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By Tom Sloper

August 13, 2006
Column #279

American Mah-Jongg (2006 NMJL card). Hot tile exercises. For each of the following hands, it's past the halfway point in the hand, and the player showing these tiles is exhibiting her "tell."* The next tile you throw could give her mah-jongg. What are her hot tiles?

1. Only one hand this can be: 2468 #1. If the player thinks she's making the bottom Consec. hand, she's dead (that hand's supposed to be concealed). Don't throw 2C, 8C, or R.

2. Only two possible hands this could be: 2468 #4 and Consec. #3. Hot tiles: 2D, 8D, 5B, 5C, 5D.

3. Two possible hands, both Consec.: #2 and #4. Don't throw any fours, fives, sixes, sevens, or non-green dragons.

4. Only one hand this could be. 2006 #2. Hot: F, soap, twos, and sixes.

5. Sure looks like 2468 #1, doesn't it? Well, it can't be anything else. Don't throw 2D, 4D, 8D.

6. A couple possible hands, both concealed. Tell the player, "I'm sorry, dear, but you're dead."

7. Tricky. Could be 2006 #4 or #5, or any Lucky 13 hand, or Quints #2, or Winds-Dragons #1. It's easier to list the tiles you should throw than the ones you shouldn't! All numbers are hot, all winds, and all dragons. The only really safe throws are F, J.

8. Two hands: Winds-Dragons #s 1 and 2. Throw any suit tile, don't throw winds, dragons, or flowers.

9. Two possibilities: Consec. # 3 and 13579 #5. Hot tiles: F, 5C, 2B, 2C, 2D

* "Tell" is a term borrowed from Poker. It simply means that you can "tell" that this player (because of the way she's squirming or acting too calm, whatever her giveaway sign is) is ready for maj.

- Thanks to Gail Smith for help correcting this column.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.