Monthly Archives: March 2014



The other day I met G, a wonderful lady who lives in my apartment building. We live only a few floors from one another and yet we had never met before. We sat and talked for a while and, much to my delight and surprise, she has been playing Mah Jong for over 50 years! She was on her way to a game right then but told me that she plays with a group on Sundays and they occasionally look for a fifth when one of their players can’t make the game. I let her know that I am usually free on Sundays and to please call me if they are ever looking for a fifth.

To my delight, G called me over the weekend and asked if I happened to be free for an afternoon of Mah Jongg on Sunday. I was thrilled and told her I would be honored to join her group.

Sunday afternoon I went down to G’s lovely apartment and met the other players – A,H, and L. What a terrific group of ladies! The first thing I noticed was this fabulous coin purse that A had needlepointed herself:


I love this bag – it holds money for the game and is large enough to hold the NMJL’s card. Fabulous! And what a beautiful job A did on this – every stitch is perfect.

I was happy that basically these girls play just like we do when the OMs get together. They do a “mish” (see Tom Sloper’s Table Rules in his definitive Mah Jongg book, The Red Dragon and The West Wind) although they only pull in three tiles from the wall and the OMs pull in five. Also, when the OMs play, we pool our winnings rather than giving them to individuals – sometimes we buy Lotto tickets and sometimes we just continue to collect the money for a future round of cocktails at some fabulous spot. Today’s group gives the money to the winner. I was up a nice amount of winnings by mid-day but by the end of the day I was out 75 cents. Actually not a bad day for me – I usually lose much more than that!


G had lovely snacks out on her table – lots of fresh pineapple that couldn’t have been more delicious, pound cake and fabulous salted caramel cookies, dried pineapple, yummy coconut and caramel-covered peanuts, and a big bowl of miniature Milky Ways along with a big pot of coffee.


I watched the ladies play their first hand so that I could get a feel for their game play. But I really couldn’t take my eyes off that creative coin purse that A had needlepointed! Also, I had to comment on G’s lovely Mah Jongg set – she told me that it had belonged to her mother!

The tiles dictated which hand I would be playing right after the Charleston was finished (NEWS, Dragons, and Flowers). And even though I had no jokers I was still feeling quite optimistic to have these tiles so early on.


Then I finally picked a Joker as well as a fourth Green Dragon which you can see exposed in this picture:


During my next turn I picked another Flower and was only one tile away – one more Red Dragon –  from winning when G declared Mah Jongg! Oh, so frustrating!

On this next hand I was debating between several different hands to play.


However, as the tiles were picked, the hand I should be playing became very clear:


Once again, I came very close to winning…I picked several Jokers and had filled in just about everything I needed for a consecutive hand – I was one tile away when A declared Mah Jongg. If only…

Even though I ended up in the negative by the time I left for home, I must say that it was a wonderful introduction to four really lovely – and so nice and welcoming – ladies. I hope to see them all again very soon. Much thanks to G for inviting me!


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Today’s posting takes a look at some brief bios from four different teachers in four different
parts of the country. If you live in any of these areas and are looking to take Mah Jongg lessons –
or maybe just pick up some games – contact one of these women…and let them know you
heard about them on the Mah Jongg and Me blog! Continue reading


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We have a date! See the players from the Mah Jongg Madness Las Vegas Tournament and Tradeshow at Harrah’s interviewed by Bill Geist of the CBS Sunday Morning program on Sunday, April 6, 2014.


Don’t forget to tune in to CBS Sunday Morning on Sunday, April 6th!

Follow this link here to see a YouTube video of the March Madness Tournament.

Photos and video courtesy of Mah Jongg Madness and Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg.


I received a request from Where the Winds Blow, a wonderful site offering fantastic Mah Jongg custom-made sets, gifts, and accessories, asking me to post a link to a new petition being sent to the U.S. Congress and President Obama proclaiming April 30th as National Mah Jongg Day. What a great idea!

I signed the petition and I hope you will do the same. Let’s make this happen! By the way, your name does not have to show up on the Internet petition site if you would prefer to remain nameless. Check it out right here…


The goal is to reach 1,000 signatures by March 27th – let’s do better than that – I know we can!


Although there isn’t much time left to sign up for this event, I thought this sounded amazing:


Shanghai – Beijing – Xian – Chengdu – Guilin – Hong Kong


How cool is this?

For more information, call 877-CHINA77. Much thanks to Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg, of Mahjongg Madness for alerting us to this incredible opportunity.

Continue reading


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As soon as I know the date of the Mah Jongg segment on CBS’ Sunday Morning, I will post it on this blog. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Bill Geist sitting with Gladys Grad at the Harrah’s Las Vegas Tournament and Trade Show (photo courtesy of the Mah Jongg Madness March 2014  newsletter by Gladys Grad).
Before reading this month’s questions with their instructive answers, you might want to check out this video from the most recent tournament held at Harrah’s in Las Vegas – if you are in one of these photos, let me know if you would like your picture and a brief story about you at the tournament in a future posting on this blog.
Here are a few more questions and answers from the March, 2014 Mah Jongg Madness Newsletter by Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg.
Q.  My opponent didn’t pick up the tile she claimed for Mah Jongg, until  I told her that she left it on the table.  Then I told her she was “dead.”  I called over the Director who said she wasn’t dead.  But I was right…right?
A. Opponents are pretty quick to jump on a player who has not picked up that final tile yet, after declaring and exposing for mahj. Some players might say, “I was just going to take that tile…I’m not dead!” -or- “You didn’t give me a chance!”
     Unless a Director gets confirmation from at least 2 of the other players, the Director can’t make a fair determination.  Unfortunately, ohers at the table might say “I wasn’t really watching,” or, “I don’t want to make trouble.”(!?)
     You actually helped your opponent when you gave her the “hint” – and she took it.  As a Director, if I see that all 14 tiles of the mahj hand are correct, then I may have no choice but to confim a “good Mah Jongg.”
Q. Player A discarded a 3Dot, Player B then discarded a Joker and said “same;” Player C then discarded another Joker and said “soap.”  Player D then said “take” for an exposure.  We all got mad at Player C  for purposely saying “soap,” but she said she could name her discarded Joker anything she wanted to?  Have you ever heard of this?
A. Yes, I’ve heard of this…’s a devious strategy that some players use to see if an opponent needs a tile (like that soap) for an exposure or for mah jongg.  They “convince” you that they “can name a Joker anything they want….it’s a ‘rule’.”  Some players will also purposely mis-name a tile for the same reason…that’s why in tournments, we require the discarder to provide the correct tile if it is in their hand.
     You can name a discarded Joker: a “Joker;”  “Same;” or the name of the previously discarded tile…only.  Don’t fall for your opponent’s made-up “rule.”
Q. I played in a local Mah Jongg Master Point (MJMP) tournament, and the Director made up her own hands; she said we had to play 2014, instead of the required 2013 hands on the card.  Even though I won a prize, is she able to make up her own hands?
A. Directors have the option of making up their own “rules,” for their own tournaments….but the points for the made-up hands really won’t count for MJMP’s; and neither will the penalties for giving someone the made-up-mah-jongg; and creative digressions from the NMJL rules don’t count either.  You do have a choice,however, to play-or-not-to-play in these specialized tournaments.  If a Director follows all the other standardized rules for MJMP’s, but the scoring doesn’t qualify, you may still be able to receive the tournament-assigned-point(s) for playing only.