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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!
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    Not tax-deductible

    Keep scrolling - the Q&As are below.

    But before we get to the Q&As, this needs to be said:

    Regarding Consec #5 on the 2019 card:

    FFF 1111 2222 DDD (Any 1 Suit) x 25

    This hand may be made with Any 2 Consec. Nos. See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page
    (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html), and see FAQ 16.



  • I wanted to find out more about the set I have.

    >From: "outlook_2B1844C.............
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 1:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >I wanted to find out more about the set I have. Would you please look at the attached information – I hope I followed your suggested outline and have given you enough information to go on. Thanks so much for your time. This set was given to my father years ago by an elderly woman and it is now mine. I would love to know the value of this set – I do not play Mah-jongg and have very limited knowledge so I apologize for any incorrect terminology I may use. Thanks a million for your expertise! Jo

    Hi, Jo. You wrote:

    Would you please look at the attached information – I hope I followed your suggested outline and have given you enough information to go on.
    But you sent it in a PDF file. I do not open PDF files from strangers, and I cannot do free value estimates with attached documents. In FAQ 7H, it says "(please do not send attached documents; I won't open them)," and in FAQ 7G, it says "DON'T ATTACH A SEPARATE FILE."

    I apologize for any incorrect terminology I may use.
    Please refer to FAQs 7A-E for terminology help.

    Standing by for the info I need, in the format I can use.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three quarters exposed, part 2

    >from: rosemary b
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 1:42 PM
    >Subject: Re: Three quarters exposed
    >Thank you!

    You're welcome!


    They help themselves to any discard, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Patricia P
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Patricia P
    >Message: Thank you for being so knowledgeable and quick to answer!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Patricia! I'm glad I could help. It's a good thing the rule was spelled out so clearly in the official rulebook.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Bastille Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three quarters exposed

    >from: rosemary b
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:40 PM
    >Subject: Three quarters exposed
    >Is there a rule that says if a player has 3 parts of her hand exposed that the other players CANNOT throw the tile she needs? One game I play in swears that’s the rule. Another game says the person who throws the tile and gives the person mahjong has to pay the winner for all the players. Are these just table rules?
    >Thank you for your help.
    >Rosemary

    Yes, Rosemary, those are table rules. Read FAQ 19-Y and I highly recommend you read FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They help themselves to any discard on the table

    >From: Patricia P
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 12:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I’ve been playing Classical Chinese for some time now, and have also started playing Wright Patterson with a different group.
    >In CC we can only pick up the last discarded tile, but it WP they help themselves to any discard on the table. Is this correct? (I’ve ordered WP rules but haven’t received them yet).
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Patricia!
    Players can claim just any old discard? That's a new one on me. I've never had an opportunity to play W-P myself. I have the rulebook, so let's see what it says (italics removed, underline added)...

      28. Any player who wishes to call for a discarded tile may do so up to the time the next player has drawn and completed his turn with his discard. The preceding discard is a dead tile.

    W-P is a close relative of British Empire rules, which evolved from Chinese Classical after the 1920s, and uses the usual "only the most recent discard may be called" rule. In fact, I don't know of any variant that permits the taking of just any old discard that suddenly fits your hand. That would make the game much too easy.

    So when you get your rulebook, turn to page 11, rule 28. You can share the actual rule with your friends; the information might meet strong resistance or it might meet acceptance. There can be joy from anytime access to the actual rules in those times when you have to, you know, refer to them. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Pickandrack

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 4:23 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >I heard that the American MJ League considers pick and rack
    > OK, but the National MJ League considers it aggressive play.
    >Is that true?
    >What is your position on Pick-and-Rack?
    >Louise D

    Hi, Louise! You asked:

    I heard that the American MJ League considers pick and rack
    > OK, but the National MJ League considers it aggressive play.
    >Is that true?
    I don't know what the AMJA's stance is on pickandrack.

    What is your position on Pick-and-Rack?
    Read FAQ 19-AD.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 card

    >From: Charlene K
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2019 card. 2019 column, #2, 1 or 2 suits, can I use, for example, a pung of 2’s and a pung of 1’s in the same suit, and a kong of 9’s in a different suit? Or do the 1’s and 9’s have to be of the same suit?

    >From: Charlene K
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: regarding the 2019 card, 2019 column, #2, 1 or 2 suits: Can I , for example, make a pung of 2’s and a pung of 1’s in one suit, and a kong of 9’s in a second suit? Or, do the 2’s need to be one suit, and the 1’s and 9’s need to be the same suit but a different suit from the 2’s, as shown in the colors on the card?

    Hi, Charlene! You'll find the answer to your question in FAQ 16. All of the most frequently asked questions about the 2019 card are answered in FAQ 16.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What do I have, part 2

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 10:28 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Good evening to you. I thank you for posting a response so quickly. In it you said that you would need pictures. This statement confused me a bit because I did attach pictures...5 of them. I can see that they are indeed attached.
    >Thank you, Laury

    I goofed. You did send photos. Your questions for me:

    I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set.
    Do you see Parker Brothers printed anywhere on it? Your photos did not include any such printing.

    The tiles appear to be teak.
    If you say so. I am not a wood identification expert, so I cannot confirm.

    (French ivory?)
    I don't see any striations in your photos, so I'm guessing no.

    What do I have?
    I have sets similar to yours, but not with that same booklet. I recommend you check the resources link I posted yesterday. I am not an expert on manufacturers.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What do I have?

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom ??
    >1) I purchased a ?? MahJongg ??? set which came with a booklet entitled, Standard Chinese Scoring Rules For MAH JONG. At the bottom is written YANK-KEE, with an address of 680 5th Ave., New York City. On the inside is written, copyright, 1923 by Nanyang Bros, Inc., New York. I wonder if you are familiar with their history? If so, please share.
    >2) The booklet came with the set of 144 tiles in a cardboard box with trays. I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set. The tiles appear to be teak. There’s a thin, laminated top (French ivory?) It’s smooth & somewhat shiny. I realize I’m describing tiles that were in Parker Brothers Newport & Tuxedo line, which came in mahogany boxes. What do I have?
    >Thanks much, Laury

    Hi, Laury. You asked:

    I wonder if you are familiar with their history?
    Sorry, Laury, but I am not an expert on manufacturers. Check out the resources linked in FAQ 7U.

    I believe it to be a Parker Brothers set. The tiles appear to be teak. There’s a thin, laminated top (French ivory?) It’s smooth & somewhat shiny. I realize I’m describing tiles that were in Parker Brothers Newport & Tuxedo line, which came in mahogany boxes. What do I have?
    I can't help without photos.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Need a book on mah-jongg strategy

    >From: Barbara L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 2:47 AM
    >Subject: Recommendation for a good book
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I am interested in a good book that I can read on Mah Jongg strategy.
    >Sincerely,
    >Barbara L

    Hi, Barbara. See FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #724

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:07 AM
    >Subject: Column #724
    >Hi Tom, Love the #724 column! Great to get the mind working as you try to puzzle out the different hands of both players.
    >With the third hand, you mention that the player ready to discard is going for (Consec #2, several ways). With the exchange of the Joker, Wouldn’t you also check out 13579 #2, the second part? Having 9 tiles for each (if I counted correctly) it seems, depending on what’s been discarded, a likely hand to try also.
    >TimA

    Hi, Tim!
    You are right, Odds #2 is indeed a perfectly good option. I don't count jokers when I count up how many tiles I have towards one hand. So, for Consec #2, we have:
    5-6-7-8: seven tiles
    6-7-8-9: six tiles
    Odds #2: seven tiles
    I would still discard 8D first, unless the wall is very short. But then if the wall is very short, I likely won't be able to make a hand since I need to obtain 6 tiles. The wall has to be at least 12 stacks long if I still need to pick 6 tiles (unless the mah-jongg goddesses cause other players to discard tiles I want). And if the wall was too short for me to take risks, I would not discard 8D (I'd "dog" - I'd discard tiles I don't think anybody needs, and I'd discard jokers).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 12, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Fish bone in the twenties/thirties

    >From: Bridget H
    >Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2019 10:34 AM
    >Subject: 1920s/30s fishbone - 'Directions of playing "Chinese game of four winds"'
    >Dear Tom,
    >I am thoroughly enjoying your site and finding it very helpful in learning more about my Aunt’s Mahjong set (in UK). She was given it in the 1920s (possibly 1930s), it is bone (quite pronounced haversian lines) and bamboo with western indices, 144 tiles + 8 blanks, and comes in a brown leather case with a top handle, side latches and front lock, red baize covered trays. Also with it is the instruction booklet ‘Directions of playing “Chinese game of four winds”’ and this is what I wanted to ask you about.
    >It is a paper booklet, green cover and says (on the front):
    >‘Directions of playing “Chinese game of four winds”’ Sung San Tsai Hongkong. It is undated. Inside on the front page is:
    >‘Sung San Tsai – Chinese game playing cards for sale cheap price any kinds of cards make ready ivory and fish bone – No 140, Willington Street, Hongkong.’ Initially I thought that Sung San Tsai was the author but now I wonder if it is the name of the shop. I’ve been unable to find more information about the name/address so far.
    >I think this may be the booklet listed (from Michael Stanwick) on your site under out of print/hard to find books and described as an original book with a Mah Jong set.
    >My question is, it speaks of fish bone rather than any other type of bone, does this suggest fish bone was used earlier than the reconstituted modern type or was this just a ‘euphemism’ as possibly sounding better/more refined than ox/cow bone? Or was the fish bone being used for other games items e.g. counters/sticks? I don’t think my aunt’s set is fish bone because of the pronounced haversian lines but I don’t know what fish bone might have looked like in those days!
    >If you would like a scan of the booklet I can probably provide one – might have to be via drop box. If you need further information please let me know.
    >With good wishes and many thanks for your site,
    >Bridget H
    >UK

    Hi, Bridget!
    Your questions:

    No 140, Willington Street, Hongkong.’ Initially I thought that Sung San Tsai was the author but now I wonder if it is the name of the shop. I’ve been unable to find more information about the name/address so far.
    I can't help you there. Sorry!

    does this suggest fish bone was used earlier
    It does "suggest" that. This is news to me.

    or was this just a ‘euphemism’ as possibly sounding better/more refined than ox/cow bone?
    I have no idea.

    Or was the fish bone being used for other games items e.g. counters/sticks?
    I have never seen any such items, to the best of my knowledge.

    If you would like a scan of the booklet
    Before I asked anyone to go to all that trouble, I would first want to make sure I didn't already have my own copy. I appreciate the offer, but I am unwilling to go to the trouble to see if I already have one, so I don't want to put you through the trouble of scanning yours. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discard if I'm waiting to win on a single?

    >From: James D
    >Sent: Friday, June 7, 2019 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If to Mahjongg, can you pick up any part of the year 2019?
    >Thanks.

    Yes, James. See FAQ 19-E3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 7, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2000 NMJL card

    >From: "joe.bayside
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 6:30 PM
    >Subject: Question about 2000 NMJL Card
    >Tom,
    >You might have answered this, but I don’t think so.
    >An acquaintance on an online discussion board asked about the YEAR Category from back on the 2000 NMJL card.
    >Specifically, the first and fourth hands in that category SEEM, at least to me, to indicate a requirement for as many
    >as 6 Zeros. Someone else suggested that the 2000 numbers on that card did NOT require White Dragons/Soaps,
    >but rather could be made up of Jokers. I think they are incorrect and called NMJL to ask. The person taking
    >calls from members with questions about the cards said that they only have the current few years cards on hand.
    >So, she suggested that I might write them a letter with my question. I am going to do that.
    >In the meantime, do you happen to have any knowledge about that? I got a link (poor images) of a set of
    >4 2000 NMJL cards (fronts and backs) and to me it seems like that first and fourth hand in the category could not
    >Be legally made, even then by the limited rules on the cards.
    >As is my norm, any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
    >Joe McM…aka TexMac

    Joe, that card was NINETEEN YEARS AGO, and FAQ 16 only goes back to 2001. Also, I was a new player back then. So as is your norm, you'll forgive me for not remembering all the particulars of that card.
    I went into my file cabinet and retrieved my 2000 card, so that should help a little. You asked:

    You might have answered this, but I don’t think so.
    If I answered online questions about the 2000 card, I probably did that on the mahjong newsgroup - not here. My first website was thegameguru.net, which lasted only 10 weeks or so. Sloperama.com was launched on December 8, 2000, by which time all the players were bored of the 2000 card and were impatiently waiting for the 2001 card. So they probably weren't asking me your questions, but one could find out by using the Wayback Machine.

    the first and fourth hands in that category SEEM, at least to me, to indicate a requirement for as many
    >as 6 Zeros.
    Yes. You needed at least 2 jokers to make those hands.

    Someone else suggested that the 2000 numbers on that card did NOT require White Dragons/Soaps,
    Wrong. It says right at the top, "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO."

    but rather could be made up of Jokers.
    Yes. It says right at the top, "A zero may be called for exposure to complete the 2000, but the 2 can only be called for Mah Jongg." In other words, the 2000 was an exposable grouping, that year only (or maybe 1999 was like that too, I don't know - I don't have a 1999 card in my collection). If it can be called for exposure, jokers can be used in it (for a zero, not for a two).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    D-Day + 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I had mah-jongg after the Charleston!

    >From: Carol G
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 5:29 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was east and after all the charlestons were completed I had mah-jongg, completely shocked!
    >Could I have called mah jongg or would I have been required to discard a tile. None of us knew the answer!
    >Appreciate your reply.

    Hi, Carol!
    Wow, you had "Heavenly Hand"! Surely you have a copy of the 2018 edition of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, right? You'll find this on page 12. If you don't have the latest edition of the rulebook, you'll find the rule in FAQ 19-BJ and with lots of detail in Column #666.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    D-Day + 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 724

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 1:06 PM
    >Subject: column 724
    >Hi Tom,
    >This was an excellent strategy column. All players face these dilemmas and you show how to think critically. Especially looking at the length of the wall. In problem #3 I would have discarded East tile. Is that wrong?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda. East is the "wrong" tile to discard only if another player wins on it, and that may not have been predictable. How long would you wait to discard 8D, while it gets progressively hotter with each passing turn?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    D-Day plus 75Y
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can multiple jokers be exchanged in one turn?

    >From: Suzi B
    >Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2019 5:49 AM
    >Subject: Swapping for jokers
    >When playing mahjong, if a player lays down 2 jokers with a 7 crack (or any other tile), and another player has two 7 crack tiles, can the second player give the first player BOTH of his 7 crack tiles and take BOTH jokers from 1st player IN ONE PLAY?

    Hi, Suzi!
    It's easy to find the answer to this question in my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
    You are asking about American mah-jongg - FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg.
    Atop this bulletin board (above left) you'll find FAQ 19 marked with this icon: .
    In FAQ 19, you find that all the questions are categorized, and Jokers is the very first category of questions.
    Your question, "Can I redeem more than one joker in a turn?" leads you to FAQ 19-N. The rule was stated in National Mah Jongg League January newsletters in 2007 and 2015. In the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, in rule 4 on page 21, the rule is merely hinted at; "Joker" is written as "Joker(s)," because a player can redeem as many as 8 jokers in one turn.
    Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    D-Day+75
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Hot Wall

    >From: Gail L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 5:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it a rule to play hot wall meaning to account for two other tiles before throwing the third?

    Hi, Gail! "Hot wall" is not an official rule. Read FAQ 19-Y and FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 5, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When is the discard dead? (When does the window of opportunity close?)

    >From: John K
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: a player discards a tile. The next player picks a tile from the play wall but doesn't look at it yet. Can another player claim the discard? Same scenario, but player picking from wall looks at the tile? Is the discard now dead? What is this "racking" business? We have a player that states that a tile is not dead until someone picks up a new tile, looks at it, and touches it to their rack. In other words, if they haven't racked it, the previous discard is still live and someone can claim it... Does every tile have to be racked? Thank you! I thoroughly enjoy your website and find it very helpful! Kris

    Hi, Kris! Let's see your questions one by one:

    a player discards a tile. The next player picks a tile from the play wall but doesn't look at it yet. Can another player claim the discard?
    Yes. the window of opportunity to claim the discard has not closed yet.

    Same scenario, but player picking from wall looks at the tile? Is the discard now dead?
    No, the window of opportunity to claim the discard is still open.

    What is this "racking" business? We have a player that states that a tile is not dead until someone picks up a new tile, looks at it, and touches it to their rack.
    Well, yes, but... no. See FAQ 19-AD (in the Picking, Racking section of FAQ 19).

    In other words, if they haven't racked it, the previous discard is still live and someone can claim it...
    Yes. Read about the window of opportunity. (It's in the Claiming A Discard, And The Window Of Opportunity section of FAQ 19.

    Does every tile have to be racked?
    No. Read FAQ 19-BL (in the Picking, Racking section of FAQ 19).

    Thank you! I thoroughly enjoy your website and find it very helpful!
    I'm glad! Have you checked out FAQ 19 yet? It has answers to all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 4, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategy column ideas, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Monday, June 3, 2019 11:43 AM
    >Subject: Re: Strategy Column ideas
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm not sure this really amounts to a good idea for your Strategy Column, but it occurred to me while I was waiting to go Mahj...and it's whether playing/planning for multiple waits is a viable strategy and not just a matter of luck, and if so does it warrant a Column?
    >As an example, in the hand illustrated, I had a three way multiple wait facilitated by Jokers...a 7 Dot, a Flower or another Joker would all give me a win (and as an aside, I had prepared earlier for the addition to be 5+6 or 5+7, opting for 5+7 when I drew the 2 Bam...so some luck needed, but different avenues would open up depending on tiles drawn - ha ha, is that another Column, planning for hand flexibility!!).
    >Another aside...I was playing Richii earlier; multiple waits is very beneficial in that version of course (and rather easier to attain)! I still remember advice you gave me years ago now, (although at that time it was about MCR), not to be too hasty to call a tile (limits options, tells opponents what you are doing, etc etc) ...I apply that guidance whenever I can and it has really improved my Riichi skills!
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Thanks, Ray. These are some good thoughts. You asked...

    ...whether playing/planning for multiple waits is a viable strategy and not just a matter of luck, and if so does it warrant a Column?
    Yes, it's a viable strategy, and yes, it's worthy column fodder, but a lot more work to come up with all the examples for the columns. As one can tell by scrolling down through the column index at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/colhead.htm, I've gotten progressively lazier since I started writing the columns. :op

    As an example, in the hand illustrated, I had a three way multiple wait facilitated by Jokers...a 7 Dot, a Flower or another Joker would all give me a win (and as an aside, I had prepared earlier for the addition to be 5+6 or 5+7, opting for 5+7 when I drew the 2 Bam...so some luck needed, but different avenues would open up depending on tiles drawn - ha ha, is that another Column, planning for hand flexibility!!).
    Yes, nice hand. You already had all four of your 5Cs, and you had your 12B, so at the time of winning you could win on either 7D or F. The earlier screenshot would make a better column (before you exposed/melded the 5C kong). And yes, hand flexibility frequently comes up in Charleston columns (going in multiple directions is usually necessary in the Charleston), but midstream hand-switching exercises are good for columns. Again, extra work is required in coming up with the examples for discussion. I think I might have written a hand-switching column once.

    Another aside...I was playing Richii earlier; multiple waits is very beneficial in that version of course
    It's beneficial in all variants.

    I still remember advice you gave me years ago now, (although at that time it was about MCR), not to be too hasty to call a tile (limits options, tells opponents what you are doing, etc etc) ...I apply that guidance whenever I can and it has really improved my Riichi skills!
    I teach that to all my students, no matter what type of mah-jongg I'm teaching them. It's basic and essential.

    Your ideas of Multiple-Wait and Hand-Switching (Flexibility), are both good. I'll make sure not to forget these (not saying I'll write them regularly or soon). More importantly, your screenshot gave me an idea how I can improve my Four-Step Strategy, which is actually five steps (jokers are step zero). Re-reading that last sentence, maybe I ought to rename it Five-Step (only people in high-tech fields like using the number zero for numbering things). You have good ideas - keep'em coming (if you have a mind to). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bakelite?

    >From: "krrich
    >Sent: Sunday, June 2, 2019 10:29 PM
    >Subject: Bakelite?
    >Hi Tom. Firstly thx for such an informative site. I have a copy of your book also. I've been playing and collecting mahjong sets for many years. I have a set I got off eBay ten years or so ago. I'd like to know what it's made of. I've seen similar sets advitised as bakelite but I'm no expert so if you have an idea then that's great.
    >Regards Kendall R

    Hi, Kendall!
    Have you read FAQ 7C or FAQ 7C3? Please take a look at my Frequently Asked Questions as your next step. Then you are welcome to come back with a follow-up question. Your tiles are what's usually called "applejuice Bakelite" because of the marbled translucence, but the material may actually be Catalin (a close sibling of Bakelite, as described in the FAQs).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tell me about my two sets

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Sunday, June 2, 2019 10:05 PM
    >Subject: My inherited Mah Jongg sets
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was told you could tell me about my two Mah Jongg sets.
    >One belonged to my mother and the other to my paternal grandma.
    >One has a bettor.
    >A gave one set to my 40 year old daughter and promptly took it back after visiting her and found it outside on her deck in California, rusted and mildewy!
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Fran K
    >Tucson, Arizona
    >fran
    >tucson, az

    Hi, Fran.
    You got it partially right. I can help you, but I don't "tell" people stuff. I answer questions. You didn't ask any questions about your sets. I don't answer questions about multiple sets in one email, however. Depending on what questions you have, you may need to do some homework before I can help you. If you want to ask about a set's age, you need to do the homework outlined in FAQ 7G. If you want to ask about a set's monetary value, you have to do the homework outlined in FAQ 7H. While doing that homework, if you need to know the names of all the bits and pieces, see FAQ 7B and FAQ 7D and FAQ 7E. (Whew! Look how hard I have to work just to tell you how you can make my job easier!) I'm standing by to answer any questions you may have about the first set. But you need to do your homework first. Be advised that I am not an expert on manufacturers.

    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    June 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategy column ideas

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Friday, May 31, 2019 9:52 AM
    >Subject: Strategy Column ideas
    >Hi Tom,
    >In a recent Strategy Column, (#721), you asked what else we'd hope to see in a column? Well, with the defense and Charleston (and the card analyses, columns #715 through #718) I guess you have the most popular covered!
    >But I have an idea borrowed from some Riichi analyses I examine, though I appreciate it may be too complex to realistically expect it from you.
    >My suggestion then is to show all four hands at the start of the Charleston and show how each initial decision on what direction a hand may be headed, (and hence what to pass), is subsequently influenced by the tiles received.
    >(Riichi analyses can show show each discard throughout a game, largely from the standard recording template or through the Tenhou software if playing online. I've not seen anything similar for NMJL.)
    >A second suggestion is to invite readers to submit "What should I have passed?"...here, folks could send an actual hand they had with the tiles they passed to see if their thought process and tiles selected were appropriate. I do this myself when playing online, simply taking a screenshot of my hand and tiles passed for later self analysis.
    >To illustrate this, I have attached one such screenshot: I decided to pursue the Consec area of the card though maybe that pair of 2 Dots should have tempted me elsewhere? The 1 Crak, 3 Dot and West are the tiles I passed. (And, perhaps to help with my first suggestion, then received a 2 Crak, 9 Dots and a North).
    >If helpful, I could post a request for Strategy Column ideas on the Facebook That's It group?
    >Best regards, as always,
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray!
    Thanks very much for your ideas. I'll go through them in order:

    I have an idea, though I appreciate it may be too complex to realistically expect it from you. My suggestion then is to show all four hands at the start of the Charleston and show how each initial decision on what direction a hand may be headed, (and hence what to pass), is subsequently influenced by the tiles received.
    Yes, I looked at Japanese analyses and I have done whole-table Charleston columns years ago. Problem is, back then I didn't label columns in the index with much detail, so those columns are hard to find. I went looking for them this morning, but didn't find any of those. I did follow some Charlestons through from one player's point of view in columns 94, 97, 101, 418, and 424. The easiest way to go back more than 10 years in the columns index is to work from http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/colhead.htm.

    (Riichi analyses can show show each discard throughout a game, largely from the standard recording template or through the Tenhou software if playing online. I've not seen anything similar for NMJL.)
    Yes, I have tried adapting the Japanese format for American mahj. I can't find any such columns at the moment. Maybe between 2003 and 2007? But if you're interested in seeing some early NMJL columns in different formats, check columns 99, 104, 110, 142... Or just go way down the index and click any American columns.

    A second suggestion is to invite readers to submit "What should I have passed?"...here, folks could send an actual hand they had with the tiles they passed to see if their thought process and tiles selected were appropriate. I do this myself when playing online, simply taking a screenshot of my hand and tiles passed for later self analysis.
    Good idea. I hereby invite readers to do that.

    To illustrate this, I have attached one such screenshot: I decided to pursue the Consec area of the card though maybe that pair of 2 Dots should have tempted me elsewhere? The 1 Crak, 3 Dot and West are the tiles I passed. (And, perhaps to help with my first suggestion, then received a 2 Crak, 9 Dots and a North).

    You kept twos and nines. Other than the remaining twos, you kept high numbers for high Consec. Looks good for Consec #2 and #3 and #6; you made a smart pass. I would hope a reader would include additional information (like what hand(s) or family(ies) (s)he was targeting.)

    If helpful, I could post a request for Strategy Column ideas on the Facebook That's It group?
    For too many reasons to go into here: please don't.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My game requires me to update

    >From: "pamelam55
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My game requires me to update but will States it cannot at this time,my iOS is 9 , and I can not continue playing until i can update, have tried different ways and nothing?

    Sorry, pamelam55, but I can't help you, since I didn't make your game and I don't work at the company that made your game. Read FAQ 24 to find out how to get help with your game. But seriously, why are you still running iOS 9? iOS 9 is 3 years out of date!* If you've avoiding updating your iOS just so your old game will continue working, it's probably time to get a different game.
    A story that may or may not enlighten: I downloaded Flappy Bird in 2014, and that game required iOS 10, and ever since I upgraded my iOS to 11 (and now 12), Flappy Bird no longer works. I used to have a Japanese mahjong game (English title: "Mahjong Fight Club") and that one no longer works because of iOS updates. But should I have stayed with iOS 10? No. Other apps besides games can stop working if you don't update, and there are security risks too.
    Anyway, good luck finding mah-jongg happiness on your iOS device.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 31, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Surely you didn't just mean you have an iPhone 9!


    What's my score if I win by redeeming a joker?

    >From: Wendy S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you pick a tile from the wall which allows you to replace a joker exposed on someone’s else’s rack, is that considered mj on your own? Do you get payed double?
    >Thanks

    Yes, Wendy. Win by joker redemption is regarded as "self-pick." Everybody pays double. See FAQ 19-AN. (Source: the 2009 NMJL newsletter.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 30, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie, part 2

    >From: Cyndi P
    >Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:28 AM
    >Subject: Re: Column 723 #2?
    >We all experience moments of Dyslexia!

    (^_^)


    Column oopsie

    >From: Cyndi P
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:39 PM
    >Subject: Column 723 #2?
    >Hi there, Tom. I am fairly new at Mahjong and LOVE your columns! Thank you!
    >For #2, did you mean pass 1D, 4D and 7D (Not 7B… which isn’t included in the hand)?
    >Cyndi

    You are right, Cyndi. Yet again I switched a B for a D. Fixed! P.S., I'm so glad you enjoy my columns!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of our players just picks up a discard without saying anything

    >From: Phyllis B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 10:16 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One of our players never calls for a tile even though reminded to do so. Is there a penalty if you just pick up a tile without saying ANYTHING?
    >Signed frustrated

    Hi, Phyllis!
    The rule on the back of the card says, "To claim a discard, the player must verbalize their call letting the other players know that they are claiming that discard." The back of the card is rather laconic; the official rulebook contains a lot more words. All sorts of rules are in the rulebook that are not on the back of the card (which is why I always recommend to everyone that every table have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy). I'm sorry to say that the rules do not prescribe a penalty for this behavior.
    I can think of some possible things you can try, but most of them are rude and would probably not get her to change her behavior. (^_^) She can't have the discard if she doesn't call for it verbally. If the next player in line is picking from the wall, the picker does not have to put her tile back on the wall unless the caller verbalizes her claim for the tile. Keep pointing her to the rules, I guess. Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #723, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 3:28 AM
    >Subject: column 723
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for the very detailed strategy in your answer. You stated "I've been burned too many times on failed pairs." Yet you often encourage us to try "Singles and Pairs" hands with only 7 tiles toward a hand--which seems a contradiction to your cautionary statement. I am very reluctant to try S&P hands because I don't like the necessary risk taking and I hate to lose! I'm trying hard to overcome this tendency. But I get excited when I get so many jokers and I always try for quints. Here's my reasoning-- which may be flawed--you will rarely win quints without 2 or more jokers (except this year there is Quints #1 requiring only 1 joker). So with 4 jokers your chances are much improved. Also no pairs are needed for quints #4. This is the first Charleston pass so you may get at least 1 tile (and likely more) to improve your odds. I agree that Addition #2 is the safest option and I see the reasoning behind your discards. I just feel risk taking is less risky with 4 jokers! Not much difference between having 3 or 4 tiles so why not go for broke? I learn so much from your column! I look forward to your comments.
    >Thanks Linda

    Good morning, Linda. You wrote:

    Yet you often encourage us to try "Singles and Pairs" hands with only 7 tiles toward a hand--which seems a contradiction to your cautionary statement.
    It's not that I'm contradicting myself - the thing is, there's an exception to every strategic principle, just as there can be exceptions to many rules. I have heard many intermediate players say they never play S&P. I say "never say never." You'll never make an S&P hand if you never try. I only recommend S&P when the tiles point that way over other ways.

    I just feel risk taking is less risky with 4 jokers!
    Sure. But jokers can't be used in pairs, and if you're going for a hand that needs pairs you don't have, you're taking a risk. I teach beginners and intermediate players, and I've seen a lot of joker-filled hands that never made mah-jongg because players were going for hands that needed pairs.

    Not much difference between having 3 or 4 tiles so why not go for broke?
    I think the difference is one tile. You can go broke because of one tile.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 29, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 4)

    >From: Susan Davidson
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:47 AM
    >Subject: 
    > Thank you , Tom

    You're welcome, Susan.


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 3)

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Re: Changing an Exposure
    >Tom, Thank you for your follow up email. I fully understand why a player would not be able to use the newly acquired joker to change their exposure from a pung to a knog, kong to quint, etc., so I guess what the league is saying is, in order to eliminate any possibility of an illegal move then no changes can be made after a joker exchange, I still would like to see that written with a NMJL letterhead. I might just write to them myself, just so I have it. Thanks again, Susan

    Hi, Susan!
    With a little help from Ray, I got hold of the whole letter (above) on Facebook. Reading it again, I see that its explanation describes a situation that doesn't really fit with the scenario of the original question (in which the redeemed joker was not used in changing the exposure). While I was on Facebook, I saw some of the comments. Johni Levene was displeased about the change in the rule, while Cheryl Dunne saw validation for the rule by comparing to the rules of Pan (once you change an action to another intention or action, you can't go back to your first action). All I can say is, a ruling in writing is an official rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption (part 2)

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:05 AM
    >Subject: Susan D question regarding changing an exposure
    >Hi Tom,
    >A member of the Facebook That's It group showed the attached ruling from the NMJL recently. It appears to cover similar ground as Susan has raised, and I think contradicts your answer. When the letter was shown on the Facebook group it was considered a rule change (albeit the second paragraph continued to sow confusion!)
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Okay, Ray. I don't know who the letter is addressed to (couldn't locate the post on FB) nor what date the letter was written, and I don't see NMJL letterhead, but I may as well accept it as an official ruling. When people ask me a question that has not been previously and publicly ruled by the League, I can only answer based on what has been shared publicly. This question involves an obscure situation combined with another action, never before ruled in writing.
    The second paragraph clarifies it for me - because one acquires a joker after making the exposure, one cannot use the newly acquired joker to alter the exposure. That goes hand in hand with the rule against calling a discard to make a pung, then redeeming a joker and adding to it to make a kong. That's an established rule (you're required to make a complete exposure at the moment of taking the discard). . The question Susan asked wasn't about that, but was about simply making an unrelated change to the fresh exposure (after making a joker exchange with another player). I suppose doing the joker redemption after making the exposure raises the possibility of an illegal play; a case where the mere appearance of a questionable act is enough to invoke a rule against the move. Anyway, I don't have to fully understand the logic of the rule. The rule is the rule because the League says so, and I'm retracting what I wrote on the 26th.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 28, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's up with Tom?

    >From: Chris S
    >Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 6:22 PM
    >Subject: What's up with Tom?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read through your recent Q&As and wondered what you're up to lately.
    >Are you traveling to, or participating in, any tournaments this year?
    >How would we keep up on such things?
    >Chris

    Hi, Chris. You wrote:

    wondered what you're up to lately.
    Well, not a lot. The university semester ended a couple of weeks ago, and I have a break for the next couple of weeks.

    Are you traveling to, or participating in, any tournaments this year?
    No, I haven't been to an international tournament in years. But next Saturday I'm going to participate in a mah-jongg event in Chinatown. (It's a private event, so L.A. area readers shouldn't get all excited or try to show up.)

    How would we keep up on such things?
    You mean, how would you know in advance about tournaments? We used to have mahjongnews.com but not anymore. I assume I will hear about global events now and then. If your email is a sneaky way to get me to promise to share the info about such events, okay. I promise. In fact, last year I made an announcement about an impending international event, and stickied it to the top of this board and the Find Players/Tournaments/Teachers board. Took the note down when the event was cancelled. Did I answer the question, or were you asking if I will write about events I attend? (The answer to the latter is yes, I will.)

    Cheers, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #723

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Holy Cow Tom!!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Regarding column #723 number 4--Wait!! You have 4 jokers and no mention of attempting a quints hand?? A few days ago I was dealt a hand very similar to this but with only 3 jokers. I played Quints #4 and got lucky and won. You have two 1's, two 4's, and two dragons--so 6 possible tiles for that hand. Whenever I'm dealt 3 or more jokers I look at possible quints' hands first.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Interesting, Linda. Yes, I agree that when one has four jokers one should always consider Quints. But above all, I insist one should consider the challenge of improbable pairs. I've been burned too many times on failed pairs. Let's consider your hands and the hand I recommended. You suggested Quints #4, with either ones or fours. For Quints #4 with ones, we have three tiles:

    All the tiles to the right of the jokers are Charleston fodder. Of course one would also hang onto the fours, but there's a problem with making Quints #4 with the fours: we need an opposite dragon, and we don't have one. It looks like four tiles towards this hand, but really only two (two tiles, two ways).

    Now let's consider Quints #3 (a one-suit hand). There are two ways we can go: craks or dots.

    It looks like I have six tiles, but really it's three tiles, two ways. But I need two pairs, and I don't have the pairs. I could go that way if I had nothing better. If I try to hedge my bets and go for all the above options, that leaves me with only one passer for the Charleston. So eliminate Quints #4 with fours.

    But that's still two hands, three ways of going, and only three tiles each. In the column, I mentioned Addition #2, 5+7=12, in three suits. Got four tiles for that:

    If I want to also go for Quints, I can pass 4D 6D 4C.

    I still like Addition #2 as the best choice - three kongs and two singles, and I already have the singles. Easier to make than two quints and a kong, starting with one natural each. But especially, I have four tiles rather than three. Not counting the jokers. They have already done their job (telling me to go for hands that don't need unlikely pairs). For this pass, I'll keep the one and dragons for Any Like #2. (I know, another hand with two pairs - but it's only an idea to help me narrow down the tiles to pass in the first right.)

    So this is what I'd pass, now that you've made me think harder on these tiles! Interesting that I'd pass the same three tiles either way (three of the four "passers" I identified in yesterday's column).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 27, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Changing an exposure in the same turn as a joker redemption

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2019 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Changing an Exposure
    >Ok, so I know that you can add or subtract tiles from an exposure before you discard as long as you use the tile that you called. There has been a very lengthy discussion on MahJongg That's it! over the last couple of days, and after quoting directly from sources such as your website, MahJongg Made Easy, and the National MahJongg League 2019 bulletin, most people get it now.. The question that remains is, what if a joker exchange takes place during this turn? Your turn begins when you pick a tile from the wall or call a discard and make an exposure. It ends when you discard. All other actions take place between those two actions, correct? Say I call a 6 bam and expose three 6 bams and a joker to make an exposure of four 6 bams. Another player has some 7 dots exposed with a joker. I exchange a 7 dot for their joker, then realize I only needed three 6 bams. Since I haven't discarded, should I be able to put that joker that was with my 6 bams back in with my other tiles so that my exposure is three 6 bams? Thank you, Susan D

    Hi, Susan! I thought it was funny to get 2 emails in a row about changing exposures. But since you mention the Facebook group, it makes sense. You wrote:

    Your turn begins when you pick a tile from the wall or call a discard and make an exposure. It ends when you discard. All other actions take place between those two actions, correct?
    Yes.

    Since I haven't discarded, should I be able to put that joker that was with my 6 bams back in with my other tiles so that my exposure is three 6 bams?
    Yes. The redemption does not have anything to do with (does not conflict with) the rule on page 14 (see the previous post, below). You haven't discarded yet, so you can change the size of your exposure (in this case from a kong, a legal size, to a pung, also a legal size).*

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Retracted based on Ray Heaton's email of May 28 (above).


    Can a reveal be changed?

    >From: "joe.bayside
    >Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2019 2:29 PM
    >Subject: Reveals
    >Tom,
    >It is a joy to read your columns and FAQs. I have recently had a discussion about Reveals) with reference to the NMJL rules and cards.
    >Another person had originally revealed three 4’s and two Jokers, planning to go for Quints #1 ( 11 222 3333 44444 ) , and then recognized that she was going to switch over to
    >Consecutive Run #2 (111 2222 333 4444 ) several turns later. When her turn arrived, she claimed a 3 (her second natural three) and moved one of the earlier revealed Jokers to that grouping to change that a Pair to a Pung and the earlier Quint to a Kong.
    >My understanding is that once you have revealed a grouping (the Quint of 4’s), it must remain that…At the point of Mah Jongg, I understand that tiles can be re-arranged, but I’m not sure even then, if it would be permissible make a change to an earlier reveal.
    >Could you please clarify that for us?
    >Thanks for all your efforts.
    >Joe M

    Hi, Joe!
    You have the right idea, asking:

    My understanding is that once you have revealed a grouping (the Quint of 4’s), it must remain that…
    It's easy to find the answer to this frequently-asked question in FAQ 19 - the category is "EXPOSURES" (you're using the word "reveals") and the question you're asking is "Can I add to an exposure later?" (FAQ 19-AF), and underneath it you can see two NMJL source citations: the 2009 NMJL newsletter, and page 14 of the official rulebook. The rule on p. 14 says:

      A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded.

    At the point of Mah Jongg, I understand that tiles can be re-arranged, but I’m not sure even then, if it would be permissible make a change to an earlier reveal.
    The NMJL answered this question in print in January's newsletter (see FAQ 19-CN). The right of re-arranging does not imply any right to add to or deduct from an existing exposure. As p. 14 says, an exposure, once made, may never be changed after discarding to end the turn. An exposure is a commitment. Once made, it is done, sealed. No backsies, no changes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 26, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is tile counting permissible behavior?

    From: "mscathyo
    Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2019 2:32 PM
    Subject: Cheating in Mah Jongg?
    Tom, a new player just joined our group. She’s an accountant and wins virtually every game. It appears that perhaps she is tile counting, much like the card counters in Vegas. Before any tiles are displayed, she seems to know what tiles each player needs. It doesn’t seem like a fair game. Do we say something, or accept that she’s extremely talented and way above the group’s level, or suggest she join a group more of her equals since we do play for money. This is very awkward and we never had an issue like this before. Thank you.
    GingerLou
    PS: If the player is tile counting, is this permitted?

    Hi, GingerLou!
    You and I see this very differently. You see a "tile counter," possibly a "tile shark" who's engaging in possibly unacceptable behavior. I see a player who pays attention to who passes what in the Charleston, and has an amazing memory. Sounds to me like she's an observant and intelligent player, operating at a high level of skill.
    But if you think she may be cheating, I wrote about how to cheat (that's the only way we can be on guard about cheating) in Column 412 and Column 437.
    She's allowed to use her eyes, her ears, her hands, her voice, and yes, she is allowed to use her brain. If you don't welcome the challenge of learning from her, you are allowed to use your feet. But why not just ask her for some of her secrets?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2019 6:02 AM
    >Subject: Column #722 #6
    >Hi Tom, Just catching up on my reading and noticed your column dated May 19th that I hadn’t read yet. In looking at it, I get to hand number 6 and noticed that while you mentioned Quints #4 as a possibility, you failed to mention that 6D and 6B could also be hot tiles for that hand.
    >Tim A

    Quite right, Tim!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You're the best and appreciated much.

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 24, 2019 12:40 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from michelle p
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from michelle p
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    >Message: I used your site today for a complete mahj lesson with some new students. I also loan out the print RDWW and downloaded the e-version yesterday. One student requested her hubby buy her the kindle version for her b-day (which is today). You're the best and appreciated much.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    I appreciate your words and the donation, Michelle! Thank you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 25, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets, part 2

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 7:41 PM
    >Subject: re: Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?
    >Thanks for the response! Just to clarify on the last bit, are you saying it's likely this was actually made by Nintendo? I'm well aware that Nintendo made and still makes mahjong sets, but I've seen them all as very high-end sets marketed only in Japan and they're all distinguished with the shell in the 1 dot tile, which isn't present on this set. Unless they also made some cheaper souvenir sets on the side, I had just assumed that what I'm seeing here is a just a cloned plastic tray mold or something.
    >If Nintendo actually did make these kind of sets, maybe I'll keep it sealed in case it's got some value.

    Okay, I see. The reason for your skepticism is that the set in question is a lower-quality set than you expected to see. Fair enough. Examine the set as a unit - see if the tiles fit perfectly, if all the pieces including the Nintendo-marked pieces look like they were made at the same time as a set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    And a third question about American mah-jongg

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What is a Mush and is it legit? Group did this after Charleston. Never heard or read about it. My email is above.

    Your third email wound up in my Spam folder, but I found it and rescued it!

    What is a Mush
    I presume it's what I described in my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind:" Mish - American game. An unofficial table rule. After the Charleston, players may pool their unwanted tiles, mix them up, and refill the hand from the pool. A fairly pointless exercise.. But maybe it was something else. People make up table rules, or teach a vaguely-remembered table practice, and give them any number of names. But hey, you were there. You did a Mush, so you already know what it is.

    and is it legit? Group did this after Charleston.
    It's a table rule.

    Never heard or read about it.
    I don't know what you have used as your source of mah-jongg rules. Not all authors or teachers include table rules in their writings/teachings. You should have (at the very least) your own copy of the League's official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Go on the NMJL's website to order it, or get it from any of the online mah-jongg vendors (I have some listed in FAQ 4).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Here's another one I found in my Spam folder:


    I donate $1.000.000,00 to you. Contact me via email

    >From: Michael J. Weirsky <>
    >To: Recipients
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:30 AM
    >Subject: Donation
    >My name is Michael J. Weirsky, I'm an unemployed Handy man , winner of $273million Jackpot in March 8, 2019. I donate $1.000.000,00 to you. Contact me via email: nodilarl4@aol.com for info / claim.

    No.


    Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Bamboo and plastic numbered Japanese-style sets?
    >I've recently been seeing several of a style of Japanese-sized plastic and bamboo sets with the standard Japanese markings but arabic numerals. I'm wondering if you've seen sets like these before, or would know anything about who made them or what they're worth?
    >I imagine it's somewhat generic of a style, because I haven't seen much consistency between various sets. I've seen various case styles, I've seen some with clearer yellowish plastic and some with opaque white, and I've seen some with the typical Japanese black and red ink only and some that use green. I just picked up a new old stock one and the trays say "Nintendo Playing Card Co., LTD" on them, which surely can't be true and leads me to believe this particular set might be some kind of Chinese generic or something. The case does say "made in Japan," but that could also be false.
    >Please see attached pics!

    Hi, Zach! I'm familiar with those sets. I have one or more in my collection. You wrote:

    ...would [you] know anything about who made them ...
    Some are made in Japan, for export to the West. Some may be made in Korea or Taiwan. Japanese sets originally come with paper inserts but those may be discarded by owners along the way from the factory to you. Many do not come with paper inserts, obscuring their origins.

    ... or what they're worth?
    Value depends on condition, uniqueness, playability, beauty... I can't give you a value on the sets in the photos because I don't have enough information from you. See FAQ 7H.

    I just picked up a new old stock one and the trays say "Nintendo Playing Card Co., LTD" on them, which surely can't be true ... The case does say "made in Japan," but that could also be false.
    Nope. Nintendo did make mah-jongg sets. I have one in my collection. I doubt somebody is going to the trouble of trying to counterfeit Nintendo mah-jongg sets.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Two questions about American mah-jongg rules

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can breaking the wall be done with one die instead of the pair of dice? My email is above.
    >Thanks,
    >Rose S

    >From: Rose S
    >Cc: Rosemarie S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2019 1:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you “not” call a tile except for Mahjong, when using the last section of broken wall in the game? My email is above.
    >Rose S

    Hi, Rose! You asked two questions:

    Can breaking the wall be done with one die instead of the pair of dice?
    It is certainly possible. Roll the die once, remember the number, then roll again, then use the sum of the two numbers to break the wall. But dice are cheap and easy to buy at any drugstore. Might as well replace that one orphan die with two nice new ones!

    Can you “not” call a tile except for Mahjong, when using the last section of broken wall in the game?
    Not under the real rules. The real rules do not change suddenly when picking gets down to the last short dealer wall. You're talking about the "hot wall" table rule (or maybe your group calls it something else, I can't know). Read FAQ 19-Y to understand the real rules for the last short wall. And read FAQ 14 to understand about table rules.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 23, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The site will not let me play, part 2

    >From: Betty G
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thank you Tom, Sorry!


    The site will not let me play

    >From: Betty G
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:41 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have been trying for two days to get into the site and play a game. My username is Germaine and I have a Premium membership and since yesterday it will not let me play. I have been writing in and not getting a response. I would really appreciate your help.
    >Betty

    I'm sorry, Betty, but you have me mistaken for someone who runs a site where people can play games. I do not run such a site. Hope you manage to play that game soon!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 4:41 PM
    >Subject: Strategy Column #722
    >For question #8, I believe that Consecutive #3 would also be possible; hot tiles: Flowers and 4 Cracks.
    >John

    Quite right, John!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from susan w
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from susan w
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: susan wilson
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Susan!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 21, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Daphne S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2019 9:53 PM
    >Subject: Column 722- #2
    >Hi Tom:
    >Re Column 722-#2: Couldn't it also be 369 #1? Hot tiles are 3 Bam; Key tiles are 3Dot and 6 Dot.
    >Love your columns-
    >Daphne

    Very good, Daphne! You are right. I'm so accustomed to the first hand being a one-suit hand that I didn't look.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 20, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column oopsie

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2019 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Column #721 #6
    >Hi Tom:
    >Today I read last week’s column and noticed typos in the answer to #6. I think you meant the answer to read 4B 2D 4D instead of 4D 2B 4B.
    >Best,
    >Deborah

    Good eye, Deborah! I have swapped Ds for Bs and Bs for Ds before. It's fixed now, and it's seamless! Thanx to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 19, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Some say you do not have to break the wall

    >From: "jaytoni25
    >Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2019 6:39 PM
    >Subject: Breaking the wall in American MahJongg.
    >I play with some that say you do not have to break the wall. When is it ok not to break the wall?

    It's never okay, jaytoni. Many people misunderstand the purpose of rolling dice and breaking the wall. Many think it's to create a "hot wall," and that's wrong. The purpose of rolling dice and breaking the wall is to prevent cheating, as explained in FAQ 19-AP. In column 403 I describe exactly how to cheat when no dice are rolled. You could demonstrate it for your doubting Thomasinas if you want to make it clear that rolling dice to break the wall is one of China's better ideas (right up there with spaghetti and gunpowder).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 19, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Gratitude from a reader

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:28 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Rochelle R
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Rochelle R
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Rochelle R
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Rochelle!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 17, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I appreciate your free information

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 7:46 PM
    >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 JOSEPH M
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JOSEPH M
    >Message: Tom, I appreciate your free information and give a link to your site to all the people with whom I am sharing this amazing game/obsession.
    >Sincerely,
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    Thank you very much, Joseph!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 16, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Placement of discards

    >From: M Sherry D
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:24 PM
    >Subject: Ethical Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Is there a rule as to where on the table you should place the tile you are discarding? We have one player that insists on discarding her tiles next to her rack instead of in the middle like everyone else where all can see.

    Hi, M Sherry!
    I assume we are talking about American mah-jongg. There is no rule about placement of discards; only that they are placed face up. It's common practice to place them in the largest available open space on the table, then whisk them aside when a new wall swings out.
    Your question touches on strategy; it's strategically advantageous to mix one's tiles haphazardly among the others so as to hide one's tracks from one's opponents. The opposite of haphazard discards is orderly discards; that's what they do in Japan and in Chinese Majiang Championship Rules (every player is required to place discards in order before them, so that the opponents can track every move in the game).
    This isn't a matter of ethics per se. But it appears there is an etiquette issue at your table. Your player probably wants a record of her own moves, despite the advantage she is giving the other players. The other players seem to object to her not toeing the line and doing as the Romans do, despite the clues she's handing you all about how she's playing her hand.
    If this is a matter of sight-impaired players, then that makes it a matter of harmony, and the solution is to have a harmonious explanation of the plight of the sight-impaired and discussion and agreement on a table rule. But if it's just vain players not wearing glasses, I say "Put on your glasses. Turn up the lights."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you have to use dots with zeroes?

    >from: margaret f
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: in 2019 where it says 1 or 2 suits must you use dots with the 4 zeros? In the any 2 or 3 suits can the does the 2019 have to be dots?
    >Thanks

    Hi, Margaret! You'll find your answers in FAQ 16. Please always check FAQ 16 with any questions about the 2019 card. And FAQ 19 answers questions about the NMJL rules. After you check the FAQ, if you still have questions, ask away!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 card, Consec #4

    >From: Laurie C
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >My question is about the fourth hand under consecutive runs on the 2019 American card.
    >Would I be able to change the order of consecutive numbers?
    >I had 4 one bams, 4 one dots and pairs of 2,3, 4 cracks.
    >Is that a valid hand or does it have to have the Kongs to be after the pairs?
    >Thank you,
    >Laurie

    Hi, Laurie! You'll find your answer in FAQ 16. Please always check FAQ 16 with any questions about the 2019 card. And FAQ 19 answers questions about the NMJL rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 14, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 721

    >From: Pam
    >Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2019 3:08 PM
    >Subject: Column #721
    >I’m a new player so be kind ??. I’m confused about your recommendation for Hand #3, S&P #6...ignore the dragons and keep evens? Why?

    Hi, Pam!
    The reason for keeping all evens is simple: there are a lot of evens in the deal, and simply keeping them all lets you explore the option of making a 2468 hand with whatever other tiles might come in during the Charleston. I don't remember why I mentioned ignoring dragons exactly, but I suppose it's because the 2468 family is not dragon-rich. Since I don't remember what I meant, ignore "ignoring dragons" and just imagine dragons are potentially useful.*
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 13, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Ignore "Imagine Dragons," and banish Demons, Warriors! [tic]


    Reverse redeeming of joker, part 2

    >From: Kay
    >Sent: Friday, May 10, 2019 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Thank you

    You're welcome.


    I really appreciate and enjoy your website!

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 10, 2019 7:38 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 Vicki C
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Vicki C
    >Message: I really appreciate and enjoy your website!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Wow, I guess you do! Thank you, Vicki!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Reverse redeeming of joker

    >From: KZ B
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:09 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding FAQ AA reverse redeeming of joker:
    >Is it still not possible even if that’s the only way to achieve Mahjong?
    >We have played International (un-American MJ )and Chinese MJ for many years and are now trying to master the game using NMJL cards.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Kay B

    Hi, Kay!
    First, a correction: FAQ 19-AA is not about reverse redemption (it's about the death challenge). Reverse redemption is FAQ 19-AL. You asked:

    Is it still not possible [to reverse-redeem] even if that’s the only way to achieve Mahjong?
    No. You may not put your unwanted joker into someone's exposed tiles and take just any exposed non-joker thereby. See rule 7 on page 21 of the official rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 10, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Snyder's Manual

    >From: BJ C
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 8:40 PM
    >Subject: Snyder's Manual
    >Hello Tom,
    >We are learning Chinese Mah jongg and using/reading Snyder's Ma-Jung Manual (The book was given to one of the ladies along with the MJ set). Would you happen to know what version of Ma-Jung this book is using? I've been reading other books and I've noticed some discrepancies on when to take from the "loose" wall.
    >We just want to learn Classical Chinese and I've found the rules online but would like your opinion on The Snyder's Ma-Jung Manual.
    >Thank you,
    >B.J. C

    Hi, B.J. This is one of many many books on Chinese Classical that were written during the mah-jongg fad of the 1920s. Those discrepancies you found - were you comparing Snyder with other 1920s books? If not, then it's no wonder there are differences. But even among the 1920s books, you will find slight differences.
    After Babcock opened Pandora's box o' mah-jongg tiles with his Little Red Book (which initially simplified the game by omitting flowers and kongs), a lot of authors sought out Chinese players to learn the "true" Chinese rules. As it's always been, mah-jongg rules vary from continent to continent, and from city to city, and from block to block, and from house to house. The Chinese game spread by word of mouth, and it was extremely rare to find actual detailed rules in writing (see FAQ 11-D).
    tl;dr - Snyder's is as good as any other from the time. When you find discrepancies, you get to decide which way you prefer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claim, part 2

    >From: Rochelle R
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 4:23 PM
    >Subject: Re: help request
    >Thank you. I’ll donate again. you can count on it.
    >Rochelle

    That would be very nice, Rochelle. And you're welcome.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who gets the tile? ("Conflicting claim")

    >From: Rochelle R
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 3:57 PM
    >Subject: help request
    >Feel free to post if this isn’t repetitive. i don’t think it’s on the FAQ list.
    >Here’s the situation-
    >Player number 1 discards a tile. Player number 3 calls for it aloud and goes to pick it up.
    >It’s player number 2s turn though, although she hadn’t called for it as quickly. Who trumps?
    >Does player 3 keep the tile or does player 2 ( next in line from the original play) get to keep it?
    >Neither had an immediate mahjongg.
    >Rochelle

    Hi, Rochelle!
    It's not a race to see who can speak first, not even who "goes to pick it up" first. Next in line gets the tile in this situation. See FAQ 19-H.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can a quint hand be pure?

    >From: Marty H
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 2:25 PM
    >Subject: Can a quint hand be pure?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Today I got Quint #1 (on the 2019 National Mah Jongg card) using a single joker. Is that considered a “pure” hand, and am I paid double for it?
    >Thanks.
    >Marty H

    Sorry, Marty. No. If you could earn jokerless bonus* for quints with one joker, the rule would be stated on the card - guaranteed. It isn't, so the answer is no.
    *By the way, the term "pure" is used in different ways in mah-jongg. I avoid the term unless I'm talking about Hong Kong (Old) Style mah-jongg (HKOS). The American term is really "(jokerless) bonus" (on the card, it just says "bonus," but everybody just says "jokerless").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They don't agree with our math, and they use the wrong strategy

    >From: Ellen P F
    >Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Our Mah Jongg group is a harmonious one except when we discuss melding jokers early.
    >Two of us, including myself, agree that melding jokers early only helps other players redeem them. The remaining players argue that they have a 1 in 4 chance of redeeming the jokers themselves. My friend strongly believes that the chances of redeeming one’s own jokers are 1 in 3. We are an experienced Mah Jongg group. My friend and I are frustrated. Occasionally, there are times when these other players still win and when they do redeem their own jokers.
    >The risk of redemption is zero if one waits to expose their joker/jokers when the other players cannot possibly have the tiles to redeem another player's jokers. This makes sense and we cannot understand why the others strongly disagree.
    >I would be interested in your opinion in order to restore harmony. Should we just let this go for the sake of harmony and watch others pick off their jokers while we seethe? (Of course, we quite enjoy redeeming their jokers, too.)
    >Thank you,
    >Ellen

    I fail to see the problem, Ellen. You seem to be saying that everybody should adhere to the same strategy. While everyone needs to adhere to the same rules, strategy is an individual choice. In my opinion, your group should allow its members to play any way they want, without argument, so long as they are abiding by the rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 9, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can't find my answer in your thorough but sometimes confusing FAQ 19

    >From: Kathleen H
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 2:19 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Tom
    >I have looked at FAQ 19 (very thorough & sometimes confusing) but can not find my exact question so I am sending it to you.
    >Q - Can a player call for a discard, put it on her exposed rack with her other tiles, change her mind, put the discarded tile back on the table and then draw a tile?
    >Thank you for your time
    >Kathleen H

    Hi, Kathleen!
    I'm sorry for the sometimes confusing answers. I wish I could find and fix every confusing answer.
    Your exact question is answered in the section titled "UNDO, UNDO! I changed my mind, can I take it back? ("CHANGE OF HEART")"
    You want FAQ 19-AM, "Can I change my mind? Can she change her mind? (The "Change of Heart" rules)"
    Even more narrowly, since 4 questions are answered in FAQ 19-AM, you want the second one: A: 2. Calling a discard. (You asked about a player changing her mind about calling a discard.) Please follow that link and read Answer 2.
    If any part of answer 2 is unclear, please tell me so I can unconfuse it. I want to fix every confusing answer, and I want to make every answer reasonably easy to find.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    MJ set appraisal, part 2

    >From: Linda S
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 7:49 AM
    >Subject: S████-MJ set appraisal
    >Here are larger photos of the set I sent last night. Perhaps these will help clarify the appraisal value. Thank you.
    >Linda S

    Okay, Linda. Now I can see flaws on the box. The front door of the box is the part that enhanced the value of the set (due to the pearl inlay). There's a big crack in the door where the wood has dried and split. There are missing pearl pieces. I still can't see the tiles very well; there may be discoloring, or perhaps those are shadows I'm seeing across the bottom of all the tiles. Based on this clearer view of the condition of the box, I'm reducing the valuation to $80-$120.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 8, 2019


    MJ set appraisal

    >From: Linda S
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:39 PM
    >Subject: S████-MJ set appraisal 1 of 2 emails
    >Enclosed are details of a Man Jongg set. You may use the information on your web pages. I will attach photos of a second email.
    >Thank you for your service.
    >Linda S
    >1) Factual detailed list on the contents of the set. Rosewood storage box with mother of pearl inlay and a sliding front door with five drawers. Four black wood pushers, 148 tiles and 119 counters. The tiles appear to be bone and bamboo and are in good condition.
    >2) No paper materials
    >3) The tiles appear to be made of bone and bamboo.
    >4) My friend’s father purchased the set about 1962 in Cincinnati Ohio from a Goodwill type of store.
    >5) Dimensions: H 1/2” W 1-3/16” D 1-13/16”. Bone and bamboo split even, about 1/4” 6) How many tiles of each?
    >+One suit each of bams, craks and dots, each with four tiles of numbers 1-9.
    > +Dragons - 4 each - green, red and white
    >+Winds, 4 each - East, South, West and North
    >+Flowers - 8 total – Colorfully decorated.
    >+Blank tiles with remains of stickers - 4
    >+No jokers
    >+Total tiles — 148
    >7) The Mah Jongg set is stored in a weathered rosewood box with mother of pearl on the sliding front door and has five drawers. Each drawer has a metal tab for opening. The corners and handles appear to be bronze and in good condition. The box dimensions are 9-1/2” x 6-1/2” by 6-1/4”
    >7a) There are four black wood pushers that have labels in good to fair condition on the back. The writing includes “Mah-Jongg Sales Company of America Copyrighted 1923 according to Babock’s Rules.”
    >7b) 119 counting stick that appear to be original hand carved bone.
    >A small round storage container for the four painted winds.
    >Unusual – Two 1-1/2’ tiny wood storage pieces for dice with sliding covers.
    >8-12). See photos in second email.

    Hello, Linda.
    Your photos show that your set is a 1920s bone and bamboo set. But your photos are so tiny as to be almost useless for an accurate appraisal. You say the tiles themselves are in just Good condition. If I had reasonable-size photos, I might be able to see that for myself. You didn't note the defects of the tiles or the box. For the purposes of an appraisal, I have to accept your statement that the condition of the tiles is just Good. You said the condition of the box is also just Good, so I am going with that. All the tiles are there but the extra blanks have been stickered and the stickers are worn out, you say. All the bits and pieces are there, with these exceptions:
    - Since the counting sticks are not divisible by 4, there must be some missing.
    - There are TWO (not just one) dice coffins. (I have to wonder why; perhaps someone Frankensteined the set.)
    - A set of racks with scoring tables is also present. (Those were sold separately.)
    These mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes are more valuable than the plain boxes. But the sticker residue and the overall condition reduce the value. Your set is most likely worth between $80 and $150 based on your statement of its condition. The racks are worth $15 or $20.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 8, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    "Siamese" mah-jongg

    >From: Anne C
    >Sent: Monday, May 6, 2019 8:44 PM
    >Subject: Question re Siamese Mah Jongg
    >The rules of Siamese Mah Jongg say, "game ceases when 1 player has declared 2 Mah Jonggs or when the tiles from the walls have been used, and the last discard has been made." So does this rule mean that there could be 3 potential Mah Jonggs in one game, with the winner being the person who gets two? For example, I get a Mah Jongg, then my opponent declares a Mah Jongg, and with tiles still left, one of us declares a 2nd Mah Jongg, thereby winning the game.
    >Anne C

    Hi, Anne! You wrote:

    does this rule mean that there could be 3 potential Mah Jonggs in one game, with the winner being the person who gets two?
    Well, if one person makes mah-jongg, the game doesn't end. If a second person makes mah-jongg, the game still doesn't end. The rule you quoted says that, right? The next person who makes mah-jongg ends the game (it has to - now there'd be only one person playing).

    For example, I get a Mah Jongg, then my opponent declares a Mah Jongg, and with tiles still left, one of us declares a 2nd Mah Jongg, thereby winning the game.
    That's one way the game could end. Another way is for your opponent to win two in a row, and you didn't win any. A third way is for you to win two in a row, figuratively smashing your opponent into the ground and then literally laughing maniacally. (Or not.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 6, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Could really use a computer program to play against

    >From: Bob W
    >Sent: Friday, May 3, 2019 5:02 PM
    >Subject: ma jongg
    >Greetings Sloper,
    >I have been trying to play ma Jong with people, but could really use a computer program to play “against” so as to to better understand what is happening.
    >Can you please recommend a site to play Ma Jongg at?
    >W

    Hi, Bob!
    I have a list at http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq05.html
    Have fun and may the tiles be with you. And tomorrow, May the Fourth be with you.

    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 3, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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

    >from: franklin c
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 7:31 PM
    >Subject: Is this joker available
    >Player has a joker with two flowers exposed. On their next turn they
    >pick from the wall, exchange a flower for the exposed joker, puts the
    >joker in their rack and then declares mah jong and exposes the rest of
    >their tiles (all in the same turn). However the mah jong is in error
    >and the player is called dead. Should the joker that was with the
    >previously exposed flowers be returned and available for exchange?

    Hi, Franklin! You have asked Frequently Asked Question #19-P, "Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?" The answer is complicated, and it's all explained in that link.
    Did you know about my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and particularly FAQ 19 (American/NMJL rules)? On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or you can ^F search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    American strategy

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:56 PM
    >Subject: Beginning American
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've started playing American at last: after about two weeks of playing NMJL rules, I'm still finding the Charleston a bit odd, but having Jokers is a boon!
    >A couple of questions have occurred to me over the couple of weeks...
    >If you have no flowers at the end of the Charleston, is it worth the risk of pursuing a hand that requires a flower pair? My thinking is it is (if you have sufficient other tiles towards the target hand) as there's a good chance of drawing at least one flower then perhaps going out on a discarded flower.
    >How close to a target hand should you be at the end of the Charleston to have any real chance of achieving it? I suppose rather closer for a closed hand or one that majors in pairs.
    >Thanks in advance for any advice!
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray. Wow, venturing into no-man's land! You are a brave soul. You wrote:

    If you have no flowers at the end of the Charleston, is it worth the risk of pursuing a hand that requires a flower pair? My thinking is it is (if you have sufficient other tiles towards the target hand) as there's a good chance of drawing at least one flower then perhaps going out on a discarded flower.
    All I can tell you is that I've tried that many times. Sometimes it works, but more often I never get that second flower.

    How close to a target hand should you be at the end of the Charleston to have any real chance of achieving it?
    I can't give you a number. This is a strategic principle each player decides for him- or herself.

    I suppose rather closer for a closed hand or one that majors in pairs.
    For a concealed hand, yes. For a pairs hand, you want the majority of your pairs complete - and you want a fallback hand. I'll append this exchange to FAQ 8.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for scans, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:26 PM
    >Subject: Zach and JMJA
    >Hi Tom,
    >Zach may want to know you also refer to JMJA rules in FAQ11...extract follows:
    >1952 [Tokyo and Vermont] MAH JONG FOR BEGINNERS, by Shozo Kanai and Margaret Farrell, based on the rules and regulations of The Mah Jong Association of Japan (JMJA). (Tuttle)
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Okay, so Kanai and Farrell = JMJA rules. I'm embarrassed but I have an excuse that I won't go into. Thank you, Ray!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You have to rack at a tournament, correct?

    >From: Judy M
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 8:42 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:. When playing in a tournament you have to rack before play is stopped correct? I play with a group that don't rack or click the rack or anything. Please advise.

    Hi, Judy! You wrote:

    When playing in a tournament
    Which tournament? Run by whom? All tournament organizers set their own rules.

    you have to rack before play is stopped correct?
    You're asking about shutting out possible calls for the discard? Closing the Window of Opportunity on a discard?

    I play with a group that don't rack or click the rack or anything.
    Or are you asking if a player is required to rack every picked tile? I'm not sure what you're trying to find out. Racking is not a requirement. Windows of Opportunity on discards can close by other means (see FAQ 19-BL).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for scans or something

    >From: Zach S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:40 AM
    >Subject: A few questions
    >Hey, I'm just wondering if there are any scans or writeup of the JP Babcock red book rules anywhere? I'm curious to see how that version of the game works but I can't find the rules posted anywhere, presumably because it's not actually a version anyone plays anymore. All I can find is sales of the original books as collector's items.
    >Also, do you know anything about JMJA rules? I went back to a Mac OS9 mahjong game from when I was a kid and it says it uses JMJA rules. Google gave me pretty much nothing about it (not even what it's an acronym for), but from playing it it seems like a proto-Riichi with no yaku requirement or furiten, and it uses the old style of base points and doubles for scoring. It has most of the same limit hands though, and you can call riichi.
    >I feel like if there's anyone on the internet who's heard of it, it's probably you.
    >Thanks in advance!

    Hi, Zach. You wrote:

    I'm just wondering if there are any scans or writeup of the JP Babcock red book rules anywhere? I'm curious to see how that version of the game works but I can't find the rules posted anywhere
    Yes. Go to http://sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/ and click the scans folder. There are scans of the little (softcover) book (a later edition, with the pasted-in page on "Seasons and Flowers") and a few pages (the preface) from the later (hardcover) book, which also included the "Laws" put together by numerous authors of the time to try to put an end to the mah-jongg wars that were killing the game's popularity at the time.

    All I can find is sales of the original books as collector's items.
    Having an original copy is a perfectly valid way of getting info on Babcock's rules.

    do you know anything about JMJA rules?
    No.* The rules you describe sound like the pre-Dora "classical" rules described by either Eleanor Noss Whitney or Kanai and Farrell (see FAQ 3).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May 2, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * I was mistaken. See Ray Heaton email this date above. - Tom


    Any information, part 2

    >From: Deborah O
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:50 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jong Set
    >Thanks for your response Tom, but this is all I know about the set. I will keep looking for answers.

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

    P.S. If you ask me a question, I'll do my best to answer. All you said was "tell me anything" ("Any information you can give me"), and that is simply asking me to work too hard. I can answer only focused questions. Good luck getting information about your set.


    That darned "new" ruling

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6:50 PM
    >Subject: New League Ruling
    >Tom, It seems as if this new ruling concerning when two players want the same tile has everyone in a tizzy. I don't see it as new. Hasn't it always been that the tile goes to the player who is next in turn unless the player who is not next in turn has started to expose? Next in turn can't be asleep. That is no different than before. People are concerned about racing and slam exposing, but I don't think that was ever the league's intentions. I see this ruling as clarification. I still say that once a player who is not next in turn hears a verbal call from a player who is next in turn, that should be a signal to stop and concede the tile. It seems as if hardly anyone agrees with me on this. What are your thoughts?

    Hi, Susan! You wrote:

    I don't see it as new. Hasn't it always been that the tile goes to the player who is next in turn unless the player who is not next in turn has started to expose? Next in turn can't be asleep. That is no different than before.
    You are right. The problem isn't the rule - it's the new wording.

    People are concerned about racing and slam exposing, but I don't think that was ever the league's intentions.
    Absolutely, it wasn't. But aggressive players often find loopholes and interpret rules in ways that lead to discord.

    I see this ruling as clarification.
    Yes. But something I've learned from writing about mah-jongg rules for over two decades is how easily one's carefully chosen words can be interpreted in opposite ways. Misunderstandings occur. Holes are found and exploited by aggressive players.

    I still say that once a player who is not next in turn hears a verbal call from a player who is next in turn, that should be a signal to stop and concede the tile. It seems as if hardly anyone agrees with me on this.
    I agree with you on this. The rule only says that an exposure overrules a verbal call. I think it would be good if the rule included additional wording to say what you said. And I like the Chinese 3-second rule; a caller has a 3-second window in which to call. Anything that happens during that 3-second window has to be undone so the caller can take the discard.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Any information you can give me

    >From: Deborah O
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:28 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Set
    >Hi Tom I inherited this set from my 86 year old mom. Any information you can give me would be appreciated. I have spent several hours on the Internet and could find only scant information on the Cardinal Company and nothing about the tiles. Tiles are 2"wide, 2 1/4" tall and 1/2" deep ; tiles are pale green and "clink" when shuffled, they are medium weight with smooth, rounded corners and no chips ; they feel smooth and nice to hold ; the designs feel engraved; there is "gold leaf" on the Jokers, dragon eyes, season names and flower characters. The set is missing one #3 and one #4 flower. It is in a case with an off white/beige "alligator" cover and a fake velvet lid cover. Thank you very much for your time.


    Hi, Deborah!
    I can give you information, but I need specific questions (as I ranted in FAQ 7p, the "Tell Me Anything" FAQ). I have lots of information about tiles in FAQ 7. You'll need to take more photos. Use the tile arrangement shown in FAQ 7B.
    If you want to know your set's age, see FAQ 7G. If you want to know value, see FAQ 7H. I don't know anything about manufacturers, if that's what you're looking for.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 719 oopsies

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Column#719 #6
    >Hi Tom
    >Love looking at your website, always find great tips and insight. And enjoy trying to figure out the hands.
    >FYI #6 could be quint line#1 also
    >#10 says 2017 #2 opps should be 2019 #3
    >Happy Mah Jongging
    >Christine
    >PS you don't need to post this email, just helping out.

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: Column#719 #9
    >One more just caught my eye, problem #9, could also be odds 13579 #6
    >Thanks again for all you do
    >Christine

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: Column#719 #9
    >Forgive me Mr. Sloper, I was looking at the wrong Column#679, how I got there I have no idea. Sorry to have wasted your time. Have a good evening!

    No worries, Christine. FYI, in Charleston columns, I don't necessarily list every possibility. Just the closest ones (the ones that utilize the most tiles from the dealt hand).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2019


    How are neutral tiles used, part 2

    >From: "silkanddenim
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 12:48 PM
    >Subject: RE: Neutral Tiles
    >I Get it! Thank you. I Googled "suitless tiles in Mahjong," and still got no answers. If not for you, I would have been destined to walk around, scratching my head, saying "What the hell is she talking about!"
    >Thank you very much!

    You're welcome, Harry!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2019


    How are neutral tiles used with any other tile?

    >From: "silkanddenim
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:52 AM
    >Subject: Neutral Tiles
    >Tom,
    >In the "Soap Also Represents a Zero" section of her Book A Beginner's Guide to American Mahjong, Elaine Sandberg notes that Soap is neutral. She also says, "Any neutral tile may be used with any other tile in the set. She goes on to say that Wind and Flowers are neutral. But nowhere in the book can I find how neutral tiles are used with other tiles.
    >In the Glossary she says, "Neutral Tile" A tile that can be used with any other tile regardless of the Suit or Dragon. winds, Flowers, Jokers, and Soap when used as a "0" are neutral tiles.
    >I Googled it and can find no reference to how neutral tiles are used. So how are neutral tiles used with any other tile?
    >Thanks for running a great website, and for taking this question.
    >Harry D

    Hi, Harry.
    I don't use the term "neutral" myself. I use the term "suitless." I'm not surprised Google didn't help you; no question would get the answer if the term "neutral" is in it. Here's a hand with flowers.

      FFF 1111 2222 DDD
    Flowers are suitless. They can go with any suit. You can make this hand with craks, bams, or dots. The flowers do not belong to any suit, so they can be used with any suit. Here's a hand with zeroes.
      222 0000 111 9999
    You can make this hand with craks, bams, or dots. The suitless ("neutral") zeroes can be used with any suit. If this doesn't help, let me know and I'll try again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 719

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:59 AM
    >Subject: RE: Column 719 #3
    >Hi Tom:
    >I give up. How do you count 6 tiles towards Consec #6? I don’t see much at all in the Consecutive Run section. What about 369 #3? There are five tiles (3C, 9C, 9C, G, G) the same number as Odds #4.
    >Looking forward to your answer.
    >Thanks
    >Deborah

    You're right, Deborah. I goofed; I meant to say S&P #6, not Consec #6. And yes, 369 is an option with those tiles.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    May Day, 2019
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she redeem a joker before she takes a discard?

    >From: Gloria B
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A tile is thrown and the next person first exchanges a tile for a joker and then calls the tile that was thrown using the joker she just received Is this a legal move?

    No, it isn't, Gloria. See FAQ 19-M.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Gratitude

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, April 29, 2019 9:40 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Amey G
    >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: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Quantity: 1
    >Contributor: Amey G
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Amey!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 31*

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Monday, April 29, 2019 5:56 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Line 3 under consecutive run .... it says any run ... it does not say 2 suites, all one suite, it says any run....I had 2 suites in the run is that allowed?

    FF 1111 2222 3333 -or- FF 1111 2222 3333 (Any Run)

    Hi, Lisa!
    No additional words are needed in the parenthetical. The color-coding says it all. It's one color (one suit) -OR- three colors (three suits). Read the back of the card, right up top.

    It says 1 color is one suit, and 3 colors mean three suits. So, no. Two suits isn't allowed.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019

    * It's been like a question a day about the new card, to this point. - Tom


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 10:20 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Julia T
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Julia T
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Julia T
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Julia! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 27, 2019


    Rearranging tiles, part 2

    >From: Sally W
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging MJ declaration tiles after called dead
    >Upon further reflection, I'd say the declarer is indeed dead, simply due to the timing of the "dead" call (and other player's explanation) occurring before the rearranging. If not for the lucky four jokers, player would have been pure-dead. ?? Also, based on the facts presented, it seems the hand was concealed in player's rack until MJ was declared. Maybe you need not reply to me after all, and if so, sorry for the bother. Have a great weekend!

    Hi, Sally.
    Your new email was sent one minute after I wrote you to tell you that I had posted a reply -- it may be that our emails crossed (and you hadn't seen what I posted a few minutes ago). Your opinion in your new email differs from mine. Perhaps you should snailmail your question to the League to get the 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 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 26, 2019

    P.S. April 27. In the 2019 newsletter, the League says unequivocally, "You are allowed to rearrange your exposed 14 tiles in order to display a correct Mah Jongg." That means the death challenge was invalidated. - Tom


    Rearranging tiles subsequent to mahj declaration and exposure

    >From: Sally W
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Rearranging MJ declaration tiles after called dead
    >Hi Tom.
    >Question about one of your Q&A's pasted below, and thanks for the easy to find reference to the NMJL Jan 2019 newsletter Q&A (2nd ques):

      >CN Q: I declared mah-jongg, exposing the whole hand at once without having made any prior exposures. But I arranged the tiles incorrectly when exposing the hand. Can I rearrange them and collect my winnings, or did I screw it up?
      >A: You may rearrange your tiles and collect your winnings.
      >Source:
      >NMJL - 2019 newsletter
    >What's your opinion/rule if another player calls the hand "dead" BEFORE the MJ declarer realizes it's last year's hand?
    >The question was asked today in the MJTI FB Group. The specific situation was MJ declarer showed the arrangement for 2018 Consec #3 using four jokers, was called dead, and then rearranged to match 2019 Consec #5. Was declarer dead due to the timing?
    >Thanks!
    >Sally

    Hi, Sally! You wrote:

    What's your opinion/rule if another player calls the hand "dead" BEFORE the MJ declarer realizes it's last year's hand?
    I think it happens more often than not that the death challenge is a surprise to the challenged party. I mean, that's the way it usually happens. If the challenged player knew her hand was dead, she wouldn't have exposed it. But maybe this general/broad question, and my general/broad answer, don't really address the specific situation...?

    The specific situation was MJ declarer showed the arrangement for 2018 Consec #3 using four jokers, was called dead, and then rearranged to match 2019 Consec #5. Was declarer dead due to the timing?
    Sounds to me like the mahj declarer made herself UN-dead by rearranging her tiles. If she did that within a reasonable time, then I'd pay her for winning. The death challenge happened while everybody was examining the declared mahj hand (not while play was in progress) so I wouldn't penalize the challenger in this case.
    Note: as I write this, I don't have the 2018 card or the 2019 newsletter with me.

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

    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 26, 2019


    What is the reasoning behind this rule?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 12:39 PM
    >Subject: drawing from the wall before joker exchange
    >Hi Tom,
    >Some of my friends have recently asked me this question: What is the reasoning behind first drawing from the wall before redeeming another player's exposed joker? Is the answer that having 14 tiles in your hand signifies that your turn has begun? I searched your site (19-M) but did not find this particular question addressed.
    >Thanks very much,
    > Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    Yes, it has to be on your turn, after you've acquired your 14th tile. I cannot justify the reason behind NMJL rules. On page 21, rule 4, it says simply "Player must pick or call first before doing the Joker exchange."


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    Every table should have a copy!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 26, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 30

    >from: richard and sheila h
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 9:14 AM
    >Subject: hello
    >hi Tom
    >I returned to college in 2016 and had to give up Mah Jongg in order to make it all work..
    >I'm now re-learning to play, and getting together in early May for my first game in 3 years.
    >I came to your site, looking for good info, and read all about the 2019 card. Thanks! I found a few typ0-errors ;-) if you're interested. I guessed that someone has already told you, and you haven't had time to update yet. Not important .
    >But more importantly, I am looking for that go-to hand that you have identified in years past, as the "easiest" one (I think I remember that right....) a consecutive hand...is it the Consec #2?
    >Thanks Tom....
    >sh

    >from: richard and sheila h
    >Sent: Friday, April 26, 2019 10:17 AM
    >Subject: nvm, Tom!
    >hi Tom
    >I found your 2019 links under Strategy
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Sheila!
    1. I assume you found columns 715-718.
    2. Yes, Consec #2 is the hand I call "the most powerful hand on the card,"
    3. If you found some typos and/or errors I should correct, I wish you would tell me what they are so I can fix them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 26, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 29

    >From: J. P. C
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 11:23 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2019 first hand (FFFF 2019 111 999) states pungs 1 and 9 only. Does that mean you can create a three suit hand of FFFF 2019 999 999 or FFFF 2019 111 111 in addition to the stated hand?
    >Judy

    Hi, Judy. It says pungs 1 AND 9, not pungs 1 OR 9. The League clearly intends the hand to be made with a pung of ones and a pung of nines, in the two suits not used in the 2019.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Hoping you could help in giving me an approximate valuation

    >From: kevin k
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:22 AM
    >Subject: 1940's Mah-jonng set
    >Good morning Tom,
    >I have just cleared out my late fathers attic and came across a Mah-jonng set so I browsed the internet and came across your site and I was hoping you could help in giving me an approximate valuation.
    >I believe the set was purchased by my father around 1946/47 when he was doing his British army national service in the Royal army medical corp on a hospital ship called the El Nil. Whilst he was aboard he traveled to Hong Kong and Shanghai and from one of these locations he purchased the Mah-jonng set.
    >The set is made of Bakelite and has 148 tiles, the 136 basic tile set is complete and there are 8 flower tiles and 4 blank tiles.
    >The tiles measure 2.2cmx 2.8cmx 1.2cm. The set has hardly been used and the tiles are in excellent condition.
    >Included in the set are 60 sticks, 6 small dice, 5 large dice, 1 rotatable wind disk and the game instructions printed by Man Shing printing press.
    >The case is the original made of card thinly covered in leather. The case is in good condition apart from the rear hinge which is split along its length.
    >I hope you can help me.
    >Kind regards
    >Kevin K

    Hi, Kevin.
    The tiles are not Bakelite. Bakelite (actually, Catalin) tiles are shiny, with rounder edges. Your tiles are the non-shiny yellow material commonly called by collectors "Chinese Bakelite" - I am not sure what the plastic is made of.
    I see that your set includes a set of five Poker Dice. That makes me wonder. I've seen many sets with Poker Dice included. (Including sets I've bought; that's why I have so many Poker Dice in my games collection.) I've always assumed the owners put them in there, but now I wonder if some manufacturers may have included Poker Dice in the package.
    It's a fairly common sort of set, in a cheap and broken cardboard box. It can't be used for American mah-jongg (not enough tiles). I'm guessing its worth at around $40.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Is that true?

    >From: "ljd723
    >Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:36 AM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >I heard recently that the NML changed a long standing rule.
    >The old rule stated that when you call for a tile, you must put it ON your rack for your exposure, not IN your rack first then put it on
    >top of your rack.
    >Now I hear that it's OK to put the tile IN your rack first, then put up your exposure.
    >Is that true? (I play with 2 women who constantly put the tile IN their rack first and it makes me crazy!)
    >Louise

    Yes, Louise. It's not a punishable offense to briefly bring the taken discard into the hand while gathering the rest of the tiles to expose. On page 14 of the official rulebook, it says that it's "preferable" to put the taken discard atop the rack before moving the rest of the exposure to the top.

    I'm with you - I teach my students to do it the preferred way. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Please explain to me what that means, "cannot be exposed until the hand is complete"

    >From: emsgram
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:44 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg
    >first let me say thank you for all you do for the education and training of mah jongg. dont know how you have the patience. that being said, i just rec'd your book. in review im looking at page 76 NEWS 2007 ......top of page
    >"Therefore, the player is not permitted to use jokers for any of these files, and the player cannot expose NEWS before the hand is complete." Further down....
    >"Because 2007 is made of two singles and pair of White Dragons, jokers may not be used in 2007. And 2007 cannot be exposed until the hand is complete."
    >can you please explain to me what that means cannot be exposed until the hand is complete
    >i cant put them down until the flowers or dragons are put down. dont understand that.
    >thank you.

    Hi, emsgram!
    When you are working on a hand that's marked X (not C), you are allowed to claim discards to form exposed groupings (pungs, kongs, quints).
    Let's say you are holding three sevens that you want to make into a kong, and somebody discards a matching seven.

    You are permitted to call for the discarded seven and expose the completed kong atop your rack.
    In the above image, you have taken the discard and exposed a kong of sevens. You are permitted to expose a pung, kong, quint, or sextet when the hand is marked with a red X .

    But if you are holding a single, and somebody discards a matching tile, and your hand is not yet ready for mah-jongg, then you are not permitted to call for the discard to make a pair. For example, in the image below, you are working on Consec #1, and you need a pair of fives. You are holding a five, and somebody discards a five.

    You may not take the discarded five. When taking a discard, you are required to expose the grouping completed by the discard. The grouping can only be a pung, kong, quint, or sextet. Not a pair.

    But see below - the hand is almost complete. It just needs a 5D. If someone discards it, you may claim it.

    You call "mahj" and you expose the entire hand (below).
    In the above example, you see how PAIRS may not be exposed until the hand is complete. It's exactly the same with 2019 or NEWS. Each grouping is four single tiles. You may not call a discard to complete a 2019 or a NEWS unless that discard completes your mah-jongg hand. In the below, you can NOT call a 9C because you may never call for a single tile except for mah-jongg.
    With the N in the mix, your 2019 #1 hand is not ready for mah-jongg. You may not call a discard to complete the 2019 by itself, because it is not a kong. A kong is four identical tiles. No two tiles in 2019 are identical; it's four singles, bunched together because they look nice bunched together.

    In the below image, you MAY call a discarded 9C, because 9C would complete your hand and give you mah-jongg.

    I hope this clarifies the matter? May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 28

    >From: Birch Hill Farm W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2019 card
    >Under consecutive run
    >5th one down FF 1111 2222 DDD
    >Do the numbers have to be 1 and 2 or can they be any 2 consecutive numbers
    >Thank you
    >And good night

    Hi, Birch Hill Farm!
    This frequently asked question is answered in 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 23, 2019


    Two players wanted the discard for mah-jongg

    >From: TB C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Two players called for a discarded green dragon for Mah Jongg. The first player in the rotation took the tile, exposed her hand, and found that it was incorrect and was declared dead. The next player took the green dragon and declared Mah Jongg. Her rationalization was that she needed the green dragon and since the other player used it incorrectly, she could take it. I indicated that the only tiles you can take before a hand is declared dead are jokers. She disagreed with me and suggested I email you for advice.
    >Thanks in advance.
    >TB

    Hi, TB! You wrote:

    The next player took the green dragon and declared Mah Jongg. Her rationalization was that she needed the green dragon and since the other player used it incorrectly, she could take it.
    Her explanation (as you have related it to me) does not make sense. The proper explanation is "since both claims were for mah-jongg, the second claimant is permitted to take the tile after the first claimant went dead, per rule 5 on page 16 of the official rulebook."


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    I indicated that the only tiles you can take before a hand is declared dead are jokers.
    Sorry, I don't understand any of this argument nor its applicability to the situation under 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 23, 2019


    DO you know who sells vintage mahjongg sets in L.A.?

    >LinkedIn.com/messaging/
    >Susan C
    >12:56 PM
    >Tom,
    >DO you know who sells vintage mahjongg sets and tiles in los angeles?
    >Hope you're well.
    >Susan

    Yes. Johni Levene. Join her Facebook group, Mah Jongg Collectors Association. Best way to get in touch with her.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 22, 2019


    Two players had the wrong number of tiles

    >From: Barbara D
    >Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2019 3:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >After playing a few rounds, two players realized they had an incorrect number of tiles in their hands (1 had 12 the other had 14). I stated that the two remaining players, whose hands were not dead, should continue with the game, which we did. However, I was told we should have just cancelled that game and begin anew. Who was right?

    You were, Barbara. Rule 10 on page 18 of the official rulebook.


    You don't throw in the game unless three players went dead.
    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
    April 20, 2019


    The 2019 card and slam-exposing (part 2)

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2019 12:55 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Kathleen S
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Kathleen S
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Kathleen S
    >Message: Thanks for your help, Tom Kate
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    You're welcome, Kate. Thank you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    The 2019 card (part 27) and slam-exposing (part #?)

    >From: Kate S
    >Sent: Friday, April 19, 2019 1:26 PM
    >Subject: 2019 card questions
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have two questions on the new card.
    >1. In the 2019 hands, the second hand with two suits. Since soaps are suitless when used as zeroes, I should be able to build this hand with a pung of 2s in any suit; a kong of soaps, and a pung and kong of 1s and 9s, respectively in the same suit, but different than the 2s. Do I understand that correctly?
    >2. When I go to the updates page on the NMJL site, where they update the card issue on the FFF 1111 2222 DDD hand, they also seem to be making a change in who gets a tile if two individuals call for it. Do I understand correctly that if I and another player both call for a tile, neither for Mahj, it is the player that begins to expose first that gets the tile as opposed to who is next in turn after the discarder?
    >Thanks so much!
    >Kate S B

    Hi, Kate! You asked:

    I should be able to build this hand with a pung of 2s in any suit; a kong of soaps, and a pung and kong of 1s and 9s, respectively in the same suit, but different than the 2s. Do I understand that correctly?
    Yes.

    Do I understand correctly that if I and another player both call for a tile, neither for Mahj, it is the player that begins to expose first that gets the tile as opposed to who is next in turn after the discarder?
    Not exactly. First in turn gets the tile, UNLESS another claimant exposes first.

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

    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 19, 2019


    The bettor is "pie"

    >from: franklin c
    >Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 3:43 PM
    >Subject: Money split when player is pie
    >Better bet on winning player, but one of the losing players can only
    >make partial payment due to becoming pie. How should the available
    >money be split between the winning player and the better?

    Hi, Franklin.
    Don't you think it's fair if the winner is paid first, before the bettor? If your group doesn't think that's fair, then split it 50/50.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 18, 2019


    How do I get listed as a teacher?

    >From: Megan Mc
    >Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:43 AM
    >Subject: Teaching
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I do not see, on your site, where I may register as an American Mah Jongg teacher for the area of Santa Monica, California. Would you help me with this please. I would really appreciate it as I am loving teaching and I am getting great results.
    >Very kindly,
    >Megan Mc

    You found it, Megan. Your announcement (your second email) is now on the Find Players/Teachers board, and the teachers list in FAQ 4A.
    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
    April 18, 2019


    Is "12" a pair? Can I use a joker? Can I take a discard?

    >From: Susan H
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In addition hands are 12 considered a pair. If not can I use a joker or pick up from the discard pile ?
    >10smom247

    Hi, Susan!
    If I give you an apple and an orange, I have not given you a pair (and I haven't given you a pear, either*). A "pair" is two identical tiles. "12" is two singles. Read the back of the card, and look for the word "NEVER" halfway down the left pane.


    You can take a discard for a single or a pair only if it completes your mah-jongg hand.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 17, 2019

    *Sorry. It had to be said.


    A riichi link for FAQ 5

    >From: Lloyd W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:04 PM
    >Subject: Riichi
    >I don't think you have any links to a site that has two great software Riichi games and links to sites in Japan. http://www.yuyukukan.com/ has two games that play better than the folks at tenhou. It.s very good practice. The links show a burgeoning MJ scene in Japan.
    >Lloyd W
    >Oil City, PA

    Lloyd, I looked at YuYuKukan but all it has is links to Web-Jong and Jan-Revo. It made no sense to post a link to yuyukukan, so I posted links to Web-Jong and Jan-Revo instead. As for the majan scene in Japan, it's been very lively since the nineties - doesn't fit my definition of "burgeoning," unless I'm missing something. But thanks for the links.

    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
    April 16, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 26

    >From: Barbara P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 10:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2018 card for the tiles that read
    >22 000 NEWS 111 88 (any one suit) - everything is shown in red except NEWS. Is the only tile that will satisfy the 000 the white dragon. Because it said “any one suit” I assumed that the 000 could be red dragons or green dragons as long as all of the numbers were in the same suit.
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Barbara! You wrote:

    Is the only tile that will satisfy the 000 the white dragon.
    That's what it says at the top of the card. That's the way it is.

    Because it said “any one suit” I assumed that the 000 could be red dragons or green dragons as long as all of the numbers were in the same suit.
    Read the top of the card. "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO "0". IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)" The wording of the universal rule trumps the color-coding of that one hand. I don't know why the League chose to show it in red and blue, violating one of their own color-coding rules on the back of 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 16, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 25

    >From: Lee C L
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:12 AM
    >Subject: Singles and Pairs? 2019
    >Tom
    >Under Singles and Pairs category-4th hand down. 11 22 33 44 55 66 77 (any run of 7 nos.) Can these be in different suits? It does not specify, and would be confusing if there were different colors shown.
    >Thanks so much for all your help!
    >Lee

    Hi, Lee! You wrote:

    Can these be in different suits? It does not specify
    Au contraire, the card does specify. Read the back: "1 color - any 1 suit." It's a one-suit hand.

    and would be confusing if there were different colors shown.
    I don't follow; I think the color-coding is not difficult to understand. Read the back.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    I want to reverse-redeem a joker

    >From: Contessa
    >Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 1:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am playing a hand from the single and pairs section. I draw a joker. An opponent has an exposure of 6 cracks showing. My I take one of the 6 cracks and replace it with my joker?

    Sorry, Contessa. Reverse-redeeming is against the rules. See FAQ 19-AL.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 15, 2019


    Column #717

    >From: seymour p
    >Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 1:06 PM
    >Subject: 5 pairs
    >No doubt intentional, but try S&P #3 for 4 5-pairs!
    >Thanks for your insights!
    >Regard, Seymour

    Good, Seymour, but Lynn M beat you to it yesterday. Thanks for reading!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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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    April 15, 2019


    Thank you

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 6:36 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lourdes G
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lourdes G
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lourdes G
    >Message: Thank you for your response.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Lourdes! - Tom


    Column #717

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:25 PM
    >Subject: Column #717
    >Hi Tom--
    >You asked if there are more hands that require pairs of 5s, and yes, there are more.
    >Odds #4 (2nd half), and S&P #3 (first half *and* second half,!, which requires 3 pairs of 5s!).
    >Great column!
    >Lynn M.

    Hi, Lynn! You wrote:

    yes, there are more [hands that require pairs of 5s]. Odds #4 (2nd half), and S&P #3 (first half *and* second half,!, which requires 3 pairs of 5s!).
    Nice! I'll add that to the column.

    Great column!
    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 14, 2019


    To bet or not to bet, that is the kerfuffle

    >From: bklynirene
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:21 PM
    >Subject: A Better Betting Situation
    >Dear Tom:
    > Within my ten player Mah Jongg group, there are a few players
    >who prefer not to bet when they are out. There have been several
    >whispered discussions among those who do bet that this peculiar
    >situation needs to be addressed. We do our best to
    >honor the official Mah Jongg rules and always refer to the league's
    >handbook or your book whenever anything is in doubt.
    >This betting/no betting has caused a bit of a kerfuffle in our
    >usually cohesive and happy Mah Jongg -loving group.
    > Kindly provide any thoughts and suggestions to smooth
    >over this situation.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene!
    I don't know what all the fuss is about. Players resent missing the chance to get an extra 25¢ if they win? Betting is an optional procedure, in my opinion. If I understood why people are getting all upset over this, maybe I could offer a suggestion.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019

    P.S. Apologies for the language in the original reply.


    Consecutive Run, can't see the post on the bulletin board

    >From: Bruce
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 7:03 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for the [emailed] response but I reloaded the message many times and tried another device, and do not see your answer. Is there anyway you can respond back? We are playing later today and this was a bone of contention last week.
    >thank you
    >Bruce

    Okay, here you go. You asked:

    Can a consecutive run be all craks
    Yes, IF it's shown in just one color. See the back of the card. "1 color-any 1 suit." Three of the 2019 Consecutive Run hands may be made in all craks.

    made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    If there was a parenthetical saying "any 5 consec. nos." - but of the seven Consecutive Run hands on the 2019 card, only one of them uses five consecutive numbers, and that one has a parenthetical that says "These Nos. Only."

    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
    April 14, 2019


    Consecutive Run

    >From: Bruce
    >Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019 5:22 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can a consecutive run be all craks made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    >Thank you
    >Bruce M

    Good morning, Bruce. You asked:

    Can a consecutive run be all craks
    Yes, IF it's shown in just one color. See the back of the card. "1 color-any 1 suit." Three of the 2019 Consecutive Run hands may be made in all craks.

    made up of: 4, 5,6,7,and 8’s ?
    If there was a parenthetical saying "any 5 consec. nos." - but of the seven Consecutive Run hands on the 2019 card, only one of them uses five consecutive numbers, and that one has a parenthetical that says "These Nos. Only."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    A bit of fun with pie

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:10 PM
    >Subject: What is "pie" continued
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read somewhere that the generic term for tiles is "pai". My thought is
    >the term was co-opted to mean the purse in the American game.
    >Also the artwork title. If the "birdie" is the One Bam than the little
    >girl with the green sticks must be planting Nine bamboo plants (maybe)
    >so the title would be just "13 Orphans". Just a thought.
    >Remember to always trust your cape!

    Hi, Pete!
    Yes, as I show in FAQ 6 (the "Mah-Jongg Rosetta Stone"), the word pai () is the word for "tile" or "card" in Japanese and Chinese. I suppose it's possible there's a connection with the American term for "purse limit" (Susan G, April 10, below) but I can't come up with a connection mechanism.
    As for Lynn P's friend's picture (April 10, below), I agree that the title probably is just "Thirteen Orphans" - I guess I got a bit too hung up on the scene in the middle. The girl is holding the Chinese character "fa" (, Green Dragon). I wondered if she was picking it up, planting it, or offering it to the bird. I keep forgetting you're not supposed to overthink art, just appreciate it. Hope I didn't say the wrong thing before.
    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
    April 14, 2019


    Goodbye, 2018

    >From: Michele C
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was inspired by your Year of the Pig Lunar New Year hand. So, with the arrival of the new 2019 Mah Jongg card, I decided to create a special hand commemorating the 2018 card going away. I live in the Tucson area so I thought you might enjoy this since I believe you live in the West, also. Let me know what you think!
    >Cheers,
    >Michele C
    >Marana, AZ
    >FFF WWWW 2 0 1 8 DDD (Craks & Dots only for 2018) Wildflowers are blooming as the West winds blow 2018 away, Good-bye.
    >We currently are having a bumper crop of wildflowers here in the West and the spring winds are picking up. Craks and Dots for 2018 signify the reddish dirt of the desert along with the white snow that we had this winter. The Green dragons signify the green plants after the winter rains and snow along with the G for Good-bye.

    Very nice, Michele! I live west of the West, actually. We don't see that many cowboy hats in L.A.
    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
    April 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 24

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 6:13 PM
    >Subject: 2019 card
    >Hi Tom,
    >Margaret T ( in her 4/11 email) was very perceptive when she observed the frequency of "5's" occurring in the 2019 card. Since "5's" are so valuable this year, I'm thinking maybe I should avoid passing them in the Charleston except when absolutely necessary. (Like I avoid passing flowers.) I look forward to your comments!
    >Thanks, Linda

    Yes, one of the most interesting aspects of her observation is that fives become problematic for Consec hands in general, since five is the middle number.
    May the tiles be with you, Linda!
    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
    April 11, 2019


    Now I wonder, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:05 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Patricia P
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
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    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Patricia P
    >Message: Thank you for what you do and for being there!
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Patricia!
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
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    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 23

    >From: Margaret T
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:01 AM
    >Subject: 2019 NMJL Card
    >Hi. I always look forward to your comments about the new NMJL card every April.
    >I've noticed something in this year's card that may be unusual; you'd be the best judge of that.
    >One or more kongs of 5 could (or must) be part of 24 different hands:
    >Any Like Numbers hands #1 and #2 (the only concealed hand with a kong of 5);
    >Addition hands #1, #2 and #3 (both versions);
    >Quints hand #1 and (with a joker) Quints hands #2, #3 and #4;
    >Consecutive Run hands #2, #3 (both variations), #4 and #5;
    >both versions of Odd hands #1 and #3, first Odd hand #2, and Odd hands #5 and #6.
    >Of these 24 hands, at least one kong of 5 must be included in 11 hands.
    >Then, tack onto all that the fact that if any player exposes a kong of 5 with no jokers or only one joker, neither of the two variations of Consecutive Run hand #1 can be made in that suit -- and possibly one or both of the others, if that player is shooting for Any Like Numbers hand #1, or Odd hand #5 or #6.
    >Maybe something similar to this situation happens every year, and I've just never noticed. But 24 hands!?! That seems excessive, resulting in a lot of frustration -- except for the player who acquires 5s in the Charleston. There's always speculation around our table about whether the cards are computer-designed and/or computer-tested. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this, after only a brief exposure to the card, so I'm inclined to think this was intentional. It could be fun! I'd like to know your reaction.
    >Thanks for your great site. It's helped us a lot.
    >Please don't show my full name, if this is posted.

    Hi, Margaret!
    I gather that the point is that fives are in high demand on this card. Yes, I did notice that, and am planning on mentioning it in the next column. To reply to selections from your email:

    One or more kongs of 5 could (or must) be part of 24 different hands:
    I find it so much simpler to simply focus on where fives "must" be used. But yes, food for thought!

    Maybe something similar to this situation happens every year, and I've just never noticed.
    Not really. It's usually more balanced.

    That seems excessive, resulting in a lot of frustration
    My advice is to avoid Addition and Odds unless you have the fives. And to avoid Consec #1 unless you have the pairs (expecially the fives) this year.

    There's always speculation around our table about whether the cards are computer-designed and/or computer-tested.
    I sincerely doubt that computers are used in the design and testing of the NMJL card. I'd be very surprised if computers were used the way your group thinks.

    I'm inclined to think this was intentional.
    Interesting.

    It could be fun!
    Huh!

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

    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 11, 2019


    if you pick up a tile for “2019”

    >From: Pam R
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:17 AM
    >Subject: Re: 3 person play
    >Question: if you pick up a tile for “2019”, do you reveal immediately?
    >Pam.

    Hi, Pam! When you say "pick up" you might mean "calling a discard" or you might mean "pick from the wall." I'm not positive that you mean the former. The only time you can expose a "2019" is when you declare mah-jongg. And the only time you can call a discard for a 2019 is when it completes your mah-jongg hand. Read FAQ 19-E2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 11, 2019


    Now I wonder if I was wrong.

    >From: Patricia P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 6:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We play Classical Chinese. A player called chow, took the discard and laid out her set. Then another (fairly new) player said, “I was going to pong that”. I told her she had to be quicker, and that the set had already been displayed. Now I wonder if I was wrong. To me, saying you were going to is not the same as saying pong, which we know overrides a chow.
    >Thank you for your response.

    You weren't wrong, Patricia. There IS such a thing as "too late."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    What is "pie"?

    >From: Susan G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: do you know the origin of Pie. And exactly what it stands for?

    Hi, Susan!
    Everything I know about "pie" is in FAQ 19-W2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 22

    >From: tz1920
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 11:46 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2019 card in consecutive run is fff 1111 2222 ddd only 1’s and 2’s. And on The last consecutive run hand does the pair always ave to be the middle number
    >Trisha Z

    Hi, Trisha!
    As I wrote in the box above: No. Consec #5 may be made with "Any 2 Consec. Nos." See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page  (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html).
    Yes. As I told Lourdes G (April 1), Marion B (March 31), and Jeanne R (March 30, below): yes. The pair in Consec #7 has to be the middle number.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    A bit of fun

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:53 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong Greetings from Bishop
    >Hi Tom,
    >One of our Mahjong players had a bit of fun doing this little sketch. We thought you may get a kick out of it. Guess the real title?
    >Lynn Peterson


    Hi, Lynn!
    I guess you mean the title of the art. Let me guess: "Thirteen orphans and a bird planting a tree of Fortune." Or "Thirteen orphans presenting Fortune to a bird." (If anybody doesn't know what I'm on about, just Google "thirteen orphans.") Am I close? 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 10, 2019


    Can a player call a pause so she can figure out what other players are doing?

    >From: Robin G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:13 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can a player stop the game to see what hand another player has after an exposure?

    No.
    Robin, every player owes it to the other players to try her best to keep the game flowing at a reasonable pace.
    A player can think about her own hand and her opponents' exposures while the other players are taking their turns. It's bad enough when a player's inability to reconcile her own tiles with the card causes a slowdown in the game; it's worse when she slows down the game so she can try to figure out what another player is doing. We all have to try to do our calculations in the interstices of play, as best we can.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 21

    >From: ████ W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Dragon Pung Hands
    >You say that there are six Dragon Pung Hands on the 2019 card. I can only find Five. Will you please list them? Thanks.
    >Don’t list my full name, Just, watsonr. Thanks.

    Hi, watsonr! I imagine the one you didn't consider is 2019 #4. It requires a pung of white dragon (so is not shown as DDD but rather 000).
    1. 2019 #4
    2. Any Like #2
    3. Consec #5
    4. W-D #6
    5. 369 #3
    6. 369 #6
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 8, 2019


    Do I really have to pay for the table if I throw to 3 exposures?

    >From: Peri K
    >Sent: Monday, April 8, 2019 4:53 PM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Is it a NMJL rule or table rule that you must pay for the table if you throw the winning tile to a player that has 3 exposures and there is only one possible hand
    >Peri K

    Hi, Peri! Please read FAQ 19-Y. If paying for the table was an official rule, it would be on the back of the NMJL 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 8, 2019


    Saying "same" when discarding a joker, part 2

    >From: Nancy M
    >Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2019 9:46 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On back of the 2019 card it states,"jokers may be discarded at any time during the games and named the same as previous discard". Our group does not understand the second part of the statement. Hopefully you can help and many thanks in advance!

    Hi, Nancy! Kudos to your group for reading the back of the card! Louise W asked about this rule just yesterday (immediately below this response). As I told her, you can read FAQ 19-G3 for a full explanation of this confusing rule. If the explanation is not explanatory enough, email me again with a followup question, and I'm sure I can clear it up. At least you're not unclear on the concept of discarding a joker (my beginner students always ask, "why on Earth would anyone ever do THAT??").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Do I have to say "same" when discarding a joker?

    >From: Louise W
    >Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2019 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Joker in Mahjongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >On back of card, it says "Jokers may be discarded at an time during the game and named the same as previous discard." A couple of questions about that statement:
    >When discarding a Joker do you have to name it the same as previous discard, or can you just say "Joker"? Secondly, what is the advantage of naming it the same as previous discard?
    >Thank you.
    >Louise W

    Louise, the rule says jokers MAY be named same as previous discard. The rule does not say jokers MUST be named same as previous discard. Read FAQ 19-G3 for a full explanation of this confusing rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 5

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2019 5:48 AM
    >Subject: Joe and Hong Kong Style Mahjong
    >Hi again Tom,
    >Just to let Joe know (hoping he comes back to read this), I downloaded and tried the same app; it definitely has bugs! For example a win on discard was shown as self-pick (and scored as such), but there were other bugs I found too.
    >I did win on All Pungs, so the software, at least on one occasion, recognised the hand and scored it correctly.
    >There was no minimum Fan set at first, and I couldn't initially find a simple means of setting one.
    >There are different types of play, Beginner, Intermediate etc. - some use flowers, some not. The app differentiates these as increasing levels, it wasn't totally clear but would probably be reasonable to assume that this equates to increasing minimum Fan requirements. I tested this assumption with a low scoring hand on a higher level of play; the software prompted that the hand was too low a level (i.e. I intepret that as insufficient Fan). The ability for the software to do this prompting can be switched off.
    >All Pungs (the hand Joe illustrated) looked to score 4 Fan (it's described in the app as a level4 hand). For this to be insufficient to win, Joe must either have been on the highest level (level 6, assumed minimum 6 Fan) or Joe experienced another bug. If you look on the image Joe supplied, at the top is the level...yes, it's level 6, so his hand doesn't have enough Fan - he only has 4 Fan, he needs 2 more.
    >I think Joe would be better learning on Mahjong Time - standard terminology and bug free (at least when I've played)!
    >Illustrated in the image is the message when I tried a low scoring hand on a higher level game.
    >Ray

    Good work, Ray! I agree that Joe would be better off using a different app. I'll let him know that you have helped so he can come back and get the definitive answers about Hong Kong style. 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
    April 6, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 4

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 1:45 PM
    >Subject: Joseph's Hong Kong hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Isn't Joseph's Hong Kong style hand (Thursday April 4th) worth 3 fan (all pungs) and therfore would most likely meet the minimum fan criteria (which if I recall is usually 3 fan)?
    >Regards
    >Ray

    I'd sure think so, Ray! Who knows what is going on with his app. Might be a bug, or it might be set higher than 3 fan, don't know if it even adheres to 3 fan for All Pungs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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, 2019


    Mahjong at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    Dear readers,
    I've mentioned this before. Things may be shaping up for mahjong to be recognized as an Olympic mind game. See http://www.ejinsight.com/20170803-mahjong-eyed-for-2022-beijing-winter-olympics/. Thanks to Ray Heaton for the link.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 20

    >From: rosemary b
    >Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 11:21 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card question
    >Hi Tom.
    >The 3rd hand down under 2019 section says “Any 2 or 3 suits”. Does that mean the “2019” can be the same suit as one of the dragons?
    >Thank you for your help.
    >Rosemary

    Yes, exactly. This hand was also on the 2017 card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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, 2019


    The "slam-exposing" rule

    >From: Leslie
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:52 PM
    >Subject: NMJL FAQs Claiming a Tile
    >Tom ~
    >Please address the NMJL’s online FAQs section, specifically points #2 & #3. What’s your take on this? Would it not then be a good practice to start an exposure even prior to verbally calling the tile, to insure no other player can lay claim to it? (For instance, I hear a Flower discard, Ithen quickly place a Flower from my hand on the rack so I’d be assured of claiming that discard.) And how do you define “started” to expose tiles? Thank you.
    >Leslie Z.

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:33 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Leslie A Z
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Leslie A Z
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Leslie A Z
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you for the generous donation, Leslie! You wrote:

    Please address the NMJL’s online FAQs section, specifically points #2 & #3. What’s your take on this?
    I have long said that I dislike the way the rule is written. The new writing on the League's FAQs page today is a little new, but still problematic.

    I'm the one who coined the phrase "slam-exposing" (the subject line of today's Facebook thread), here on this website. Someone in the thread agrees with how I interpret this rule (despite the way it's currently written): the act of exposing is not intended to aggressively cut off opposing claims. I imagine one could use this rule if time is passing silently after someone discards a tile. The next-in-line may be sitting there thinking. In my opinion, if she thinks more than 3 seconds (the length of the Window of Opportunity in Chinese Official majiang), another player is free to speak and expose. It is required to speak the claim. Someone in the Facebook thread mentioned something about just putting tiles up, without verbalizing; that don't fly.

    I saw on the Facebook group today Ray Heaton's suggestion that I (or Michelle or Johni, or all of us) petition the League to change the rule. I don't roll that way. I interpret official rules - I don't try to get them changed. Larry and David Unger read my site now and then; they already know my stance on this. I think it takes more than a small handful of people to influence great changes.

    Would it not then be a good practice to start an exposure even prior to verbally calling the tile, to insure no other player can lay claim to it?
    If "good" equates with "aggressive" in your mind, then yes (I suppose). Also, note that in the rulebook it says it's  "preferable" to take the claimed discard onto the rack before exposing from the rack.

    how do you define “started” to expose tiles?
    I interpret it as meaning you have placed at least one of your concealed tiles atop your rack.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Hong Kong app, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:38 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Joseph I
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Joseph I
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Joseph I
    >Message: Thank you for providing this service to Mah-Jongg enthusiasts!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    You're very welcome, Joe! Thank you! I hope my suggestion to check the settings helped.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    I thought I had priority? (Hong Kong app, part 2)

    >From: Joseph I
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 11:31 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-Jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m using an app to play Hong Kong style mahjong against bots. Flowers, Seasons, and special hands are allowed.
    >I had the following hand:
    >2 exposed pongs:
    >- 3 of dots
    >- 4 of characters
    >1 exposed Kong:
    >- 6 of dots
    >1 concealed Pong:
    >- 3 West Winds
    >And an East Wind.
    >A player discarded an East Wind, which I thought was all I needed to Mahjong.
    >The “player” to my left claimed the East Wind for a Pong.
    >However, I thought I had priority since the discarded tile would have completed my hand.
    >Why didn’t the app, “Hong Kong Style Mahjong”, offer me the tile to complete my hand?
    >Am I mistaken in my understanding of winning through discarded tiles?
    >Thank you!
    >Joe
    >PS. My hand is the bottom hand. This snapshot was taken after the player to my left claimed the East Wind tile for an exposed Pong.

    I suspect that there's a minimum fan requirement in place. All you have of value is the pung of West, which is not your wind. I refer you to FAQ 17, and you should check your app's settings.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Why didn't the computer give me the win? (Hong Kong app, part 1)

    >From: Joseph I
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m new to Mahjong. I’ve been studying Hong Kong style Mahjong and have been practicing on apps with bots.
    >I had a hand with an honors pong, a chow, a pong, 2 white dragons and 2 of the same winds.  I self-drew a third white dragon. I thought I had a Mahjong since my hand included 1 chow, 1 pong, 2 honors pongs, and 2 of the same wind tiles. 
    However, after I self-drew the third white dragon, I had to discard one on my wind tiles. 
    Do you know why when I self-drew the third white dragon tile and had 2 of the same wind tiles in my hand it wasn’t a Mahjong?
    Thank you so much!
    Joe

    Hi, Joe!
    I don't know. I didn't make your app. It might be that your app doesn't permit a chow in an otherwise all-pung hand. Or maybe it defaults to a minimum fan count to qualify for winning. Check the game's settings. If you haven't read FAQ 17 yet, I recommend you do.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Block convention, part 2 (The 2019 card, part 19)

    >From: Leslie S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:19 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I did write to the person who used the term “block convention”. This is what she wrote back:
    >"Each hand on the NMJL card is displayed in blocks using colors, letters, numbers. Each block is separated by a space to show components of the hand which creates a shape (i.e., pattern, convention). Some conventions are so popular, the have names. Here are a couple of examples: Pair pung - kong pung pair (pyramid)Kong pair - pair pair kong (gate)Pair pung kong quint (ascending)Kong pung kong pung (knitted; two suits with Dragons matching the middle pung)"
    >Leslie S

    Okay, Leslie, so she's using the word "block" to mean "grouping" and "convention" to mean what I have been calling "shape." For instance, I teach my beginner students about "four pungs and a pair" hands (the usual "shape" of the Concealed hand at the bottom of 2468, Consec, Odds, W-D, and 369). I teach my intermediate students about the biannual alternating shapes found at the top of Consec: even years, Consec 1 has the pairs clustered at the end, but on odd years the pairs are at opposite ends (yes, that latter shape is rightly called a "pyramid" based on ancient NMJL card terminology), and how Consec 2 alternates between pung-pung-kong-kong and pung-kong-pung-kong. Different writers sometimes use different terminologies, sometimes because they haven't been exposed to other terminologies, and sometimes out of preference.
    Glad you cleared that up, Leslie!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    I count 66 hands on this card (The 2019 card, part 18)

    >From: Andrea K
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 8:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-jong question or comment is:
    >I count 66 hands on this card and you posted that there are 53.
    >Are you not counting the variables for the this OR that hands?
    >Thank you,
    >Andrea

    Correct, Andrea. Consec #1 is counted as one hand, although there are 2 ways it can be made (low or high). An addition hand is counted as one hand although there are 2 ways it can be made (1 suit or 3 suits). The count is based on line items.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Hilsons

    >From: tooelemountains
    >Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 12:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am wondering about why there are two names for 1920's mah jongg sets made by Hilsons. Sets marked Hilsons are sometimes named on the case and their rule books as Ma Cheuck but Hilsons sets sometimes (much less often) have another name (I think it is Mah Chiang but I don't recall for sure).
    >The rule book in their sets with either of the two names seem to use the same rule book title: "Hilson's CHINESE GAME known in China as Ma Cheuck.
    >My question is why do you suppose Hilsons changed the name of the game which they were selling in the 1920s?
    >The only ideas I can think of was just they thought a new name might be more catchy and help sell their game. Or maybe Hilsons was warned that they must change the name of their game or be sued over some copyright issue.
    >I'm not 100% sure which of those two names Hilsons used first.
    >All the many companies' 1920's sets I see on eBay have their own particular name for the game, but they seem to have used one game name for all their sets. Except for Hilsons for which I've seen two names.
    >Rob and Linda

    Rob and Linda, I am not an expert in manufacturers. I don't recall ever encountering the name "Hilsons" until you mentioned it. I don't think it's unusual for a manufacturer to change its branding.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    I want to sell it

    >From: Joyce G
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 10:07 AM
    >Subject: Want to Sell Vintage Mah Jong Set
    >I have a Mah Jong set that I bought about 45 years ago at a street fair. It has 146 pieces (missing #3 and #5 Craks) and 8 blanks, Winds and Dragons.
    >I believe it is Bamboo and Bone but it could be ivory. The bottom of the box says, “made in China."
    >I’m attaching photos of the pieces and the box it came in. I’d like to sell it and would like to know where I can sell it and if you are interested. If not you, can you recommend a buyer?
    >Thank you.
    >Joyce G

    It is not ivory, Joyce. I think I see some Haversian streaks in one of your tiny blurry photos. Besides, if it was ivory, it would be illegal to sell it without a special government permit. See the "Is It Ivory" FAQ. Also see the Tips For Sellers FAQ. If you want to post your set for sale on my Sets For Sale Bulletin Board, I permit only one photo. 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
    April 3, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 17

    >From: D N
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 4:54 PM
    >Subject: 2019 Card Q
    >Hi Tom...you mentioned: 7 hands are new (not seen on any card as far back as 2000, which is as far as I checked). Being new to the game, I'm curious to know, what are these 7 hands that appear to be new, or more than 19+ years amiss)?
    >Thanks for all you do!
    >Debbie

    Hi, Debbie!
    The hands I deemed "New" are:
    Odds #5, #6
    W-D #4, #5
    369 #6
    S&P #6
    I changed my mind about Quints #3 (which I listed when I replied to Christine, below). It's similar to a 2017 Quints hand, the difference being this year's hand includes DD instead of FF. So I moved it to "Variation on a previous hand," and I'm revising 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 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 16

    >From: Christine B
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 4:56 AM
    >Subject: 7 hands that are new since 2000
    >Good Morning Mr Sloper,
    >I was hoping you could please share the 7 hands that are new since 2000
    >I have been playing since 2012. I don't go back that far in my cards to
    >compare
    >Thank you
    >Christine

    Hi, Christine!
    The hands I deemed "New" are:
    Quints #3
    Odds #5, #6
    W-D #4, #5
    369 #6
    S&P #6
    But now that I look at them again, I think I may be incorrect. I may have to redo the column and the pie chart.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Block convention what? (The 2019 card, part 15)

    >From: Leslie S
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 11:14 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > What is meant by “block convention”? It was a term used by someone online explaining details about the new card. She said, “This is a variety card when it comes to block conventions.” I have no idea what that means.
    >Leslie S

    I don't know, Leslie. Email the person who said that. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2019


    Conflicting claim

    >From: Elayne W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Mahjongg Q
    >A player and I both both called for a tile at the same time. It went to her because she called it for mahjongg ( and was also closest in turn to the person who discarded it). However, because it was for a closed hand, she was deemed dead. Should the tile in question then go to me, or is it just out of play? Tx, EW

    >From: Elayne W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 7:20 AM
    >Subject: Never mind
    >Found the answer in one of your previous columns. Sorry for not reading it first. May the tiles be with you. Always appreciate your column.
    >EW
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hold on, Elayne. Your player who was "deemed dead." If all her tiles were concealed up until she declared mah-jongg on the discard, SHE IS NOT DEAD. A concealed hand is permitted to be completed with a discard. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 14

    >From: "janet2181
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Question on 2019 card
    >Consecutive Run Section - fifth hand down: FFF 1111 2222 DDD - do the numbers have to be ones and twos or can you use a run?
    >Thanks - Janet S

    Hi, Janet! As I wrote above and several times below:
    FFF 1111 2222 DDD (Any 1 Suit) x 25
    MOST LIKELY, this hand is intended to be made with Any 2 Consec. Nos.
    See many posts below. And keep checking the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html) for the official say-so.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 1, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 13

    >From: Lourdes G
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:39 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card last hand of consecutive run
    >111 22 333 222 222 (2019 card concealed last hand on the consecutive run)
    >1123 11111 11111 (Quints 2018 card)
    >For the 2019 hand, can the pair (as in the 2018 card) be any place?
    >e.g.
    >11 222 333 111 111
    >or
    >111 222 33 333 333
    >Thanks for your help!
    >Lourdes G

    Hi,Lourdes!
    As I told Marion B and Jeanne R Saturday (below), I do think that only the middle number can be the pair, since there is no parenthetical saying otherwise. That Quints hand had a clarifying parenthetical.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 1, 2019


    One player picked out of turn and a second player also picked before the error was discovered

    >From: buddyandjanice
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:25 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What is the rule if a player has drawn and racked her tile and the next player draws a tile only to learn that play is out of turn and should have been the next players turn? THank you Mr MAhjong for your answer!!!! Janice
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Janice!
    If one person plays out of turn, she's dead. If a second player follows suit and picks also out of turn, I think all tiles should be thrown in. Either that, or the second player is also dead. The rulebook doesn't go into cascading death errors.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 1, 2019


    The 2019 card, part 12

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 7:07 AM
    >Subject: 2019 card observations
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was excited to see the new card--we played with it yesterday and I had some thoughts on the new and old hands.
    >1. 2019 # 4 hand allows either 2 or 3 suits. I think this may be confusing to some who don't look closely.
    >2. Addition hands are an interesting variation from the usual.
    >3. It's curious to me that Winds/Dragons #2 is not in the 2019 section.
    >I'm always interested in your analysis of the new card each year. Thanks for doing that!
    >Best regards, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I'll be writing more observations in the next column. Stay tuned!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    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 1, 2019


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