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By Tom Sloper
March 8, 2015

Column #629

American Mah Jongg (2014 NMJL card). Charleston: what would you pass in these random deals? Remember the four steps from column 624: Pairs, Friends, Hi vs. Low, and Odd vs. Even.

1. Pair twos. Friends of twos: evens, 1B, zero (2014). The winds are a long shot (there are too few of them here). Pass 7B 5D and a wind.

2. Pair fours. Numbers up through 7 are friendly with fours, and 8D is even, so pass 9B, S, and a dragon.

3. Pair eights. Evens and highs are friends with eights. Pass 1D and a wind and a dragon.

4. Pair sevens. Best friends with that pair are 8B 5D and 6D. Keep 1C 2C and F for a possible Addition #2, so that leaves 2B 2D and 4D to pass. That's not pretty, but you want to keep your own options open.

5. Pairs of ones and Ns. Those are friends with one another in W-D #4. Another option is Like Numbers, so hang onto the F as well. That leaves a passing pool consisting of 9C 2D 4D 7D and 8B. Keep any ones you feel like. Out of the three you pass, two are unavoidably going to be friends with one another (which might give an opponent ideas or help), but you can't fret overly long about that.

6. Pair Fs, 7s. Friends with those: high numbers (including 5C). Pass 2D 3B and E.

7. Pair Fs, Ws. The Ws have no friends here. The Fs are friends with everything. Go to high versus low: five highs, four lows. Odds versus evens: only two evens. 2D is toast for sure. Keep 3s, 6s, and 9s. Pass 1B 2D and W.

8. Pair fours; the fours have no friends worth speaking of. With three jokers you mustn't go for any hand that needs pairs, so eschew Addition unless you get 1D or 7B or 7C in the next two passes. Best bets: Consec. #2 (1-4 in bams and dots) or Evens #4 in dots and craks. Don't pass F just yet; the passers here are 7D 9D 1C.

9. Pair ones. Friends: low odds, fours, and sevens (Addition #1). Pass 6C 8C and soap. Soap might give an opponent ideas, but you can't worry about that at the expense of your own options.

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