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This column contains an "oopsie" that was reported by a reader on the Q&A Bulletin Board, and that report is included below this column. Before you report an "oopsie" in this column, please scroll down and read everything. Reporting oopsies is fun! Always read these columns with a keen eye, and maybe you can be the first to report one and get a tip o' the Sloper hat!


By Tom Sloper
April 16, 2017

Column #670

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). An opponent is showing exposures. What do you do?

1. Nope, not 13579. It can only be a Consec. hand (either #2 or #3). There are four hot tiles: 4B, 6D, 6C, and F. Look for clues. If 4B or 6D or 6C is showing as an exposure atop someone's rack, or if three of one of those have already been discarded, it might be safe to discard that tile. The same can't be said for flowers.

2. Flower kongs narrow the search, right? Wrong! This could be Evens #1 or Thirteens #2 or Consec. #5. Too many hot tiles. You need more clues!

3. Gotta be Evens #4, right? Well, maybe. Or maybe Consec. #4. The hot tiles are 2D 4D 4C 7C 6D 7D.

4. Nope, not Consec. This can only be 2017 #1. The hot tiles are 7B and soap.

5. Would you believe, there's only one hand on the card she could be making? Consec. #7, but it's a concealed hand. Call her dead.

6. Three possibilities (all in W-D): #1, #2, or #5. Obviously N, S, F, R, G, and soap are hot. What's interesting here is the number of jokers in that second exposure; this profligate use of jokers indicates that dragons are especially dangerous to discard. Why? Consider: jokers are useless for pairs, and she doesn't seem to want the jokers for flowers or Norths.

7. Don't be lulled into thinking this has to be Consec. #3; it could also be Thirteens #3. Hot tiles are 1C 3C 5C 8C and F.

8. This is Odds #3. The hot tiles are 1D 3D 5B; 1D and 3D are key tiles (if you see 1D or 3D dead on the table, you can and should call her dead).

9. You can look through Evens all you want, but this is Consec. #1. 1D 3D 5D are hot; 1D and 5D are key.

10. Two possibilities: Like Nos. #2 and W-D #5. If you don't see many Easts or Wests, or if you don't see many Norths or Souths on the discard floor, you can deduce what she's probably doing. But if you see a lot of discarded winds on the table, she's likely doing numbers. And Like Numbers is hard to defend against until you can figure out what number she's playing.

Tips o' the hat to four readers who spotted the oopsie right off: Rebecca, Beth, Elise, and John!

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Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board. Hit me with your best shot!

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Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.

© 2017 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.