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By Tom Sloper
June 6, 2021

Column #749

American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). You know that feeling, when you figure out an opponent's key tile, and just then your eyes meet the opponent's, and you can tell that they know that you know? Breaks my poker face every time. Defend against these exposures.

1. You'll find this one in Consec and also in 2021. The hot tiles are F 3D, and 2021 in dots. A flower pair is needed for both possibilities, but unless you see seven flowers dead on the table, your opponent is alive and kicking.

2. When two numbers are near one another numerically, always consider Consec. But this is Evens #5. Hot tiles are 2B 8C. It would be very dangerous to discard either one. It's a no-pairs hand. She's probably ready.

3. That first exposure, the flower quint, tells you a lot. Unfortunately, that second exposure, the kong of fives, only tells you one thing; that you don't have to worry about 369 #4. Between Quints #1 and Consec #4, the hot tiles are 3D, 4D, and all winds. 3D is a key tile; if you see 3D dead on the table, you can stop worrying about Consec #4.

4. Other than ones and twos (2021), the only consecutive numbers are in Consec and Quints. This can only be Consec #1. The hot tiles are 5C 6C 9C, with the ends (5C, 9C) being key tiles. If 5C or 9C go dead on the table, you should call your opponent dead.

5. Odds #1. The hot tiles are 1B 3B 9D, with the ends being key tiles.

6. That first exposure, the dragon pung, tells you a lot. Unfortunately, the second exposure doesn't help. Between Odds #2 and 369 #2, the hot tiles are F 3C 5C 6C 7C. 5C is a key tile that can tell you a lot.

7. Two possibilities: W-D #2 and #3. The hot tiles are F E W (of course) and also all odd numbers. You can look for odd numbers dead on the table in at least two suits, but focus on key tiles E and W first. If either one is dead on the table, then you can stop worrying about #3 and just worry about odd numbers.

8. Threes and nines can only be 369, but there are two possible hands here: #2 and #6. The hot tiles are F 6B G.

9. The only flower kong hands that work with fives are Any Like #2 and Odds #5. The hot tiles are 1D 3D 7D 9D 5B 5C. See if key tiles 3D or 7D are dead on the table.


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).

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