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By Tom Sloper
May 24, 2009

Column #407

American Mah Jongg (2009 NMJL card). You see two exposures on an opponent's rack, one of them a kong of flowers. What is she doing, and what should you do?

1. She could be making either 2009 #4 or W-D #6. Twos, nines, and dragons are hot. Watch what she does and you can get more clues.

2. 2468 #4 or W-D #6. 2D, 8D, G, and R are hot.

3. 13579 #2 or 13579 #4 or 369 #1. Hot: 1D, 5D, 7D, and soap.

4. 2468 #6 or Elevens #1. Hot: 4B, 6B, threes, and ones. Look for dead ones (more than two of the same suit). If you have the fourth 8B, you can kill 2468 #6 by redeeming it or discarding it.

5. 2468 #6 or Elevens #3. A lot of hot tiles (2C, 4C, 8C, fives, and ones) so you have to watch what she discards.

6. 2468 #6 or Elevens #2. Also a tricky one. Hot: sevens, ones, 6D, 2D. If your hand also uses 4D, don't make an exposure with jokers (unless you have all 3 remaining 4D's).

7. 13579. Either #2 or #4. Hot: 3C, 5C, 9C, R.

8. 13579 #4 or Elevens #3. Hot: 1B, 3B, 7B, 9B, sixes, and ones.

9. Just one hand on the card. Elevens #2. Fours and ones are hot.

10. No such hand. Tell her she's dead.

11. 2468 #4. Hot: 8D, soap.

12. Elevens #1 or 369 #1. Hot: eights, ones, 6B, 9B.

Other than the twelve above combinations, the only other valid two-exposure combination with a flower kong is Quints #3. And that one is unmistakable when you see it. Problem is, if she's showing a wind quint, you don't know what number she's got. But if she's showing a number, you might be able to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

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Question or comment about this column? Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

Haven't ordered the 2009 NMJL card yet? Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

Watch the video by Jay Firestone of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, about a young man (himself) learning to play American mah-jongg. You can see it at

© 2009 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.