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By Tom Sloper
September 3, 2018

Column #707

American Mah Jongg (2018 NMJL card). The dance music has begun; it's the Charleston! What would you pass?

1. This contains six tiles each for Consec #4 (but it's missing 5B pair), Odds #1 (but missing 3C pair), S&P #6. If you simply set aside all the tiles for those possibilities, you have three to pass: 2C 4D R.

2. Those bams and the flower, with the fours, make eight tiles towards S&P #2. This is one of those rare times when you might want to go for the gusto. Other possibilities include Evens #1 and S&P #1... no, don't go for S&P #1. I'd keep bams and fours, pass from among the sevens and winds.

3. These tiles could make S&P #1 and #4; seven tiles each. Even though the tile counts are equal, #1 is a bit more equal, unless your opponents do not pass winds. There are also possibilities for Consec #s 3, 5, and 6, and Odds #7. You can retain all those options by passing 6D and the fives.

4. Flowers and jokers galore - but precious few clues as to a direction. Your best bet is Twelves ("Addition"). You can pass 8D 2D N, and you still have two options.

5. You have a complete 2018 in craks, and seven tiles towards 2018 #2 with ones. You can keep 2B and 8D for other 2018 options, and you can pass N 9B 9B. Yes, it's ugly to pass a pair, but this is no time to be timid.

6. There are six tiles towards Odds #6 and S&P #3, Odds being the lesser evil. You might want to aim for 2018 or Any Like, but I'm not encouraged about the odds for 2018. For Any Like, you have to keep the ones and either the flower or the dragons. It may sound crazy, but I'd pass F 8B N. Strategy "rules" can be broken.

7. Your best bet is 2018 #1: seven tiles. Your second best is S&P #6: six tiles. Forget S&P #6 and pass a seven along with 3B and 8C.

8. You have six tiles towards a number of options: Any Like (threes or sevens), and Consec #7 (sevens and eights) being better than the S&P options. The souths and 5B can go.

9. Four pairs: twos, twos, eights, and wests. W-D #6, S&P #2, six tiles each. Might as well also consider Any Like. You can pass a dot, 5B, and 7C.

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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Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the outdated official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND every player should have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League (see FAQ 3 for info on mah-jongg books).

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