|By Tom Sloper
June 24, 2012
American Mah Jongg (2012 NMJL card). What would you discard?
1. Fives and nines in two suits; could be the seventh Odds hand or Like Numbers (but no flowers, and only one J). Consec. #1 is weak; throw 6D or 8D.
2. Consec. #1, two ways (both having seven tiles, not counting jokers), or Odds #1 (eight tiles). The high Consec. is stronger than the low, since both pairs are present, so throw 2D or 4D.
3. Elevens. You have an extra one. Ditch it already. (Even if you go for Consec. #1, you have too many ones.)
4. Consec. or Odds? Eight tiles for the last Odds hand (not counting J); seven tiles for Consec. #1. Only six tiles for Odds #1, so let 1D or 3D go.
5. Strongest hand here is the bottom Consec. hand, so all tiles left of 1B can go. Choose any one to throw.
6. Like Numbers or Elevens? Either way, 5D and 6B are expendable.
7. 2012 or W-D. F is not needed for the 2012 option; soap and 2B are not needed for the W-D option. Either way, you have a superfluous E. Chuck it.
8. You can go Consec. #1, #3, or #5. That leaves 9D as expendable. Out with it!
9. To go with those ones, you need N and S, not E and W. You have three-fourths of a 2012, and too many Ws; six tiles for 2012 #1 (not counting J). Six tiles for Like Numbers too. Stop spinning wheels; just get rid of a W.
10. Consec. #1 just outnumbers Like Numbers by one (and you have no 5C). So throw F or 5B. Joker bait works better with a pair than a triplet. If it's early in the game, throw 5B now; if it's later in the game, don't wait to throw F (it'll just get hotter).
11. Consec. #3 (seven tiles) or #5 (eight tiles); #5 is stronger by one. 2C and 5D are expendable, and you have one extra F. Discard F.
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Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board. Like this, for example...
The June 24th column
>From: Belinda G
>Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:43 AM
>Subject: June 24th column
>Hello: Love your columns!
>June 24th #10 When I count the two hands I get the same number in each. If is confusing when counting consecutives as there are three 5Ds but consecutives only need 2. So both hands have 9 tiles instead of the consecutive having more. However, like numbers requires a pair of 5Cs and there is none, but Consecutive needs only one 6D for that pair that is required. So the consecutive is probably the better bet, although I would chance it on the like numbers because I have two jokers that I could use toward a foursome of 5C and use one of the other 5s as the pair. This might also confuse the other players if I were to throw one of those fives later in the game (after an exposure or two) as they might think that I couldn't go for a like number hand if I throw a similar number out, even though I don't need it, they wouldn't know that.
Very nice, Belinda. Hope you're having a nice summer.
May the tiles be with you.
Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
July 10, 2012
Where to order the yearly NMJL card: 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). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules: http://sites.google.com/site/mahjrules/.
© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.