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By Tom Sloper
May 2, 2010

Column #449

American Mah Jongg (2010 NMJL card). Today is "But You?" Day. You know, May 2. May 1 is May Day, right? Well, the radio word "Mayday" originated with the French: "m'aidez" means "Help me!" and sounds like "Mayday." So, May Two... "mais tu?" That's French for "But you?"

Eh? Eh?

Okay, okay, RBMPT (really bad multilingual pun time) is over. Pour maintenant, anyway. Let's look at some WWYD problems. What would you discard? Counting the jokers this time...

1. 2468 #1 (9 tiles), Consec. #6 (11 tiles), or Consec. #5 (8 tiles). The problem with 2468 is clear: need pair 6's. Consec. #6 problem: it's concealed, can't call. Consec. #5 is the weakest; no 7's. Can't preserve both 2468 and bottom Consec., have to commit to Consec. I'd throw 2B, saving the 4's for joker bait.

2. Consec. #2 (7 tiles), Consec. #3 (7 tiles), Consec. #5 (6 tiles), Consec. #6 (7 tiles 4 ways), S&P #5 (8 tiles). The 9's are expendable.

3. Would have been great for 369 a couple years back, but the card changes. 369 #4 (6 tiles), Consec. #4 (5 tiles), Consec. #2 (6789, 7 tiles), 13579 (7 tiles). No matter how you look at it, there are four discardables: 3C pair, 5C 7B. I'd hang onto the pair for joker bait, flip a coin for the other two.

4. 2010 #2 (12 tiles), W-D #6 (10 tiles), Consec. #6 (9 tiles), Like Nos. #2 (8 tiles 2 ways). All you need to preserve are 2010 and maybe W-D. Throw a 1 or a 2.

5. 2468 #3 (7 tiles), Like Nos. #2 (10 tiles), Consec. #6 (9 tiles). 2468 is clearly the weakest, and that makes the 8's expendable.

6. Consec. #1 (8 tiles), Consec. #2 (8 tiles), Consec. #5 (7 tiles). None of them needs 6D, so chuck it.

7. 13579 #2B (7 tiles), 13579 #4 (10 tiles), 13579 #5B (8 tiles), 13579 #7 (8 tiles), Consec. #1 (7 tiles), Consec. #2 (8 tiles). Obviously you need to mainly think odds. The non-odd tiles are 6C and the 8D pair. Throwing 8D ruins both Consec. options, but throwing 6C ruins only Consec. #2. So that's it.

8. Consec. #1 (9 tiles), Consec. #2 (10 tiles), Consec. #5 (8 tiles). F is only needed for the weakest hand. Jetez la fleur.

A tip of the beret to Jennifer B!

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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 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). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules:

© 2010 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.