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Tom Sloper's column dishes strategy, rules, etiquette, and even the amusing foibles of mah-jongg players. And it's free! Donations welcome.
TO READ A COLUMN: Click its entry in the header frame, above. Scroll through the list to see more columns.

Frequently referenced columns:

  • How Many Flowers and Jokers (American): Column 509
  • What To Look For When Buying A Set: Column 547
  • The Big Square: Column 492
  • The 1920s Bone/Bam Boxed Set: Column 610
  • Picking from the Wall (American): Column 481
  • Oops, Wait, I Changed My Mind: Column 499
  • The Window of Opportunity, v1.0, 2010: Column 458
  • The Window of Opportunity, v2.0, 2015: Column 639
  • Sloper's defense strategy terminology: Column 607
  • Charleston Strategy: The Four Steps, part 1 (American): Column 630
  • Charleston Strategy: The Four Steps, part 2 (American): Column 631
  • Charleston Strategy: The Four Steps (Updated, Revised, June 2019): Column 725
  • On Stopping The Charleston: Columns 493 & 494
  • The 3-Player Charleston: Column 532
  • What If Everybody Wants To Blind Pass? Column 534
  • The Most Powerful Hand on the NMJL Card: Column 604
  • Dealing With Slow Players: Column 375
  • The Psychology of Slow Players: Column 621
  • Cheating: Column 325, Column 403, Column 412, Column 437
  • Blurting Information, Paying Attention: Column 467 and Column 654
  • Why Roll Dice? Column 403
  • Hot Wall / Cold Wall (American): Column 513
  • Win by Joker Redemption 1 (American): Column 497
  • Win by Joker Redemption 2 (American): Column 580
  • Misnaming a Discard (American): Column 472
  • Rules vs. Strategies: Column 512
  • Is It A Rule? (NMJL), Part 1: Column 588
  • Is It A Rule? (NMJL), Part 2: Column 589
  • Is It A Rule? (NMJL), Part 3: Column 590
  • NMJL rulebook revision 2013: Column 667
  • NMJL rulebook revision 2018: Column 696
  • Words, Part 1 (steal, call): Column 353
  • Words, Part 2 (pick, draw, pass, pure, neutral): Column 460
  • Words, Part 3 (run): Column 463
  • Words, Part 4 (deal, a story with words): Column 477
  • Words, Part 5 (antique, vintage, modern, old): Column 502
  • Words, Part 6 (hold): Column 656
  • Joker Bait (American): Column 423
  • Heavenly Hand: Column 666
  • Introducing Yelda: Column 387
  • Yelda Revisited: Column 416
  • Phase Strategy (un-American variants): Column 542


    American Mah-Jongg (2003 NMJL card. What's the only hand on the 2003 card that uses all three pairs? Is that your best option?

    Chinese Official International Rules. You're dealer. Which tile do you discard first?

    American Mah-Jongg (2003 NMJL card. It's the first left pass of the Charleston. What would you pass at this point?

    Chinese Official International Rules. What two hands would you go for with this deal?

    The above are just quick examples of what you can get in the columns. TO READ THE COLUMNS: Click the entries in the header frame, above.

    NOTE: Because of my work schedule, I cannot always post a column every week.

    The tile graphics used in this column are primarily a font that was modified by the author (adding corner indices and a Joker tile from a font created by Yoshiki Kita and available for free download at Occasionally, the "Canton" font has been used in some columns. The Canton font is available for sale at

    Got a comment or question about the column? Your variant under-represented? Click here to comment or to inform the author of your preferred variant. Not sure which variant you play? Read FAQ 2b.

    PRIVACY POLICY: If you are not a relative, friend, student in my class, or journalist, and if you are not doing or intending to do business with me: "when you email me, I own it." I give free advice and answers, but I do it in public forums only. If you email me or IM me or PM me to ask for free advice or answers, you implicitly relinquish your right of privacy and total anonymity as regards to that communication. This policy is stated in numerous places on this website.

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    Copyright 2003-2020 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.

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