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By Tom Sloper
September 23, 2018

Column #708

American Mah Jongg (2018 NMJL card). Defense.

1. The kong of fours didn't tell you much (not Odds, not 369, not S&P...) but the pung of ones tells you to look at Consec. And this is Consec #2, the most versatile hand on the card. An easy read this time: she wants 2C and 3B. Don't give'em to her!

2. Dragon pungs are a rarity - some years you can't legally expose a dragon pung. This year there are exposable pungs in Consec, Odds, and 369 (not counting the pung of zeroes in 2018 #1). With the pung of twos, Odds and 369 are off the table; she's making Consec #6. She needs ones and threes; look for clues.

3. She's working on 369 #6, but she didn't notice the capital letter C on the card. Call her dead.

4. Must be Evens #5! Okay, so her hot tiles are... Stop. Don't quit looking for hands just because you find one. And never forget Consec. And especially never forget Consec #2.

5. Must be Odds #1. The thing about Odds #1 is that there are always two pairs. That's her weak spot. It's possible she doesn't have them both yet. Look at the table for her key tiles: 1D and 3D. If either number is dead on the table, you can call her dead.

6. Dragons are the rarest tiles in the deck, and they're easy to spot on the card (just scan for the letter D). With sixes showing, as you scan the card you know you can ignore 2018 and Odds. Looking for DDD or DDDD, you tick them off: one in 2468, one not applicable in Any Like, Two not applicable in Consec, and... one in 369. Could be Evens #3... no, those have to be different suits. So it has to be 369 #1. Look for her key tiles; the hand needs threes and nines paired. Scan the table for 3D and 9D; if either is dead, you can call her dead.

7. Dragon pungs with sevens. If she thinks she's making Any Like #3, that's her problem, not yours. She might be making Consec #6 or Odds #4. At least you know what numbers are unsafe to throw.

8. Evens #3. Look for her key tiles and look for dragon clues to narrow down the search.

9. She's thinking she's making Consec #7. Has she realized her mistake yet? She's giving body language or poker face clues, if she has.

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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Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the outdated official rulebook.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).

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

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