Read more columns
Dark mode
See more Sloperama


By Tom Sloper
April 25, 2021

Column #743

American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). Defense with the 2021 card. An opponent is showing two exposures. What do you do?

1. There are very few flower kong hands on this card, and only one of them can use a dragon kong: 2021 #3. Your opponent needs twos and a one. Could be any suit. Your best bet is to watch and see what twos and ones are out (discarded or exposed). Watch your opponent for body language when a two or a one is discarded.

2. Two pungs of the same number. Could be Any Like #3 or Consec #6. The hot tiles are 3C 3B 5D R G.

3. There are only two exposable dragon pung hands (Odds #2 and 369 #2), and they both work with a kong of same-suit nines. The hot tiles are F 3C 5C 6C 7C.

4. A dragon kong with a pung of twos. If your opponent is making 2021 #2, you can't tell what the second suit is, since zeroes are suitless. If your opponent is making Any Like #3, the hot tiles are twos and dragons in the other two suits. Considering both possibilities, the hot tiles are: 1D 1C 2C 1B 2B G R. Check the discards and exposures for clues.

5. There are only three flower quint hands on the card, and they can all go with a kong of nines: Quints #1, Consec #4, and 369 #4. The hot tiles are E S W N 3D 6D 7D 8D.

6. As noted previously, very few flower kongs on this card. This combo fits Any Like #2 and Odds #5. The hot tiles are 1C 1D 3B 5B.

7. Odds #3, right? Hot tiles 1C 3D? Sure, but don't forget Consec - the great fooler family. Your opponent might be making Consec #2 or Consec #5, meaning more hot tiles: 2C 4D F 4B.

8. Two dragon kongs. Only two possibilities: Evens #7 and Any Like #3. The hot tiles are F 2C 4C 6C 8C and, um, any number in both bams and dots. If any even crak is dead on the table, you can eliminate Evens.

9. Pung of sixes with a kong of nines. 369, right? Wrong. No 369 hand can use a pung of sixes in one suit and a kong of nines in another suit. This is Consec #2. The hot tiles are 7D 8C.

10. Flower kong with a kong of twos. Just two possibles: 2021 #3 and Any Like #2. The hot tiles: 1B 2B 0 2C 2D. If you get 2B, redeeming it would be a good move.

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!

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, a good supplement to the League's 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

© 2021 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.