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By Tom Sloper

May 8, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #213

American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). Esther's Charleston went reasonably well, leaving her with two pretty good options. But she never picked a single joker, and nobody else won either. From the deal:

Her two main options:

She started things off by discarding 9B. Then her next four picks were junk: S, 9C, 8D, N. She picked 7B and briefly considered 13579 #1, but remembered she'd already had and discarded 9B. Discarded 6D. Since she had no jokers, she started to look at Singles & Pairs #2. But without any flowers or dragons, that didn't look hopeful either. Her next pick was 2B, which was good for her Consec. #2 option. Threw 7B. Next pick was 1B. She didn't need it, so threw it back. Her two hands were even at this point (9 tiles each). One had its required pairs, but both needed a lot of stuff. And a joker (or five of them) would have helped too.

Picked, threw 9B. Regretted having discounted the 13579 possibility before. 4D went out but she couldn't call. Picked and threw 6D, kvetching to her friends, "oy, there's no such hand!" When she picked 5D, it was decision time.

It was time to kill #1a and go for #2. Threw 1B as joker bait, but nobody bit. Her next picks were junk: 6C, 1D. The other 4D went out and she still couldn't call. So she groaned. One junk pick after another ensued, and it was all over but the kvetching.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.