By Tom Sloper

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Column #73

American (2003 NMJL card). Esther's four-joker hand presented an interesting quandary late in the game.

Even before the Charleston, as much as she disliked it, the tiles had pretty much forced her into a concealed hand (Like Numbers #2, with dragons).

It was the three pairs that made her do it.

She looked at four possibilities, but the choice was clear.

Shortly into the Charleston, she'd gotten more nines and sixes.

That darned Like #s hand - it's so hard to make. But it was way out ahead of the second option. With a little sigh, she broke up the six bams. The Charleston ended without any further advances.

Knowing full well that she couldn't call anything, she resigned herself to the fates. And they were kind. She picked a joker, a soap, and another joker. Now she just needed 9B. But on her next turn, she picked yet another joker. Thus her forementioned quandary. She now had too many jokers!

Cover the bottom of the column and play along. What is the best discard at this point?

Throwing joker: waiting for 9B

Throwing soap: waiting for G, 9B, or 9C (3-way)

So Esther threw Soap. It was five turns later that she got her chance; Wesley threw Green. Esther fairly danced in her chair, waving her arms and singing "Ma-a-j!" (Who even knew there were three syllables in the word?) Sixty, thirty, thirty.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.