into the hand when calling for exposure.

    The official rules are written loosely. I suppose the reason for that is to keep the rules accessible (perhaps it was thought that highly detailed rules would be too daunting for most players to read). The rulebook was revised in 2013 (the first time in 29 years), but while some rules were expressed more clearly, most were still left loose. Here's what the rulebook says about your question:

      To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call ... The claimant must then expose on the rack the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet which has been completed by the discarded tile. ... When an exposure is called, the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet is placed on the rack in front of the player for all to see.
      - Mah Jongg Made Easy, National Mah Jongg League, page 14

    You see that the rules are silent on precise movements or acts. It does not say that the claimed discard may not be brought into the hand in the course of placing the completed set atop the rack, but reading that rule on page 14 makes it sound like the taken discard should go straight to the top of the rack.

    Now let's consider other forms of mah-jongg, and common sense, and tournament rules. In Japanese mah-jongg, which is used for high stakes gambling, it's strictly forbidden to place a called discard in the hand prior to showing the completed exposure. Why? Because it's possible to cheat that way. We've all seen so-called magicians performing amazing feats with cards, and handkerchiefs, and coins. How do they do that? With sleight of hand and misdirection. Standard magician tricks can be used to cheat. In an American tournament, there's a ritual that happens at the start before beginning the first round of play: the tournament master announces the rules that apply to that tournament. It's at the same time boring and contentious; players sometimes start calling out questions for rule clarifications, based on conflicts they'd had in home games or in previous tournaments. This is the time to raise your own question: "are you dead if you put a taken discard into the hand before making your exposure?" Whatever the judge says is the rule for that tournament.

    One more word on this: when I'm teaching newbies how to play, I tell them rather sharply, and repeatedly, that they must never put the taken discard into the hand in the course of making the exposure, else they'll be called dead. (And I'll be the one calling them dead.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 3, 2017


    Column 672 oopsie

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, May 1, 2017 7:54 AM
    >Subject: Column #672, Hand #4
    >I think you have a typo in your discussion of #4; where you have "sixes", I think you mean "5D".
    >John

    You're right, John. I did indeed mean 5D! Fixing it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2017


    Those confusing joker rules!

    >From: Lauren S
    >Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2017 12:32 PM
    >Subject: Joker questions
    >Hi Tom!
    >Hi!
    >I came across your mahj jongg website online and have a couple of questions regarding jokers:
    >1. Can a joker be used to complete a year (for example: 2-JOKER-1-7)?
    >2. Can a joker be used to complete a pair?
    >Thank you for your time and expertise!
    >Lauren S

    Hi, Lauren! Welcome to my website! Your questions:

    Can a joker be used to complete a year (for example: 2-JOKER-1-7)?
    That's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Can a joker be used to complete a pair?
    Read the back of the card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules. Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined just like that).


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card every year. In 2016, some wording was changed and some new wording was added. And many frequently asked questions are answered right there on the card. Every player owes it to the other players to understand these basic rules of the game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 30, 2017


    The computer wouldn't let me win

    >From: Mary T
    >Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:08 PM
    >Subject: Joker exchange to win hand
    >Hi Tom, I can't seem to find the answer to this. If I pick a discarded tile (a 6 dot) and expose it with my 6dot,6dot, joker, for a 4tile exposure of 3-6dots & a joker, can I then take a tile from my rack (in this case it was a 4 dot) and exchange it for the joker in another players exposed tiles of 4 dots & joker, to then win my mah jongg hand, which was in this case ... a previous exposure of three 7 dot & 1 joker tiles, the now exposed 6 dot & joker tiles and the 1 dot 3 dot & flower, flower, flower & joker from my rack, to win the hand? I was playing against computer players in the Real Mahjongg.com website and the computer wouldn't let me win, I had to discard a tile, which I discarded the joker. I was lucky to actually pick up a flower on my next turn to win. Was I wrong or was the computer wrong.
    >thanks for any input
    >Mary

    Hi, Mary!
    For the sake of my readers, I'll reword your scenario. You were playing a computer game. An opponent discards a six dot. You call it (you don't "pick" a discard; it's less confusing if the word "pick" applies exclusively to wall tiles) and expose a kong of 6D with a joker.

    Then in the same turn you redeem a joker from another player's rack, and as a result you have a complete hand (Thirteen #3).

    You try to claim the win but can't. I don't know this particular mah-jongg program; I don't know if there is a Win button but it was grayed out, or if the program did not even provide a Win button at that moment, or what. In any case, the program didn't let you claim the win.

    The program was wrong. You should contact the maker of the game, and report the bug. He needs to fix it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 29, 2017


    Someone misnamed a discard...

    >From: pat l
    >Sent: Friday, April 28, 2017 1:35 PM
    >Subject: #19 Q,A4
    >I am running a tournament soon and just want to clarify this point.
    >If I understand correctly, you state that if a person discards a tile someone needs for MJ and miscalls it and the next person draws and discards before the mistake is noticed, the game ends because the person needed the tile for MJ and once a player has revealed what tile she needs, the game cannot continue. I thought if another person had drawn and discarded it was not possible to rectify a miscalled tile. Can you explain this to me how it wouldn't be noticed that the miscalled tile was needed for MJ. Did the person say after the other person had drawn that they needed the miscalled tile. I want to be sure of rulings before the tournament. Thanks,
    >Pat L

    Hi, Pat! You wrote:

    #19 Q,A4
    You're asking about misnamed discards, and that's FAQ 19-AY. And specifically FAQ 19-AY.4.

    If I understand correctly, you state that if a person discards a tile someone needs for MJ and miscalls it and the next person draws and discards before the mistake is noticed, the game ends…
    Well, that is what I had written in FAQ 19-AY.4, but it doesn't seem right as I read it now. As you can see there, the source cited for that is the NMJL rulebook, p. 17 (rule 6). I just checked, and this specific situation is not covered in the rulebook. Thinking back on it, I recall having my own doubts as I wrote that. Now I'm pretty sure I gave an incorrect ruling in FAQ 19-AY.4, and I am correcting it.

    I thought if another person had drawn and discarded it was not possible to rectify a [misnamed] tile.
    Yes. Once the game has moved on, there's no going back.

    Can you explain this to me how it wouldn't be noticed that the miscalled tile was needed for MJ.
    I wish I could! It boggles my mind how so many people play with their ears only, and never raise their eyes above the tiles on their racks!

    Did the person say after the other person had drawn that they needed the miscalled tile.
    We're talking about a hypothetical situation. You're the one posing a question, so you're the one who defines the hypothetical situation. I inferred from what you wrote that the sequence went as follows:
    - Player A discards a tile and says the wrong name of the tile. Let's say she discards 2B and says "2 dot."
    - Player B picks from the wall and makes a discard.
    - Player C realizes that there is a 2B on the table, not a 2D. She says, "hey wait, you said 2 dot, but that's a 2 bam!"
    Here is where it could go a couple of ways - and I don't know what you were positing in the situation mentioned in your email. If some player at the table wanted 2B for mah-jongg, she should not speak. Since she cannot have the 2B because she missed her chance, she should not reveal to the table that 2B is her mahj tile. But it's natural to feel frustration, and to express it, so I imagine many players would express it and reveal "that was my mahj tile." Where I got it wrong in FAQ 19-AY.4 was assuming that her speaking changes anything. It doesn't. Now everybody knows that's her mahj tile, but only because she let the cat out of the bag herself.

    Once the misnamed discard has been covered by a subsequent discard, it is too late for another player to claim it, and it is too late to rectify the error. In FAQ 9 I discussed errors that ruin the game. Has the game been "ruined" by the misnaming incident? Only for the player who never bothered to open her eyes and look at the discard when it was discarded! And it's her own fault (she should play with her eyes open)!

    I have fixed FAQ 19-AY.4 accordingly. You'll probably have to reload the page to see the change.

    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
    April 28, 2017


    I called her dead but she denies it. What now? (FAQ 19-AB)

    >From: Renee G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:06 PM
    >Subject: Dead hand
    >Dear Mr Sloper,
    >There has been some discussion regarding declaring a hand dead.
    >When I declare a persons hand dead, and the other player agrees, then that other player stops playing...
    >However, if I declare a person's hand dead and that other players disagrees and continues to play to the end and I am right, does the other player need to pay a penalty amount to me? If the player is correct and the games ends and I was wrong, do I, likewise, have to pay a penalty to them?
    >Your answer will be greatly appreciated.
    >Sincerely,
    >Renee G

    Hi, Renee!
    The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 26, 2017


    Column 671 (#5)

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:21 PM
    >Subject: #671, April 23, 2017 - WWYP (NMJL 2017)
    >#671, April 23, 2017 - WWYP (NMJL 2017)
    >Hi TOm,
    >For hand #5 I would keep the 2 5s and the 2 9s, hoping I get some more 5s or 9s in passing and can go for the like numbers with 6 flowers with one of these numbers. I would have passed the Red, 2d, and 6d!
    >Enjoy your column very much!
    >Elise

    Fair enough, Elise. You'd focus on Like Numbers. You're probably right that Consec. #5 is too far away. Would you kick yourself if a soap came your way? Probably not, with two Like Numbers options. Thanks for the kind words about the column! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2017


    Column 671 (#8)

    >From: Fran S
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 7:25 PM
    >Subject: Comment for Mahjongg Column #671
    >Hi Tom--
    >Looking at #8 of Column #671, I see a good start for one of the Lucky "13 " hands (#2 with mixed suits) using the F, pair of 5C, the 8D, and especially the 1B and 3B. That's six tiles that includes the sometimes hard-to-get 13, and jokers can be used to fill in any of the tiles needed for the hand. Therefore, I wouldn't toss the 8D as you suggest.
    >Love your column!
    >Fran Shay

    Very nice, Fran! So what would you pass? Looks like there are plenty of options (of tiles to get rid of) - but which ones, or does it matter? Thanks for the kind words about the column! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2017


    What do the letters on dragon tiles mean? It's a mystery!

    >From: Jackie P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: question?
    >I don’t really know anything about online bulletin boards so I’m not sure if I post a question if everyone who sees it will answer me or if only you answer me
    >and then just post it for people to comment on. I’m sorry if I did this in the wrong order. I wasn’t sure if I’m supposed to let a bunch of people answer me and
    >then wonder if they are giving me correct information. My question is: What is the significance of the letter P inside the white dragons; a C on the red dragons; and
    >an F on the green dragons?
    >Jackie

    Hi, Jackie!
    Welcome to my website. It's not exactly a standard bulletin board (I don't have the time or technical chops to turn this into a standard bulletin board), so the procedure here is a bit different from the way things are done on standard bulletin boards. Anyway, you asked about the "mysterious" letters on the dragon tiles on some mah-jongg sets. Like these, for instance…

    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. The "mystery tiles" question you asked is FAQ 7-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've read that FAQ, you can always email me again with any other questions. But 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
    April 25, 2017


    Like Numbers #1

    >From: Snelly
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:07 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card - Like Numbers
    >I had a discussion about the FF 1111 DDDD 1111 (Any 3 Suits) hand. I insisted that since it says 3 Suits that the Dragons could not match either Kong. My opponent (who happened to be my wife) said that since it does not say opposing Dragons... that any Dragons can be used.
    >Thanks Don

    Hi, Don.
    This probably won't work, but you might as well try. Get out your mah-jongg set and do this: make a pair of flowers, and then make like kongs of any number in any two suits. Then ask her to say what the third suit is (thus what the dragon must be). If you made kongs of, say, 7 bams and 7 dots, and she says "green," then tell her "that's 2 suits; the hand is shown in 3 colors, and the card even says, in English, that the hand has to be 3 suits." She can't make 3 suits without using opposing dragons, and the card clearly says the hand has to be 3 suits (it does not say "2 or 3 suits").
    If she still doesn't want to listen to her husband, you can call the National Mah Jongg League during east coast weekday business hours and hand the phone to her. If there's a woman on the other end, maybe she'll believe what she hears. Normally I say not to phone the League, but this is the second time this week I made an exception to that. But like I always say: "there's an exception to every rule, even this one." (But there's no exception to Like Numbers #1 - it has to be 3 suits.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule - part 6

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 2:09 AM
    >Subject: Re: picking a tile from the wall, sliding it, changing their mind, legal...
    >Hi Tom...I did indeed send you this letter, copied from a discussion on a mahjongg fb group page. I was wondering what the four NMJL rulings you cited in the footnotes pertain to, with regard to your original post in your column as to commitment about removing a tile, sliding it from the wall, touch it, it's fine; move it, it is yours. Thank you.
    >Debbi Ann L

    Good morning, Debbi Ann!
    I believe you're referring to the sources for FAQ 19-AM.1. Those four newsletters (2005, 2006, 2007, 2012) all refer to lifting the wall tile. As I told Donna yesterday, I don't recall where or when I got the idea that the League equated any movement with "lifting." Last night I altered FAQ 19-AM.1 by removing any references to non-lifting movement. And I also edited the RDWW erratum about that. Any one who owns a copy of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind" can download the up-to-date errata at http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/rdww.htm.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule - part 5

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 7:07 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna e
    > paypal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from donna e). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: donna e
    >Message: Thank you for always willing to help with all things MJ. You are the best!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 4

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 6:02 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I'm not Debbie. I'm guessing she took that off of MJTI Fb but I had already sent it to you.
    >I just wish the NMJL would go,with the tournament rule - you touch it, it's yours , and that would solve all of these issues. I'm assuming you can only slide the bottom tile, I understand what you said.
    >Donna

    Sorry, Donna. I was going off your comment about an email being sent unfinished (I never received that one). And getting a Donna letter from Debbie Ann was confusing (I had to double-check that I had actually downloaded the same image from two different emails).
    I think there's a strictness differential between the League's rulings on (1) saying the name of a discard and (2) sliding a wall tile.
    Merely taking a breath and letting a little air go through your vocal cords "commits" you to discarding a tile, but sliding a wall tile all over the place doesn't commit you to taking it. In my opinion, the first is overly strict, and the latter is overly lenient.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 4

    >From: C Sandy
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 5:47 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the Card - Definitive answer from NMJL
    >Tom - My "sent" copy included the following attachment. Hope it arrives with this note. - Sandy

    Sure enough, Sandy. I missed it the first time. My bad. Thanks for sharing!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    Column 671 (#4)

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 5:15 PM
    >Subject: Column #671, Hand #4
    >I've been playing Mah Jongg for about a year and will be playing with a new card for the first time tomorrow. Your exercises and explanations are a good assist for adjusting my thinking to the new hands prior to playing. Thank you.
    >For most of your examples I understand your logic, but for hand #4 your explanation says, in part: "not enough friends for Odds". The best option I see is Odds #1 with one of the two pairs already completed and 3 other friends plus a Joker. You suggested both the 5C and 9C as tiles that could be passed; I think I'd hold on to them and pass the 4C, N and 4B to play for Odds #1 and, like you suggest, also keeping the dragons for the possibility of 2017 #2.
    >John

    Hi, John! I have to say that your thinking is very good. I was looking at those high odds and thinking that most Odds hands are either high or low when I wrote that. But you're right, they do make a good start for Odds #1. Very good!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 2?

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 3:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: picking a tile from the wall, sliding it, changing their mind, legal...
    >Hi Tom...thought you may be interested in this response from nmjl...
    >Best Regards, Debbi Ann L

    Thanks, Debbi Ann. I guess you're actually Donna, using someone else's email account. Anyway, I'll change my answer to this question in the future (and in any FAQ, and if necessary in the RDWW errata). More below.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017

    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 3?

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 3:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Tom, so sorry that last email sent prior to me finishing it.
    >Ok...a few weeks ago we talked about the fact that that both 'lifting a tile from the wall' and 'sliding the tile' from the wall (both on row really) committed you to taking the tile. Out of curiosity, I wrote to the NMJL and their answer is below. I just wanted to see what they would have to say.
    >I so wish the NMJL would put these rules on their website or be sure to include them in the yearly bulletin. That's why I love tournament rules as everything is very clear.
    >Thank you,
    >Donna

    Donna, I assume you mean the email from Debbi Ann. Because she also sent me a photo of your letter. And I also assume that the time stamps on those two emails must be a fluke of email handling. As I wrote above, I will change my answer to this question in the future. I don't recall where or when I got the idea that the League equated any movement with "lifting."

    I'm not thrilled by this rule; the purpose of the rule was to discourage indecisiveness and annoying "changes of heart" after a move was committed to. I think sliding a tile to your side of the table is a commitment, but consider this: sliding only works with a bottom wall tile. A top wall tile, if slid off the bottom tile without any upward movement, cannot be slid back into place without lifting (and once lifted, must be taken into the hand). But imagine someone sliding a wall tile that's already touching the tablecloth; she slides it all the way to her side of the table, then says, "Um, you know what, I think I want that last discard instead." She can slide it all the way back. A little bit of time was wasted, but perhaps it's not that big a deal, if it applies only to half the tiles on the wall (i.e. the bottom tiles).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 2:52 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Matthew C (sandy)
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Matthew C (sandy@ ). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Matthew C
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    >From: C Sandy
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the Card - Definitive answer from NMJL
    >On Apr 11, 2017, at 10:31 AM, C Sandy wrote:
    >Thanks!

    Thank you very much, Sandy!
    Your email includes a mysterious phrase in the subject line: "Definitive answer from NMJL." If you contacted the League with your question, I'd love to hear what they said!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    Set query

    >From: John W
    >Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: age and country mahjong set query and possible worth
    >Hi Tom
    >I have an old Mahjong set of my father’s most likely purchased while he was in the Navy during the Korean War – possibly from either Japan or Hong Kong.
    >Photos attached.
    >Condition of playing tiles – very good. 6 have the backings loose. 1 tile missing backing Backing is green in colour
    >Case is made of cardboard and is fair to poor. Closes with a two simple press stud closers.144 playing tiles (three blank extra) = 147, 33 blue tokens, 12 green tokens, 3 red tokens, 3 small original dice, 1 round ‘chooser’ with 4 characters.
    >Made most likely from info from your web site – Bakelite? The material that the tiles is made is semi translucent – like amber. The most interesting feature that I am most interested in is that what I thought at first to be cracks or flaws on the surface are in fact it seems that most of the tiles contain within them an additional character embedded within the tile?? If you can explain further on this feature/flaw. Photos have tried to show the feature within the tiles – mah6, mah7, mah8 are all different views of the same tile. Only the blanks do not have some feature within the tile.
    >Dimensions – 28mm x 20mm x (11mm depth of tile + 4mm backing=15mm)
    >No paper material included, no trade markings
    >I hope this is all the information that you require
    >Regards
    >Michaela W

    Hi, Michaela. It appears you have four questions: Age? Country? Worth? Bakelite?

    Not sure. Could be anytime from the 1950s to the 1980s, based on the cheap style of case.

    Your guess that your sailor father might have gotten it in Hong Kong during the Korean War seems feasible and perhaps even likely. The set doesn't appear to be from Japan.

    It's not particularly valuable. I disagree with your assessment of the set's condition. You called it "Very Good," but then you say, "6 have the backings loose. 1 tile missing backing." Since it needs repair and even a replacement part, it is less than utilitarian (it cannot be played with if a tile is missing its back and several tile backs are separated), so I'd call the overall condition Poor. Additionally, the set cannot be used to play American-style mah-jongg as is (not enough tiles), which reduces the sellability. I'd say the value is in the tens of dollars - probably under $50 as a set. It might have more value for replacement parts than as a set.

    That type of set is often called "applejuice Bakelite" because of its resemblance to apple juice. It's interesting that the blanks do not exhibit any interior cracking. That tells me that the interior cracks may have been introduced in the manufacturing process (perhaps the designs were made with pressure). It's not uncommon to see this sort of tiles with interior cracking.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    Questionable ruling, part 2

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 9:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The rule I was trying to remember that the NMJL changed then rescinded was the one Donna E posted. Your memory is better than mine!
    >Thank you for your site, I have learned a great deal from reading postings, your strategy column and FAQ 19.
    >Bee

    I did see that on Facebook, Bee. That's where I learned about the 2013 revision to the rulebook, from a Tony R posting on Feb. 24. (See "Heavenly Hand rule change, part 4," below.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 21, 2017


    She had a change of heart

    >From: Margaret M
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player identifies a discard but has not placed it face up on the table, May that player withdraw that discard and replace it with another?

    Hi, Margaret!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Questions 19-A & 19-B. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 21, 2017


    The mysteries of space

    >From: "cherylt
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Why is 336 33669 336699 without spaces and FF 22 4 6 88 22 4 6 88 with spaces? Typo?

    I have no idea, Cheryl. Why don't you ask the League? Their phone number is on the card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 21, 2017


    2017 #3

    >From: Lanelle B
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 5:05 AM
    >Subject: Mahj hand
    >Good morning,
    >Love the info on 2017 card. Question? Hand FF 2017 7777 7777
    >Three suits. Can for instance...2017 be cracks, 7777 cracks, 7777 bams?
    >Thanks,
    >Lanelle B

    Hi, Lanelle!
    Craks, craks, and bams, hmm? How do you figure that's three suits? Craks are the same suit as craks. You need to use dots somewhere in there. Craks, dots, bams. Or dots, craks, bams. Or bams, dots, craks. You can't have a kong of sevens that's the same suit as the 2017. And you can't have two kongs of sevens in the same suit.

    Re-read the red text above the 2017 hands on the card. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 21, 2017


    Questionable ruling

    >From: Belinda -
    >Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I haven't posted in a while but wanted to run this by you.
    >Barney's
    message of 3/29 mentioned a player that called a discard and exposed 3 flowers, then put up another 3 flowers. Barney recently posted in the Facebook group that he had written to the NMJL and they ruled that there is no penalty and the hand would not be dead. I think this is a very poor ruling from the NMJL. This should be considered an incorrect exposure as she only needed to expose 3 flowers. This would be no different than if she exposed the 3 flowers than also exposed a kong of any number or a kong of a wind. Both should be incorrect as you expose tiles when picking a matching discard or adding joker(s) to complete the exposure.
    >Here is another scenario - we have a player that never says Mah Jongg, she simply takes the discard or one from the wall and places her MJ on her rack. This ruling would allow her to place some tiles on her rack, half way through realize she does not have MJ, leave the true exposure and whatever else she exposed on her rack and continue playing. That is not how this game is intended to be played. I think their ruling should be rescinded. Do you agree?
    >PS: They recently answered a written question, then rescinded it, but I do not remember what rule that was, but it was posted on Mah Jongg That's It.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee! Good to hear from you:

    Barney recently posted in the Facebook group that he had written to the NMJL and they ruled that there is no penalty and the hand would not be dead. I think this is a very poor ruling from the NMJL. This should be considered an incorrect exposure as she only needed to expose 3 flowers. This would be no different than if she exposed the 3 flowers than also exposed a kong of any number or a kong of a wind. Both should be incorrect as you expose tiles when picking a matching discard or adding joker(s) to complete the exposure.
    I'm with you completely, Bee.

    we have a player that never says Mah Jongg, she simply takes the discard or one from the wall and places her MJ on her rack. This ruling would allow her to place some tiles on her rack, half way through realize she does not have MJ, leave the true exposure and whatever else she exposed on her rack and continue playing. That is not how this game is intended to be played. I think their ruling should be rescinded. Do you agree?
    Yes. It's incorrect to expose willy-nilly; doing so should be punishable by "death." But that's just my opinion, and people shouldn't play by my opinion (they should play by what the League says).

    PS: They recently answered a written question, then rescinded it, but I do not remember what rule that was, but it was posted on Mah Jongg That's It.
    I don't read Facebook regularly, so I don't know. We did have an example of a rescinded ruling here on this board; the League had told Donna E that they had erred when previously telling her that the Charleston must happen even if East has a complete hand on the initial deal (a direct contradiction of the rule in the 2013 revision of the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy). I published that correspondence on March 13, below.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2017


    What if three players go dead?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:29 AM
    >Subject: existing player when MJ was declared in error.
    >If a player declares Mah Jonggg in error, I know that the other three players continue playing, if all walls are intact. If, later in the game, two of the other players become "dead" for some reasons, what happens to the sole remaining player? Does that player get paid, and from whom?
    >Thanks in advance for your help.

    FAQ 19-BW. It's not that hard to find an answer in FAQ 19. If you don't want to visually scan through the index, you can search the page for key words. (If you use an iPad, tap the Search box in the upper right corner. If you are on a Windows desktop or laptop computer, hit Control-F. If you are on a Mac desktop or laptop, that's Command-F.) Then type key words into the search box. It may be necessary to try different key words to find your desired topic.
    I myself don't remember the precise location of each answer, so I use the search myself. For your question, Jeanne, I typed "what if" in the search box and then hit "Enter" (on my PC keyboard) to jump from one "What if" to another, and within a few presses, there was the answer.
    Just to see what would happen, I also tried searching for the phrase "three players," and got the answer much quicker that way. That's what I mean by trying "multiple key words" (also called "search strings" in computer jargonese).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2017


    Oopsie in column 470

    >From: Rebecca Z.
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 3:06 PM
    >Subject: Column 670
    >I'm a Mah Jongg newbie but love the game and appreciate your columns.
    >In today's column 670, exposure #5, could it not be Odds#6?
    >Thanks for all your helpful info!
    >Rebecca

    >From: Beth P
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 3:36 PM
    >Subject: strategy column #670
    >Hello Tom. In Strategy column #670, Don’t call her dead yet! Fifth one : What about odds # 6 for your defense.. 1’s and 3’s in the same suit would work there. Love your web site. Beth P.

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: April 16, 2017 - Defense (NMJL 2017)
    >Hand # 5 could be 1133 111333 5555, so it is not dead and hot tiles are 135 in both other suits!!
    >love your column!
    >Elise

    >From: Charter <johnh
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A Column #670
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I found your "Easter Egg" in column #670: you called Exposure #5 a dead hand, however, exposure #5 could be played to Odds #6, which is not a closed hand and can't be called dead based only on the exposed tiles.
    >John

    Very good, all of you! I'm heading to the column to unleash the "oopsie."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 16, 2017


    When were futures outlawed?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 8:07 AM
    >Subject: Picking ahead
    >Do you know if it was ever a mah jongg rule that made picking ahead (futures)
    > a part of the game. If so, when did this rule end?

    Welcome back, Jeanne! I discussed this question in FAQ 19-R. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 16, 2017


    New strategy column posted: Defense

    You have the new 2017 card, and an opponent is showing exposures. What would you do? Check out this week's strategy column! Maybe I goofed somewhere - spot the goof(s) and get a tip o' the Sloperama hat! (Not saying I goofed on purpose - but I nevertheless reserve the right to say later, "yeah, that was, cough, intentional. Good4U, U found the Easter egg!")
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 9:16 PM
    >Subject: Re: MJ question please follow up
    >Thank you Tom for your clarification on my question below. You are the best!
    >I agree with you that if you "move the tile" from the wall, you are committed to it, but where in the rules (I have MJ Made Easy) does it actually state this so I can show people when the question arises. I can't find it in the NMJL rule book.
    >Thanks, so much!
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna.
    To find the answer to your question, I looked at the "For further reading" references at the bottom of FAQ 19-AM. The sources of that rule are the yearly newsletters of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012 (and possibly other earlier yearly newsletters as well).


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2017


    Speaking the discard's name

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 2:23 PM
    >Subject: MJ question please
    >Tom,
    >I love your website and I refer to it often and I know you update when there is an adjustment to a rule.
    >I'm noticing in the column below it says "not yet spoken the tile's name in full", my response from the NMJL dated 10/6/2016 says "even if the tile is partially named, it is considered verbalized and you can't change your mind. The tile is considered down once you have verbalized". Of course, I think it's much fairer to say "fully named" but I don't make the rules.
    >Thank you,
    >Donna E
    >Column 499
    >Discarding a tile: you may change your mind if you have not yet spoken the tile's name in full; you may change your mind if the tile has not yet touched the table. But once you have done either of those things, you have committed to the action.

    Hi, Donna!
    I'm with you; the League is too strict on this point. If I say "S..." you have no idea what I was about to say. If my thumb is obscuring the tile's design, you can't know if I'm holding a six dot or seven dot or six bam or seven bam or six crak or seven crak or south or soap. If I suddenly spy a redeemable joker on somebody's rack, I can easily say, "Say, Mabel, may I have that joker, please?" It sounds like I just stuttered a bit.
    If I had said, "Sou..." you know I was discarding south, and it's too late to take it back. That's fair. I suppose now I have to backtrack on what I said in column 499, hmm?
    FAQ 19-A already has a disclaimer about this rule. Tell you what: I'll append this conversation to the column. That should cover it!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2017


    Didn't they say, part 3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:17 AM
    >Subject: blind passing part 3
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for looking this up. It seems to me that if there is a rule, there should be a penalty for breaking it. Like having to keep whatever tiles you "peeked" at. Or being called dead. I think I would say in a loud voice "hey that's cheating!" Sometimes eye-daggers are not enough to make the point!
    >Thanks, Linda

    I get your point, Linda.
    I agree that prohibitions should be enforceable by penalties. One unenforceable rule is "you shouldn't call yourself dead." There's no penalty for that, either.
    The Majiang Competition Rules are very tightly codified, and in that rule set, there are levels of penalties. First offense is a verbal warning. Points are deducted after repeat offenses, and a player who continually breaks rules can be eliminated from a tournament.
    The American penalties, by comparison, range from "dead" to "pay a quarter" or "pay for everyone" to "no harm done, move along." The 2013 rulebook is only slightly tighter than the 1984 rulebook. Both are nowhere near as tightly written as the MCR rules, or the modern Japanese rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2017


    Column 668

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 6:23 AM
    >Subject: This is what happens when I "study"
    >New mj card - column 668 - am I getting too neurotic, since chances are I will never get these anyway!
    >Comment "s & p #3 - "singles"
    >Why isn't 336 a pair of 3's and a single 6 (same suit)
    >Why isn't 33669 a pair of 3's, a pair of 6's, and a single 9? (Same suit)
    >Etc. why are they all referred to as singles?
    >Leslie

    You're absolutely right, Leslie. In the cold light of morning, it's obvious to me I used misleading words there, so I've edited it to read: "336 is not a pung; it's a pair and a single. 33669 is not a quint; it's two pairs and a single. 336699 is not a sextet; it's three pairs. This section is called 'Singles and Pairs,' after all."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2017


    Didn't they say there's no penalty for peeking at the blind pass? (part 2)

    Linda, I'm home now and I have the 2017 newsletter. It says, "The League does not recommend a penalty for looking at a blind pass. We do suggest that you remind others that [they] may not do this, that the reason that this is referred to as a 'blind pass' is that it is not to be looked at, but merely passed."
    And of course, shoot her dagger looks every now and then too! (~_^) And watch that cheater like a hawk (pointedly) during the first left and the last right of every Charleston for the rest of the play session.
    Tom

    April 14, 2017


    Didn't they say there's no penalty for peeking at the blind pass?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 1:45 PM
    >Subject: the blind pass
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have misplaced my 2017 NMJL bulletin/letter that came with the new card, but I think I read that there is no penalty for looking at the tiles you are "blind passing." Is that correct? What is your opinion of this?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I don't have my newsletter handy right now, but I'm pretty sure it's correct that there's no penalty (the rulebook doesn't say you can't shoot daggers at a cheater with your eyes, though).
    When I get home, I'll check the 2017 newsletter. I'll report back on what it does say about peek-passing, if it says 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
    April 14, 2017


    What's the highest possible score in Chinese Official MJ?

    >From: Lynn P#2
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 12:12 PM
    >Subject: curious to know
    >Hi Tom, Bishop ,CA here again. We play Chinese. Yesterday Kay scored 121 points with 4 big winds and all terminal/honor pungs , plus a flower, and we were curious about what is the highest score recorded or possible. I tried googling this to no avail. Thanks as always, Lynn

    I have no idea, Lynn. From your March 17 email, I guess you're still talking about Majiang Competition Rules, not Chinese Classical, for instance (the specific Chinese variant matters a lot when talking about max score). I think some of the international mah-jongg thinkers from the early 2000s might have discussed this on the old mahjong newsgroup, but I don't remember for sure. One measly flower? There are eight, you know. So you could certainly add another 7 points. And what about single wait by self-pick (add 2 more). And what if the winning tile was the last tile on the wall? And what if the pair was dragons instead of terminals? And what if the wind pungs are actually all kongs? I don't do math on request, so you're welcome to give it a try!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 14, 2017


    Thank you and another question

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 5:24 AM
    >Subject: Thank you and another question
    >Thank you for your kind and friendly reply.
    >In reviewing practice, I see
    >Hand #7-two pairs: flowers and Souths. The Souths are weak (no friends), so count highs vs. lows: three highs, five lows. Highs can go; pass S 7C 9B.
    >Aren't flowers and souths friends? (W-D #5)? Or the idea is to narrow down options. Since this is a concealed hand, might not be worth the trouble. I admit, on first pass I like to see if more winds will come my way. I have much to learn!
    >Leslie

    >From: "service@paypal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 5:26 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from WatchingHour
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from WatchingHour
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: WatchingHour
    >Message: From leslie. Thank,you for all your work.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks for the donation, Leslie!
    As for puzzle 7 in column 669, certainly the Fs and Ss are friends, but they amount to just four tiles. Each player has to come up with her own "strategy rules" (in quotes because they're not really rules, per se). For example, I played with a player who said that she had a "rule" to never go for a W-D hand unless she had at least four flowers in hand. I haven't adopted that strategy myself, but I generally don't target a hand for which I have just four tiles total (as in this case), unless there's absolutely nothing else to go on with my latest collection of lousy tiles.

    W-D is a fickle family, especially the winds branch; because there are only four winds, one's main opportunity to net some is during the Charleston, when they're commonly let loose. But it's common knowledge among experienced players that winds get passed around, and that sometimes when they get passed, they don't come back (meaning somebody's collecting them). An experienced player who notices that somebody's grabbing up winds will make an effort to stop passing winds* in the second Charleston, if she can help it. And some players who have two winds might hold onto them to see if more come in, or to just thwart wind collection (especially if it's known that one of the other players habitually collects winds).

    With a flower pair and a wind pair, one could try to pass non-winds and see if any winds come in, but a fallback plan is needed. One could try to observe what's going around while winds aren't, and then pivot to what's trending in the second Charleston--but what if somebody decides to stop? All in all, I prefer Consecutive Runs.

    *Sorry for the double entendre, but (1) I haven't found a better way of saying it, and (2) it never stops tickling my funny bone.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 14, 2017


    "Siamese" tile count

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:45 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mahjong question or comment is: I'm a recent player of Siamese Mah Jong. Upon following the directions, East dealt herself 28 tiles and then dealt me, the opposite player, 27 tiles. The object is for each person to work on building 2 Mah Jong hands at the same time. Each of us used a special "double-rack". We used American rules and real tiles. The first player to Mahj both hands successfully is the winner. I was the winner today. Unfortunately, there was 1 tile left. The opposite player has encountered the same thing when she played with her husband at their home. I'm wondering if, instead of dealing 28 and 27 tiles, it should be 27 tiles and 26 tiles?
    >Thanks for your input!
    >Laury

    Hi, Laury.
    I haven't played that new variant, but I can tell you that in order to make two mah-jongg hands, you need 28 tiles. If you made two valid mah-jongg hands but had a 29th tile, then somewhere along the way you must have forgotten to discard. A player who has too many tiles should be called dead by her opponent.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 13, 2017


    I want more!

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:00 AM
    >Subject: Hope I'm doing this right
    >Hello, love your site, especially American Mah Jongg which is what I am learning. I've been playing infrequently for about one year.
    >Right now, I am in Philly area, will be in So. Cal. Area later on in year, so maybe then I can ask about classes or (nice) groups.
    >This is my request: Your "What would you do" practice hands are fabulous. For me, they are the best way to learn the new card and Charleston. I am following your 4 steps. I realize sometimes one goes on a hunch, but having some general direction is wonderful.
    >How can I obtain (and I will pay) additional practice hands with your comments? I would do a raft of them, as they help me with the card and hands as well. But without your suggestions, it isn't nearly as good. Or fun.
    >I hope I have not been out of line by emailing you. I greatly respect privacy and hope to be a kind and considerate person and player.
    >Sincerely,
    >Leslie

    Hi, Leslie!
    You weren't out of line at all. I'm flattered that you find my columns so helpful. But turning out one column every week is sometimes more than I can manage, what with my duties at the university where I teach. I really can't produce more than a column a week.
    Practicing with your own tiles is excellent practice. But I appreciate what you said, that my commentary helps. I'll try not to miss a week, especially now when the card is still fresh.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 13, 2017


    Column 669

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 6:13 PM
    >Subject: Question about Column #669
    >Hi Tom:
    >I just looked at your column and at the Q&A Bulletin Board but I haven’t seen a comment yet about Question #3. I am wondering why you did not mention the “2017” section as a possibility, #2 in particular (6 tiles) or less likely #3 (5 tiles). I know those hands are missing flowers, but shouldn’t 2017 #2 be considered? To “pass highs” as you suggest could be interpreted as passing the 7D, which would break up 2017. Or is the 2017 section too unlikely because of the missing pair of flowers? What do you think?
    >Deborah

    Deborah, you are so right! I totally overlooked 2017. And you are also right that the absence of flowers is a problem. If only there was one, I wouldn't see it as that much of a problem. But without any, we'll have to pick lucky to get that flower pair. So let's take it the next step: what would you pass instead of just "highs"?
    "Highs but not 7D"?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 2

    >From: C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:31 AM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the NMLA Card
    >Thanks!

    You're welcome.


    I want to rearrange my card, part 1

    >From: C
    >Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 7:54 AM
    >Subject: Rearranging the NMLA Card
    >Tom - I find the layout of the NMLA cards (of any year) as presented doesn't "suit my eye" and makes it difficult for me to identify patterns/opportunities, as compared to other sequencing/presentations. For example, in section 2468 (and others), I would prefer to see the three (Any 1 Suit) solutions at the top of the list, followed by (Any 2 Suit) solutions, then (Any 3 Suit) solutions.
    >Similarly, I prefer to reorder the card sections as well, e.g. "369" followed by "13579" followed by "2468", etc.
    >I well understand the copyright laws which prohibit reproducing the card. However, is there any reason that I can't deconstruct the card into its individual lines and then reconstruct those lines in whatever order suits me? The solutions all remain the same, of course.
    >I look forward to your response. Regards - Sandy C

    Hi, Sandy!
    First off, it needs to be said that I am not a lawyer, and my answer is not to be taken as legal advice.
    It sounds like what you want to do is cut up your card and tape it back together in a different order. I don't see how the National Mah Jongg League, Inc. (assuming that's who you mean by "NMLA") could have a legal objection to that. But the players at your table may look askance at your card. And I foresee a couple problems with having a card that's organized differently from everyone else's:
    - When you tell everybody what hand you won on, it's customary to help them find it on the card, by identifying which card section it's in, and how far down to count to find it. If you've got them organized differently, you've got a challenge in helping others identify and recognize your winning hand so you can collect winnings. Similarly, when someone else wins, you want to check that player's hand against the card, and you're going to have to use a different search technique than what she tells you.
    - If you cut up your card and reorganize it, you won't have the rules on the back anymore. And if you make a photocopy of your card (to cut that up instead), you are infringing on the League's right to dictate how, whether, and for what benefit their work is to be copied. Maybe you need to buy two cards - one to cut up and one to refer to when someone wins, and when checking rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2, part III

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    >Thank you.

    You're welcome.


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2, part II

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:03 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    >Dear Sloper - in the interest of humor, I am not amused by your site that obviously only wants to sell his books. Your answer is not shown, Furthermore, I reloaded to no avail. Your system stinks

    Ssnyder, I'm sorry you couldn't get my bulletin board to work. And I'm sorry you think poorly of me. Since you can't get my website to work, I'm emailing you the answer to the question you asked on March 31st: "Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?" 
    The answer is: 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.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2017


    Can I claim a discard to expose a 2017, part 2

    >From: Therese
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:57 PM
    >Subject: Re: MahJ. questiion
    >MANY (tiles full of) THANKS, TOM. I see ---I understand -- I believe ---- Therese


    Can I claim a discard to expose a 2017?

    >From: Therese
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 11:31 AM
    >Subject: MahJ. questiion
    >I checked the question list but did not find an answer for my question.
    >I have been playing with an experienced, long time group. They say that when when you are attempting a year - example 2016- you may not pick up a white dragon to complete your set of four (example 2016) unless it is for a Mah Jongg win. I can not find this rule written in guides.
    >Thank you for answering this question.
    >Therese

    Hi, Therese!
    Somehow you missed FAQ 19-E and FAQ 16. You can link to those FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2017


    New strategy column posted: WWYP

    You have the new 2017 card, and a random assortment of tiles. What would you pass? Check out this week's strategy column!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Mah-jongg is now a Mind Sport

    Big mah-jongg news this week!
    The International Mind Sports Association has recognized mah-jongg as an official mind sport, and has welcomed the Mahjong International League into its fold! Read all about it on MahjongNews.com!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    P.S. Most people outside of the USA spell the game's name as "mahjong" (as one word, not hyphenated, with one G). The NMJL spells it "mah jongg" (as two words, not hyphenated, with two Gs), but out of respect for Joseph P. Babcock and what he did to bring the game to the West, I use his spelling, "mah-jongg" (with the hyphen and two Gs). But what's in a name? Heck, the Chinese (when using our alphabet) spell it "majiang." The game is fun, no matter how you spell it. - Tom


    Heavenly Hand

    >From: Lynn P#1
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 7:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg, today we were discussing special hands and I said a “Heavenly Hand” was when the dealer had Mah Jongg at the end of the Charleston. I just looked up definition and Wikipedia says, “Dealer draws winning hand at the beginning of the game.” Am I having a lapse in memory since the end of the Charleston the dealer does not draw. She is passed the last right or optional tiles. Please refresh my memory. Also I remember your mentioning another special hand but it escaped me. Thanks again for all your help, the 1st Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn P#1!
    Heavenly Hand is described in FAQ 19-BJ and in column 666. You didn't think to check the FAQs?
    The League recognizes Heavenly Hand (albeit not by that name, necessarily*) - but it does not recognize either The Hand of Earth (a non-dealer wins on dealer's first discard) or The Hand of Man (a non-dealer wins by discard before his/her first wall pick, provided that no one has made any exposures yet). Those are recognized only in some Asian forms of mah-jongg. "Hand of Earth" is sometimes called "Earthly Hand," and I suppose one could say "Manly Hand" rather than "Hand of Man," but it sounds weird to Western ears! But anyway, as I said, neither of those two situations is recognized in American mahj.

    *I'm the one who brought the term "Heavenly Hand" (or "Hand of Heaven") into the American game (it's not called that in the official rulebook) - it's a common term in other forms of mah-jongg, and when I learned that it is recognized by the National Mah Jongg League, I applied the traditional name from those other mah-jongg forms.
    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
    April 7, 2017


    How do you score… never mind, I found it!

    >From: Elizabeth K
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 2:20 PM
    >Subject: paying double in mah jongg joker less hands
    >Last night someone played singles and pairs, line 6 on 2017 card. was she entitled to receive double pay since it was a no joker hand? Thanks Tom, Betty Kane, Sea Isle City NJ
    >ps I looked for answer in FAQ but didn’t find it. (sorry)

    >From: Elizabeth K
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 2:22 PM
    >Subject: oops, sorry found answer on back of 2017 card, exception: singles and pairs group no bonus sorry to have bothered you. but enjoy your website:-)

    No worries, Elizabeth! I love it when folks find their own answers! \(^_^)/
    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
    April 7, 2017

    P.S. That question isn't answered in my FAQs, since it's right there on the card where you found it! - Tom


    Why say "same," part 3

    >From: ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:56 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Ok. I'm a player who pays attention and i have no tolerance for those who don't. Thanks for the discussion.??

    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2017


    Why say "same," part 2

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:11 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Sorry, not logical, just a lot of jibberish. ??

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I don't think you read my question thoroughly.

    Hi, ttomasky.
    I'm sorry you found my FAQ unsatisfactory. I did read your question thoroughly - the FAQ answer is simply worded so as to answer questions about the reason for saying "same" or the name of the previous discard. Whether someone says "same" or says the name of the previous discard, it's all the same. (Saying "soap" is exactly the same as saying "same" if one is throwing a second soap in a row, or throwing a joker after a soap.)
    And it doesn't matter how many of that tile have been discarded, since the practice is not to try to fool the players who are paying attention -- but is rather to lull the players who aren't paying attention (not alerting them to the fact that what you discarded is a joker).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2017


    Sandwiching jokers in an exposure

    >From: Bev S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:12 AM
    >Subject: Exposing your jokers and proper separation
    >Hi Tom.
    >I looked and didnt find a rule on this in my book,
    >I was taught by a good player, who was into player etiquette.
    >When putting up your exposed hand we were told to enclose when possible the joker between the nbrs
    >And not to run it into an earlier exposure, so that it was clear just where the joker belonged.
    >Is this a rule or just a table rule.
    >I always do it. And have taught a lot of players, that it's the correct, and fair way to lay out the tiles.
    >If I'm playing in competition, what can I expect, or can I expect this as a stratagie to confuse me in a quick playing game to not know just where the joker belongs?
    >Sorry if missed this in the list.
    >Bev

    Hello, Bev!
    Interesting question! You asked:

    we were told to enclose when possible the joker between the nbrs
    >And not to run it into an earlier exposure, so that it was clear just where the joker belonged.
    Yes, I teach my students to always "sandwich the joker" for just this reason.

    Is this a rule or just a table rule.
    It's not a "rule" at all. It's just common sense. You want the other players to pay you when you win, so you have to let them see your winning hand -- with no confusing tile placement to get in their way of recognizing it. I'm very glad that you teach your students that, too.

    If I'm playing in competition, what can I expect
    At a tournament, you can expect to find nice people who play intelligently and courteously. You can expect to find terrified newbies who shudder at the thought of making any kind of mistake. You can expect nasty competitive players, you can expect poker faces, and you can expect cheaters.

    or can I expect this as a stratagie to confuse me in a quick playing game to not know just where the joker belongs?
    What an interesting idea. That thought never occurred to me, and I never saw anyone who was deliberately not sandwiching her jokers so as to screw with the other players. If someone does that, it's easily remedied: just ask her, after every exposure, "please sandwich your jokers."

    Sorry if missed this in the list.
    I don't know which list you're thinking of. If you're thinking of FAQ 19, since sandwiching the jokers is not a rule, it's not listed there. If you're thinking of FAQ 9, you've raised a good point - that this belongs in there. What I'll do is append this Q&A to the FAQ. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2017


    Why say "same"?

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Cc: Arlene K
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 5:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: when discarding a joker, the nmjl card says to call it the same as previous discard.
    >That doesn't make sense! What if the other three have already been discarded or someone is holding the other three? Just say joker!

    Hi, ttomasky!
    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. Please read FAQ 19-G3. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2017


    2017 #2

    >From: Jim H.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:58 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card
    >Howdy Tom,
    >Under 2017, hand #2, wouldn't this meet the 2 suit requirement?
    >FF JJGG 2017 JJGG with 2, 1 & 7 in dots or craks
    >It may not be in the spirit of Mah Jongg but it seems to meet the requirement.
    >Thanks (and I love your website),
    >Jim H.

    Hi, Jim.
    As I demonstrated in FAQ 16 already, the hand can be made in 2 suits if the 2017 and one of the dragon kongs are the same suit. I hadn't really considered the two dragon kongs being the same suit. I agree with you that technically, that seems to fit the "2 suits" description. I think you would get arguments if you did this at the table, though, so I would advise against it. Don't forget, you could also reorganize the tiles as FF GGGG 2017 JJJJ, thus avoiding all controversy (unless you have people at the table who wrongly think you shouldn't or can't make a kong that's all jokers).
    I suppose I'll add this to FAQ 16...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2017


    Redemption with the wrong tile

    >From: James S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Error in exchanging a suit tile for a joker.
    >Tom,
    >My question is this: East exposed 2 six bams with two jokers. Player across from her called for one of the jokers giving what she thought was a six bam. Play continued two rounds when I drew a six bam and asked for the other joker. It then was realized that the first exchange was a nine bam (not a six). Is the player with the exposure responsible for her rack, i.e.making sure the exchange was proper? If so, would her hand be considered "dead" at the point when we saw the nine bam? Does the player who erred in the exchange (claiming a joker) have any penalty? Thanking you in advance for your answer.
    >Carole S

    Hi, Carole!
    The player who has an illegal exposure atop her rack is definitely dead. And she cannot put the blame solely on the person who gave her the wrong tile - she herself neglected to examine the tile before relinquishing the joker.
    And as for she who handed over the wrong tile - I imagine the majority of players (or at least, those who are willing to express honest opinions) would agree that she, too, deserves the death penalty. After all, she has an illegally-acquired joker in her hand. I further imagine that if this happened at a tournament and a judge's opinion was sought, the judge would rule that both are dead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v6.0  

    >From: Cheryl M
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:01 AM
    >Subject: Dear Mister Mah Jongg!!!
    >Good afternoon! We just gathered today to play our new 2017 Mah Jongg card and we are confused about the two hands under LIKE NUMBERS. In the 2016 card under LIKE NUMBERS it distinctly says: "Any Like Number." But in the 2017 card it does not stipulate that. Can you only use "1's" in those two hands? Or, can it be ANY like numbers?
    >Thank you so much! We are awaiting your answer!!!
    >Cheryl M

    Hi, Cheryl!
    Welcome to my website! You wrote:

    we are confused about the two hands under LIKE NUMBERS.
    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. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg (other than questions specific to the NMJL card) are found in FAQ 19. For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16.
    For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Thank you so much!
    You are so welcome!

    We are awaiting your answer!!!
    I am awaiting you finding your 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
    April 5, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question #16

    >from: "jfmpool
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Under the 2017 section; in both lines #1 and #4 are the 0s (zeros) considered singles, or can Jokers be used in place of the 0s (White Dragons) due to being Kongs and Pungs?
    >Thank you,
    >J. P.

    >from: "jfmpool
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:24 PM
    >Subject: 2017-Line 1 & 4
    >Hello Tom,
    >Under the 2017 section; in both lines #1 and #4 are the 0s (zeros) considered singles, or can Jokers be used in place of the 0s (White Dragons) due to being Kongs and Pungs?
    >Thank you,
    >J. P.

    Hi, J. P.!
    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. For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg (other than card-specific questions) are found in FAQ 19.
    For your future reference, 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 4, 2017


    FAQ 16, part 2

    >From: Kenneth H
    >Sent: Monday, April 3, 2017 6:20 AM
    >Subject: Not a question but an answer
    >Tom,
    >Do I read you closely? Yes! “Just put your lips together . . . ” is not from “Casablanca” (which I almost know by heart). It’s from “To Have and Have Not”, Bacall’s first movie
    >I may be a seasoned classic movie buff, but I’m a new Mah Jongg player and visit your blog often. Thanks!
    >Sharon

    Duh, of course. Lauren Bacall, not Ingrid Bergman! Thanks, Sharon!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 3, 2017


    2017 card: dragon pungs

    >From: Fran S
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 8:53 PM
    >Subject: New NMJL Card
    >Hi Tom!
    >I'd like to add to your observations about the 2017 NMJL card. Another "dead" giveaway is if a player exposes a pung of dragons. Unlike last year's card, even a pung of soaps (white dragons) is a "dead" giveaway. The only hand on the 2017 card that uses pungs of dragons is Consecutive Run #7, which is a concealed hand.
    >As always, love your website!
    >Fran S

    Very good, Fran!
    Pungs of red or green are used only in Consec. #7, and a pung of soaps could be used in Consec. #7 or 2017 #4, and those are both concealed hands. So yes indeed, a dragon pung is another "dead" giveaway on this card. I'm appending this to column 668.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2017


    My two jade tiles

    >From: Cynthia M█████
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 3:58 PM
    >Subject: Jade tile
    >I have what I believe to be a Jade tile. My grandfather brought it back with him around 1943. Its a dark jade tile about 1/2 inch X almost an inch and maybe a 1/4 inch thick with a carved symbol. (███) ███-████ is my cell phone number. My name is S█████ Thanks

    >From: Cynthia M█████
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 4:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a Jade tile with a hand carved symbol. My grandfather brought them home with him in 1943 after he left Okanawa. I would like to know how much they are worth. I have two. My name is S█████ (███) ███-████ Florida cell number

    Hi, Cynthia.
    I'm sorry, but I don't give free appraisals by telephone, and I would not be able to appraise your two jade tiles anyway since I have no idea what jade is worth. I cannot help you. I suggest you try someone who appraises antique jewelry. Good luck!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2017


    Commitment issues

    >From: Doris F
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 5:10 PM
    >Subject: Drawing a tile
    >The National Mah Jongg newsletter answered a question about when is a player committed to picking a tile. Answer was when a player starts to pick the tile. Does that mean starting to 'lift' the tile or when she touches it? Also, many of our players will slide a tile from the wall before they pick it up. Are they committed to that tile even though they have not lifted it? Thank you for any clarification you can give me.
    >Doris F

    Hi, Doris!
    The English language is a wonderful thing; there are many many ways to express a concept or to ask a question. In Frequently Asked Question #19, I refer to this question as a matter of "a change of heart," and it can also be phrased, "when is it too late to change my mind?" I wrote about four different commitment issues ("change of heart" issues) in FAQ 19-AM. As to your question, the FAQ says: "After you've lifted or moved the tile off the wall, you may not change your mind and put it back. (You can reach for it and change your mind. You can even touch it and change your mind. But if you lift it or move it, it's yours and you have committed to taking it.)"
    For your future reference, 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. Note that because English is so wonderfully flexible, the FAQs may not be worded quite the way you would word your question. You can always search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April Fool's Day, 2017


    2017 card: 2017 #1

    >From: bklynirene
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 3:21 PM
    >Subject: Question about 2017 card
    >Dear Tom:
    > My question concerns the first hand under "2017".
    > The hand shows the set of 222 in blue and the sets of 1111 and 7777 in red. The parenthetical states "two suits". Without that parenthetical, a player knows that the ones and sevens could be only one suit and the twos another suit. You have written many times that the parenthetical "trumps" all other information. So the question is, "Can the 222 and the 111 match in suit? Can the 222 and 7777 match in suit? OR shall we match the 111 and 7777 as the same suit as indicated by the red color on the card? IMHO, the parenthetical should state: "Any 2 suits; ones and sevens the same suit" -- for clarity.
    >As always, thank you for your thoughtful response.
    >Sincerely,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene! You wrote:

    You have written many times that the parenthetical "trumps" all other information.
    I've been meaning to do a find-and-replace, changing all instances of "trump" to "overrule." ...Not that that has anything to do with the substance of your email:

    "Can the 222 and the 111 match in suit? Can the 222 and 7777 match in suit? OR shall we match the 111 and 7777 as the same suit as indicated by the red color on the card? IMHO, the parenthetical should state: "Any 2 suits; ones and sevens the same suit" -- for clarity.
    I don't think that wording is necessary. I believe that the color-coding provides sufficient clarity on that point. Look at the other places where the color-coding clearly indicates that two or more groupings must be the same suit. Evens #2, #4, #5. Consec. #2, #4, #6, #7. Odds #2, #3, #5, #6, #7. 369 #2, #4, #5, #6. S&P #4, #5, #6, #7. In one hand, all groupings indicated in green must be of the same suit. The color-coding has sufficed on that point for decades.

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


    2017 card: S&P #6

    >From: Laura M
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 1:01 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Okay: I know the answer to this, but it seems you were inviting questions that others may ask...and I looks like you get some doozies, so here goes (I don't have the ability to change font color on my phone so just imagine it in 3 colors"
    >FF 11 22 11 22 11 22 (Any 2 Consecutive Nos. In 3 Suits)
    >(S&P #6)
    > [There's probably a question there somewhere]
    > [There will be an answer when somebody asks me a question]
    >I can see that someone might say "can it be "33 44 55 66 77 88". (imagine it in 3 colors)
    >No - they obviously need to be 3 groups of the same 2 consecutive numbers, but players are always looking for wiggle room....

    Very nice, Laura! I'll add that to FAQ 16. And I'll remove the wiggly text I'd had in there in square brackets.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April Fool's Day, 2017


    2017 card: S&P #7

    >From: Barbara K
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 8:05 AM
    >Subject: 2017 question
    >Tom:
    >Thank you for your answers. Yours was the first site I went to for the like numbers issue on the 2017 card. Now another question please:
    >I was on the NMJL practice site and this was a Mah Jongg:
    >FF 2017 (craks) RR 2017 (in craks again) RR
    >The card says BAMS and CRAKS and shows two colors. Since it is two colors and says AND i assumed two suits for the 2017 and the matching dragons. I realize that dots and white dragons wont work but wonder about the one suited Mah Jongg. Can you help please>
    >Many thanks!
    >Barb
    >(A new player in 2016 so this is my first card transition!!)

    Hi, Barb!
    You're one sharp cookie, which can't be said for the player who thought she could make a one-suit hand out of a two-color card listing (two colors, since the colors of flowers and winds don't count). It's clearly a two-suit hand. Besides, the parenthetical says bams AND craks, not bams OR craks. She goofed. I still say the League should have printed GG and RR with this one rather than the DDs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April Fool's Day, 2017


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

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Friday, March 31, 2017 8:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Can you please give me answer to the following situation:
    >Player A has 2 jokers and 2 green dragons exposed.
    >Player B, after drawing from wall, discards 1 green dragon.
    >Question: Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?
    >Would appreciate an answer - my group plays every Friday and Tuesday.
    >Thank you,
    >S Snyder

    Hi, S! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile...
    Only if she's going to use it to expose a pung or kong of Green Dragons!

    ...and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?
    That's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-G2. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Would appreciate an answer -
    And I appreciate your question!

    - my group plays every Friday and Tuesday.
    Great!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2017


    FAQ 16 now covers the 2017 National Mah Jongg League Card!

    FAQ 16 has been updated to answer questions about the 2017 card!

    You know how to get to the FAQs, don't you? - Just put your lips together and... oh wait, no, that's a line from Casablanca To Have And Have Not*. Ahem. ... You just click the FAQ links above left!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2017

    *A tip o' the Sloperama hat to Sharon H, who noticed my faux pas on April 3! - Tom


    But there are three colors, v2.0

    >From: Susan B
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is about the 2017 card. The first one under the Quints. Do the numbers and the dragons have to be different suits? It is unclear because the colors are different. Some are saying you can do any wind and then, for example, bamms and green dragons. I think the color coding tells us that it can be any dragon and any number but much be different suit.
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Susan!
    As I told Lisa yesterday (scroll down to see that conversation):
    As I wrote in FAQ 16 and FAQ 19-J, the words in parentheses overrule the color-coding. If it seems to you that the color-coded symbols say one thing but the parenthetical says something different, then you have to trust the parenthetical. 
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2017


    Can she expose herself willy-nilly?

    >From: Barney G
    >Cc: Barney G
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:25 AM
    >Subject: Hello Tom.....Hope you are well!!
    > Is there anything in the rules (I certainly can’t find it) that says you are not allowed to put up on your rack a completed Pung or Kong that is not associated with the a tile that was just discarded? In other words. You throw a 3 bam, I call for it and expose a Pung of 3 bams. But I also put on top of my rack a Kong of 4 craks. I know nobody in their right mind would do this - but is there a rule that says you cannot? Only reason I thought about this is because yesterday a woman called a flower and them exposed all 6 flowers. We all let it go… I believe the hands using 6 flowers this year are truly hands calling for two Pungs of flowers as opposed to a sextet of flowers. Assuming that is the case, is there any problem with showing all 6 flowers at once? If there is no problem with doing so, why is that different for the 3Bam 4Crack scenario i spelled out above?
    >Thanks!
    >Barney G
    >Old Tappan, NJ

    Hi, Barney!
    As you say, "nobody in their right mind would do this." Read page 14 of the 2013 revised rulebook. It talks about the exposure process. There is no mention saying someone can't just expose herself willy-nilly, probably because the writers didn't think they needed to make an enormous list of all the things that one may NOT do. Nobody should make an exposure except when calling a discard, and when making that exposure, she should only expose the set that's completed by the taken discard. It's insane and unwise to make an exposure that doesn't have to be made. This is a matter of common sense more than what is or isn't expressly forbidden by the written rules.


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2017

    P.S. a follow-up to this topic occurred on April 20, above. - Tom


    2017 Like Numbers, v5.0 

    >From: AandE M
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:23 AM
    >Subject: 2017 Like Numbers
    >REALLY... Do they have to be "ones"??? No notation either way! Thanks

    Hello, AandE!
    As I wrote to the last four folks who asked this (scroll down to see those exchanges),
    It's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
     (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot more times.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v4.0

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

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

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


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.1

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

    You're welcome, and thanks back atcha!


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.0

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

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

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


    But there are three colors?!

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

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

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


    2017 Like Numbers, v2.0

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

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

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


    I've received some questionable communications

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

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

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


    Space - the final frontier in 2017

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

    Hi, Arlene!
    I can't tell you why they decided to put a space between unlike single numbers. Although, to me, it would be odder if they didn't put a space there (then it would say "46," rather than 4 and 6 - and suit tiles only go up to 9!). If you think it's an important question, you can ask the League.
    By the way (guess I need to mention this): in case you didn't know, I don't work for the League, and I was not involved with the design of the card (note that I referred to the League as "they" rather than "we").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2017


    The new 2017 card - Like Numbers

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

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


    From Lynn P #1

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

    Hi Lynn,
    On the train coming home from work, I saw that people were emailing me about the 2017 card. I crossed my fingers and hoped I would have one in my mailbox so I could answer questions! And I did. So now I can refer to the new card. Haven't looked at it yet, but the next 2 emails are about it so I will!
    And yeah, my poor readers can't tell the difference between you and that new upstart Lynn P. You should change your name! Just kidding. She should change hers, since you were here first. Am I right? Huh?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2017


    Can she claim a redeemable tile?

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

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


    My fishy mystery, part 3

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

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

    I believe yours are Chrysanthemum, Plum, Bamboo, Orchid. 菊 梅 竹 蘭 - I'm more certain of the middle two than the ones on the ends.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2017


    May the two-tone 1930s tiles be with me

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Good luck! May the tiles literally be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2017


    My fishy mystery, part 2

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

    Very interesting, Ray! Many thanks.
    Tom


    My fishy mystery tiles

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Are some of my tiles from another set?

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

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

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


    Confused about a pick, part 2

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

    You're welcome.


    Confused about a pick interrupted by a call

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2017


    When is the window closed for MJ, part 2

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

    Hi, Judith. You wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2017

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


    How to deal with frustration over a losing streak?

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

    I don't have any soothing advice for you, Jean. Just "be patient," I guess. And this from Wikipedia: "'Good things come to those who wait' is an English phrase extolling the virtue of patience. The related phrase 'all things come to those who wait' was used by Violet Fane in 1892." On the other side of the coin, Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Not that that one helps much, but it's a Lincoln quote I hadn't heard before!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2017


    Two questions

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

    Hi, Joi! Your Qs:

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 18, 2017


    When is the window closed for mah-jongg?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Shifted chows, part 3

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

    Thank you, Lynn!
    Tom


    Shifted chows, part 2

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

    Hi, Lynn. You wrote:

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

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

    A donation will be forthcoming.
    That would be nice, thanks!

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


    Shifted chows

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

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


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


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

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

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

    Perhaps your confusion is due to the ambiguous wording "shifted up one number from the last." Note the new wording I use above: "the first number... is X number(s) higher than the first number of the previous chow." Hope this helps!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 17, 2017

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


    She was just trying... (part 2)

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

    No... thank YOU, danny!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2017


    Is she required to put a tile in the rack?

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

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


    She was just trying to prevent flower collecting

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

    Jennifer, your questions (emphasis added by me):

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 6

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

    Nice, Donna! So the rule hasn't changed. Thanks for sharing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the
    Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

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

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

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


    Antique/vintage, part 2

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

    Maybe so, Ray! Valiant effort.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2017


    Antique/vintage Royal Depth Control set

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

    Hi, Kristen. Your questions:

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

       

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

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2017


    Aloha from Hawaii

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2017


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

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

    Hi, Irene. The answer is in FAQ 19-W. Sorry you had a hard time finding that! I found it by searching FAQ 19 for the word "bettor."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2017


    Down Under, we treat our dead with more respect

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

    Yes, mah-jongg sounds funny to the ears of those who aren't familiar.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2017


    Down Under, part 2

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

    G'day, Terry! Well, I still say you should buy an American set, if you want to play American. Once you have the equipment and have practiced with it, recruit players from your village. You will surely have to become a teacher of sorts.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2017


    Looking back at picking a future head

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

    Linda, I never saw anybody play that way, I never played that way myself, and I never will. I can only tell you how I think it worked. Each player is holding 14 tiles, so you start your turn by discarding a tile, and you do that right after the previous player discarded. After you discard, you pick a tile from the wall. That's "picking ahead." If you look at it right away, that's "looking ahead." I gather that the picking moves pretty quickly that way, so you have to be REAL fast to claim a discard. When somebody calls for a discard, everybody has to put her 14th tile back on the wall, in reverse picking order. Or so I hear. I think that style of play is very beginner-unfriendly, and I imagine the League outlawed it because it caused a lot of confusion and disharmony. Just guessing.
    May the tiles be with you, in the standard non-picking-ahead manner.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2017

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


    The Jan. 8 column

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

    I like your answer better than mine, Kathryn! Your reasoning is spot on; keep those 3 spots! Although the official NMJL rulebook and Elaine Sandberg advise against passing a flower in the Charleston, sometimes that is the solution to a problem. I'm posting this exchange in column #664 as an "oopsie."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 5

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


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

    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2017


    Down Under, and can't get an NMJL card

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

    G'day, Terry! You asked:

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

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

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

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


    Column oopsie from last May

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

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

    No problem, Joanne. I guess the and the helped you see it, eh? (~_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2017


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

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

    Hi, Kathleen! You said you...

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Peculiar box

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

    Bonjour, Calliste! You wrote:

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

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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 26, 2017


    Best wishes

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

    Thanks, Cyndi. The surgery was almost 10 weeks ago. I've been back to work for 7 weeks (I know, I'm crazy, I went back to work 3 weeks after). Recovering well, thanks. Taught a mah-jongg group about 10 days ago. Glad you're doing well too. Waiting for the new card in about a month so I can write strategy columns about it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

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

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


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

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

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

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


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 4

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

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

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

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


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 3

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

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


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 2

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

    Hi, Donna. You wrote:

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

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

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

    I've written to Larry Unger about the contradictory rulings. Will post the reply I get. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017

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


    Why rotate seats, part 2

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

    An example: the player at your left is a VERY defensive Charleston passer. She always passes you useless tiles in the first left. Another example: the player opposite you NEVER wants to exchange tiles in the courtesy. Or how about this: the player who plays just before you has a bad habit: she takes a tile from her hand and places it on the table with her fingers obscuring it, and takes an inordinately long time saying its name and letting go so you can reach for the wall.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change

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

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

    The League has a new president now. The current president has a right to change the rule, but there is no certainty here that the current president was aware of what Ms. Unger wrote me years ago, nor that the intent is to change the rule. I'm saying perhaps the writer of your letter simply made a decision without knowledge of precedent or how Heavenly Hand is recognized in all other forms of mah-jongg.
    Another concern I have about your letter is the use of the word "stolen" as opposed to the official phrase "blind pass." But that's a nitpick on my part (you know what a stickler I am for terminology).
    I'm going to write to the current president and ask if the Heavenly rule is now changed, and what the previous president told me is no longer true.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


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

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

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


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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


    Why rotate seats after a round?

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

    Hi, Linda. As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, seat rotation mixes up the order of play. Yes, of course the dice get passed to the right after each hand ("game"). But every hour or so, that means the dice come back to the first East again. And if you don't rotate every hour or so, then you will always receive the first right from the same player. You will always exchange the Courtesy pass with the exact same player. Your turn will always come after the exact same player. If you don't want to mix up the order of play, you don't have to rotate. But if you ever find yourself thinking, "I wish once in a while my turn would follow after someone else," then think about rotating. Before last month, the League rule/guideline on rotation was to rotate every 2 rounds. Now, in a more sensible rule/guideline, rotation is every round. (As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, a round is when the deal moves all around the table, coming back to the first East again.) That's the way my group did it - rotating every round means that in an evening's play (or a full session of play, which normally encompasses 3 or even 4 rounds), you really mix up the order of play more than you would by rotating every 2 rounds.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


    What's the benefit of blind passing?

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

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

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


    LAPOM, part 2

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

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


    Los Angeles Pride Of Mahjong

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

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

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


    How do we handle a slow player, part 2

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

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

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

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


    Noten, part 2

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

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

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

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


    How do we handle a slow player?

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

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

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


    Mah-jongg divination

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

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

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


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile?

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

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

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


    Noten in Japanese games

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

    I'm sorry, Ray. I don't have any advice except the obvious and unhelpful: try for tenpai, and, failing that, hope and pray to the mah-jongg gods/goddesses that someone else wins on someone else's discard.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 13, 2017


    Honne-tatemae in Japanese games

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

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 12, 2017


    Thanks. Someday...!

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

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


    Senpai-kohai behavior in Japanese games?

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

    Konbanwa, Akira-san! Your question:

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

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

    May the 牌 be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 9, 2017


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

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

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


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

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

    I confess that I don't know, Pam. I would guess that the dealer gets double from everyone, because it CAN be tricky to determine who gave her mah-jongg, since blind passing is permitted on that pass, as happened in your case. I mean, what if the dealer blind passed three? I think any dealer wins during the Charleston would be scored as self-pick. But you'll have to ask the League. And I do not recommend you do it by phone. If it's not in writing, it's not an official rule. So get it in writing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2017


    2016 #3

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

    Hi, Corinne.
    You wrote:

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2017


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

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

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


    Shifting the dealer wall left

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

    Sibyl, I'm so glad you asked this! NO, it's not okay - for exactly the reason you state. In the early days when I was a new player, I was on a mah-jongg cruise. The dealer did exactly what you said, and then after the last long wall was over, the dealer threw her own hand in -- because she thought the game was over! She hadn't noticed that the dealer wall was there at the left end of her own rack! The hand was voided, and for no good reason. It had to be replayed. What a pain!
    People often underappreciate the importance of subtle visual cues on the table - like the position of the dealer wall, the position of the dice after a hand is over, the spacing of exposures atop racks. I could go on, but no; I'm lying, I can't go on.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 6, 2017


    Can my husband use a joker in Singles & Pairs?

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


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

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