By Tom Sloper

August 8, 2004

Column #174

American mah-jongg (2004 NMJL card).


You've punged F and somebody throws Wh. What do you do?


What on earth do you do with this mess?


The wall is still long, and you've picked 8C. What do you discard?


Shortly after #3, 8B is discarded. What do you do?


What do you pass right to start the Charleston?


After #5 above, you got 2C 7C 7B. What do you pass across?


Continuing after #6 above. You have to pass 2nd across. What do you do?

1. You know what the name of the game is, right? Say it. Say it loud, and say it now! I get a lot of novice players asking if they can mah-jongg waiting for a single or pair. Or if they are allowed to make a pung of all jokers. The answer to both is yes.

2. Nothing but sigh, and wait to see what you pick. There's no hand that'll let you use all these lovely pairs, unless your group uses an "atomic" table rule.

3. Discard 9C. You should go for a Like Numbers hand, and you're strongest in sevens and, now, eights. If you wanted to make Run #3 (killing the flowers), you wouldn't be keeping the 9C anyway.

4. You could pung it or you could let it go. Flip a coin.

5. 1C 7C N. You could go for a pure Runs hand or a 369 hand in bams (thus you should keep the G for now).

6. The 2C and 7C are obvious. But to pass anything else means giving up on either the Runs hand or the 369 hand. But guess what - the 7B gives you a third possibility. The 369 hand and Runs #4 both require flowers, so they're a little farfetched. Kill the 369 hand. Pass 3B.

7. Pass 2C 5B G. The hand is clearly Runs #1 at this point. Go for it.

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© 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.