Thursday, July 24, 2014

Switching Hands

I love the transformations that take place in a Mah Jongg hand during the course of a game.

Here's an example from a game last week.

When the passing ends I have a nice start on the FF 222 444 666 888 hand.  I keep the soap, and the 1Crak just in case I want to switch to a 2104 never know what you might pick up.

Now I've given up on the 2014 hand because the 2s, 4s, and 8s are coming in.  But when I pick a red dragon I keep it, just in case I can do the 22 44 666 888 DDDD hand.

Uh I've added another joker!  So close to both hands!

I think:
For the :  22 44 666 888 DDD:  I have the pairs.  I can call for the 6 and the 8 AND the red dragon.

For the :  FF 222 444 666 888:  (it's concealed)  I would have to pick either a 2, 4, 6, 8 or joker to discard my red dragon and then I would be on call for the Mah Jongg.

It really depends upon which tile I pick next that fits into one of these hands.

My next pick is a RED DRAGON.  I discard a flower and wait for a 2, 4, 6, 8 or dragon to call.
I pick a 6 crack, discard the second flower and wait to call MJ on either a 2, 4, 8 or dragon.

My chances are can see in the last photo that we are pretty early in the game.

And, yes.  I made the Mah Jongg.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dead or Alive?

A former student of ours writes:

" Recently I was mistakenly called dead when I called an exposed a pung.  Does my opponent who called my hand dead then become dead?  I thought I remembered this being the rule from your class but my opponent disagreed.
Thank you.

P.S.  I enjoyed your class and have become addicted. "

You are RIGHT.  If a player calls another player dead in error, that player becomes dead and ceases play while the other player continues to play.  That's why players are so careful when they call another dead.

I believe that if there wasn't a penalty for  that, players would be much more liberal in calling others dead, even possibly in an effort to determine which hand they are playing.

Comments or differing opinions?
BTW....we love the Mah Jongg addiction!

Susan and Barbara

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

6 degrees of separation

Mah Jongg is a culture unto itself.  We could go to a Mah Jongg tournament almost anywhere and make connections with someone we know...or at least within 6 degrees of separation!  It's like  Mah Jongg Geography.

You can walk in to a room full of players and know what to do without giving it a second thought.  You sit and chat with folks you don't know and soon you find that you know people in common.

In Atlanta in May, I met players I knew from Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
On our cruise in March, Barbara met a woman who had played Mah Jongg with her aunt in Greenlawn, NY in the 70's.  And, if not someone you know, you will certainly find that you have friends in common.

When I met Michele in Atlanta she told me about Mah Jongg and Me:  a blog I had yet to find written by Ann who lives in Manhattan.   As soon as I got home I looked up the blog and went back to read all of the posts from the beginning. They are filled with wonderful information related to the game.  Be sure to check out her blog.

We've connected to Ann through her blog and emails....and have plans to meet with her in the city in a couple of weeks.  Can't wait to talk Mah Jongg with another avid player. 

All things Mah Jongg become special.  The sets and tiles we use.  The food we serve.   And the people we play with.  I wonder if Kevin Bacon plays Mah Jongg?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sometimes One Mah Jongg Set is Not Enough...

When you love Mah Jongg as much as we do, the set you play with is important.
Barbara plays on her mother's set.  It's a good feeling to handle the same tiles your mom did so many years ago.

I didn't grow up in a family that played MJ, so when I began to play I bought a new set.  It's a lovely set, but it has no history!

 I played with it for a few years but I longed for a set that was old and beautiful.  I started looking at auctions, flea markets and on eBay and finally found this on eBay.

 The auction had many photographs that showed ALL of the set.  All of the tiles both front and back.  It's important that all are the same color and belong to the same set.
This one had a tag that marked it a Royal Depth Control set from A & L Mfg. Co. in NY.

But what sold me on the set were the jokers.  First of all there were 8.  Many older sets have only 6 jokers or less.  (It wasn't until 1971 that the NMJL began using 8 jokers and 8 flowers) 
I don't know why this has 8...unless someone got them from another identical set.  But they are beautiful!

The flowers and dragons are also lovely and the tiles are all full of color and very smooth to the touch.

There are five racks with betting chips.  Also a sign of an older set.  New sets only have 4 racks.

And, of course the instruction booklet, dice and a bakelite bettor!
This is my set of choice when I play!'s something else about avid Mah Jongg players...sometimes we collect sets.
The tiles that we photographed for our header at the top of the page are part of a set that my daughter's boyfriend bought at an auction for me.  It has no jokers but the tiles are beautiful.  There are 16 flower/worker enough to make 8 jokers and have a set that can be used for play.  I have some joker stickers on order and am finally ready to restore it.
What good is an antique set if you don't use it!