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By Tom Sloper
Mother's Day, 2022

Column #758

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). A motherlode of Charleston exercises with the new card. What would you pass with these random deals?

1. Wow, three jokers! Take care. You don't want to mess this up. I really mean it! People get cocky when they have three jokers, and it's not unusual to go for a hand where jokers don't help finish the hand. Think Quints or a hand with no pairs (unless you already have them). The four steps, step #1: identify any pairs or better. You've got ones and threes. Ones and threes absolutely go together (they're "friends," step #2). And they are Low (step #3) and Odd (step #4). So you want to work in the middle of the card. And you have several options in Consec (not so for Quints, this time, unfortunately). Check Consec #3 (6 tiles plus 3 jokers). Pass 4D 8C E. The main problem is you're going to have to pick a flower. That's a risk, but the odds are with you. Still: don't get cocky, kid! Han Solo said that. Sorta.

2. No jokers this time. Pair of threes. It has odd friends in low places. Pass high: 6D 7C N.

3. Pair of fives. Look for friends. Only two winds, which makes W-D #4 look remote. And Any Like #2 is also a long shot. But you can preserve those options and see what else might come in if you pass 1C 2B 8D. 6C and 7B might be useful in Consec, and some people say "never pass a flower."

4. Pairs of eights look good for the Any Like family. Keep all high numbers, pass 1B 3B. One of those fives will have to go, too. Take your pick.

5. Those winds and dragons suggest Winds - Dragons, don't they? And keep the eights. If you want to shoot for 2022, a long shot because you have zero zeroes, you can keep 1B 2B, and pass fives, but there is such a thing as aiming too high.

6. Three pairs: twos, sevens, and eights. The eights are friends with both pairs, but which is the stronger friendship? Eights and sevens are powerful for Consec (#1, #2, #4, #5, #8). Consec #8 is a Concealed hand, but don't let that Cow you. I hear a lot of people say "I never go for those," but that's a Cowardly way to go. Twos and eights go together for the Evens family, but there aren't any fours, and it would be foolhardy to go that way. The main question is whether you need to keep that R. It works for Consec #4. I'd say pass 6D 5B and break up 2C.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!


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!

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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, 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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