I have a pet peeve about people picking and racking at the speed of light. There is a group I occasionally play Mah Jongg with and one of the ladies has a habit of hovering over the wall long before it is her turn and then, when her turn does come around, she is already there to pick and discard faster than you can say “wait.” I like a friendly game and I find this behavior to be both aggressive and rude game play – Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg Tournaments, seems to agree with me as you will read below in her most recent Q&A column. Let me know your thoughts…

saki-episode-of-side-a-ep-6-007-614x345“Loli steps up and proves more vicious in her preferred competitive tile game than one could have imagined.” – From Saki S2 – Loli Gets Ruthless & Aggressive  

Q. I teach at a senior center. Today, someone said it is not a NMJL rule to rack a tile once it is picked – like I’ve been teaching.   Players also said they can pick and throw the tile, while their hand is still hovering over the wall (and that is really fast).  True or not?   Eileen G 

 A.  There is NO official tournament rule, or NMJL rule, that states you have to rack a tile once it is picked.  However, the NMJL rule and the standardized tournament rules have been very clear about NOT picking-and-racking in one swift movement.  We consider it rude and ungracious to not allow your opponents time to hear the previous discard and to make a timely claim for that discard.  There are many teachers who teach new players to pick-and-rack-quickly as a strategy….to prevent their opponents from making a timely claim on the previously discarded tile. Please don’t do that.

If players put their hands in the middle of the table during the game, or hover over the wall…that is also not permitted….but a player is permitted to pick and discard without racking.

5 thoughts on “DO YOU AGREE?

  1. Barbie Andreason

    As a teacher, I emphasize that MJ is a game to be enjoyed with friends, old and new. It is NOT a blood sport. For those who continue to be rude , inconsiderate and highly competitive ( expressing disparaging remarks to any victor), I put them in a group together and let them insult one another.


  2. Susan

    I agree with Gladys on this one. I pick and throw without racking all the time….but there should be no HOVERING over the wall or speedy racking just to prevent another players call. Come on…..other players need to be able to call a discarded tile if they need it.


  3. Tony Watson

    We don’t play NMJL rules, but in the old (1920s) rules, the previous discard is still available after the next tile is picked, right up until it is discarded – any ungentlemanly conduct, such as quickly grabbing and immediately discarding one’s tile, would be worthy of a black look and a firm request to refrain from the practice.
    Such gamesmanship is unworthy and outside the spirit of the game.


    1. mahjonggandme Post author

      Hi Tony – I agree 100% with what you have written. And yes, “such gamesmanship is truly unworthy and outside the spirit of the game” – very well said!


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