I am having some serious computer problems and so today’s posting will not have any photos. Sorry about that! I hope to have things working again by tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this Q&A from the wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Mah Jongg Tournaments.
Q.  If East hasn’t thrown the 1st tile yet and a player realizes she has the wrong amount of tiles, is she dead?  I was called dead for this.  Do you know what the rule is? 
Renee S
A. If someone realizes that she doesn’t have the correct amount of tiles….as long as East has NOT thrown the FIRST TILE to START THE GAME…then a player can NOT be declared dead.  The game has not started yet.
     In a tournament, we might request a RE-DEAL,   The rationale for a do-over-deal when someone has too many or too few tiles:
– A player with too many tiles can’t just pick-and-choose whichever tile they want to return to the wall.  This unfair advantage of an extra tile has helped that player to build a better hand;
and would not be a fair deal for the other players.
– If the last player just forgot to pick her LAST TILE, then it would not be a problem for the-game-at-hand – for her to just pick that tile from the wall.  However, if it was anyone else in the game who forgot to take their last tile, then that player would be picking a tile from the wall…
out of order.
Again, this would not be considered a fair deal for the other players….it’s a bit of an OCD approach, with respect to the random order of the wall.