The Mah-Jongg FAQs
Shortcuts to Most-Visited Topics:

The 2022 NMJL Card (FAQ 16-2022)
American Mah-Jongg Rules (FAQ 19)
Strategy Column
General Strategy Tips (FAQ 8)
Etiquette & Harmony (FAQ 9)

Find Players, Teachers, Events (Bb)
Teachers List by area (FAQ 4a)
Ways to find players/teachers (FAQ 15)

Computer Games (FAQ 5)
Why wouldn't the computer let me win?
Computer game tech support

How Much Is My Set Worth? (FAQ 7-H)
How Old Is My Set? (FAQ 7-G)
What Are My Tiles Made Of?(FAQ 7-C)

Mah-Jongg Basics (Universal)
Simplified Chinese Rules (FAQ10)
Misunderstood Chinese Rules (FAQ 20)


Maj Exchange Bulletin Boards

Q & A Bulletin Board
Find Players/Teachers BB
Sets For Sale BB
Sets Wanted BB
Tiles For Sale BB
Tiles Wanted BB
Accessories For Sale BB
Accessories Wanted BB


The Red Dragon & The West Wind

The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg and get answers, usually the same day! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

  • I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A). The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum.
  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to MJSloperama.com.
  • After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.
  • The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know the answer is posted here.
  • If at first you can't see your Q&A below, you may have to Refresh your browser, or use a different browser. And scroll down; there may have been new Q&As posted since yours.
  • I do not provide technical support for computer games. See FAQ 24 for tips on getting technical support.
  • No shouting, please.
  • There is no newsletter. There is no mailing list to join. You won't get any notifications. Just keep coming back to read.
  • This site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League.

    Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

               

    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!


    Not tax-deductible


  • Questions about my set, part 2

    On Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 08:59:38 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia D
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Patricia D
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Patricia D
    Message: Thanks for your feedback--much appreciated!
    PayPal

    You're welcome, Pat! Thank you!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about my set

    On Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 10:56:39 AM EST, Patricia D wrote:
    Your Assignment
    Tom,
    Thanks so much for your response about the working men tiles that are flowers. Who knew?
    Now your assignment is to provide me with a free set valuation based on the checklist info below and the attached jpg photos. Specifically, what is your best-guess about the decade in which this set was manufactured, and what do you base this on? I will look for your response in the Q&A forum online.
    Thanks in advance,
    Pat D
    Largo, FL
    Valuation Checklist
    1. Four tiny bone dice in box (no sliding cover for box)
    2. Wind indicators: One rotatable wind disk; Four individual wind disks and a cylindrical container with lid
    3. Bone counting sticks:
    a. #1: 36 sticks
    b. #2: 40 sticks
    c. #5: 8 sticks
    d. #10: 35 sticks
    4. Brown carrying case with plastic handle, faux-leather look; good condition, clamps shut, no locks, ďE.S. Lowe N.Y.Ē ribbon in upper left corner of inside case lid. Two rectangular, open wood boxes for storing tiles.
    5. Five colored plastic trays (red, blue, green, yellow, grey/white) with chip holders (metal plates) at one end, and 106 colored chips (red 34, blue 25, green 25, yellow 2, white 20) divided among the trays. Each plate has ďE.S. Lowe N.Y.Ē and ďMah-LoweĒ engraved.
    6. Tiles: 164 Bakelite butterscotch
    a. Dots: 36
    b. Bams: 36
    c. Craks: 36
    d. Winds: 16
    e. Dragons: 12 (4 red, 4 green, 4 with markings but no image)
    f. Flowers: 26 (16 with flowers on them, 10 with working men on them)
    g. Blank: 2
    h. Jokers: NONE
    i. Tile size: H 1 3/16Ē; W 13/16Ē; D ĹĒ
    7. Paper:
    a. 1923 bookletóďStandard Rules for ĎThe Ancient Game of the Mandarins' known in China as ĎMah-Jonggí ď by Hugo Manovil
    b. Photocopy of typewritten playing rules from the 1930s or 1940s
    8. History: Unknown. The set was left to me by a deceased friend this year
    9. Physical Condition: Very fine

    Hi, Pat.
    You asked 3 questions: how much is it worth, when was it made, and why do I say it was made then.
    1. Somewhere around $175, give or take $50. The case latches show rust (the case is definitely not Very Fine), you're missing some of the scoring chips (they're not all divisible by 4), and you're missing the original plastic dice. The bone pieces don't belong (they come from an older bone-and-bamboo set). The Manovil booklet could be worth about $10-20, depending on its condition, but it is not contemporary to the set.
    2. The set was probably made in the early 1950s.
    3. I say that because my flower/jokers chart in column 509 shows that the National Mah Jongg League required lots of flowers in the 1950s.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, December 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Question about mystery tiles

    On Monday, December 5, 2022 at 03:26:38 PM EST, Patricia D wrote:
    Question about Mystery tiles
    My question is:
    I can't find these tiles described. Do they have a name? They're two sets of 1-5, men working. Thanks!
    Pat

    Hi, Pat! I'm not sure what information you're seeking. What kind of description are you looking for? The tiles depict a palanquin, a rickshaw, a farmer, a scholar, and a wind-driven watercraft (a junk). Is that what kind of description you wanted?
    As for a name, we usually just call those "flowers." Did you look in the Mystery Flowers FAQ (FAQ 7E-F)? Because if you just looked in the Mystery Tiles FAQ (FAQ 7E), flowers aren't discussed there. Flowers and jokers are so numerous that the FAQ had to be split into separate categories of "mystery tiles."
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, December 5, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I call her dead, part 2

    On Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 11:49:40 AM EST, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A - calling a player dead
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom
    Read with interest your comment on calling a player dead when the tile(s) they need have been discarded, visible to the other players, so there is no hope, and jokers are of no use.
    My question - what about calling a player dead, when the tile(s) which they require are hidden in your hand, not visible to any other players? Is it possible in this situation to call an opponent dead, without them seeing the tiles which they require?
    Thank you
    Michael R.

    It's possible, Michael, but you'll be penalized for doing that! I really recommend that you read FAQ 19-AA and the other codicils to the "death challenge" rule.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    December 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation (recurring)

    On Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 06:48:26 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Jan 4, 2023
    PayPal

    Thank you so much for making your donation recurring, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    December 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I call her dead?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 09:20:38 PM EST, Susan F wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player calls for and puts Up 3 9dots. A few turns later, she calls and puts Up 4 flowers. And few turns later, someone throws what is the 3rd 7dot. Knowing what hand sheís playing, I realize she is now dead. (FFFF, 77,88,999,(dots) 0??0??0??. No 7dots left. Can I call her on it? Announce I believe sheís dead? She called the flowers and 9dots in good faith, was not dead when she exposed. Whatís the call?
    Thank you.
    Susan F

    Hi, Susan! Yes, you can call her dead since you can see from the discards that she cannot possibly win the hand she is playing. See FAQ 19-AA.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    December 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Certifiably!

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 10:20:06 PM EST, B. T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Is there a current entity where I can become certified in American Mahjong? Whatever happened to the AMJA? I know certification is not required to teach, but it wouldnít hurt.

    Hi, B.!
    1. You don't need to be certified to play. But I assume that's not really what you meant to ask.
    2. You can ask the AMJA directly. Go to www.amja.net, scroll down to the bottom, and either fill in the form there or send an email to the address shown. The AMJA doesn't do any certifying, by the way. You may be thinking of the AMJIA...
    3. The teacher certification FAQ is FAQ 19-CO. I also have teaching tips in FAQ 26.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, November 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to say "same" when discarding a joker same tile as previous discard, part 2

    On Friday, November 25, 2022 at 11:27:06 PM EST, Debbie B wrote:
    Question
    Hi Tom,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!
    I was reading this Q & your A and I don't think you meant to say that you can also call the repeated same tile, a "joker."
    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 04:47:30 PM EST, Karen S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player to my left discards a 3 bam and I would like to also discard a 3 bam; Can I call the tile ďsame tileĒ or do I have to call the tile by its name- 3 bam?
    I understand its a good practice to call a Joker, ďsameĒ so that players use their eyes as well as their ears.
    Karen S
    Thank you so much for all that you do in the world of MahJongg!!!
    Hi, Karen!
    As I wrote in FAQ G3, you can say "same" or "3 Bam" or "joker." It's all perfectly allowable.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    囧 Oops, I did it again - answered a question that wasn't asked. I hate when I do that. And I hate when it happens to me, like the customer service person in India who helped me with a problem I didn't have this week (and didn't help me with the problem I was calling about). Thanks for catching that, Debbie. I made the correction below.
    btw, you don't need to copy the entirety of a post when referring to it (you can just give me the date and name). Thanks again for keeping me on the straight and narrow.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, November 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How should our kitty rule work when playing with five people?

    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 06:18:58 PM EST, Erica A. Z wrote:
    pishke
    "In American mah-jongg, many players use the term "wall game" to mean a game that nobody wins (all the tiles from the wall were used up, and nobody made mah-jongg). And some players use a table rule in which players throw a coin into a kitty or pot or pischke, to be collected by the next winner."
    My group plays with a kitty. We do not use bettors. There is a disagreement about who puts in a quarter when we are playing with five. I say whomever sits down puts a quarter in the kitty; others say that whomever got up should contribute to the kitty (which, BTW, makes no sense to me). Why put money in the kitty if you have no chance of winning it back? What do you think? Thanks.
    Erica
    (What in the name of holy bejaysus and all the suffering saints is this benighted cowpat?)

    Hi, Erica!
    You put quote marks around a description of kitty/pot/pischke table rules. I wonder where that's from. I don't think it's from my site or my book. Anyway, as for your question, all I can say is see FAQ 14.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to say "same" when discarding a joker same tile as previous discard?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 04:47:30 PM EST, Karen S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player to my left discards a 3 bam and I would like to also discard a 3 bam; Can I call the tile ďsame tileĒ or do I have to call the tile by its name- 3 bam?
    I understand its a good practice to call a Joker, ďsameĒ so that players use their eyes as well as their ears.
    Karen S
    Thank you so much for all that you do in the world of MahJongg!!!

    Hi, Karen!
    As I wrote in FAQ G3, you can say "same" or "3 Bam" or "joker."* It's all perfectly allowable.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 23, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Corrected 11/26, thanks to sharp-eyed reader Debbie B. - Tom


    Does mah-jongg really trump EVERYTHING?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 02:36:05 PM EST, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, I wrote the league 3 weeks ago and haven't received a response.
    The rule on the back of the card basically says 'mahjongg trumps anything'.
    Question:
    If a person calls a discard and physically claims it for an exposure, puts up the entire exposure, and is in the process of discarding, does a call for mahjongg at that point take precedence? Or, is it too late? It would seem to me that it would be too late, but I got an argument, citing the rule on the back of the card that 'mahjongg trumps all'.
    Thoughts?
    Thank you!
    Debbi Ann L

    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 02:37:41 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Debra Ann A
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Debra Ann A
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Debra Ann A
    Message: Thank you for all you do to make the game rules easily accessible and understandable :)
    PayPal

    Thank you very much for the donation, DebbiAnn!
    You said, "The rule on the back of the card basically says 'mahjongg trumps anything'." Which rule is that? Where exactly on the back of the card? I coined the phrase "mah-jongg trumps everything" to describe a general principle embodied in some of the League's rules. So I am familiar with the principle. But I'm unable to find exactly what on the back of the card you're citing.
    Your question: if a person calls a discard and physically claims it for an exposure, puts up the entire exposure, and is in the process of discarding, is it too late to claim the discard for mahj? See FAQ 19-i. The rule stated in the 2020 newsletter (Q&A #13) says "the Mah Jongg declarer gets preference even if the other player has begun to expose their tiles." That rule doesn't go beyond "beginning" to make an exposure and being "in the process of discarding." My GUESS is that since the exposer has not yet discarded, the mahj declarer still can claim the discard to win. But you would have to confirm that with the League (I'm sure you will get a response to your letter eventually). And out of curiosity, I'd wonder if 3 seconds have gone by at the point where the exposer is preparing to discard. 3 seconds is enough time for a player to claim the win.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What are your feelings about slamming?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 02:27:59 PM EST, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, and Happy Thanksgiving!
    How do you feel about the NMJL not condoning slamming, yet allowing people to call a discard but start their turn by taking tiles out of their hand to put on the flat prior to taking the 14th tile in, essentially, slamming? What is your opinion on the fact that to start a turn, you have to pick and rack a wall tile, i.e., you cannot start with doing a joker exchange, but its perfectly acceptable to the league to take an action prior to taking in the called discard? By not taking in the 14th tile, a player taking any action is either potentially playing out of turn (since the last discard is still viable), or playing with too few tiles, having not started their turn properly, but the rule for discards is different, and it's okay to start your turn by putting tiles up from your hand?
    If a player had to take in the 14th tile, either wall or discard, and rack it, either in the slope or on the flat first, that would totally eliminate the slamming issue and make calling or pulling a tile to start the turn fair by either way, rather than making one rule for walls and another rule for discards. Either end result is the same, the start of your turn is taking in the 14th tile. The call would then merely put a halt/creating a change to the picking order.
    Opinion? Thoughts?
    Thank you!
    Debbi Ann L

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Debbi Ann.
    I think I've made my feelings on "slam-exposing" clear from the beginning.
    You said "its perfectly acceptable to the league to take an action prior to taking in the called discard". Further, that the League allows players to "start their turn by taking tiles out of their hand to put on the flat prior to taking the 14th tile".
    I had to try to find where the League said that. So I checked FAQ 19-H3 to see my citations for the source of League rulings that touch upon the issue of slam-exposing. And the rule you're referring to is on page 14 of Mah Jongg Made Easy. What the League has actually said is:

      - "As soon as the tile is discarded, any player wanting that tile for an exposure has the right to claim it, preference being given to the player next in turn unless another player has called and started to expose."
      - "To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call..."
      - "When exposing, it is preferable to place the called tile on top of your rack before taking the tiles in your rack to make the exposure." (MJME p. 14)

    A caller has to speak before exposing. It's possible to "slam-call," I suppose. That is, a fast player could speak and raise tiles very quickly, so as to slam the door on the next in line. But speaking first is required.
    In the 2020 newsletter, Larry and David Unger wrote,

      "Slamming tiles or racing to put up an exposure is poor sportsmanship, not supported by the League."

    You asked for my feelings, my opinion on this matter. I'm on record as having said numerous times that I prefer the Chinese Majiang Championship Rule - if a caller expresses a desire for a discard within 3 seconds of the tile going down, they can have the tile. That rule totally shuts out slamming in any form.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which mah-jongg variant do we play, part 2

    On Monday, November 21, 2022 at 12:34:38 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Jill A
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Jill A
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Jill A
    PayPal

    Thank you, Jill!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Your strategy columns

    On Monday, November 21, 2022 at 09:41:36 AM EST, lindaz wrote:
    Strategy column
    Hi Tom,
    I like your varied puzzles this year. Please continue!
    Thanks, Linda

    Will do, Linda!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, November 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which mah-jongg variant do we play?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, November 20, 2022 at 11:25:00 PM EST, Jill A wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Iíve been playing a version of Chinese Mah Jong for 33 years. Our leader is a Chinese American woman whose family was quite influential at one time in the Los Angeles Chinatown culture. She and her ancestors/ friends have played this version for decades.
    Now I am starting to teach others, and Iím trying to figure out what version we are playing. The way we play seems very regular, but it seems that our scoring rules are very different. We do use the cat/mouse and man/bag as flowers.
    The winner starts with a base score of 50. Then they count the points in the hand. Unconcealed pungs of twos-eights get two points, flowers and pungs of dragons, winds, and end cards get four points, kongs get twice that, and concealed of these get twice the points. We round up to the nearest ten, add to the 50, then start doubling the final score. Doubles are flowers, pungs of dragons or prevailing wind, own wind, all one suit, etc. Our maximum is 1000.
    We donít pay much attention to all those many hands and tiles that I see on so many websites. We mainly check for combinations of all pungs, all of one suit, dragon and wind pungs, and maybe good eyes. Does this sound like a version you know, possibly Classical Chinese? And is this scoring system just a type of table rules or is this purposely made to be really simple?
    Thank you!
    Jill A
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jill!
    The scoring you use is a variation on the Classical rules. Taiwanese and Hong Kong rules don't score points for single pungs of simples (the suit tiles from 2 to 8); that's primarily a Classical feature. Scoring 50 as base score for winning is non-standard, though. If you want to dig deeper into variants, see FAQ 2B and the variants documents in my mah-jongg archive folder.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, November 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What constitutes a kong, exactly? (The 2022 card, part 29)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 09:08:30 PM EST, Kathleen h wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under Quints is the 1122 a kong or is it two pairs? since there is no space between the numbers I read it as a kong but the senior lady I play with says it is two pairs and therefore can not use jokers in the kong.
    If you could clarify this for me I would appreciate it.
    Thanks

    The senior lady is right, Kathleen. A kong is not defined as "any four tiles bunched together on the card" - it's defined as "a set of four identical tiles." See FAQ 19-E. Rules questions are answered in FAQ 19. Questions about the 2022 card are answered in FAQ 16. Quints #2 is discussed there.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, November 19, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Curious about my wooden mah-jongg board

    On Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 03:43:26 PM EST, Peggy C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    This is pic of wooden mahjong playing board I have. It was with my grandmotherís 1920ís mahjong set, (which I also have) so this board has to be from back in 1920ís or so. Do you know value of this mahjong board? I can find no info on it at all. Is it one of a kind board? Manufacturer on this board says ďChinese Game Specialties Inc NY. Patent Applied For.Ē

    Hi, Peggy! Interesting item you've got there. I haven't seen one of those before.
    1. I agree that it's from the 1920s "or so."
    2. No, I don't know how much you might get for this in an auction setting at which mah-jongg collectors are bidding on it. Nor do I know how much an antique seller might price it at.
    3. It's definitely not "one of a kind." The Chinese Game Specialties company used machinery and machine printing to manufacture it. No company would go to all the trouble it took to design and manufacture that, and apply for a patent on it, and then make just one of them.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 19, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She changed her mind. Can she do that?

    On Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 01:22:19 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    A player started to pick a tile from the wall (it was her turn) she dragged to her wall but didn't pick it up. She decided she didn't want the tile. I said she had to take it because she moved it. She said that it wasn't a rule. I said it was. What say you?
    Lou D.

    Yes, it's a rule. She has committed to taking the tile. The rule was stated in the yearly bulletins of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2018. See FAQ 19-AM.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, November 19, 2022, 2:22 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    NMJL member tiles, part 4

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 11:04:44 AM EST, Sherry M wrote:
    Tom,
    I just looked at the 2014 question and I can say with certainty that I never saw the answer. One of the tiles that I bought off eBay, the woman was the original owner. She told me that at one time she had a green Bakelite member tile! Doesnít remember what happened to it so thatís 3 colors they producedÖ.red, yellow, green. Havenít seen any others listed on eBay and I check pretty often. Oh well.
    Thank you again,
    Sherry

    That explains it, Sherry. I suppose my 2014 notification email (telling you to come to this board to find my reply) must have gone into your spam folder.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, November 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    NMJL member tiles, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, November 14, 2022 at 11:06:18 PM EST, Sherry M wrote:
    Tom,
    Thank you for the email. I donít remember your answer from 2014. Did I reply to it? StrangeÖno recollection of it at all if I did.
    The set I have that is from the 1930s belonged to a woman who lived in NYC. Her son sold it to me and said that she played for many, many years. So that might be why she had them. Each one are of different material.
    I wish the League had some history of them. Pretty sad that it is lost.
    Thanks again for your reply.
    Sherry
    Sent from my iPhone

    You're welcome, Sherry. I see by looking at the original question, from archive page 31, that you didn't reply afterward. That's okay. I don't usually get replies. It's nice to hear from you again!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, November 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    NMJL member tiles, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, November 14, 2022 at 06:11:09 PM EST, Sherry M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Over the years I have collected several tiles that are stamped with ďMember of National Mah Jongg LeagueĒ on them. Have you ever seen others or know any history of them? I found them in several vintage mahjongg sets from people on the East Coast. I have called and asked the NMJL and was told they hadnít a clue about them and doubted their validity. Obviously, they were produced because I had at one time 4 different styles.
    Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.
    Sherry M

    Hi, Sherry!
    As I said on July 23, 2014, the last time you asked me this, I believe those tiles were indeed given to members by the National Mah Jongg League. Just because the League no longer has complete records from the 1930s and 1940s doesn't mean those tiles were not from the League.
    In my 2014 reply, I told you the story of my having worked at companies with shorter histories, and discovering that those companies had lost or tossed old records as time went by. I am guessing that the League doesn't even have at least one of each card they ever printed, and of each yearly bulletin ever issued. Corporate memories fade with the loss of longtime employees.
    By the way, I think I might have one of those tiles in my collection now, or maybe a disc similarly marked.
    I'm convinced that these tiles were issued by the NMJL, but as I told you in 2014, you know more about them than I do.
    One thing to add: in your previous email, you said you had an "early 30's" set that contained 3 member tiles. The League was formed in the late 1930s (1937, to be precise), just FYI.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, November 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she change her mind?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 07:55:30 AM EST, Sheila M wrote:
    祍洠桡樭湯杧焠敵瑳潩牯挠浯敭瑮椠㩳
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    Hello Ė my questioni is: if a person calls for a discarded tile and picks it up but does not put it completely down on her rack, can she change her mind and say no she does not want it and return it to the table? Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Hi, Sheila, or should I say "nǐ hǎo" -
    If you play American mah-jongg according to NMJL rules, all the "can she change her mind" questions are answered in FAQ 19-AM. When calling a discard, she can touch it or move it and change her mind. But once she has either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from her hand, she has committed to making the play.
    I recommend you bookmark FAQ 19 for future rules questions (assuming you play American/NMJL rules).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. I ran 祍洠桡樭湯杧焠敵瑳潩牯挠浯敭瑮椠㩳 through several translator sites, and the best translation I can get is "楍鴠Radial 樭 Soup to quench the enemy." I tried Chinese traditional and Chinese simplified. I wanted to make sure I wasn't spreading Chinese propaganda. Maybe it's an advertisement. Soup seems harmless enough, especially if it's to "quench" one's enemy rather than kill her. - Puzzled Tom


    What's it worth, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 02:27:21 AM EST, <tonyh wrote:
    Hi Tom!
    Thank you for your quick reply! I apologize for missing some pictures. Here are†some additional pictures of the bamboo back and the ď5Ē tile.
    Thank you very much!

    You're welcome, Tony. I don't see why you sent me more pictures. The set is still not Japanese - none of your fives are Japanese "red fives" (FAQ 7e). I assume you're just going to sell the set. You have to arrange the tiles in the trays properly. That jumble they're in is unattractive and unhelpful to potential buyers, who will want to know if the set is complete. See FAQ 7n.
    Good luck with your sale.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, November 8, Election Day, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What's it worth? Is it genuine?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, November 7, 2022 at 08:10:39 PM EST, Tony H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What is this Japanese set worth? Is it genuine bone/bamboo?
    Thanks!

    Hi, Tony!
    It's not Japanese. You didn't show me any red fives, and there is no Japanese on the score sheets (no katakana, no hiragana). Looks like straight doubling, not Japanese scoring.
    If it is complete and in near-mint condition, it would be worth between $60-90.
    I don't know if your tiles have any bamboo on them, but if you think the backs are bamboo, then I suppose they are. I also don't know if your tile fronts are plastic or pulverized reconstituted fishbone as described in FAQ 7c. I have a couple of those fishbone/bamboo sets (look a lot like your set) in my collection. They were fairly common in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, November 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    It's the opposite of the written rule... if it isn't written does that mean you can't do it?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 06:36:21 PM EST, Theodore Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: if I have 2 jokers and another player is showing 2 6cracks and a joker (for 3 6cracks), on my turn, can I offer my 2 jokers for his pair of 6cracks? He could still claim 3 6cracks (showing 3 jokers) and I would have a pair of 6cracks. It's the opposite of the written rule for trading a tile for a joker, but if it isn't written does that mean you can't do it?

    There's no such thing as "reverse redemption," Theodore. FAQ 19-AL.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, November 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 1999 and 2000 cards

    On Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 11:02:47 PM EDT, j wrote:
    1999 2000
    Tom,
    I was told that Johni Levene thinks that in these years 999 and 000 were considered pungs. I find it
    hard to believe that this would be the case.
    Can you comment?
    Thanks.
    J

    Hi, J!
    2000 was a special year, the much-ballyhooed "Millennium." So a special rule prevailed for the "2000" groupings on the 2000 card. If you were holding 200 and needed a zero and you weren't yet ready for mah-jongg, you could call a zero for exposure and expose the entire "2000" as if it was a kong. It says in red print at the upper left corner, "A zero may be called for exposure to complete the 2000, but the 2 can only be called for Mah Jongg." It doesn't say a joker may be used in a "2000." I believe it could not. So the "000" part was not a pung - it was a special Millennial portion of a "2000."
    I don't have a 1999 card in my collection but if I recall correctly, the "1999" grouping could not be exposed prior to declaring mah-jongg, and jokers could not be used. I checked the 1999 bulletin - it was published before the 1999 card was released, so no mention. I checked the 2000 bulletin - it contained no mention of the "1999" grouping. I checked the 2001 bulletin - it contained no mention of the "2000" grouping (but did say jokers cannot be used in "NEWS," as usual).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, November 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if I have no tile to discard but don't have mah-jongg?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 10:18:27 AM EDT, Juliane S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing mahjong for 2 playersÖ.
    With 13 tiles on each of your two racks, what do you do when you need all 26 tiles are needed but not a Ďmahjonggí yet. You have your turn , draw a tile which you need, and you still donít have a winning hand but you have no tile to discharge , so what do you do??????
    Thank you for your help
    We play every Thursday at 10:30 am until 3 pmÖ.
    Thanks again for your help.
    js
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Juliane!
    So you're playing a 2-player game in which each player holds 2 racks. I don't know if you're trying to play 4-player rules with 2 people, or if you're playing Siamese mah jongg. But let's try to figure this out based on what you have told me:

    what do you do when you need all 26 tiles are needed but not a Ďmahjonggí yet.
    I'm trying to understand this scenario. Let's cut it in half, using one rack. If I have 13 "needed" tiles for a hand, then I'm one tile away from mah-jongg. All I need is that 14th tile, and I win if I get it.

    You have your turn , draw a tile which you need, and you still donít have a winning hand but you have no tile to discharge
    If I have 13 needed tiles and I draw a 14th needed tile, I have mah-jongg! There's no need to discard if I have mah-jongg. If you have no tile to discard, you have mah-jongg. I don't understand the problem you are asking about.

    If you're playing Siamese mah jongg, it's possible that there is some aspect of those rules that applies to your question. You could check the rules on siamesemahjongg.com.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, November 5, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama supporter-ama

    On Friday, November 4, 2022 at 06:11:31 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Nov 4, 2022 03:11:19 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Dec 4, 2022

    Thank you again for your generous ongoing support, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, November 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is this a real rule?

    On Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 03:55:20 PM EDT, Judy C wrote:
    Wall game
    When no one wins the the game, we call that a WALL GAME.we put 25 cents each in the corner...whoever wins the next round, They get that wall money plus we pay for what hand she won.is this a nmj rule or a table rule???
    Judy :)

    Hi, Judy,
    "Wall game" is a standard term for when the wall goes empty and nobody has won. What your group is using is a "kitty" or "pishke" (pushke, pischke) rule. There is no kitty in the official League rules. See FAQ 14. I recommend you get a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL, and/or my book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind .
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker in a pair if it's flowers and if it's for mahj?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 09:56:41 AM EDT, Martha N wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I have one flower on my board and I need a second flower to get Mah Jongg, I know that on the last pick that I can get Mah Jongg by picking up a flower. This would be my final move to create Mah Jongg. Can I pick up a joker on the same final move and place it with the one flower to create Mah Jongg? Thank you for your time. Suzy
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Suzy!
    You'll find your answer on the back of the card. It's in bold type and all capital letters, right there.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, November 3, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Hoping to pick up an international variant mahjong set in SoCal

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 08:17:35 AM EDT, bens wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom,
    I'm visiting family in Southern California next week, and hoping to pick up an international variant mahjong set.
    It is my understanding that you live in LA... do you know of any places in LA or Orsnge County that sell Vietnamese or Malaysian/Singaporean sets? I will be mostly in Orange County so I am planning to look around Little Saigon, but I don't really have much of a plan beyond the Asian Garden Mall.
    I already have a Chinese set and a Japanese Riichi set.
    Thanks in advance for any leads!
    ben

    Hi, Ben.
    I lived in Los Angeles for many years but I don't know Orange County well at all. Around twenty years ago I managed to get hold of a fellow in Little Saigon who sold me a Vietnamese-style set made by Kwong Fat Cheung in Hong Kong. I don't remember the fellow's name.
    You can try that mall. Look for import stores. Ask the shopkeepers for other leads. And look for import stores on the streets of Little Saigon. It'll be a fun shopping adventure in any case. Have fun, and good luck!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, November 3, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she change her exposure if she hasn't discarded yet?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 05:19:20 PM EDT, Mary M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: question. Playing mahjong today a player discarded a flower another player picked it up. That player displayed 2 flowers and 2 jokers (4 flowers). Before she discarded she said oh I only meant to display 2 flowers and a joker. Can she take a joker back since she hadnít discarded a tile?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, she can, Mary. See page 15 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL. Also FAQ 19-AF (if you don't have the rulebook).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, November 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why is the letter "B" on some white dragon tiles?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Friday, October 28, 2022 at 09:04:32 PM EDT, shepard m wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: why do some mah jongg sets have the letter"B" on the soap tile?
    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail on Android

    Hi, Shepard!
    The "B" on some white dragons comes from the Chinese name for the tile, "bai-ban" (for "blank board" or "white board"). Sets that have white dragons marked "B" usually also have the letter "C" on the red dragons and the letter "F" on the green dragons.

    This is all explained in FAQ 7E, the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, October 28, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How does the Charleston work?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 11:04:28 AM EDT, Gale S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When can you steal in passing ? And at what point can you stop the Charleston ?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Gale! FAQ 19-AG explains the details of the Charleston. You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about American mah-jongg, and I recommend you get a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL, and/or my book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind .
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, October 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you "re-wall" the discards after a wall game?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 05:13:11 PM EDT, Patti A wrote:
    cc: Carol H
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A friend claims that at the end of a wall game, you can ďre-wallĒ to keep playing e.g.putting the discards into walls again and keep playing. Is that true? Iíve never heard of that.
    Patti A

    Hi, Patti! Under the official rules, the game is over once the wall is used up. But you can make up any rules you want, as long as you understand that nobody else can help you with rules questions, since nobody else knows your special rules. See FAQ 14.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 25, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A redeemable tile was discarded, part 2

    On Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 02:10:20 PM EDT, Sandi wrote:
    Thanks for the info. Cheers, Sandi

    You're welcome, Sandi.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 25, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A redeemable tile was discarded. Can it be claimed and redeemed for a joker?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 11:21:48 AM EDT, Sandi W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: player 1 has made an exposure that includes a joker. Player 2 has the tile to replace the joker but misses it and discards it. Is player 3 able to pick up the discarded tile as itís her turn, and exchange it for the joker in player 1ís exposure??
    Thanks!!

    No, Sandi. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed for the purpose of redeeming it for a joker. See FAQ 19-G.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, October 25, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How should our 3-player Charleston work?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, October 21, 2022 at 04:00:55 PM EDT, Phyllis F wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing with 3 people and a dummy to make 4, does the person across from the dummy always do the courtesy pass, or does East do the courtesy pass with the dummy? This is assuming the houserule is we do the Charleston even with only 3 people and a dummy. Thank you

    Sorry, Phyllis, but I don't know your table rules. Your group needs to figure this out for yourselves. See FAQ 14.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, October 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column suggestion, part 3

    On Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 05:01:25 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    puzzles
    Hi Tom,
    I think Lynn's suggestion about your puzzles is a good one. Having all discards at the end made it too easy. Thanks for taking her suggestion!
    Linda Z

    What's right is right, Linda!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 19, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column suggestion, part 2

    Re: Suggestion
    On Monday, October 17, 2022 at 07:45:26 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Well, arenít you the fun oneóno sorting at all!!
    Yep, I think the old way is more challenging for your readers.
    Best,
    Lynn

    On Monday, October 17, 2022 at 08:26:52 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lynn B
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Lynn B
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Lynn B
    PayPal

    Thank you, Lynn! Sorted but not rearranged shall henceforth be the norm (for Charleston 1st right puzzles, at least).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, October 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column suggestion

    On Monday, October 17, 2022 at 03:55:10 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Suggestion
    Hi Tom,
    Hope you are doing well!
    Just a thought, but it might be more beneficial for folks to think through your "What would you offer in an optional pass" if you did not already have your tiles sorted with the three tiles to pass at the far-right of the rack.
    Here is an example from Column #776:

    Love your column - thanks for the continuing MJ challenges!
    Lynn B

    Thanks, Lynn! I'm always looking for better ways to do things, and in that quest, I try things to see how well they work. Sounds like that thing isn't as good as the old way (just generic sorting, with no rearranging). Hmm... I could try not sorting, just the way the tiles come off the wall... Just kidding, I won't do that.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, October 17, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What are the odds?

    On Monday, October 17, 2022 at 01:00:07 PM EDT, Amy T wrote:
    odds of winning
    I played Mahjong last night and one of the players had a Mahjong immediately after the Charleston without ever picking a tile. I am suspicious. Any idea on the odds of that happening?

    Hi, Amy!
    So one of your players actually made "Earthly Hand!" Wow, that's a rare event. I've never had that happen, but that doesn't mean it's impossible (I mean, it has a name because it's not impossible).
    I have no idea what the odds are. I am not a math genius (I pretty much failed at calculus). But people win at lotto all the time, and what are the odds that you or I will? And people get struck by lightning all the time, too.
    If your player won after the Charleston, then that means she got lucky passes - how on earth could a cheater arrange to get perfect Charleston passes?
    Just chalk this one up to a rare event that you happened to witness. Don't let suspicion torment your heart.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, October 17, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My pick was interrupted by a call, part 2

    Re: Putting a tile back
    On Sunday, October 16, 2022 at 08:04:46 PM EDT, Rosemary B wrote:
    I apologize for not specifying that Iím talking about double Siamese MahJongg where there arenít walls. Since I play that exclusively, I didnít even think to include that fact in my question. Im sorry.
    Sent from my iPad

    Oh. No walls, hmm? Well, I don't know how the picking works without walls, so I can't answer your question. You should probably read the rules at https://siamesemahjongg.com/print-mah-jongg-rules/, and if you can't get your answer there, ask Gladys Grad (https://siamesemahjongg.com/about-contact-us/).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, October 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My pick was interrupted by a call. What then?

    Putting a tile back
    On Sunday, October 16, 2022 at 04:40:14 PM EDT, rosemary B wrote:
    Good afternoon! If I pick up a tile, but have not racked it, and someone calls for the tile previously thrown, what do I do with the tile I picked? Am I obligated to pick that tile again when itís my turn, or can I just mix it back in the pile and pick another? Can I pick it up again if I wanted it? I hope I made myself clear!
    Thank you.
    Sent from my iPad

    Good afternoon back atcha, Rosemary! You asked:

    If I pick up a tile,
    I assume you mean you're picking the next tile from the wall...

    but have not racked it, and someone calls for the tile previously thrown, what do I do with the tile I picked?
    Like it says in FAQ 19-AT, you put it right back where you got it, on the end of the wall, for the next player to take.

    Am I obligated to pick that tile again when itís my turn
    That would only happen if it's your turn after the caller plays, which doesn't make sense, because the player before you was the one who discarded the tile that the caller claimed. The player before you discarded. That player can't call the tile they discarded. You won't pick again until your turn comes around again.

    can I just mix it back in the pile and pick another? Can I pick it up again if I wanted it? I hope I made myself clear!
    There is no mixing of the wall. You're not going to get that particular tile unless the caller rescinds the call without racking. If I haven't made myself clear, you can ask again, but give me a lot more detail about seat positions. And if your group uses any custom table rules (like random piles instead of orderly walls, or if you're playing a two-player game), I may need to know that too.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, October 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Missteps in a joker exchange (in a tournament)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 07:57:31 AM EDT, Toni G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    This happened at a tournament:
    Player A handed a 6 bam to Player B for a joker exchange. Player B put the 6 bam In her hand. HOWEVER Player B had 9 bams exposed with a joker, NOT 6 bams.
    Player B then said ďthis is not a 9 bamĒ.
    I thought Player Bís hand was dead due to an incorrect exposure. We called the tournament director over to make the decision. He said she was NOT dead.
    I realize the tournament directorís decision is final.
    But what is the NMJL rule?
    Thank you.
    Toni G

    Good morning, Toni. I'm a bit confused, so I hope I retell this correctly:

    Player B has an exposure atop her rack: 9 bams, with at least one joker.
    Player A's turn. Player A hands player B a 6 bam and asks for the joker.
    Player B takes the 6 bam into the palm of her hand and gives player A the joker.
    Player B places the 6 bam among the 9 bams atop her rack.
    Player B then says, "Hey, what gives? This isn't a 9 bam!"
    Player T then tells player B, "You're dead."
    The tournament director is called, and comes over.
    Tournament director says player B is not dead.
    Player B continues to play with an exposure of 9 bams including a 6 bam and player A keeps her ill-gotten joker.

    I assume I've misstated that last step. Surely the director directed that the error be undone. An undead player can't play with an illegal exposure.

    I am not the mah jongg League. I just interpret their printed rules. I have never seen a ruling in print governing this exact sequence of errors. But a number of official League rulings lean towards a guiding principle: an action, once taken, cannot be taken back. Player B's fatal error was not taking the 6 bam into the palm of her hand - it was when she put it atop her rack before looking at it and identifying it. It touched the top of her rack, which is a non-rescindable action. Technically, based on the guiding principle stated above, she is dead.

    The tournament director's ruling enabled a more harmonious outcome, and I'm good with that.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I was called dead. Was that right, was I wrong? Part 2
    (Improperly organized mahj exposure, part 3)


    On Friday, October 14, 2022 at 08:19:29 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Latest Question today
    Hi Tom,
    Hope this email finds you well. Regarding Today's post... this question was asked of me a few weeks back and half the players thought the hand should be dead and the other said she should be able to move her joker to the right spot. Since the rule you are referring to in MJME is about rearranging your hand to the order that it is on the card is not this scenario. I called and spoke to Joy at the League and she said that had the player fixed it prior to the hand being called dead she would have been okay but as soon as someone said there is no such hand on the card, your hand is dead, she cannot rearrange and put the J where it belongs. She exposed an incorrect mah jongg and the hand was declared dead. I will be getting this in writing as well, but in the meantime you might want to share this info :)
    Best Regards, Debbie

    Hi, Debbie!
    Yes. I stand by my reply to Star F, when I said it was too late for the dead player to claim mahj since she'd already agreed she was dead, and the game had moved on.
    I stand by my statement to Star F that an error had been made by all four players, the declarer for not properly announcing the win, and the others for not noticing the F was out of place. Note that Star said the errant tile was a flower, which indicates a mass error. Terry's story is different. She said that in her case, the errant tile was a joker, which is why nobody noticed.
    And Terry says she corrected the error right away, before somebody called her dead.
    I agree with Joy. But I think the timing of the events is important in these two different stories. So I stand by my answer to Terry, but not my "here's how I would have done it."

    Here's how that would have gone if this happened to me (retold, since that's a thing now, and especially since I was incorrect in my reply to Terry, according to the rule stated by Joy at the League office):

    Me: "That's it! Mahj! It's 369 number 2. A pair... oh wait, no... hmm, oh yes..." I move the joker. "... A pung of flowers, a kong of threes, a pung of sixes, and a kong of nines." I'd point to the discarder and say, "Fifty." I point to the other two and say, "Twenty-five, twenty-five."
    In helping them verify the hand, I discover my error and fix it on the spot. For somebody to declare me dead would require them to interrupt me, which shouldn't count since I wasn't finished explaining my mah-jongg. Which would make that person a poopyhead.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday the fourteenth, October, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I was called dead. Was that right, was I wrong? (Improperly organized mahj exposure, part 2)

    On Friday, October 14, 2022 at 04:00:26 PM EDT, Cinnsmom wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The other day, without any exposures, a tile was thrown and I called Mah Jongg I was playing the hand in the 369 section
    I was playing FFF 3333 666 9999
    When I exposed my hand, I inadvertently exposed FF 3333 J666 9999. I went to take the joker away from the 6ís and add it to the flowers which, of course, would be the correct sequence.
    I was called dead by one of the players because I exposed the hand incorrectly.
    Should I have been called dead?
    Thank you.
    Terry L

    Hi, Terry!
    Here's how that would have gone if this happened to me:

    Me: "That's it! Mahj!" I put up the tiles, with the J in the wrong place.
    Other: "You're dead. That hand can't be made with a F pair and a 6 kong."
    Me, as I move the J: "Not dead."
    Other: "You can't do that."
    Me: "Sure I can. Pay me."
    Other: "You can't do that, I say!"
    Me: "Show me the rule. Here's the rulebook."
    Other (after much kvetching): "Here it is. Page 14. 'when Mah Jongg is declared, tiles should be re-arranged to show the correct order.'"
    Me: "Yes, and that's just what I did."
    Other: "They weren't in the correct order at first."
    Me: "Well, they are now. 369 number 2. Pung of F, kong of 3, pung of 6, kong of 9. Just like on the card"
    Other: "I called you dead before you said you weren't! Firsties!"
    Me: "Poopyhead!"

    It can get too silly sometimes.

    To the best of my knowledge, no rule has ever been issued in writing from the League, saying that a player can't re-re-arrange their tiles into card order if they weren't perfect at first. More likely, somebody asked, and was told they could.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday the 14th, October, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. Sharp-eyed readers may notice that this question is similar to the October 12 question from Star F, "Improperly organized mahj exposure" (below). Similar, but not quite: in the one telling, the flower exposure was supposed to be a kong, and in the other telling, it was supposed to be a pung.
    If it seems odd that I gave two different answers to the two askers, it bears noting that each side gave different tellings of the events in question. Star said that the misplaced F (not J), which could have been moved into its proper place, was not realized until two moves after the player was declared dead. In Terry's story, the moving of the errant tile took place before the death challenge. So what do you think about these two different cases?
    P.P.S. According to Debbie (above), the rule told her by Joy indicates that it would be me who was the poopyhead in my "here's how that would have gone" story above. - Tom


    Do you think a 3-player Charleston benefits the better players?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, October 14, 2022 at 03:00:14 PM EDT, Anita M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The NMJL rule for playing with three players is that after the deal there is no Charleston and game starts with East discarding her/his fourteenth tile. I have no issue with that as there are more picks available and the game can start without delay. I am interested in your opinion about adapting a Charleston with a fourth invisible player. My opinion is that doing so (whether or not there is the table rule that they return Jokers to the mystery player) tends to benefit the better players to improve their hands. What is your opinion?
    Thank you,
    Anita

    Hi, Anita.
    I don't see how a 3-player Charleston benefits "better players" any more than the "not quite as skillful" players. Can you explain your thinking? You might convince me. Or is this just a gut feeling of yours?
    Or is it that you think that this one particular type of 3-player Charleston benefits certain players more than one of the other types of 3-player Charleston?
    I have not done much thinking on this topic. When I'm in a group that wants to do a 3-player Charleston, I just do as the Romans do. The only time I can remember getting benefit from it was when their rules permitted me to get an extra joker thereby.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday the 14th, October, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Improperly organized mahj exposure

    On Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 11:25:35 PM EDT, Star F wrote:
    Re: Missing flower found
    Hi Tom,
    This is a little complicated to explain but I'm going to try. #1 called Mah Jongg, exposing her tiles. She realized she had only 3 flowers instead of the needed 4 flowers. The other ladies called her "Dead", and since they had not exposed their tiles, they continued. Two plays later, #1 figured out that her 4th flower was at the end of her rack with another group of similar tiles by mistake, and she really did have Mah Jongg when she placed the missing flower with the rest of the flowers to make her kong. The other three ladies felt she had Mah Jongg and paid her accordingly. I'm thinking since at least two complete plays were made before discovering the Mah Jongg, she should remain dead, and the others continue. Your thoughts please.
    Thank you
    Star F

    Good morning, Star!

    As I understand what you're saying, Player 1 had all 14 of her tiles in her mahj exposure, but the fourth flower was placed somewhere else on the rack, not with the flowers.

    The official rulebook says "when Mah Jongg is declared, tiles should be re-arranged to show the correct order." That means the order shown on the card. It's the winner's responsibility to so arrange the tiles, in order to collect from the non-winners.

    You said "her 4th flower was at the end of her rack with another group of similar tiles" but the only tile similar to a flower is another flower. I'm going to assume that that other group was not flowers but a group of some other tile altogether.

    It's surprising that nobody at the table noticed that there was a flower bunched together with some non-flowers. If that other grouping was One Bams, it's a little less surprising, since F and 1B are easily confused. But nobody at the table (in the "mahj verification" phase called for by the rulebook after someone declares mah-jongg) noticed that that other group consisted of more tiles than the card called for, and nobody noticed that the hand did contain 14 tiles.

    After player 1 erroneously "realized she had only 3 flowers instead of the needed 4 flowers" and "The other ladies called her 'Dead'," and the game continued, it was now too late to correct the error that had been made by all four players.

    A ruling in the January 2014 newsletter has bearing on what I just said about "too late to correct the error." To quote that newsletter: "If a player declares Mah Jongg without jokers, she/he must announce it as jokerless. If not announced, the player would NOT be entitled to the bonus." Just the same, once Player 1 said she was mistaken and was called dead and the game went on, it's too late to go back.
    Actions once taken may not be taken back.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, October 13, 2022, 9:50 am
    Rochester, New York, USA

    Update: See also "I was called dead. Was that right, was I wrong?" from Cinnsmom on October 14, above. - Tom


    Can I claim a redeemable tile?

    On Monday, October 10, 2022 at 10:14:10 AM EDT, bsb... wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I revealed on my rack 4 alike bams, one of which was a joker. An opponent discarded one of the bams which I called and proceeded to replace the bam for the joker on my rack and put the joker back in my hand. I was told this could not be done. Is this information correct?

    Yes, bs, that info is correct. You're not allowed to call a discarded redeemable tile to use it to redeem a joker. See FAQ 19-G2. In the rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, see p.23, rule 5.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, 10/10/2022, 10:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    2 questions, part 2

    On Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 06:42:04 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    JoAnn's question
    Hello Tom,
    In the bulletin board today JoAnn asked "in the 2022 section, hand FF GGGG 2022 RRRR or FFFF 2022 222 222,
    can a 2 be called for an exposer not a Mah Jong" and you said "No. See the answer I gave to Lori yesterday (below)."
    For completeness, I think the answer would be that for the first hand she gave (FF GGGG 2022 RRRR) the 2 cannot be called for exposure, but for the second hand (FFFF 2022 222 222) it can be called to expose one of the pungs but not to expose 2022.
    Enjoying your discussion as always,
    Julia

    You're absolutely correct, Julia. I was in a hurry to make a medical appointment this morning, which is why I didn't take the time to add that clarification. So glad you did!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, October 6, 2022, 6:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    2 questions

    On Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 08:49:27 AM EDT, JoAnn S wrote:
    2 questions
    1. player A miss called a tile and player B called Mah jong, player C corrected
    the miss called tile, does player B get the Mah Jong or does play continue.
    2. in the 2022 section, hand FF GGGG 2022 RRRR or FFFF 2022 222 222,
    can a 2 be called for an exposer not a Mah Jong,
    Thanks
    JoAnn S

    Hi, JoAnn!

    Player B wins, and player A pays for the table. See FAQ 19-AY.

    No. See the answer I gave to Lori yesterday (below).

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, October 6, 2022, 9:55 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I call a discard for a 2022?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 05:34:49 PM EDT, Lori wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I call a tile for 2022 if not calling for mahjong? Or are the 2,0,2,2 standalone
    LORI ??????

    No, Lori. You can call a discard for a pung, kong, quint, sextet (there are none of those on the 2022 card), or mah-jongg only - never for a single or a pair.
    2022 is four single tiles (or, if you want to argue the point, two singles and a pair) - NOT a kong. See FAQ 19-E. You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about American mah-jongg rules.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 5:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 10:06:35 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Patricia P
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Patricia P
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Patricia!
    Sorry for the lack of columns in the last couple of weeks. Things going on in my life lately. Should calm down soon and let me get back to writing.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 06:58:16 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Oct 4, 2022 03:58:04 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Nov 4, 2022
    PayPal

    Thank you so much again, Evelyn!
    Sorry for the lack of columns in the last couple of weeks. Things going on in my life lately. Should calm down soon and let me get back to writing.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Player wanted to claim twin of tile he just discarded

    On Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 12:01:46 PM EDT, Alan W wrote:
    Mah Jong discard
    Hi Tom,
    We had a disagreement today while playing Mah Jong.
    Player A discarded 9 circles, then after 2 other players had their turn,
    the 4th player discarded another 9 circles.
    Player A said "Chow" and was going to claim this 9 circles.
    I said "you can't claim a tile identical to the one you just threw out".
    I'm sure I read that somewhere in a set of rules, but can't find it.
    Is this true in some version of Mah Jong?
    Yours sincerely,
    Alan W

    Yes, Alan, in some version of mah-jongg, it's not permitted to call the twin of a tile you discarded within the same go-around. (There is no official term for one play around the table, each player picking and discarding. I call that a "go-around.")
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 29, 2022, 12:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Not sure if all the pieces are here

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 09:21:40 PM EDT, ejfs999 wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello I stumbled on your page after trying to research my parents old set. I know nothing about the game, how to play, or how much this set could be worth. Not sure if all the pieces are here but figured I'd see what you think.
    Appreciate the time !
    Eric

    Hi, Eric. The set has pluses and minuses.
    Minuses: it's missing the paper booklet and almost all the scoring sticks, the box is dinged up, and I can't tell if the drawers have all their drawer pulls. The tiles look dirty. It's a later-twenties set (1923 is late in the game's popularity in its heyday), so it's a bog standard set (no interesting non-standard tile designs or artful/fanciful flowers).
    Pluses: The slide front is there, all the tiles are there, all the dice and wind discs are there (even the dice coffin and disc container with lid). The box brass looks to be in decent shape.
    See column 610 for more information on this type of set.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, September 28, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What are these worth? (part 2)

    Re: Very old Mah Jong tally sticks and rulebooks
    On Monday, September 26, 2022 at 10:40:48 PM EDT, yebanks wrote:
    Thanks so much for your very detailed and prompt feedback. We will put them all on Trade Me as a group. Cheers,Julia

    YW, Julia!


    What are these worth?

    On Monday, September 26, 2022 at 09:44:34 PM EDT, Trevor & Julia B wrote:
    Very old Mah Jong tally sticks and rulebooks
    Dear Tom,
    We have a set of 120 very old Mah Jong tally sticks - bone or ivory (possibly bone, as on examination of one slightly chipped stick the material appears rather porous.)
    Also a very old copy from early 20th century of the booklet "Directions of Playing "Chinese Game of Four Winds" (no name of publisher or date, but obviously printed in China judging by the dodgy English and spelling).
    And a Second Edition of "The Game of Mah Jong" by Max Robertson, Published by Whitcomb and Tombs Price 2/6.
    We wish to sell these items but thought you might like to look at them first. Are you interested in buying any of these? What sort off price would you suggest?
    Kind regards, Julia B
    Auckland, New Zealand

    Hi, Julia!
    The most valuable item is the bone sticks, probably. But sticks are very common. Yours look to be bright and reasonably attractive overall. Thing is, they're only useful to someone who has a bone-and-bamboo set without sticks (or without enough sticks). Looking on eBay, I see them listed for exorbitant asking prices, but I can't imagine anybody paying so much. I doubt you can get more than US$10-15 for them. You might have to include a breakdown (how many 8-spots, how many 12-spots, how many 2-spots, etc.) in your sales pitch. The bone dice add a couple dollars to the value.

    The Robertson looks to be in not-great condition (spine wrinkles). If it was in better shape, it might be worth $15-20.

    The "Directions" booklet is in even worse shape, and is extremely common since manufacturers often include it in sets (even today). It's written in incomprehensible "Chinglish" that describes a mystery variant very poorly. I don't think you can find someone who would want to give you money for it.

    Sorry I couldn't give you better news!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 4

    Re: NMJL question
    On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 09:34:37 AM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    I have reread the relevant rule in Mah Jongg Made Easy, rule 6a on page 19 and have changed my mind. It states, "(a) A tile cannot be claimed until correctly named. Correctly named tile may then be called for an Exposure or Mah Jongg. HOWEVER, if Mah Jongg is called with the incorrectly named tile, the game STOPS. Miscaller pays claimant four times the value of hand. Others do not pay."
    This rule does NOT say that the game continues with the miscaller off the hook if the miscaller corrects herself or others correct her. Therefore, I'd argue that the claimant gets her Mah Jongg regardless of what the miscaller or other players say after the misnaming.
    I haven't found anything addressing this issue in League documents. (I looked on your site, of course, and also looked in the Knowledge Base set up by Michelle Frizzell and Debbie Barnett.) I guess I will dig out my pen, paper, envelope and a stamp and mail my question to the League.

    On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 09:54:43 AM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    Re: NMJL question
    Update: Jan E called the League and they said (according to her), "If the discarder corrected the name of the tile prior to the call for mahj on the incorrectly named tile, the game goes on. The person needing the tile for mahj would have had to call for it before the correction."
    Thank you for your responses. I'd like to discuss your latest one -- "...But I don't see players B & C's speaking up as intentional intervention - do you know that they knew the flower was player D's mahj tile? Did you know that's what she needed?..."
    I am not sure intention matters here. The fact is, so many players jump right in with the correct tile name willy nilly. I think they should keep silent, or at the most, as you say, "not a one bam." I think the discarder has to correctly name the tile herself before the correction closes the "window of opportunity."

    I'm with you on that, Carol!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, Autumnal Equinox, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 3

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 10:28:10 PM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    Re: NMJL question
    I meant to say "Player D wanted the flower for Mah Jongg..." My question should have been:
    My Mah Jongg question is about misnaming a tile. For this question,
    let's assume player A discards a one bam but misnames it as a flower.
    Scenario one: players B and C immediately correct player A. I mean,
    less than 1/3 of a second goes by before they are correcting her. Player
    D wanted the flower for Mah Jongg, but was unable to get the words out
    before B and C instantly made their correction. Does player D get her Mah Jongg anyway? Or is she out of luck?
    Scenario two: same as scenario one, except that player A
    immediately realizes her mistake and corrects it herself.
    By the way I agree with your opinion, that the way the rules are written, player D is out of luck. I also think players B and C should have kept silent. Why should they be intervening to help player A? It seems unfair.

    Okay, Carol, I see that I did correctly interpret the question, despite the typo. But I don't see players B & C's speaking up as intentional intervention - do you know that they knew the flower was player D's mahj tile? Did you know that's what she needed?
    Normally, what I do when I see a misnamed discard is to (rather leisurely) point out the error. "That's not a flower," I'd say (I figure it's the discarder's job to say the tile's correct name). But if I knew player D needed a flower, or suspected as much, I might be slower to make the correction. I see no reason to hurry up with the correction (it needs to be made before the next player picks from the wall, is all).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 2

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 07:11:57 PM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    Carol D's question on 9/21
    Hi Tom,
    If a one bam was needed for D's MJ, why was she "out of luck" once the Flower was correctly named as one bam?
    I'm confused!
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    囧 Ohmygosh, did I misread the question? Is this what Carol described?...
    1. Player A discards 1B and says "Flower."
    2. Players B and C say "That's not a flower, that's a 1B."
    3. Player D says "I want 1B for mah-jongg."
    Now that I reread it, it looks like I did misread it. But if that's what happened, why did Carol have a question to ask? Once the tile is correctly named, it can be called by anyone except the discarder. [See parts 3 and 4 of this discussion, above.]
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, and then...

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 02:00:46 PM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    NMJL question
    My Mah Jongg question is about misnaming a tile. For this question,
    let's assume player A discards a one bam but misnames it as a flower.
    Scenario one: players B and C immediately correct player A. I mean,
    less than 1/3 of a second goes by before they are correcting her. Player
    D wanted the one bam for Mah Jongg, but was unable to get the words out
    before B and C made their correction. Does player D get her Mah Jongg
    anyway? Or is she out of luck?
    Scenario two: same as scenario one, except that player A
    immediately realizes her mistake and corrects it herself.

    Hi, Carol!
    Player D needed to keep silent once players B and C corrected the misnaming. That applies to both of your scenarios - the rulebook only says that the tile can't be claimed "until correctly named." The rule doesn't specify who should name it correctly. Once the correction was spoken, the misnamed tile is no longer available by the wrong name - only by the corrected name. Player D is out of luck either way, since the truth is already out. [See Linda Z's follow-up post, above.]
    Note that this is my opinion. For the real ruling, I recommend asking the League (by mail, to get the rule in writing - not by phone).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    When is it too late to stop the Charleston?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, September 19, 2022 at 04:07:29 PM EDT, Carol C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I read your answer :
    From Tom Slopper:
    Do you want to stop the Charleston now? You or anybody else may stop the Charleston, for any reason whatsoever (and does not have to state a reason), before anybody picks up and racks her second left. If nobody stops the dance after the first Charleston, you are going to dance with LARry. Once somebody has picked up and racked her second left pass, it's too late to stop the Charleston.**
    I called the National Mahjong league today and the woman at the league said: Once the tiles have been picked up .... too late to stop charleston. She said racking the tiles has nothing to do with it. I also meant to ask her , if you pick up tiles and did not look at those tiles, can charleston b stopped. Will call the league again.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, September 19, 2022 at 04:34:29 PM EDT, Carol C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi
    I wrote to you previously abt stopping the charleston and here is another answer from the league that I copied from "mahjong thats it " on facebook.
    I just spoke to Sandy at the League and presented her with this issue. She said, NO you do not have to rack that 2nd left to close off another person from stopping it. If someone picks up the tiles and looks at them, it's a done deal. So, again, you do not have to rack any tiles in the charleston including the second left. A player MUST give verbal indication that they might stop the passing before anyone picks up that pass.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Carol! You wrote:

    I read your answer :
    From Tom Slopper:
    My name is spelled with one P, not two.

    I called the National Mahjong league today and the woman at the league said: Once the tiles have been picked up .... too late to stop charleston. She said racking the tiles has nothing to do with it.
    Interesting. I have never seen that ruling in print, from the League.

    I also meant to ask her , if you pick up tiles and did not look at those tiles, can charleston b stopped.
    It logically follows that mere picking up must occur before looking, so yes, pursuant to what you said Sandy said, looking at the tiles would prevent stopping the second Charleston.

    here is another answer from the league that I copied from "mahjong thats it " on facebook.
    Definitive rulings can come only from the National Mah Jongg League, and I accept as gospel their rulings when committed to print on paper or on their website. I do not accept Facebook posts as definitive.

    A player MUST give verbal indication that they might stop the passing before anyone picks up that pass.
    That's reasonable.

    You make a good argument, and I'm going to amend FAQ 19-AG to remove the words "and racks."
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper <-- Note: only one P!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 19, 2022, 6:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Called me dead but I'm not (and we don't play for money)

    On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 09:27:21 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    If someone calls you dead, and you know for sure that you are not, do you have to be dead, or can you dispute her claim and keep playing? (we don't play for money)

    Hi, Louise!
    Yes, you keep playing if you say you're not dead. At the end of the hand you can prove that you weren't dead at the time she issued the challenge. (The end of the hand is when death challenge disputes are resolved.)
    If you keep score, add 50 points to the score of the player who was correct, and deduct 50 points from the score of the player who was wrong.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, September 18, 2022, 10:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Royale-y messed up

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 09:45:03 AM EDT, Linda B wrote:
    When playing Royale Siamese Mah Jongg, a player calls a first Mah Jongg , the player is called dead because the player only put up two Flowers instead of three flowers
    Is the second Mahjongg hand dead because the player now has 14 tiles, to many tiles.
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Hi, Linda!
    I'm not an expert on Siamese mah-jongg. I had to look at the rules page at https://siamesemahjongg.com/print-mah-jongg-rules/. It says a player can have one dead hand and still be alive with the other. I don't see how having put up a flower pair instead of a pung with one hand affects the other hand (I didn't read enough of the rules page to understand that part of your question). If I haven't helped and the rules page doesn't help, you might need to ask Gladys Grad via the Contact Us page on her website - https://siamesemahjongg.com/about-contact-us/.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, September 17, 2022, 11:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I've been asked to sell my mom's set, part 2

    Re: Mah-jongg set question
    On Friday, September 16, 2022 at 12:56:39 AM EDT, jennifer b wrote:
    Thank you so very much!!!!!
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    You're welcome, Jennifer!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, September 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I've been asked to sell my mom's set

    On Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 08:46:46 PM EDT, jennifer b wrote:
    Re: Mah-jongg set question
    Hello!
    Iím so thankful to have a mah-jongg expert to ask my question to!
    My mom asked me if I would try to sell her mah-jongg set for her. It belonged to her parents, and they used to play it in the 50s.
    I have absolutely no idea where to start with this. I have no clue what some thing like this might be worth. Itís so beautiful, but I know nothing about mah-jongg.
    She says the pieces are not ivory, but she thinks that the dye are. The set is complete. I have written more below the photos.
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this. I really do appreciate it.
    My name is Jennifer, and again, thank you so much.
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Hi, Jennifer!
    The tiles are plastic, the dice are plastic, and the scoring sticks are plastic. I cannot confirm that the set was made as long ago as the 1950s. It's worth about US$50-60, assuming the outside of the case is in the same condition as the inside. It's a Japanese-style set with only 144 tiles, so it's not suitable for playing the American game. You have to make sure you don't sell it to somebody who needs a 152-tile American-style set, or you'll get a complaint and a request for a refund. Good luck!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the meaning of "Play to Win"?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 07:22:58 PM EDT, Mary O wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what is yhe meaning of ďPlay to WinĒ

    囧 I would think the meaning is self-evident, Mary. Maybe the context will help. Can you tell me where you saw that phrase? I assume you saw it on my site somewhere. Was it FAQ 8? or was it in the April 26 exchange below with Sandra H? Or was it in my game career FAQs? Or was it in an archived bulletin board page?
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand? (FAQ 19-K)

    On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 02:36:05 PM EDT, H Levy wrote:
    question
    if i call a tile either to expose or for maj jongg
    not in a tournment
    is it ok to put it in the slanted part of the rack with all your other tiles
    or only on the top part
    we are constantly questioning this
    thanks for your response
    H Levy

    Hi, H!
    This is answered on page 14 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. I strongly recommend that every table have a copy. The League says it's "preferable" to put the taken discard atop the rack, not in among one's concealed tiles on the sloping front of the rack. FAQ 19-K.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Who gets the discard, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 09:44:42 PM EDT, Rhonda C wrote:
    Thank you! I was next in line, but the other player took it and started exposing. Oh wellÖÖ!!
    Sent from my iPad

    Yep, oh well.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Who gets the discard when two players want it?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 07:45:08 PM EDT, Rhonda C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If two players call for the same discard, does the player who calls for it get it even though she isnít the next in line? She grabbed it and started to rack while I was saying I wanted it. I was next in line. Does it matter who says ďI want itĒ first?
    Hope I described the situation accurately!
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Rhonda!
    No, it doesn't matter who speaks first. Apparently you already know that the next in line gets it... (note that I am assuming both players wanted the tile for the same purpose)... but perhaps you have not read the back of the card lately?


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card every year.
    Many frequently asked questions are answered on the card.

    I assume you both wanted the tile for exposure (left pane, rule 3). It doesn't matter who speaks first. You said, "She grabbed it and started to rack while I was saying I wanted it." Rule 3 says next in line gets the tile "except when other caller has begun to expose tiles."

    ...However! There is another rule on the back of the card. Center pane, above "Mah Jongg in Error": "To claim a discard, a player must verbalize their call..."

    Are you saying you spoke your claim and the other player never did? Because that's crucial. The complete "conflicting claims" question is answered in FAQ 19-H.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 8:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 775

    On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 03:14:26 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Column 775
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Column 775. #6.
    What about Quints #3, 6677 88888 88888? In 3 suits. You have 7 tiles, 9 if you count the Jokers. Both Bam pairs are secure. Iíd keep going and pass 1B, R, and 7D. Might have to pass a Flower for across with the other R, but may be worth the risk.
    Thanks for the brain exercise.
    Sue Zoeller
    Sent from my iPad

    Brilliant, Sue! And yes, sometimes a flower has to be passed - that second across can cause some stomachaches.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 12, 2022, 4:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to announce I'm redeeming my own joker, part 2

    On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 11:29:10 AM EDT, judi at mahjonggfunla.com wrote:
    Replacing a joker
    Hi Tom,
    I am answering the [September 1] question from Kathy. Attached is a letter from the NMJL
    Bill & Judi Nachenberg
    Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    Thanks, Judi. Hope things are going well back in good ol' L.A. now that the heat wave is over.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 12, 2022, 11:55 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 5

    On Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 03:41:48 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: American League of Mahjong Players 1938
    Tom...
    My apologies. I missed pages 6 & 7. They are attached. Tested Hands for Mahjong Players is a pamphlet included with the manual. This is at the bottom of the index page:
    IMG_3156-8X15-72.jpg
    IMG_0005-11X15-72.jpg 1.2MB

    On Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 04:08:17 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: The complete Tested Hands pamphlet
    Tom...
    Attached is the complete Tested Hands pamphlet.
    ...John
    Download all attachments as a zip file
    IMG_0008-9X15-72.jpg 601.5kB
    IMG_0010-9X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0009-19X15-72.jpg 1.9MB

    This is excellent, John! Thank you very much!
    I have posted these scans in my mahjongg/scans folder, renamed as "BlancheArnold##.jpg," so that any interested parties can have it.
    I've printed it out, and I'm looking forward to studying it.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, September 10, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 4

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 07:38:03 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: American League of Mahjong Players 1938
    Tom...
    Attached is the information you requested.
    ...John
    Download all attachments as a zip file
    IMG_0001-11X15-72.jpg 686.2kB
    IMG_0003-11X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0002-11X15-72.jpg 1MB
    IMG_0006-11X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0004-11X15-72.jpg 1.3MB
    IMG_0007-11X15-72.jpg 974.1kB
    IMG_0008-9X15-72.jpg 601.5kB
    IMG_0009-11X15-72.jpg 1.2MB
    IMG_3152_edited-1-10X15-72.jpg 1.3MB

    Hi, John!
    You're writing in regards to our last conversation on July 20, below. What you've sent me are scans of Blanche Arnold's 1938 "Approved Manual for Mahjong Players" of the American League of Mahjong Players, an alternative to the then newly formed National Mah Jongg League.

    I will gladly post these scans in my mahjongg/scans folder, renamed as BlancheArnold# files.
    There is a gap between page 5 and page 8 - you didn't send a scan of pages 6 and 7. Also, I'm not sure where the two unnumbered pages beginning with "Flowers are jokers" belong. Do those pages belong at the very back of the pamphlet?
    Thank you for sending these. It will take some time to study and compare/contrast with the 1937 NMJL rules.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where does Twenty Point Mah Jongg fit, part 2

    Re: Family tree
    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:15:48 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Wow I love picking your fabulous brain! Thank you!
    First of all can you post a pic of your 20 Point Mah Jong book or is it a pamphlet? Iíd kill to get my hands on one! If a pamphlet take pics and post? I think I have pages of it that taught me, but not all. Iíll send you my book after next printing.
    In the Vanity Fair archives, Fosterís articles mention the Mah Jong committee -
    Babcock
    Foster
    Hartman
    J.H. Smith
    And Milton Work
    James Cobb suggested the use of flowers in hand and
    W.F. Smithís rule of at least 20 Points, but I didnít see their names on the committee.
    In the Vanity Fair article from August 1924, 20 Point Mah Jong came from the year long proposed laws across the country as well as from the American Mah Jong committee.
    Foster wrote VF articles on Mah Jong for about 2&1/2 years, which Iíve read all, a lot, discussing how to simplify and codify the rules once and for all. He and Americans felt it needed to be more of a challenge like Bridge. He also wrote VF articles about bridge.
    Iíve read so many different rules and variants of Mah Jong Iím going cross eyed! I do think 20 Point (other than flowers in hand) is Chinese classical. Scoring, limit hands, paying and achieving doubles the same. We just have a 20 point rule, 3 double rule and cleared suit rule. If the game is a draw, we set up again and do a hotsie, no idea why itís named that. A hotsie is not the Charleston, but similar.
    Trade 3 tiles across, then East & North trade 3 as well as South & West , after settling hand, 3 more tiles go in the middle and after the players pick 3 from any wall. Then fix the walls with tiles in the middle. Ever hear of that happening? We also put up a quarter for a hotsie pot.
    With the 3 double, 20 points and cleared suit rules Iíd say one out of three games is a draw and goes to a hotsie. Iím thinking our rules are pretty challenging but very fun with a lot of room for growth. We also have 20 special limit hands, that I also see in Chinese Classical, that donít change, ever.
    I was going to post your family tree today, with copyright, but now that I canít find where I fit in Iím disheartened! Let me know if I can add a branch and where! Itís sitting in photoshop now!
    My Instagram account is theMahjongmoon , only a month old and Iím slowly getting my content out there without giving my book away! But hoping I can get some people excited for the first American Mah Jong! I have played with Asians and am fine, except seeing my poor little flowers disrespected in the corner! I canít seem to play this NMJL way, my grandmother would roll over in her grave! Iíve read the rules a bunch. Iím glad thereís so much interest and I have more than a hundred devoted people Iíve taught 20 point to in KC and starting to grow! Ming Toi full of joy!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Let me know if Iím exhausting you!
    Sent from Liesl

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:27:21 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Better pic
    Sent from Liesl

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:44:35 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Tree
    So sorry I now see you asked me a question!
    I think the American code should come off the Chinese Classical just above Babcock or like a shoot between the two! I donít understand how Mah Jong was waning in 1922 when they started discussing the American code of laws? Babcockís first sets and books are copyrighted September 1920. It seems the rage was in full swing! The American Code made it to KC and thrived till the little old ladies passed on. Luckily I was taught and am passing along with an actual book! Itís really important to me to get the facts straight since it is in print or social media! Scared to death a bit about being tortured like the adorable Dallas girls!
    Sent from Liesl

    Hi, Liesl, you asked:

    First of all can you post a pic of your 20 Point Mah Jong book or is it a pamphlet?
    It's a book. The last chapters of the book describe the Official Laws.

    Fosterís [Vanity Fair] articles mention the Mah Jong committee -
    Yes. I might have some of that Vanity Fair material in my collection, but it would take more time than I care to invest to try to dig through it all. I posted scans of the Code of Laws (and Babcock's "Little Red Book") here. And just now I added this scan of where Foster discusses the origins of the Official Laws (in Twenty Point Mah Jongg).

    In the Vanity Fair article from August 1924, 20 Point Mah Jong came from the year long proposed laws across the country as well as from the American Mah Jong committee.
    Yes, see the scan I just posted, above.

    Iíve read so many different rules and variants of Mah Jong Iím going cross eyed!
    I assume you've seen FAQ 2B.

    I do think 20 Point (other than flowers in hand) is Chinese classical.
    Yes, with slight differences: 20 points, One Double, Cleared Hand not being part of the classic rules.

    If the game is a draw, we set up again and do a hotsie, no idea why itís named that. A hotsie is not the Charleston, but similar.
    That was added later, then. Foster doesn't mention this in his book. I don't suppose he mentioned it in Vanity Fair? If you want to cross your eyes more, you could check the goulash rule used in British/Australian and in Wright-Patterson.

    I was going to post your family tree today, with copyright, but now that I canít find where I fit in Iím disheartened! Let me know if I can add a branch and where! Itís sitting in photoshop now!
    You decide where it should be added.

    I donít understand how Mah Jong was waning in 1922 when they started discussing the American code of laws?
    I have not done full scholarly research on this. I believe the game was at its height in 1922. But also "the mah-jongg wars" were in full swing, due to the flaws in the game (both the classical and the Babcock). My theory is that a lot of players were married couples playing together, and men had one idea of how the game should be played and women another. Competitive players objected to cheap wins, and came up with the one-double requirement and the cleared-suit requirement. Arguments and tempers, which were behind the need for the "official code." In my collection there are many books from the 1920s, and pretty much all of them before 1925. That tells me that the game's popularity pretty much died around 1924.

    Babcockís first sets and books are copyrighted September 1920. It seems the rage was in full swing!
    The rage couldn't start until AFTER Babcock's sets and book entered the market. It wasn't "in full swing" immediately in 1920. If we assume mah-jongg's popularity took the form of a bell curve, I imagine it was something like this:

    I recommend Philip Orbanes' book, "The Game Makers," if you want to dig more into Babcock's story.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, 9/9/22, 6:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    That bottom 2022 hand has evaded me, part 2

    Re: [External] Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 04:32:16 PM EDT, S., Linda wrote:
    Thanks for such a prompt response!
    Get Outlook for iOS

    yw, Linda!


    Where does Twenty Point Mah Jong fit in your Mah-Jongg Family Tree?

    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 04:30:41 PM EDT, Liesl M wrote:
    Family tree
    Would you say that 20 Point from Babcock, Hartman and Foster is Western? In the1923 Vanity Fair articles Iíve read it appears the committee just simplified and codified the original Chinese rules and added the flowers in the hand as the main change from the original Babcock rules. Would you agree? I just donít see 20 point on your tree, so Iím wondering wear that game lands. Ming Toi full of Joy, Liesl

    Hi, Liesl!
    I have a copy of Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jongg in my collection, and I have a couple of copies of The American Code of Laws (Hartman, Work). I'm aware that Babcock and Foster were involved in codifying the American Code, but I've not heard Twenty Point attributed to anyone but Foster. Even Hoyle called it Foster's. We are talking about two different things. Twenty Point is separate from the American Laws. And I don't regard either as being "Western."
    Twenty Point didn't lead to any offspring or siblings that I'm aware of, so I didn't draw it into my family tree. It would be a tiny twig off the main trunk or off the Babcock branch, I suppose.

    In fact, now that you mention it, the American Code of Laws isn't depicted on the tree either! Should that branch off Chinese Classical, or Babcock? What do you think?

    I used the name "Western" to describe forms that include numerous special hands, like Gertie's Garter, Chow Mein, Lucky Lindy, Civil War, and Sparrow's Sanctuary, for instance. British, Australian, Mumbai, and Wright-Patterson rules all fall into that branch. National Mah Jongg League rules are "Western" in that the variant originated in the Western hemisphere, but I call it "American" or "Modern American," because that variant is very different from British/Australian. Twenty Point is just a different scoring system of Chinese Classical, with different handling of the flower tiles, a too-late attempt to revive the then-fading interest in mah-jongg.

    The Code of Laws did what you said, undoing the simplifications Babcock had made, while also rectifying the difference between the table rules that had sprung up (One Double and Cleared Hand). In a sense, then, it was a return to Chinese Classical, with spelled-out rules for the popular table rules. It, too, was too late to revive interest in mah-jongg (a fad among a plethora of fads in the early Roaring Twenties). At least, that's how I see it.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 8, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    We are having trouble with the term 'expose' tiles.

    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 03:17:28 PM EDT, kathleen.h wrote:
    MJ Question
    Tom, I looked through many of your MJ questions & answers and can not find an answer to this one.
    On the back of the card it states "When two players want the same tile for Exposure, player next in turn to discarder has preference, except when other caller has begun to expose tiles."
    We are having trouble with the term 'expose' tiles. Does that mean 1) a player already has an exposure up and this would be their second exposure that they are trying to get the tile for?
    Or 2) one of the players is quick like a bunny and placing the exposure up on her rack that the called tile would be going into?
    Thanks for your help
    Kathleen H

    Hi, Kathleen!
    It means #2. Exposures made prior to the play are not considered by the rule. If a claimant is "quick like a bunny," OR if another claimant is slow like a snail, and the quicker one has either put the taken discard atop the rack or moved tiles to the top of the rack, it's too late for the slower one to claim the discard. See FAQ 19-H3.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 8, 2022, 3:33 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    That bottom 2022 hand has evaded me

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 12:28:03 PM EDT, S, Linda wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have completed all the hands on the 2022 card EXCEPT the final one under the 2022 section. Is it understandable that this has evaded me even though I have been able to accomplish all the hands on the last 3 cards? Is it impossible, very difficult? Are other members having luck with it? Any suggestions? Linda

    Hi, Linda! You asked:

    Is it understandable that this has evaded me even though I have been able to accomplish all the hands on the last 3 cards?
    Yes, it is.

    Is it impossible
    No.

    very difficult?
    Why, yes, now that you mention it! (^_^)

    Are other members having luck with it?
    I saw on Facebook that somebody bragged that she made that one.

    Any suggestions?
    Accept that the most difficult hand on the card is, in fact, difficult to make. That hand, or one very much like it, is on every year's card. Most people never manage to make that hand at all. It's impressive that you made the hardest hand on the last 3 cards. This year's hand needs 3 twos from each suit, plus three zeroes, all without the help of any jokers. So of course it's hard.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 8, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Hong Kong style clarifications

    On Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at 07:21:29 AM EDT, Mona Stickley wrote:
    Mahjong
    Hi Tom!
    I was just reading some of the questions about the Hong Kong style of play [in FAQ 17] and wanted to write in to explain it a bit. The Hong Kong style is poorly represented to beginners who learned how to play using the old Yahoo! based style of play. The Yahoo! game was for very seasoned players who wanted to limit a lot of lower level hands and players. In fact, I often saw beginner players kicked out of the game when they played incorrectly or if they played too slowly. The players that played the Yahoo! game wanted to concentrate on hands that required more skill to create and to play at a high rate of speed. If you are a seasoned player in the Hong Kong style of play, this is enjoyable and does not limit your skillset. However, if you are a beginner player to this style and are learning how to play using these old rules, it limits your skills and knowledge of this style of play. The Hong Kong style of play is not limited to starting at 3 Fan. There are many beginner and novice players who like to play a minimum of 3 Fan and they love it because they can make all kinds of wonderful, advanced and valuable hands. However, this is not an accurate representation of how they would fare in normal playing situations. It is a good place to learn the game because it takes less skill at times to win with 3 Fan than it does to win with 1 or 2 Fan!

    If you take these same beginner players who are now used to playing 3 Fan, and put them at a table where you begin at a minimum of 1 Fan and they are playing with experienced players, they may not win a single hand. The advanced and valuable hands they are used to being able to win with will be impossible to get now when playing with people who can win with 1 Fan and can play at faster speeds. Why is this? Players with skill can see what you are doing by how and where you pull tiles out of your hand. They can see your patterns, they can understand what you have in your hand. They will be able to stop you from playing higher level hands. It is very easy to believe that this game is the most simple to learn yet it is one of the hardest styles to learn and advance in because of the intricacies that come from the strategies that can be played and nuances that happen at the table. Ironically, if you do not learn this lower scoring part of the game, you actually do not develop your skillset high enough to play with higher players regardless of if you play minimum 1 Fan, 3 Fan, or 5 Fan.

    One of the most difficult pieces to learn in the Hong Kong style of play is the way to create multiple points that add value to your hand. If you only play a minimum of 3 Fan, you do not need to know the vast majority of these extra points. It is easy to win a hand by focusing on what will bring 3 Fan. You can spend all of your time pursuing an all pong hand and not have to learn any other type of hand. It is not easy to win a hand by focusing on what will bring 1 Fan, the possibilities are much higher, you need to use more memory and knowledge to win with 1 Fan. For players that love to learn, broaden their skillset, they would really benefit from learning the entire range of hands to play in the Hong Kong style, the scoring methods, and the nuances and differences between playing computer based games and playing in person.

    The questions that I see in your blog are coming from this intersection of 2 components - what I like to refer to as set hands versus stacking components. For instance, the question regarding Pin Woo where they are playing 3 Fan minimum and then allowing pin-woo with certain stipulations. This is not really an accurate way to play pin-woo to meet a 3 Fan minimum requirement. Pin-woo is 1 Fan, not 2 Fan. It needs an additional 2 value areas - what I like to call stacking components) in your hand if you are playing a minimum of 3 Fan.

    First, let's correct what is understood about pin-woo. Pin-woo is an all chow hand. It is worth 1 Fan. There are no other stipulations such as it has to be a no point hand in other areas or that it has to be mixed suit. Your pin-woo can absolutely have points in it, you just count the points in addition to. If the pin-woo is all in one suit that is acceptable, you get the 1 Fan for the pin-woo, you get the Fan for the pure hand, etc. If you are playing 3 Fan minimum, and you want to win with pin-woo you are trying to win with a 1 Fan hand. You need to add at least 2 Fan to your hand to win. So if they are allowing pin-woo if a player has their flower or no flowers or self-draws is not correct as that only adds 1 Fan. It would be suitable if they had their flower and a self-draw. Here are all the extra components you can add to your hand to get the minimum of 3 Fan, remember you need to get 2 of these elements, not just 1:
    1) either have your flower or no flower,
    2) you self-draw,
    3) you win off someone else's Kong / Gong (Robbing the Kong),
    4) you win off the very last tile,
    5) you obtain a flower and when you take your replacement tile you obtain your winning tile from the dead wall,
    or
    6) your hand is entirely concealed until the time you win.

    Not all of the above are accepted by everyone or by all mahjong computer games. The Yahoo! 3 Fan game did not accept the last point. They did not consider concealed hands as a Fan. Many mahjong computer games do not. However, it is generally always accepted when playing in person and is a huge part of the game.

    The remainder of the conversation regarding pin-woo was in relation to the player having a pure hand. The pin-woo would most definitely score points on top of the purity or pure hand. All defined hands, I like to refer to them as set hands, such as a pong hand, a pin-woo, a pure hand, etc can have value added by adding what I call stacking components. Some stacking components are what is in my list above of the 6 ways you can add to a pin-woo to increase the value. So if you take a set hand which is a pure hand you would get the Fan for the pure hand which is 6 points in many places, in some places they will award higher value for a pure hand. You then are adding another set hand which is pin-woo as a stacking component to your pure hand. This adds the value of the pin-woo which is 1 Fan. You now have 7 Fan. If you also had your flower that would be an additional Fan. If you self-draw for the win, that is an additional Fan plus everyone pays you double.

    As well, I think Amy Lo's book is being interpreted incorrectly in response to the question. Pin-woo by definition, does not always contain mixed suits. Pin-woo means all chow or all sheung. It doesn't matter if it is 3 suits, 2 suits, or 1 suit. Interestingly, in some variations of the game, you would actually get an additional Fan if your hand held only 2 suits. I think Amy Lo was trying to show pin-woo as all mixed suits because it is easier to explain it that way instead of the full range of possibilities. In the earlier part of her book, she shows pin-woo as being mixed suit only. She then shows a pin-woo mixed with a pure hand later in her book, just like the question that came up. This is where she correctly shows the addition of the 2 components: the pure hand for 6 Fan and 1 Fan for pin-woo. So I believe she wasn't trying to state pin-woo is only mixed suits, I think it was just an example of the range you can do with a pin-woo.

    For the comment that the all chow hand doesn't define pin-woo sufficiently because the pair must be valueless, the pair does not ever impact the value of the pin-woo. In old rules, you can play a 2-5-8 rule which is an old style of play where if you have an eye (a pair) that is of any suit and if that pair is a 2, 5, or an 8 then your eye is worth an extra Fan. If you play the 2-5-8 rule, it still does not affect your pin-woo. You would get the 1 Fan for your pin-woo, or all chow hand, and then you would get the 1 Fan for your special eye.

    I hope that clears some of the confusion. The Hong Kong version can be very confusing because many families each have their own way of playing, organizations, schools, and communities all have their own rules and may score differently. I really love that you have so many mahjong enthusiasts on your site. Thanks for being so devoted to the game and to the community!

    For any of your audience that wants to learn more aspects about the Hong Kong style of mahjong, I have an online course that would give them a bigger range of skills in the Hong Kong style. I prepared a coupon so they can obtain a 30% discount off my course - the coupon specifically created for them is SLOPER. Just type that into the apply coupon area for the 30% discount. They are already coming in with knowledge about the game so they may be able to skip through some aspects of the course quickly. For those interested, the course I recommend is our Full Course - the Fast Track version. It is 12 modules and 110 lessons in total. I teach scoring as 2 different components for the Hong Kong style, the set hands and then the stacking components, which is the main conversation we got into above. I also get into how to build speed so you can play the game quickly as this becomes a requirement when playing with many players who like to play the Hong Kong style of play. Their discount would apply to any of our courses but I think the Full Course would be the most suitable for your audience.

    Wow, that's a lot of info, Mona! Thank you for all those clarifications. I'm appending this to the Comments section of FAQ 17.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can somebody win on the last discard?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at 07:58:28 PM EDT, Janice L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When the last tile is discarded in a wall game, can a player call it if it makes a MahJongg hand or does the game end when the last tile is discarded?
    Thanks for the help,
    Jan

    Yes, Jan, that last discard is available for a win. The wall game is not a wall game until the last discard has been discarded without anyone winning.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, September 6, 2022, 11:00pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 774

    On Monday, September 5, 2022 at 10:35:50 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Column 774
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Column 774
    Julia beat be to the punch in responding to #3 and #7, but Iím going to include my thoughts anyway as she and I think alike. Sheíd be fun to play with!
    #3 You also have 8 tiles for year #1. Pass 3D 1C 5C although this does destroy any other option. Keep the 4C pair for Joker Bait, hope to draw another Flower and more Dragons. But, itís late in the Charleston. It would help if I knew if the Dragons were in the hand originally or came in via passes (especially if they were from West and South). If so, I might go with the year hand. If not, your options might be better.
    #6 Also have 7 tiles for CR #3, 9 if you count the Jokers standing in for the needed 2Ds (which might be tough to get) and Iíd only have to ditch 1 Flower. Joker bait the 7D. Tough choice. Iíd throw a Flower first and see what comes in next. Whatís on the table? If opponents throw 2D, then Odds it is.
    #7 Quints #2 is looking good to me, pair is secure, more value, both have pung of 4C. Throw the Flowers first, keeping Quints #2 and Evens #5 options. Watch the discards. If Dragons come in, go for Evens, if needed number tiles or Jokers, Quints.
    #9 Am I missing something? Jokers are useless only if Iím going for a pure hand. Am I feeling lucky? With those 2 exposures, alert opponents know what hand Iím playing and what pairs I need, only mystery is the kong. Where are we in the game? How many Flowers are accounted for? What about the 3D? For a pure hand I need 2 great picks, or 1 pick and a called discard. What are the chances of that? If I have at least 10 more picks, maybe Iíll throw a Joker. The safer and probably more successful option is to throw 3D, then Iím only waiting for a Flower. Iíll remind myself that you cannot Mah Jongg secondÖ
    Had a brain workout with these! Thanks for keeping me on my Mah Jongg toes.
    Sue Zoeller

    Hi, Sue! A lot to chew on here...


    I count 7 tiles for 2022 #1. Passing 5C kills Consec #5 only (leaves the Any Like options intact, and Consec #5's chances are not necessarily that great, due to the absence of jokers. So your pass is eminently passable!


    Yes, Consec #3 is viable, you're right. A flower should indeed go now, since flowers get hotter as the wall shortens. Joker bait shouldn't be cast too early (not until the wall is down to about 1/3 length). And you're right to look for 2D on the table. Nice one.


    Yes, the Quints option is very good.


    I meant that the joker is useless for the flower pair. Poor choice of words. I was not suggesting going jokerless (I assume that's what you mean by pure), heaven forbid. I agree with you on throwing 3D. See my reply to Linda Z below as regards to hand number nine.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 5, 2022, noonish
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 774

    On Monday, September 5, 2022 at 10:33:42 AM EDT, lindaz... wrote:
    column 774
    Hi Tom,
    I LOVE these mixed puzzles! Problem # 9 presents a real quandary. I assume it's near the end of the game since there are 2 exposures showing and it's obvious I'm playing for 369 # 6. But no one knows which kong suit or number I am using.
    If there are 1 1/2 walls remaining, I'd discard 3D--it might throw people off the scent. If less than one wall remains I'd discard J. Players rarely discard Flowers later in the game. This was a great brain teaser! What would you do?
    Also--Why do you not like to pass Dragons in the Charleston?
    Best, Linda

    Hi, Linda!


    You're right that 3D would throw them off track. When I said in the column to check if it's safe, I overlooked the fact that I'm holding 3 of them so it probably isn't dangerous.
    If I throw J, people will know I need F. While it's unlikely anybody will throw F, I can still pick one myself. But it's better to throw 3D, so that's what I'd do.

    Good question, why I don't like passing dragons. It may be a gut thing, not wanting to give anybody ideas. Ideas can mess with your head, so why not. I guess I figure if somebody is holding dragons like I do, giving them another puts them on the path. Anyway, thanks for asking. I'll think on it some more, maybe it's time to make an adjustment.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, September 5, 2022, noonish
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 11:25:59 PM EDT, Diane H wrote:
    THANK YOU!!!!
    Sent from Diane's iPhone

    yw!


    Column 774

    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 01:09:27 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column 774
    Hello Tom,
    I'm appreciating the mixed questions.
    For hand #7, with four jokers I would also be thinking about Quints #2. It's still the same discards (either R or flower), but I was surprised you didn't mention it. I'm leaning towards discarding a flower as possible joker bait.
    Hand #3 also has 7 tiles toward 2022 #1, leaving another option to kill. For this one it might depend on what's already happened in the Charleston (Did the dragons come from other players passing them or were they from original deal? If someone has been passing dragons I would be more likely to hold onto them.)
    Thanks,
    Julia

    Great, Julia!


    I smack my forehead for not even looking at Quints. We'd have to ditch not only the flowers but ALSO the R, meaning we have farther to go if we go that way (we have only 7 tiles for that option). I wouldn't want to actually go that way, but consider my forehead smacked nonetheless.


    My forehead is going to get sore! I did overlook 2022 #1. Good point on what went around in the first Charleston and the Second Left - what went around often comes around again. The single flower is a problem for that option, requiring lucky picking (same as the Any Like options).

    Really good feedback!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, September 4, 2022, 5:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 12:02:56 AM EDT, Diane H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If someoneís hand is correctly declared dead, and already has a pung or chow showing on her rack, with a joker, are the jokers available for ďreplacing?Ē
    Sent from Diane's iPhone

    It depends, Diane. At the time of exposure, did that exposure reveal that the hand was incorrect or unwinnable? If so, that exposure should have been returned to the sloping front of the rack. See FAQ 19-P for complete details.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, September 2, 2022, 8:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ongoing support

    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 07:25:57 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    Sep 4, 2022 04:25:47 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Oct 4, 2022
    PayPal

    Thank you for your ongoing support, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Thanks for all you do!

    On Friday, September 2, 2022 at 08:41:49 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Shawn M
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Shawn M.
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Shawn M
    Message: thanks for all you do!

    Thank YOU, Shawn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, September 2, 2022, 9:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She won after redeeming a joker, part 2

    On Friday, September 2, 2022 at 01:04:36 AM EDT, j m wrote:
    Re: Question for You
    Wow Tom...I can't believe how quickly you responded to my email. I also just saw your book on Amazon and ordered it for a friend who is just starting to learn...maybe I better read it first though!
    I just wanted to check to be sure that you saw the part of my question where player 2 picked up a discarded tile at the start of her turn. She used this for another part of her Mahj before trading another tile she had in her rack for a joker to complete the Mahj.That's where our disagreement was...about this first tile...if player one gave her the Mahj or if she picked it herself. We will definitely be adding 'finesse' to our rule books so I want to be sure we can pick up a discarded tile too before trading for the joker and having that considered as double pay Mahj. Thanks, Joan

    Good morning, Joan! You wrote:

    I also just saw your book on Amazon and ordered it for a friend who is just starting to learn...maybe I better read it first though!
    Great! The book is several years old, and there have been some rule changes, so make sure you also download the errata. Thirteen pages of changes, updates, and corrections.

    I just wanted to check to be sure that you saw the part of my question where player 2 picked up a discarded tile at the start of her turn.
    Yes, I saw that. Nothing she did during her turn prior to redeeming the joker for the win negates, modifies, or changes the fact that she redeemed the joker for the win. The very fact that she made the exposure before redeeming the joker, demonstrably showing that the winning tile was not the tile she had just picked, is what made her play a "finesse." See FAQ 19-BO. And I just want to be sure that you read FAQ 19-AN?

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, September 2, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She won after redeeming a joker and claimed it was self-pick. We disagreed.

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 10:50:31 PM EDT, j m wrote:
    Question for You
    Hello...my friend just introduced me to your website...really great and I wished I had discovered it years ago! So much great information and I love the questions and photos of vintage games!
    I'm writing because I have a question about something that happened during our game play today.
    player 1 discarded a 9 crack tile
    player 2 picked it up and exposed it with 3 matching tiles on her rack
    player 2 then traded an 8 dot tile she had for a joker with another player who has the 8 dot tiles exposed with a joker. This gave her Mah Jongg and ended the game. She then announced that she picked her own Mah Jongg. The disagreement was that since she picked up the discarded 9 crack tile at the start of her turn, it wasn't the same as picking from the wall for the Maj and 'picking your own Maj"
    Discussion came up about players who pick a tile from the wall and then can trade it for an exposed Joker on someone's rack to use with their own tiles to the Maj....we all agreed that in this case one does 'pick his own Maj'
    We all appreciate your help and thank you for your time and expertise,
    Joan M

    Hi, Joan!
    Winning on joker redemption is indeed regarded as self-pick, earning double from everyone. What your player 2 did is called "finessing." She held onto that redeemable tile until redeeming the joker would be her final winning move, so she could earn double from everyone. She did it perfectly, and deserves double from everyone for the skillful move. See FAQ 19-AN.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 10:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to announce I'm redeeming my own joker?

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 04:10:49 PM EDT, kathy p wrote:
    Quick question ?????
    If I pick a tile from the wall and notice I can exchange it for a joker on my own rackÖÖÖdo I have to announce that I am replacing it?
    Thank you ??
    Kathy P

    Hi, Kathy!
    The rulebook does not say you have to do that. But I like a harmonious game. Mah-jongg players being what they are, what's likely to happen if you don't? Most players aren't looking up from their own racks, and some may totally miss that you did that, then later go, "Hey, didn't you used to have a joker there? Where'd that go?" Or some players may notice a movement of your hands, out of the corners of their eyes. Either way, players may become suspicious that you might have done some sneaky sleight of hand. Personally, I like to avoid doing anything that can raise suspicion.
    So... what words should one use to "announce" that I'm exchanging a joker, without sounding too officious?
    What I do is say something like, "Aha!" when I see that I have picked a joker replacement from the wall. That's enough to raise eyes up off racks and watch me make the exchange. Or, if I have the joker replacement in among my concealed tiles, "Aha!" isn't the right word, so I might say "Come here, you joker, you!"
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What does the term "Neutral" mean, part 2

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 02:38:59 PM EDT, Margot G wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    You responded to my question about "neutral" saying the word is suitless and the flowers and and winds can go with any suit. What is its function when it is with other suits? Margot

    Its function is to fulfill the requirements set forth by the card, and to fill the hand. You know that a one-color hand on the card can be made with any suit. So if a hand was, say, 111 222 333 444 DD, you can use any suit, but the dragon can't be just any dragon - the dragon has to match the suit you use for the numbers. But if the hand was, say, 111 222 333 444 NN, there is no restriction on what suit you use the NN with. N is a wind, it doesn't match any suit, so it can be used together with any suit. The same with flowers. FF 111 222 333 444 can be any suit, because flowers are suitless - they do not dictate suit - they can be used together with any suit.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 3:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 5

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 11:09:44 AM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    Thank you, that is very interesting. I appreciate the information. Since the time I posted about my set, I've had the box that it is stored in refurbished. I was told it is made out of mahogany. It was completely sanded down, glued in places where needed, polished the brass. Since a couple of original knobs were missing I used new beads instead. I am really pleased with rhe results:
    I also purchased some joker stickers and found some matching tiles to complete a set of 8 jokers. It's ready to be played with! These are the "winter princess" stickers I purchased from Mahjongtiles.com
    Thank you,
    Patti

    Looking good, Patti!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 4 (see August 18)

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 08:09:30 AM EDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    Questions about 1920's Era set....a clue
    Hi Tom,
    Though this doesn't help Patti know where her Grandfather obtained his set, there is perhaps a clue as to where it was manufactured. The phrase on the "green" flower tiles (萬國九州) is, according to my dictionaries, colloquial Chinese used in Shanghai and hence points to the likely manufacturing location. The dictionary translates this phrase as "all countries" (more literally, ten thousand countries, nine states).
    The "red" flower tiles say, 名揚四海, and form an idiom meaning "to become known far and wide", perhaps more simply put as meaning "famous" (literally, the four characters mean "name spreads four seas").
    Add the meaning of both sets of flowers together would get us to "famous across the world".
    I dont recall seeing these phrases used on Flowers before so potentially quite unusual.
    Regards
    Ray

    Great work, Ray! Thank you so much. I'll let Patti know.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 9:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What does the term "Neutral" mean in American mah-jongg?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 08:26:46 PM EDT, Margot G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the to beginner's guide to American Mah Jongg it talks about neutrals: jokers; dragons; winds and flowers. I called the League and they know nothing about the word Neutral, which is defined as a tile that can be used with any other tile, regardless of the Suit or Dragon. Winds, Flowers,Jokers and Soap when used as an"0" are neutral.
    Please explain Margot

    Hi, Margot!
    Wow, what is going on here? I went 2 days without any questions at all, and suddenly I get 3 questions within the span of a few hours! Do you and Rowena and Phyllis play together? Never mind - to get to your question:
    As I explained in FAQ 19-BG, Elaine Sandberg should have used the word "suitless" instead of "neutral," and when she said "a tile that can be used with any other tile," that seems to be a typo - she should have said "with any suit." And dragons don't belong in the list of "suitless" tiles, since the dragons match with the suits.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 9:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two people call mahj on the same discard

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 07:54:57 PM EDT, Rowena H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If two persons will mahj on the same discarded tile, who is entitled to it?
    The next person in line is playing a concealed hand so no tiles have been exposed.
    The player after the next person has exposed tiles.
    I certainly have never seen this happed prior to today and cannot find the answer online.
    Thank you.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Rowena!
    This is a "conflicting claims" problem, in which both people call the current live discard for mah-jongg. You added:

    next person in line is playing a concealed hand so no tiles have been exposed. The player after the next person has exposed tiles.
    None of that has any impact on the question.

    cannot find the answer online.
    My FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg. It contains an entire Claiming a Discard section, where you will find the question "Two Players want the same discard - Which player gets the tile? (Conflicting Claims)."
    The answer (from Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League, page 20):

      "13. (c) When two players call a tile for Mah Jongg, the player next in turn to discarder is entitled to the claim, EXCEPT when the other Mah Jongg declarer has begun to expose their tiles."

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picking from the wrong end

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 04:39:04 PM EDT, Phyllis C S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: if you accidentally draw from the wrong end of a wallóare you dead? Out of the game??
    Sent from my iPhone

    It depends, Phyllis! If you racked it, yes, you're dead. Also, if something else happens as a result of that error, there are more consequences. If another person also picks from the wrong end, the game is over. Or if you pick from the wrong end and somebody wins on your discard, you pay for the table.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 6:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 773, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 03:44:55 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Regarding Column 773 #6. Lynn B is right about CR #2. Also consider Evens #6. With the 2 Flower pungs and kong of 2C, the hot tiles are 8B and 8D. Exposures for those double Flower pung hands can be a challenge to defend. Yes, I like your new format. Thanks for the brain exercise!
    Sue Z

    Well spotted, Sue! You are so right.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, August 28, 2022, 4:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 773

    On Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:00:14 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Column 773
    I like the format this week...defend and charleston and blind pass. Interesting to mix it up - thanks!
    Hand #5. How about W/D #4? North, East, West and South are all hot as well.
    Hand #6 - What about CR #2? 1's and 3's in Bams and Dots are hot as well.
    Thanks for your weekly column!
    Lynn B

    Hi, Lynn!
    I'm glad the experimental format seems to be working!
    #5 - You're right! Good job!
    #6 - Right again! Well done all around!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, August 27, 2022, 11:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She had a change of heart (FAQ 19-AM)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:34:38 AM EDT, Laurie K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player called a tile. The player exposed 2 of her tiles but did not touch the called tile. The player changed her mind and decided not to call. She put the 2 exposed tiles back in her hand. Is this against the rules? Thank you.

    Hi, Laurie!
    She exposed tiles. That's not a rescindable act. She has committed to making the exposure, and cannot take it back. See the change of heart rules.
    Play safe out there! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, August 27, 2022, 11:11 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Those confusing joker rules

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, August 26, 2022 at 08:20:12 AM EDT, compuconnie wrote:
    My mah-jongg question is:
    In American Mah Jongg, can you exchange more than one tile at a time for jokers?
    Thank you from South Florida

    Yes, you can.
    You're welcome from western New York state.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, August 26, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Have you seen this before, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 05:25:01 PM EDT, Carolyn G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: thank you Tom. Reading your book right now.

    Cool!


    Have you seen this before?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 04:32:24 PM EDT, Carolyn G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom
    I recently purchased an old mj set which was advertised as bakelite. I noticed that on one of the racks there was a bottom white ring which said : national mah jongg league this rack belongs to " it was under the regular rings and bigger. Have you seen this before? It is new to me. Does it increase the value of the set? Thank you so much for looking at my email. I'm a newbie and depend on your site.
    Carolyn

    Hi, Carolyn!
    I assume you mean like this:

    Your first question: yes, I have seen pictures (FAQ 7-D, the "Bits & Pieces" FAQ). I might even have one in my bits & pieces box, wherever that is. Your second question: my guess is that yes, it has value on its own, and would therefore increase the value of the set. I assume the disc means the set was bought from the League.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 5:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 772

    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 09:54:06 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    column 772
    Hi Tom,
    On #8, column 772--Can you please explain your decision to try for CR instead of Odds? This early in the game I would keep as many options open as possible. (I agree with passing 2B, S, 8D). I just don't understand why you have determined your goals this soon--before the first pass. I must be missing something (I would try for odds with CR as second choice) and I am hoping you can clarify your thinking.
    Thanks!
    Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I see the pung of fives as more significant a beginning than the pair of nines, so my thinking centers on the fives over the nines. As I wrote in the column, there are "odd friends and high friends" for the pung and the pair. The reason I prefer Consec over Odds is that the Consec family is the most powerful family on the card, generally speaking. But looking back over the column, I don't see that I actively chose one over the other, since passing 2B and S have no impact on either option, and since I chickened out on the third passer - leaving it up to the reader to choose 3B (which favors Consec) or 8D (which favors Odds), or a dragon (which could go either way). So although I said I prefer Consec over Odds, I didn't "act" on that preference in regards to this combination of tiles. Although I generally dislike passing dragons, that may be more a quirk than a high-strategy preference. I'm sometimes too distracted by dragons, and it's probably best to ditch a dragon as the third passer, so as to preserve both Odds and Consec (without choosing a specific hand in either family).
    Always good to hear from you, Linda.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 3

    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 06:24:54 PM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    I do have the blank white dragons, they were just in a different drawer, so I will use the ones marked "F" for jokers, and I've ordered a few more extra tiles for the rest of the jokers. I've ordered a few different joker stickers and some new black racks. Thank you for all of the helpful info.

    Sounds good, Patti!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Looking for more smart defensive moves

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 06:11:50 PM EDT, Mary Lou F wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Some tables in our group play "for money". Is there a name for this that isnít so gauche?
    Also, aside from the obvious defensive tactics can you mention any smart moves that might help me when playing with the best players in our MJ group. We have a $5.00 maximum loss so it isnít so bad.
    Thanks for all you do, Mary Lou F

    So your group plays for a $5 pie. Does that sound less gauche? (^_^) You can also say "we play for coins."
    Some defensive moves, hmm? Let's see...
    Don't just use your ears. Always look at every discard when it goes down. Make sure it matches what it's called. But also, looking helps you actually see (and possibly remember) what that player discarded. Look at how each player discards. Some players put all their discards right in front of them; that gives you information about what that player is NOT collecting.
    Know in advance what tiles you need and might want to call for. It's not great manners to say "hold" or "wait," and it's not good strategy, either.
    If a tile you want goes out early in the game and you have to use a joker to call it, maybe you can let the first one go, so you can call the second one (reducing the chances that another player will redeem your joker).
    When you discard the same tile another player did just before you, say "same." And say "same" when you discard a joker, too.
    Pay attention to exposures, and think a moment about what that player might be doing (or not be doing). For example, if someone exposes a kong of threes, you know that player is not working in 2022 or 2468. But especially pay attention when a player has two exposures. You can usually make good defensive decisions from two exposures.
    Joker bait. When you have a pair of tiles you don't need, don't be too quick to break it up. If you can hang onto the pair until the last long wall has started, sometimes a player will want to call, and expose a joker. Then you can try to redeem that joker with the other matching tile.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you. And thanks again for the donation!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picking and racking (FAQ 19-BL)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:19:56 PM EDT, Kathryn R. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    This is a question in your FAQs section on Picking and Racking:
    ďWe have a player who picks a tile, then discards a tile without ever putting the picked tile on her rack. Is she allowed to do that? Aren't we always required to rack the tile after picking it?Ē
    The fact that the questionís wording says, ďdiscards A tile ÖĒ rather than ďdiscards THE tile ÖĒ has our group confused. So Iím asking for some clarification: Is the player discarding the same tile they picked, or are they discarding another tile from their rack? I ask because my group is still unsure whether or not a drawn tile can be viewed and discarded without racking or does that tile need to be racked first? Thanks so much for your help.
    Kathryn

    Hi, Kathryn! You're asking about FAQ 19-BL. That question can be read either way. Either she picks, is holding the picked tile, and discards from the rack with her other hand, or she picks, then discards the picked tile without racking it. Either way the answer is the same. There is no rule that says the picked tile has to be racked. The NMJL says it is "best practice" to rack, but it's not a rule (2021 newsletter). Presumably if a hypothetical person picked and then discarded with the other hand, that hypothetical person would have hypothetically racked the picked tile shortly after discarding. And the move is not illegal.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation!

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:56:51 PM EDT, Mary Lou F via PayPal wrote:
    ml.f sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $25.00 USD from ml.f
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
    Aug 18, 2022 13:56:43 PDT
    Buyer information
    Mary Lou F
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $25.00 USD 1 $25.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD

    Thank you again, Mary Lou! So generous!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 2

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:18:16 PM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    Thank you for the timely response. I am excited about playing with this set. It is complete, and I've ordered some extra tiles on ebay to make some jokers with stickers...hoping they are a good match. I'm going to attach some photos. You will see that someone painted "F" on 4 of the tiles...I'm guess that was for extra Flowers(?) since it was pre-jokers. It took me a while and some research to figure out that the White Dragons are blank white tiles! I wouldn't have known! And such a crazy story - my dad used the tiles to give himself fake tattoos as a kid! That's got to be a first! and probably explains why the East Wind has no color left! Now I'm really wondering how to clean them. Since my grandfather was not a MJ player, I think he was given the set as a gift or as a trade for something. I just wonder when and where.


    Hi, Patti!
    Yes, the Fs are extra flowers. Looks like that NMJL card in picture 4 is from 1959? Per column 509, players needed 20 flowers that year. 12 flowers were sufficient in 1943. But with the white dragons all marked F, there are no white dragons in your set. (I'm making assumptions since your photos don't show all the tiles laid out nicely for me.)
    There are cleaning tips in FAQ 7-o.
    I have no way of knowing where your grandfather might have purchased the set. But I can tell you that the set is no older than 1920. It looks like a Babcock set to me. See column 610 and also look up 1920 in FAQ 11-h.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    Followup: see September 1 post by Ray Heaton, above. - Webmaster


    Questions about 1920's Era set

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 10:58:29 AM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Questions about 1920's Era set
    Hello Tom,
    I recently acquired a set that had belonged to my grandfather in the 1920's. It is definitely bone and bamboo. My father who is in his 90's remembers playing with the set as a toy, but never saw anyone truly play MahJongg with it. I have taken up the game in recent years. It is an American version since the kraks and winds have the English letters and numbers on them. I have a couple of questions about it.
    1. One of the East Winds is etched but not painted. Is this on purpose (and why), or did it just disappear with age and wear?
    2. If I buy joker stickers is there anything I should get that would be close to that vintage as a design?
    3. I was told my grandfather acquired this set before 1920 while he was living in Hawaii. Could that in any way be true?
    If not, what would be the best sleuthing method to find out where and when he really got it?
    4. Could baby wipes be a good tool to clean the tiles?
    Thank you,
    Patti

    Hi, Patti! Thanks for numbering your questions!
    Sounds to me like someone accidentally washed out the color. Maybe a cleaning accident. Could possibly be an oversight in manufacturing.
    I don't think so. But the set shouldn't have enough tiles to make 8 jokers, if it's a 1920s set.
    Possible but unlikely.
    As for the when: send me pictures. As for the where: no idea.
    Risky. Avoid the crevices.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How to handle the problem of a player's hand being dead.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 01:47:44 PM EDT, Sherry S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: HI Tom
    This is my 1st time on your site. In 2 different games I played this week we faced the problem of a player's hand being dead. What is the protocol and follow up penalty (if any) for the player who called her dead? 1) she was not dead. 2)she was dead?
    Thank you
    Sherry S

    Hi, Sherry!
    In brief, the player who's proved to be wrong owes the other player 50¢. For more details, see FAQ 19-AB. (And FAQ 19-AA just above it.)
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 2:10 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if dealer has mah-jongg immediately after the Charleston?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 11:01:03 AM EDT, Delia S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can the dealer of a hand who has 14 tiles mah-jongg immediately after Charleston, but before play has commenced (i.e., the dealer has not yet discarded a tile as required to commence play) ? Thanks!

    Yes, Delia. That rare event is called "Earthly Hand." It's considered self-pick, so dealer collects double from everyone. It's on page 14 of the latest edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, or you can read about it in FAQ 19-BJ (the second question).
    I'm guessing that this didn't happen in your game? That you're just asking because the question came up in conversation? It's extremely rare.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 12:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Rules for drop in groups?

    On Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 10:22:53 AM EDT, Sybl F wrote:
    Mah Jong question
    Dear Tom,
    I recently taught a group of women (34) at the Katonah library. We are now trying to keep this going with a drop in group. I have played in drop in groups but what I am wondering are their any written rules that need to be followed? In the group I went to we waited for the next available seat, they seem to want to play as the little groups they learned to play with. Any help would be appreciated .
    Thank you,
    Sybl.
    Sent from my iPhone

    I'm not exactly sure what your question is, Sybl. Perhaps it has to do with how to play at tables that don't have 4 players? Or how to rotate people from table to table? If you are asking about 2-player, 3-player, and 5-player play, see FAQ 13. If you are asking about table rotation, see FAQ 27. If I have missed your question entirely, feel free to email me again.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, August 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is 6 of a kind called, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Monday, August 15, 2022 at 06:27:30 PM EDT, Libba C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom. I thank you for your rapid response to my inquiry about a mahjong-inspired word for 6 like tiles. The reason I didnít look on the back of the NMJL card is because I donít have one. I play strictly Marvelous Mahjong, with Quint being the highest group of like tiles.
    Thanks again,
    Laury T

    You're welcome, Laury!
    If you need a rulebook, I recommend these two:


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every player should have an up-to-date copy!
    No matter what card you use.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is 6 of a kind called?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Monday, August 15, 2022 at 05:16:52 PM EDT, Libba C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Howdy Tom.
    If a Quint is 5, what is 6 of a kind called? Iíve only come up with sextuple, however, Iím really looking for a word thatís more mahjong inspired.
    Thank you,
    Laury T

    Hi, Laury!
    Look at the back of the card, upper left corner.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card every year.

    Six of a kind is called a "sextet."
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, August 15, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    He discarded the same tile he had just claimed, part 2

    Re: Mahjong
    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 11:29:28 PM EDT, Michael C wrote:
    Thanks so much! I'll deliver the good news to my spouse. Lol!
    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy


    He discarded the same tile he had just claimed

    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 11:08:04 PM EDT, Michael C wrote:
    Mahjong
    Hi Tom!
    My family (white American & Filipino American) and I were playing mahjong tonight and we had a debate regarding the rules, I was hoping for some clarification, please:
    A player discarded a 7 character. Next player picked up the discarded 7 character for a chow. They laid down/exposed the chow and discarded another 7 character they had in their rack, into the discard pile. This was called out immediately as breaking the rules. I questioned whether or not it was actually against the rules, but I was unable to find anything online that says it is against the rules. In your opinion, Is the player allowed to do this?
    Best Regards,
    Mike C

    Hi, Mike!
    I know of no authoritative book or website on Filipino mah-jongg. But I know that in some variants, it's forbidden to discard the same tile you just claimed, in the same turn. My Japanese friends told me it's against their rules. I'm unclear on the logic behind the prohibition. In the absence of an authoritative "bible," I'd say go with the host's preference. At their house, it's forbidden. At your house, it's allowed. If you want. See FAQ 14.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 771

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 03:53:06 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom. Regarding column 771. #1
    This hand is dead even if there were a valid hand with a same suit dragon pung and a kong of threes, the exposure shown is 3B 3B J 4B, not valid under any circumstances. Always double check you exposure before discarding.
    Sue Z
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Oops! Yes, that was a goof when I was creating that image. I'm going to leave it as is, because you made a really good point - always double check your exposure before you discard and cement it.
    But note that there is an open matter regarding whether one can correct any incorrect exposure before discarding, or you can only change a pung to a kong or quint or sextet, or vice versa (see "Incorrect exposure" on the bulletin board, asked Friday, July 8, 2022 by Marilyn C - and see my exchange with Kathleen D on June 2, 2022).*
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, August 14, 2022, 7:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Note that those links will be broken after the bulletin board is archived, but the entries can then be found by navigating to the archived page and searching for the cited names or dates. - Tom


    Can you help me explain the logic of this rule?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, August 12, 2022 at 10:52:44 PM EDT, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Can you explain why, in a 3 person game, east shouldn't take '1&3', but only take 1 (their 13th tile), let the other players take their 13th tile, and THEN east take their 14th? I cannot get through to some people I play with that east is skipping a tile in the wall and Isn't getting their proper tile (and north (?), on their first pick, as well) if east takes 1&3...they're leaving 2 bottom tiles to start the game, they've taken the 14th tile based on a 4 person game, not a 3 person game. I'm hoping you can explain it better than I have tried...
    Thank you!
    Debbi Ann L

    Hi, Debbi Ann! You're talking about the rule on page 26 of Mah Jongg Made Easy. Personally, I usually don't try to justify or explain rules. They're rules. But I know there are players who can't sleep unless they grok the reasoning behind a rule, or can justify it based on other rules, or on rules of other games.
    Your explanation is fine. If somebody can't accept your explanation, I can only offer these suggestions:
    1. Demonstrate it both ways (the 3-player rule way, and the 4-player way), and illustrate that the proper tiles are not being taken. Do these rule explanation requirers grok why the 4-player "1 and 3" rule works properly in the first place?
    2. "I've explained it as well as I know how. Let's move on. Keep mulling it over, and eventually you'll see it."
    3. "It's the rule. Just do it because it's the rule. It's logical and it makes sense, and it's the rule, but I'm sorry that I can't satisfy your thirst for a deeper explanation."
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, August 12, 2022, 11:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 767

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 02:55:20 PM EDT, Cloud wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Column 767. #2
    You say 5B are hot - but you are using green dragons, so 5Bís cannot be used in that hand. ?? Claudette
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Good, Claudette, you found my, ahem, "intentional" error, heh. It should also not indicate that 5C is hot, since 5C is already exposed. It should say that F and 5D are hot.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 12:43:59 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Adrian B H
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Adrian B H
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Adrian B H

    Thank you, Adrian!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 758

    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 11:55:12 AM EDT, Carolyn C wrote:
    Column #758
    Tom,
    Just starting to get up to speed on the 2022 card and start playing again. I have a question on column 758 from last Motherís Day. For hand #5, you recommend passing fives, but I see no fives in the hand.
    Best regards,
    Carolyn

    囧 You're right, Carolyn! Surprised nobody else caught that. Not sure what I meant to say there (it's been so long) - maybe I meant dragons.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is win by joker redemption self-pick? Or did I give it to her?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 06:03:13 PM EDT, A H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I throw a tile for a pong exposure and that player exposes and then makes an exchange for a joker
    which results in mahjongg, is it a self picked mahjongg or did I give it to her? Does everyone pay double
    or am I the only player to pay double, since I threw the tile.
    Thank you for your assistance,
    Adrian

    Look at it this way, Adrian. The tile that gave her the win was the joker she redeemed, with a tile she got from the wall. That's self-pick. FAQ 19-AN.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 770

    On Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:02:08 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    col. 770
    Hi Tom,
    In strategy column 770, #8--there are 8 tiles for S&P #2. I would pass any even tiles.
    I enjoy your strategy columns!
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I did overlook that hand. Let's see:

    For S&P #2, we need pairs of all odd numbers in one suit, then pairs of any like odd number in the other two suits. If suit 1 is dots, we have our pair of sevens and a single nine. We need pairs of ones, threes, and fives, plus a nine. Our other pairs then could be nines - we have it in craks, we have a single in bams.
    If suit 1 is bams, we have a pair of ones and a single nine, and for the other two suits, same thing as the "suit 1 is dots" situation: we have a pair of nines and a single nine.
    For each possibility, we have six tiles. Six tiles, two ways. A lot of luck will be needed. I'm not crazy about this, but I agree that passing evens works.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, August 7, 2022, 11:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker to complete a pair to mah jongg?

    On Friday, August 5, 2022 at 05:33:32 PM EDT, Kathy M wrote:
    Mah question
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I use a joker to complete a pair to mah jongg?
    Thanks.

    Hi, Kathy! Read the back of the card.


    Every player needs to know all these basic rules of the game.

    Left pane, the last paragraph before the numbered rules (the Jokers paragraph), second sentence.
    Look for the word "NEVER" in bold capital letters. That's the answer to your question!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, August 5, 2022, 7:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 07:07:49 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Aug 4, 2022 04:07:36 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Sep 4, 2022

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    To any readers who may be thinking of donating: you don't have to set up recurring payments like Evelyn so generously did. I gladly accept one-time donations. (^_^)
    Tom


    What if all 4 players want to blind pass 3 tiles?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 07:56:17 AM EDT, Fran B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: not sure this has ever happened( but the question not the actual problem came up at my game yesterday. )What if all 4 plays want to blind pass all 3 tiles ? What do you do ?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Fran!
    This is a frequently-asked question. I wrote column 534 to address various multi-player blind pass scenarios, and the League adopted the I.O.U. principle I proposed, on page 13 of MJME (Mah Jongg Made Easy), the official rulebook (2020 edition). Essentially, if (hypothetically) 4 people all genuinely want to blind pass 3 tiles, you can skip it and say you did it, then if that was the first left, stop the Charleston, skip the courtesy, and let the dealer discard or declare mahj. But if the dealer can't declare mahj, and has a tile to discard, why did he/she/they say they didn't have anything to pass in the first place, but never mind, now s/he has to make a decision and discard something.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 8:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Mystery tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 09:57:29 PM EDT, Elaine C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I found two wooden tiles with mah Jong symbols on one side and pictures on other side that appear to be shellacked on. Have you ever seen these before? Do they belong to an old set? Thank you.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Elaine! You asked:

    Have you ever seen these before?
    No, I can't say I've seen those earrings before. (I assume they're earrings.)

    Do they belong to an old set?
    They did, before somebody converted them into jewelry.

    If you want to rephrase your questions or ask something else, I'll be here.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 10:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A discard was misnamed

    On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 02:14:59 PM EDT, jgalligan wrote:
    question
    If someone lays down a 4 bam but calls it a 4 crack, the next person picks a tile and racks it but one of the people at the table needed the 4 bam and it was called
    incorrectly. I understand there is a 25 point penalty for miscalling the tile but can the person needing that tile still caall it? I've never seen that happen.
    My solution was that a tile racked is a tile racked and the person needing it could not call it. Is that correct? Please let me know.
    Thank you,
    Judy

    You're right, Judy, that the player who let the misnamed tile go by until it was too late is too late. But you are wrong about the penalty to the misnamer. See FAQ 19-AY.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, August 1, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mystery flowers, part 2

    On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 12:09:32 AM EDT, jnschum wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Tiles - Seasons / Scholars
    Thanks, Tom. I really appreciate the info. I'll donate in gratitude.
    I'm happy to know that the set is even more precious than I knew.
    Should I continue to watch the thread to see if anyone else posts to it? I'm not sure how it all works.
    Nancy

    You're welcome, Nancy. I was guessing, for the most part, and trying to put the four images in context. That #1 image looks a little like the board game in the Mystery Flowers FAQ (see "Another sort of flower tiles"), but the brush doesn't seem to go with a game, so I figured it might be a calligraphy brush or a makeup brush. Because of the womanly fingernail in #4, I figured the whole series might relate to a lady's items. I can be wrong. It might all be calligraphy-related instead.
    Your set most likely dates to the 1920s, but I never said it was precious or valuable. You would have to show and tell a lot more about the entire set, if that's an area of curiosity for you.
    And yes, someone might have further thoughts on your flower tiles to post here.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, August 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mystery flowers

    On Sunday, July 31, 2022 at 10:04:48 PM EDT, jnschum wrote:
    Mahjong Tiles - Seasons / Scholars
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for being such a great resource to the mahjong world. I've enjoyed perusing the wealth of information available on your website.
    I haven't been able to find anything on the season tiles in the picture. I acquired this set, bone and bamboo, smaller than average tiles, from an estate of a friend who was 90+ year old when she passed. Have you seen this set before? Do you know what the pictures on the tiles represent? Would you be able to give any 'general' indication of age.
    Thank you for your help.
    Nancy

    Hi, Nancy! You asked:

    I haven't been able to find anything on the season tiles in the picture.
    Did you scroll through all the pictures in the Mystery Flowers FAQ?

    Have you seen this set before?
    I've seen lots of such sets before, but every set's flowers are different.

    Do you know what the pictures on the tiles represent?
    I assume you mean these:

    Some of these are pictured in the Mystery Flowers FAQ. The one on the left looks like a board game but might be a makeup kit. #2 might be a bowl or mirror. #3 looks like a book. #4 seems to be a woman's hand holding what looks to me like an ink bottle; I can't read the characters written on it.

    Would you be able to give any 'general' indication of age.
    Probably 90-100 years.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong, part 5

    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 11:32:57 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Fwd: 20 point Mah Jong
    Might have just sent to my new email!
    Sent from Liesl
    Begin forwarded message:
    From: Liesl Mcliney
    Date: July 27, 2022 at 6:29:39 PM CDT
    To: Liesl McLiney, Liesl McLiney
    Subject: Re: 20 point Mah Jong
    Hello Tom!
    Well it has almost been a year since my question about 20 Point Mah Jong. Your answer and pics of the books to help me has led me down the most fabulous rabbit hole perhaps in my life, maybe. I subscribed to Vanity Fair to hit the archives of R.F.Foster and soaked it all up. My Mah Jong classes iíve been teaching 20 Point to, are also fascinated by this research. I decided to create a 20 point Mah Jong how to flip book and am very proud of it. I am still dealing with publishers, talk about slow! I am tempted to self publish since I did it all.I was a graphic designer prior to 2000, fifth child basically did me in. I did print 50 for myself and friends, and the response is amazing. I would love to share it with you because you and your site is the best rabbit hole! Again, i just printed 50, but I mention you in my vocabulary page and maybe another spot, basically as a wealth of information. I am double checking that that is okay. When I launch my instagram page, it is there, but empty to grab the name, I am hoping with your permission to quote you, promote you and use your Mah Jong family tree? Which I canít find again. I know you own my email, but I donít own my copyright quite yet so I am nervous to give you my book yet, but I am hopeful you will love it. I just went to your site for the first time in six months and feel like a $%#%^*( for not donating! I will now, not for approval but because you have been a wealth of valid information! You are truly a wonder! I canít thank you enough.
    I guess if I did have a question, did the NMJL actually trademark American Mah Jong? I donít see it in your timeline. I Know that 20 Point was coined American Mah Jong in Vanity Fair and it is bothering me a bit.
    I have to give you a sneak peek!
    6DED58EF-FED5-4642-BBF7-29690C4E29B1_1_105_c.jpeg
    Thoughts?
    Mah Jong Moon is my brand
    On Oct 13, 2021, at 12:15 PM, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    >Hi Tom,
    >thank you for your books which Iíve had some for years, and Iíve enjoyed exploring your site. My great grandmother and grandmother taught me 20 point mah-Jong almost 50 years ago. When I grew older I and my family played with her weekly, And then began subbing in her groups at the club, they were all in their 80s. I keep struggling looking for 20 point Mah Jong through sites and books. I see we are similar to British Mah Jong, although we play with 8 flowers and two jokers and we only Charleston if the hand is a draw. We call that a hotsie. We pay out small amounts of money and do not play with a mixed hand. We also need at least 3 doubles to win. I have taught around 100 people in the last 15 years, they always want to get a book which is not the same. I am now teaching a class at the country club, and using the tattered old sheets that my grandmother left behind, however I have re-written. We are in Kansas City, and every time I buy an old set at an estate sale, I always find these little old pages still in the set. Iíd love to know the history of our 20 point mah-jong and hopefully I am not in trouble teaching this way.
    >Sent from Liesl

    Good morning, Liesl. OK, I got your resent email, and I found your original postings from last October, too. There are questions in your email today:

    I mention you in my vocabulary page and maybe another spot, basically as a wealth of information. I am double checking that that is okay.
    The mentions are fine.

    I am hoping with your permission to quote you, promote you and use your Mah Jong family tree?
    You may quote me with attribution. I don't know what form of promotion you're contemplating, but I decline the offer. I give you permission to use the family tree diagram, as long as you cite my copyright notice and link.

    Which I canít find again.
    The diagram is from FAQ 2B. Direct link: https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/tree-s.gif


    https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq02b.html
    © 2002 Tom Sloper

    did the NMJL actually trademark American Mah Jong? I donít see it in your timeline. I Know that 20 Point was coined American Mah Jong in Vanity Fair and it is bothering me a bit.
    I see now that you are worried about the title. When you hoped last year that you were "not in trouble," I thought you were concerned about Foster's heirs coming after you. The term "American Mah Jong" is not trademarked by anyone, to my knowledge. The phrase has been used in the titles of several books, and I don't think anyone would be foolhardy enough to try to fight legal battles with everyone who uses the phrase. The phrase "American mahjong/mah-jong/mah jong/mah jongg/mah-jongg/mahjongg" is a generic descriptive phrase and is probably not trademarkable. The National Mah Jongg League owns its name, not the descriptor "American." And the NMJL uses two Gs.

    But I would be careful about the cover graphic. It's obviously based on the cover art of J.P. Babcock's hardcover editions of his little red book.

    Babcock sold Mah-Jongg to Parker Brothers, so the similarity of your cover art with Parker Brothers' copyright may possibly become a problem for you.
    Good luck with your book!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, July 28, 2022, 9:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation, part 2 (20 Point Mah Jong, part 4)

    Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Liesl McLiney
    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 09:33:26 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Thank you! But did you read my email? What do you think of my 20 point Mah Jong book? Do I have a chance? Or am I the only one playing that way? Itís the best in my opinion!are you okay with me mentioning you in it?

    囧 Gosh, Liesl, I haven't received an email. I checked Spam and Archive and even Trash. You're reinterpreting Foster's Twenty-Point Mah Jong for modern audiences? I'm okay with the mention. Thank you again for the generous donation!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation! (20 Point Mah Jong, part 3)

    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 07:52:32 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Liesl M
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $122.00 USD from Liesl M
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $122.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Liesl M
    Message: This for the wealth of knowledge, not your stamp of approval! Hoping I earned that.

    Wow! Thank you, Liesl. You earned the stamp, all right!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, July 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is it mandatory to display the tiles in card order when you win?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 12:36:38 PM EDT, Isabelle B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is
    When calling a tile for mah Jongg, is it mandatory to pick up the tile and put the hand up on your rack in correct order?
    Thanks
    Isabelle B
    Sent from my 9th generation iPad.

    Hi, Isabelle! The rulebook says "when Mah Jongg is declared, tiles should be re-arranged to show the correct order." There's a very good reason for this: the rulebook also says "All players should verify the declarer's hand." If you win, you want everybody to know it, don't you? You want everybody to pay you, don't you? Of course you do.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 12:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The manuals are unclear

    On Monday, July 25, 2022 at 11:30:02 PM EDT, Laura B wrote:
    Thank you!
    Kia ora Tom!
    I just wanted to say thank you for your site! I grew up playing a pretty bastardised version of Mah Jong that I guess my family had developed. In my teens my mum bought me my own Mah Jong set but I've barely been able to use it since the game is complicated and not that popular here. One rule that was really unclear in the three manuals I own and on various websites was when you can pick up a discard. Your clarification of that was really helpful and your website is possibly one of the most comprehensive and comprehensible guides! I will donate some day when I am not a poor student! Maybe when I get rich from Mah Jong! (just kidding I only play it for fun)
    Thanks for all the hard work you've put in to making your website!

    I do have one question. Two of the guides I have only refer to two types of Mah Jong; Chinese and Western. From looking over various guides I THINK by Chinese it means Hong Kong style. By Western do you think that is most likely to be British rules or American rules (just at a guess)? Also, what's your favourite Mah Jong variation?
    Thanks again!
    Ngā mihi nui,
    Laura

    Kia ora, Laura. I appreciate your enthusiasm. You asked:

    Two of the guides I have only refer to two types of Mah Jong; Chinese and Western. From looking over various guides I THINK by Chinese it means Hong Kong style. By Western do you think that is most likely to be British rules or American rules (just at a guess)?
    I would have to guess, too. Are your guides dated? Do they indicate the name(s) of the author(s)? If you have the authorless pamphlet that frequently came with mah-jongg sets, that is not to be bothered with; it's incomprehensible, ill-informed, and outdated. From the 1930s to the 1960s, most authors only knew one way to play, and may have been aware that there was "another" way to play on the other side of the earth. I'm aware of almost 50 variants today. See FAQ 2B.

    Also, what's your favourite Mah Jong variation?
    Of the 4 dozen-ish variants, I favor three: American (National Mah Jongg League), Japanese (riichi/dora majan), and MCR (Chinese Official tournament rules).

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 7:40 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you use a joker in a quint?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 05:54:27 PM EDT, Kay N wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you use a joker in a Quint of ďNĒ or ďWĒ
    As in Winds & Dragons, line 1.
    Thanks,
    K
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Kay!
    You HAVE to use a joker in a quint that isn't flowers. There's no way to make a quint without a joker (except for flowers). Read the back of the card - you can use a joker in ANY pung, kong, quint, or sextet. FAQ 19-E. But note, there's no quint in Winds - Dragons. W-D #1 is three kongs and a pair.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, July 23, 2022, 6:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I have two jokers, may I call a discard for exposure?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 05:45:44 PM EDT, jo ann g wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have two jokers, may I pick up the discard to make a pung?

    Yes, you may, Jo Ann. FAQ 19-L.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 6:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 3

    On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 02:09:03 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Blanche Arnold II
    Tom...
    Attached you will find the pamphlet by Blanche Arnold, second vice-president of The American League of Mahjong Players. This seems to be a mystery, since I can find no mention of her on the internet and you haven't heard of her, either.
    ...John

    Hi, John. Yes, those are the same images you sent me Monday night and that I posted Tuesday morning, below. (I'm guessing that you haven't seen it.) The actual contents of the booklet are of interest. As I wrote yesterday morning, "The American League of Mahjong Players" was apparently formed right after the National Mah Jongg League. Would be interesting to see how their rulebook differs from the 1938 NMJL rules. Iíd like to see the interior of the booklet, if possible.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 20, 2022, 2:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 08:47:08 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Blanche Arnold
    Tom...
    A pamphlet by Blanche Arnold, APPROVED MANUAL FOR MAHJONG PLAYERS, was included in my late uncle's mahjong set, which appears to have been made in the 1940s by AP GAMES. I have searched for this pamphlet online and I find no mention of it, Blanche or The American League of Mahjong Players, for which she was the second Vice President. Why is that?
    Respectfully,
    John Lee H

    Hi, John.
    I think I must have forgotten to email you and let you know that I replied to your previous email. I replied at 8-ish this morning (below) that I never heard of that booklet or that organization. I guess there must not have been very many of them printed.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 10:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard, part 3

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 04:44:50 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary Ann H
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Mary Ann H
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Confirmation number: 0KX59178H0874252W
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Mary Ann H
    Message: Thanks again for your help

    Thank you, Mary Ann!


    Clusterflub in a 3-player game, 2 players went dead.

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 03:53:14 PM EDT, Charles V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Three player game, American rules, 2022 card. The situation. Player A picks up a South which player B discarded. She then exposes 3 Southís. Player C asks Player A, ďare you dead?Ē A says,ĒNo.Ē. Player C says, ďthen Iím dead.Ē Player B plays, C. is skipped, then A says,ĒYes Iím dead because I exposed part of a concealed hand.Ē What happens now? Should B win by default?
    I was Player B by the way. My name is Charlie. Looking forward to your decision.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Charlie!
    - Player C was wrong to ASK if player B is dead. It's bad form, a terrible way to call somebody dead. But asking if someone is dead does amount to a death challenge.
    - Player A has a right to deny being dead, but player A was wrong (Player A was exposing a concealed hand, just like the computer player who asked me about a pung of souths today, below). Player A is going to owe Player C 50¢ when it's discovered that they exposed a concealed hand and wrongly denied being dead.
    - Player C should not have called themself dead. The rulebook specifically says a player should not call themself dead. Also, what is the reason?
    - Once player A realizes they are dead, they cannot just call themself dead. See the death challenge rules in FAQ 19. Specifically, read AA ("Can a player call another player dead?") and CK ("I was called dead. Now what?") and AB ("Called me dead but I'm not") and AC ("Do I have to call myself dead? Can I call myself dead?").
    - Lastly, you asked what happens if 2 players have gone dead in a 3-player game, and should the sole survivor win by default. No. See FAQ 19-BW ("What if three players go dead?", which is the equivalent of 2 players going dead in a 3P game). In your case, a player mistakenly denied being dead and then the other player illegally called herself dead for no good reason. It's a total mess, not covered by the rules.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard, part 2

    Re: Mahjongg Question
    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 04:00:28 PM EDT, Mary Ann H wrote:
    I am a newbie. This was so helpful and I am most appreciative. You are right about the concealed hand and I didnít even notice that. Iíll donate some money in appreciation.

    Hi, Mary Ann!
    It's fine to claim a discard for mah-jongg on a concealed hand. As I said, since you were claiming the discard for mah-jongg, there must have been some other problem with the hand.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 4:07 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard?

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 03:01:35 PM EDT, Mary Ann H wrote:
    Mahjongg Question
    Hi,
    I hope you can help. I am playing on line and want to call a discarded tile. Third chance but this is my turn and the others were not. The computer wonít let me call S when I have one and a joker. It now would be for Mahjongg but the other times were not. Can jokers not be used with Winds? Thanks.

    Hi, Mary Ann!
    Most computer mah-jongg games won't allow you to make an illegal move. W-D #7 is a concealed hand, but you say it was for mah-jongg, in which case the computer ought to allow you to claim that S. So there must be some other problem with the hand. Or the computer is playing a different card.
    I don't generally offer help with computer games, but if you ever want to ask me again, a screen shot would be very helpful.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 3:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 11:58:17 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg
    Hi, Tom...
    I inherited my uncle's Mah-Jongg set when he passed away. I'm hoping that you can furnish me with more information on this set than what I have below.
    1. Detailed Contents: 145 tiles, including one blank; Dots - 36ea, Bams - 36ea, Craks - 36ea, Winds - 16ea, Dragons - 12ea, Flowers - 8ea; Black Metal Chips - 24ea, White Metal Chips - 36ea, Red Metal Chips - 40ea, Gold Metal Chips - 46ea; Four Racks, light stained - 2ea, dark stained - 2ea, all with chip holder on left; Dice - 2ea
    2. Paper Materials: Booklet by Blanche Arnold, APPROVED MANUAL FOR MAHJONG PLAYERS, copyright 1938
    3. Tiles made of Butterscotch Bakelite.
    4. This set belonged to my late uncle who probably bought it in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
    5. Tiles are 11mm high, 20mm wide, 30mm long. Chips are metal, 21mm diameter, 1mm thick, round hole is 5mm in diameter.
    6. There are 145 tiles total, including a blank w/ same dimensions but darker color: 36 Dots, 36 Bams, 36 Craks, 16 Winds, 12 Dragons, 8 Flowers
    7. The set came in an attachť type case with a handle. It was made out of a faux leatherette, possibly alligator. It was so moldy I tossed it. I should have taken a photo. It smelled like the glues used in the manufacture were off gassing. It smelled bad!
    8. Craks are the later kind.
    9. Picture provided
    10. Picture provided
    11. Picture provided
    12. No Jokers
    Thank you for any help you can give me.
    John Lee H



    Hi, John. I don't have much information to tell you. The brass "chip" is a Japanese 5-yen coin, and that one is dated 1974. That booklet is rare. I never heard of "The American League of Mahjong Players," but it's interesting that it was apparently formed right after the National Mah Jongg League. Would be interesting to see how it differs from the 1938 NMJL rules. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "
    The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 8-ish in the morning
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 06:17:39 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Norton S
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Norton S
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Norton S
    Message: Thanks for your factual and entertaining tips!

    Gosh, thanks, Norton! So glad you enjoy my work here.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, July 18, 2022, 8:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is tile racking mandatory?

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 04:26:54 PM EDT, Katherine B wrote:
    MJ Rule
    Is tile racking mandatory?
    Thank you

    No, it isn't, Katherine. See FAQ 19-BL for details.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, July 18, 2022, 4:44 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I had to write and tell you

    On Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 05:03:21 AM EDT, Alexandra G wrote:
    Re: Tom Sloper's Philosophies of Mah-Jongg
    Hello Tim
    I had to write and tell you how much I love reading your website.
    I play and teach HK Taiwanese style mahjong and I constantly have to address questions from new players ie those who play bridge or rummy or other card games. And what continues to astound me are the questions asked and the questioning of why certain points are allowed, etc.
    Mahjong exposes playerís thought processes and how we can all
    look at the same thing but see it very differently.
    Mahjong has so many layers and you are constantly learning something new the more you play and the more you reach out to other groups.
    So thank you for so succinctly explaining aspects of the game and your wonderful terminology that can be applied to any style of mahjong.
    Warmest regards,
    Alexandra
    Hong Kong

    Do je, Alexandra. Thank you.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, July 16, 2022, 7:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 28

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Friday, July 15, 2022 at 01:41:02 PM EDT, A Stroms wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: the first hand under QUINTS ... do dragons and numbers have to be same suit? Thank you.

    Hi, A! As I wrote in FAQ 16, the answer is in the parenthetical. The parenthetical says "any dragon," which means the dragon does not have to match the number quint.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, July 15, 2022, 1:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She denied being dead and exposed her tiles to prove it

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 11:51:08 PM EDT, Sunny H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the middle of the game, Player A called Player B ďdead.Ē Player B denied being dead and exposed her tiles to prove it.
    Should Player B have waited until the game was over before proving sheís not dead? What are the consequences to Player A for being wrong?
    Please explain this rule. Thank you.

    Hi, Sunny,
    Yes, player B should have waited. The player who was wrong in a death challenge owes the other player 50¢. See the full proper procedure for a death challenge in FAQ 19-AB.
    All the death challenge rules are at mjfaq19.html#dead.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, July 15, 2022, 7:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is that joker still available, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 06:36:08 PM EDT, barbara w wrote:
    Thank you so much for your quick response. I am vindicated! Didnít know the part about putting the part of the hand that made you dead back in your rack. Makes a lot of sense.

    You're welcome, Barbara!
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, Le 14 Juillet, 2022, 6:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is that joker still available for redemption?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 04:22:08 PM EDT, barbara w wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If you have a second exposure with a joker and no one notices until 2 rounds of play, can they take the joker from the exposure that caused the hand to be dead since it wasnít declared dead right away?

    Hi, Barbara!
    When it's discovered that the hand is dead due to a second exposure, that exposure should be returned to the sloping front of the rack. Any joker within that exposure is therefore unavailable for redemption. FAQ 19-P.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, Bastille Day, 2022, 5:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    If you play with a hot wall...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 12:33:04 PM EDT, phlaxy r wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you play with a hot wall, what end do you take the tiles for the hot wall from? From the beginning or do you count the last number of tiles from the end of the rack?
    Many thanks. Phlaxy Rosenman

    Sorry, Phlaxy, but I have no idea how your hot wall rules work. See FAQ 14. I assume tiles are taken from the wall the same way they were before (clockwise), but that's just an assumption on my part.

    And that applies even if you're serving the walls diagonally. (I assume.)

    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, quatorze Juillet, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles, part 2

    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 09:39:21 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    Thanks for your answer about numbers and seasons on flower tiles. My head was spinning trying to understand your answer.
    I then laughed when I saw your comment that said "aren't you glad you asked!" I was thinking that myself!
    Louise D

    You're welcome, Louise!
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A player exposed six flowers at once

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 11:42:25 PM EDT, Kathryn R. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: A player calls for a flower tile and exposes all six flowers called for in a hand with two flower pungs. This error is discovered later when that player calls Mah Jongg and is found to have mistakenly exposed more tiles than necessary during the earlier call. Is it against the rules to expose more tiles than necessary after calling for a tile? Thanks for your help.

    Hi, Kathryn!
    I discussed this question in FAQ 16. Your question is not covered by any printed rule per se. But the way you asked makes me reply with a question: did your player expose the six flowers as two separate pungs? Or as one group, a sextet? Because there's no printed rule saying one can't expose two pungs at once (although it's clearly incorrect, no printed rule specifies what to do in such a case), but if she exposed the six tiles as a sextet, that's clearly illegal since there is no sextet on the 2022 card, and there is a penalty for an illegal exposure - she's dead. The mah-jongg is void, and she stops playing but the game continues.
    I'm adding this to FAQ 16.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 7:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead, part 3

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 11:51:05 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Don't update yet.
    Hi Tim, please publish this email. I just wanted to let you know that our Article ID56 was put in draft because I had called the League to confirm and the actual updated answer is page 17 of MJME #4b. We have not updated the article. If you correct your answer please use the updated rule in the Rule book as stated above.
    Jeannie at the League said the new rule in MJME updated the 2006 bulletin. Sorry for there confusion.
    Thanks!
    KIND Regards,
    Debbie Barnett

    Not to worry, Debbie. The update I made to FAQ 19-BW last night was based on MJME 2020. In fact, I cited rule 4 b, c, d, and e. I always want to use the latest word from the League. And rule 4 is more comprehensive than the 2006 bulletin entry.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 7:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead, part 2

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 05:30:20 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Dead Hand Scenario
    Hi Tom,
    As you can imagine while running an Instructor Certification Program we have to be up-to-date with the rules and be sure to keep our knowledge database https://americanmahjonggventures.com/knowledge-base/ up to date. I am always baffled at the League's Dead Hand Rules but they have told me on more than one occasion they will be looking to make them easier to understand...let's hope. So when one of our Certified Instructors brought your [July 7] answer [to +1201280...] to my attention she asked that I take a look at our Article #ID 56 and said, if our database is correct then yours is incorrect or visa-versa. Because I started to question myself on our answer, I decided to call the League. I spoke with Jean and explained the question as posed to you:
    Player A, declares mah jongg in error and stops playing
    Player B,C,D continue to play
    Player B declare mah jongg in error
    Player C,D should have continued to play, however Player C exposed their tiles leaving Player D the only intact hand
    Player C who stopped the game from continuing pays Player D, double the value of the hand Player C was attempting to make.
    Source: MJME page 17, 4 (b).
    Also, according to MJME page 17, (e) the only scenario in which no one gets paid is if all 3 hands go dead for reasons other than mah jongg in error.
    I'll await your response on your forum. Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie Barnett
    [Portions omitted for brevity]

    Hi, Debbie!
    I see that your article 56 cited the 2006 bulletin, so I checked that. The League is, of course, the final arbiter of the rules. The 2006 bulletin says what you said. In your email, you cited rule 4.(b) which also disproves what I wrote to +1201280 on July 7. I need to rewrite FAQ 19-BW*, which clearly doesn't go into enough detail. Thanks for keeping me honest! btw, you didn't mention what Jeanne said when you asked her. Inquiring minds...?
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday 7/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * FAQ 19-BW has been updated. - Tom


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles?

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 04:56:57 PM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    Why do the flower tiles on Mah Jongg sets have numbers and abbreviated seasons of the year?
    (My mother's old set doesn't have either)
    Louise D.

    Hi, Louise!
    In all forms of mah-jongg EXCEPT American mah-jongg, flowers are bonus tiles that give you extra points if you have YOUR flower or season tile. Flowers are not used in the hand in un-American mah-jongg (instead, they're exposed and replaced from the back end of the wall). This is explained in FAQ 7E-F and FAQ 19-CB, but...
    Each player has a seat wind. Dealer is East, then (going counterclockwise around the table), South, West, North. East's flower is flower #1. South's flower is flower #2. West's flower is flower #3. North's flower is flower #4. The seasons also correspond to the seat winds. The seasons are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. East's season is Spring, South's is Summer, West's is Autumn, and North's is Winter.
    So if you're South, say, and at the end of the hand you're holding flower #2 and Summer, you get extra points twice.
    Aren't you glad you asked?
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Monday, 7/11/22, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old, how much, part 3

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 03:08:33 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Re: Mah jong set
    Thanks for the indication
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Graag gedaan.


    Column 767

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:54:04 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column #767
    Hello Tom,
    For hand #4 in today's column
    You say "Pungs of dragons and same-suit fives. Could be Consec #7 or Odds #5."
    But Odds #5 is either 1111 333 5555 DDD or 5555 777 9999 DDD. Either way it needs a kong of fives, not a pung.
    Am I missing something?
    Thanks,
    Julia

    You are right, Julia. I goofed. It was a test, to see if anybody would spot it, heh! No, jk. (-_~) (:p)
    So since it's Consec #7, those key tiles are even more critical. If either 3D or 4D is dead on the table, that player's hand is dead; if you have the last 3D or 4D, it's safe to discard.
    Thanks, Julia!
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, July 10, 2022, 3:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old, how much, part 2

    Re: Mah jong set
    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:27:06 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Thanks for your answer. Wanted to reply, but dont know where.
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Re: Mah jong set
    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:28:06 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    The secondary color is glued on. all but one are still on. But is still with it.
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone


    Okay, Rogier. Since you didn't tell me any of the condition information I asked for, I can only give you a low estimate of the set's value. I have to assume the worst on all counts. If you try to sell it online without providing the necessary information to potential buyers, they are unlikely to be willing to bid much above my estimate.
    It looks to me like that case IS original. Those tiles are commonly called "applejuice Bakelite" and were probably made between the 1940s and 1970s, probably in China. Another expert might have a narrower timeframe and country of origin. One tile is separated from its back, and the wooden racks look battered. The tiles look dark and dirty, not bright and colorful. I estimate the set's value at around $40.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Zondag, July 10, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much?

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 01:38:26 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Mah jong set
    Hi Tom
    Rogier here from the Netherlands. I came across this set, it belonged to my family as long as I remember , that is around 35 years now.
    But I believe it is in the family much longer.
    Do you have any estimate on year/type etc. Also what would be the worth of it? Due to the fact it comes from an inheritance Iím looking to sell it.
    It comes with 156 stones, butterscotch and in two tone color. Also with the Max Robertson booklet. The case seems to be non original.
    Looking forward to your reply
    Regarda
    Rogier
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Goededag, Rogier! You wrote:

    Do you have any estimate on year/...
    I can't give that precise an estimate. I can maybe suggest most likely decade. See FAQ 7g.

    on .../type
    Please see FAQ 7a. But you then said:

    It comes with 156 stones, butterscotch
    It sounds like an American-made set, Bakelite or Catalin. See FAQ 7c. Those sets were probably made between the 1930s and 1960s.

    and in two tone color.
    You should look and see if the two layers are glued together (you'll see a line of separation between them) or if they are solid (one piece of plastic, one color poured into the mold atop the other). If they're glued, and if any of them have become separated, the value is reduced.

    Also what would be the worth of it? Due to the fact it comes from an inheritance Iím looking to sell it.
    I would need to see photos of all the tiles and pieces, organized by suit and number, as shown in FAQ 7h. And I would need you to tell me the condition of all the tiles and pieces, using the condition terminology defined in that FAQ.

    Also with the Max Robertson booklet. The case seems to be non original.
    The booklet probably did not come with the set from the manufacturer. The case being missing greatly reduces the value.

    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Zondag, July 10, 2022, 2:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama support-a-rama

    On Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 06:13:42 PM EDT, Joanne O via PayPal wrote:
    j_o sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $20.00 USD from j_o
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
    Jul 9, 2022 15:13:20 PDT
    Buyer information
    Joanne O
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $20.00 USD 1 $20.00 USD
    Total: $20.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Joanne!
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, July 9, 2022, 10:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Those confusing joker rules

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 05:46:38 PM EDT, ph wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing a concealed hand can you swap a tile for a joker?
    Thank you
    Phyllis

    Hi, Phyllis!
    As I wrote in FAQ 19o: Redeeming a joker is not the same as claiming a discard - you are not required to make an exposure when redeeming a joker. So of course you can redeem a joker if your hand is marked "C" (concealed) on the card.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Saturday, July 9, 2022, 6:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Incorrect exposure

    On Friday, July 8, 2022 at 05:20:37 PM EDT, Marilyn C wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    Getting different answers to the following situation:
    Player discards a three dot. Another players calls it but exposes three eight dots and then reaches for the discarded tile that she misheard. What happens now?
    Does she have to use the eight dots or the discarded correctly named tile.
    Thank you.
    Hoping for the correct answer.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Marilyn!
    This question has been much discussed recently. I spoke with the League, but I don't have a firm answer at the moment. The way I interpret the rule cited in
    FAQ 19-AF*, a player can make corrections to an exposure if she has not discarded yet. But in my conversation with the League, it sounded like that rule should only cover the size of the exposure (whether it's supposed to be a pung versus a kong, for instance) - that if the exposed tiles are incorrect (in that they do not match the taken discard), then the player is not permitted to make the correction.
    If that's how the League will rule on this question, what happens now (in answer to your question) is: the player must take the discarded three dot, and put it along with the eight dots and wait for someone to call her dead. She keeps playing until someone calls her dead for an incorrect exposure. When called dead, that incorrect exposure goes to the sloping front of her rack. And it may be that this is the rule that the League will espouse. I'm sorry that I can't be more definitive, since the League has not yet ruled on this question.
    * The cited rule is on page 15 of MJME: "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." Note that the answer I gave Kathleen D on June 2 (below) is the way I interpret the rule.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, July 8, 2022, 6:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Broken link in FAQ 4a

    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 07:29:28 PM EDT, William F wrote:
    dead link at sloperama
    This is the result when one clicks on the dead link discussed below.
    Said another way, this is what you get https://www.davincigames.it/giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm
    When one clicks on it here. https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq04.html You can do a find to see where on this page.
    the Base site, https://www.davincigames.it/ is fine...just when the giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm .....is included in the link that one gets
    https://www.davincigames.it/giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm
    I hope this helps. I've been going to sloperama for many many years...been playing the game for decades and love it and teaching.
    Thanks for all you do!!!
    Bill F

    Thanks for the heads-up, Bill. When I looked at davincigames.it, I couldn't find those mah-jongg articles, so I had to delete the link from FAQ 4. Looks like davincigames is devoted to Korean music now.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, July 7, 2022, 7:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead? *

    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 02:51:58 PM EDT, <+1201280.... wrote:
    (No Subject)
    If a person declares margin error and exposes the hand they're dead . Of the remaining people, 1 declares in error, and the other exposes... what happens to the one remaining person does that 1 remaining person get paid
    If a person declares margin error and exposes the hand they're dead . Of the remaining people, 1 declares in error, and the other exposes... what happens to the one remaining person does that 1 remaining person get paid

    Hello +1201280,
    See FAQ 19-BW. If one player erroneously declared mah-jongg, which caused a cascading lemminglike leap to death (in which two other players throw their hands in before it's realized that the mah-jongg was improper), that's a situation in which the sole survivor gets paid. But that's not what you described. After a second person also declared in error, there's no more payment for the sole survivor. The survivor throws in their hand too (nobody gets paid). Shuffle, deal (next dealer takes over), and play another hand.*
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    +1310344...
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, July 7, 2022, 5:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See 7/11/22 email from Debbie Barnett above. And see FAQ 19-BW, updated 7/11/22. - Tom


    I won by joker redemption, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 02:01:21 PM EDT, Arlene R wrote:
    Thank you !

    You're welcome, Arlene!


    I won by joker redemption. How much am I paid?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 11:19:06 PM EDT, Arlene R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I had the following exposed: 2 6cracks with a joker and 3 7 cracks. I called a thrown 9 bam and now expose 4 9 bams. It is now my turn to throw. I have in my hand 3 8 bams and a 6 crack. I exchange the 6 crack for my exposed joker and now call mahjongg. My tablemates say that I did not make mahjongg on my own. I think I did. Who is right?
    Thank you in advance

    Win by joker redemption is considered self-pick, Arlene. FAQ 19-AN: nobody "gave" you that joker (nobody discarded it - you TOOK it, with a tile you picked yourself). So everybody pays you double card score.
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Wednesday, July 6, 2022, 11:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Recurring donation

    On Monday, July 4, 2022 at 06:32:44 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    PayPal
    You received a payment
    Jul 4, 2022 03:32:25 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Aug 4, 2022
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Stay safe out there. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Fourth of July, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 766

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, July 3, 2022 at 09:55:52 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom -- regarding Column 766
    #3 I agree about keeping 11C 22D and Iíd add 3B but the Flower pair is a gap for CR#3. Or maybe Flowers and Jokers show up and go for CR#2. These two options overlap. Iíd also keep 78C 78B for CR#4. The White dragons are a gap but you can use Jokers. Maybe the 7 pairs will show up. Unfortunately this option has no overlap with the others. Iíd pass 3C 9D and West.
    #8 With 2 Jokers, Iíd keep 4556B for either W/D #5 with N S (no gaps) or for CR #7 with the Green (Flower gap but there are Jokers); passing 5C 9C 6D. This would keep both possibilities as there is overlap. Iíd grit my teeth and probably eventually pass the White.
    Thanks so much for the mental exercise!
    Sue Z

    Nice, Sue!

    Yes, the flower pair is a problem, all right. But because flowers are twice as numerous as other tiles, the chances aren't too terrible. Not as bad as getting the needed 1D pair for Consec #4. I'd rather keep the threes than the sevens myself, but to each her own.

    You're wise to hang onto the winds, since those frequently go around in the Charleston. I like your choice. Thanks for playing!

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sunday, July 3, 2022, 11:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is there a mahj exception to the "down is dead" rule? Am I out of luck?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, July 1, 2022 at 06:57:22 PM EDT, Twyla G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I know that you cannot pick up a pair unless it is for Mahjong. So what is the rule on quints? I have four 8ís but need a fifth. There isnít another 8 so a joker is the only option. I did not draw a joker but several jokers were thrown out. Can I pick up that joker for a mahjong in a quint? I know that jokers cannot be picked up other times, but a fifth 8 does not exist. Am I out of luck unless I draw that joker myself?
    Twyla

    You're out of luck, Twyla. There is no exception to the "down is dead" rule. Nobody can claim a discarded joker. Period. End of story. Too bad you didn't get the needed joker sooner, before getting the fourth 8.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, July 1, 2022, 7:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where do I sign up?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, July 1, 2022 at 08:31:48 AM EDT, Donna C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: just discovered your site and its amazing. Iím a new player, started in nov 2021. I am trying to find on your site where to sign up for your email strategy suggestions, helpful tips, etc. Can you please advise how to do so?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Donna!
    So glad you're enjoying my site and my weekly column. Sorry to tell you, but I do not have a mailing list. Maybe someday I'll learn that technology, but for the present, all I can say is I'm planning to write a column every Sunday (now that I'm no longer teaching, I have a bit more bandwidth).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Friday, July 1, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Looking for an older post? Just click the link below! When the board grows too large, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

    WANNA SEE MORE MAH-JONGG Q&A?
    CLICK HERE to go back in time and read older Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!
    CLICK HERE to return to the present and see the latest Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!


      Color key


        • Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        • DarkBlue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked and answered frequently.
        • Purple = an less-than-happy email from a reader with a complaint.
        • Red = a forbidden technical support question about a computer game.
        • Orange = an out-of-the-ordinary email.
        • Black = none of the above. Regular mah-jongg question or comment: one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


    © 2022 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.