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By Tom Sloper
May 9, 2010

Column #450

American Mah Jongg (2010 NMJL card). A player makes a pung of ones, let's say. That exposure might or might not tell you what hand she's working on; usually, one exposure could be a number of different hands. A lone pung of ones could be any of seven different hands: 2010 #3, Like Nos. #2, Quints #4, Consec. #2, 13579 #2, 13579 #3, or W-D #5. (If the player with the exposure is making anything else, she's in error.)

If you have the bandwidth to watch her every move, you can deduce other things; if she discards soap, she's not doing 2010. If she discards ones in the other two suits, she's not doing Like Nos. And so on. But you have two other players to worry about, plus your own hand. So, most of the time, the thing to do is to just wait until she's made a second exposure.

I think it's interesting to look at all the possibilities. They change from year to year.

1. She can only be making W-D #5 or Consec. #6. Either way, it's a concealed hand. Call her dead.

2. She can only be making 13579 #3, and you know that ones, threes, fives, and flowers are hot. Look for clues on the table.

3. She can only be making Like Nos. #2. 1B, G, and R are hot.

4. Call her dead. No such hand.

5, 6. Call her dead. No hand on the card uses a pung and a quint of ones, period.

7. She's dead. The only hand she can be making is Consec. #6, and it must remain concealed.

8. She's making 2010 #3. Soaps and flowers are hot. This can't be Consec. #6, as discussed above.

9. She can only be making Consec. #2. Threes and fours in the other two suits are hot.

10. Call her dead. There's no such hand.

11, 12. Call her dead; no quints hand uses a pung and a quint of consecutive numbers.

A tip of the hat to sharp-eyed readers Kathleen DeMarco & Wendy French!

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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.