To view nav frame at left and columns list above, click here.
 To display only this frame and view this column full-screen, touch here.


By Tom Sloper
August 4, 2019

Column #728

American Mah Jongg (2019 NMJL card). Given the exposures of your opponent, what would you discard?

1. You were trying to make Consec #1, but your opponent is showing three 5Ds. You wish you could give her one of your jokers to take one of her 5Ds, but there is no such thing as reverse redemption. You cannot make Consec #1. You have to change to another hand. What hand do I always tout? Consec #2. You have six tiles for that hand, two ways: 4-5-6-7, of course, but what about 3-4-5-6? If you go 4-5-6-7, you have five tiles moving to the discardables zone. But if you go 3-4-5-6, you have only three discardables (and two redeemables). So, before you discard 2D or 1D, you should redeem both the 5D and the 7B (yes, you are allowed to do that in one turn). Done; now you have five jokers! Should you discard 2D or 1D now? It depends on how long the wall is. If the wall is long yet, hang onto 1D for joker bait, and discard 2D.

2. You've been working multiple W-D options: 9 tiles for #1, 10 tiles for #2, 10 tiles for #7 (C). Clearly the 6D doesn't work with your options, but it might be what your opponent needs (Any Like #1). Your opponent might also be working Consec #4 (no problem for you) or W-D #5. If you decide to hang onto 6D to wait for clues (in which case you might just be giving up on your own hand), your (non-6D) discard will eliminate one of your hand options. If you discard F to eliminate the Concealed hand option, you might give your opponent her winning tile (Any Like #1, W-D #5). If you discard E to pursue W-D #2, you might give your opponent the tile she needs to finish W-D #5. Know what? You have to either give up or go for the gusto. The odds favor discarding 6D; cross your fingers and hope she doesn't win Any Like #1 with it. That hot potato isn't getting cooler while you sit there spinning wheels.

3. Your opponent is making either Addition #2 or Consec #3. You've been focused on 2468, especially two hand options: 8 tiles for #1, and 8 tiles for #4 (two ways). You've been ignoring #3 because you have only 7 tiles for that one. To pursue Evens #1, you can discard a dot or a bam (safe), or 2C (hot). To pursue Evens #4, you can discard 4C (safe), or 6C (hot). So there are two hot tiles, one of which must be discarded to pursue either of your top two hands. And if you go for #3, that expendable flower is going to grow hotter and hotter. Unless you give up on the idea of winning this hand, you have to take a risk on discarding a hot tile. You have two ways of approaching Evens #4, so pick one to eliminate. Keep the one pair of 6D, waiting for two 4Ds to show up, or keep 4B 6B, waiting for their twins to show up. I'd throw 6D. You never know: someone else might call it with a joker.

To read more columns, Click the entries in the header frame, above. Can't see header frame because you're viewing this column in full screen? Tap  this icon to see the list of columns with nav frames. Anytime you want to get rid of nav frames, you can just tap a  mobile icon.

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! Like this:

Join Johni Levene's popular Facebook group, "Mah Jongg, That's It!" for lively conversations about American mah-jongg and all things mah-jongg.

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

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).

If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!

Not tax-deductible

© 2019 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.