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By Tom Sloper
April 23, 2017

Column #671

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). Charleston. What would you pass?

1. Following the four steps, we see just one pair: 3B. Does it have friends? Yes: 369. Other friends: low numbers. Pass the leftovers: E S 8B.

2. Two pairs: twos and flowers. What else can be used together with those pairs? Low numbers, evens, and especially 2B (Like Numbers). Trying to save lows and evens only leaves us with two sevens to pass. A couple of the possibles don't even need the flowers (see Consec. #2), but I wouldn't pass a flower now. Must keep: 1D 4D 3B 4B 6C. Pass 2B 7B 7D. The pain is only momentary.

3. Two pairs: 6D and W. Do they have friends? Well, one: 6B (W-D #4). I'd keep F (on general principles) 3C 9D (for 369). I can pass 2C G S. The sevens can be used for something TBD in Consec.

4. One pair: ones. Friends? Soap, 2B, 7C (possible vague 2017). But not enough friends for Odds or Consec. (although I'd keep R for Consec. #5). I can pass three from 4C 5C 9C N.

5. Keep a poker face. Don't let on that you have four flowers and a pair of jokers. Now don't mess this up! It's so embarrassing when you have so much and can't manage to win. Playing it safe is often your best bet (meaning, don't go for anything needing pairs you don't have). But there's nothing "safe" with four flowers (this hand doesn't have the needed pairs). Sometimes, you can toss flowers to use just the pair. But this year, there are twin floral bouquets (FFF and FFF) on the card. Keep 5D 5B. Keep 6D too, and 2D 3D (you might get soap for Consec. #5). Passers: 9D 9B R.

6. The pair of sixes has near-number friends. Mid-high numbers can stay, and soap as well. Pass 1C 2D N.

7. The pair of nines wants to make 13 with that 1D or 3B. High consecutive numbers also suggested. Pass 5C soap N.

8. Fives, with low-odd friends. 8D can go, along with those winds and dragons. Keep S in case it can form a clique with those fives and possible odd winds. You know E and W are the "even" winds (always paired with even numbers; surely because "even" and "east" both begin with E). So N and S are the "odd" winds.

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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.