…from the most recent newsletter written by the wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg.
Q. This dispute comes up in every tournament and at every game I play in….when replacing a joker in an exposure, do you have to say/announce that you are exchanging? Marilyn
A. Since most people don’t want you to touch their tiles or their rack,…when you go to exchange a symbol tile for an exposed Joker, the best way to do it is to ask for the exchange. If you merely place your tile in front of their rack on the table, that is construed as discarding the tile. Don’texpect your opponents to know your intention. In addition, as a strategy, do NOT announce that you are exchanging your own tile for your own Joker in your own exposure. You don’t need to draw attention to the fact that you now have an additional Joker in your hand.
One of the rules I teach my Mah Jongg students is that you must never touch another player’s rack – I agree completely with Gladys’ answer on this question (although I always agree with her…she is the Grand Master after all!). When you want to exchange a tile for a Joker, hand it to that player and ask for the exchange. And Gladys has added an important strategy to the Joker exchange when she advises us to not announce you are exchanging your own tile for a Joker. I did it just yesterday – I exclaimed, “Oh, that’s lucky” as I exchanged a tile for an exposed Joker on my rack. Thanks to Gladys’ instruction, hopefully I won’t do that again!