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By Tom Sloper
August 21, 2022

Column #772

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). What would you pass in the Charleston?

1. No pairs. Check highs vs. lows (7 vs. 7) and odds vs. evens (8 vs. 4; odds win). I'd pass evens (and E) in the first right.

2. There's one pair of ones, and it has friends: other ones, low numbers, odds, and dragons. Too many friends. I don't like anything but the ones and dragons. So as to spread out the numbers, I'd pass a four, the five, and the nine.

3. The pairs of ones and twos, together with the 4C and 5C, fairly scream Consec #5, the most powerful hand on the card. Other hands in Consec make for reasonable alternative options; I'd pass high numbers and E.

4. Pairs of fours, sevens, and eights. There's no hand that uses all three pairs. The fours are the odd men out, since the sevens and eights have so many friends. I'd pass 4B W G. I dislike passing dragons, but it's worse to pass a pair.

5. Two pairs: fours and fives. Of course they're Consec friends. There are obvious non-friends: 8D 9D N can go, and you don't have to think beyond that until you see what comes in from your left.

6. Pairs of threes, sixes, and sevens. The three pairs can't all be used in one hand, so it's either 369 with the threes and sixes, or Consec with the sixes and sevens. Pass 4D S W to retain both options and see what comes in next.

7. Pairs of twos and eights, and they have even friends. Clearly shoot for 2468, and get rid of anything that's not even.

8. Pung of fives and pair of nines, with odd friends and high friends. Consec being the most powerful family on the card, I'd prefer Consec over 13579. Along with 2B and S, you can pass either 3B, 8D, or a dragon.


COMMENTS Email . Hit me with your best shot!

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

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i. But I gotta tell you, you're missing a bet if you don't order your NMJL card directly from the National Mah Jongg League.

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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