Monthly Archives: October 2016


Our friend Jennifer Jacobson, the Senior Program Coordinator at the Rosen JCC in Orlando, has sent us information about their annual Mah Jongg tournament (and for non-tournament players there are tables for you, too!) to take place on Sunday, December 4th, 2016. If you live in the Orlando area, be sure to support this wonderful event!screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-5-28-41-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-28-at-5-29-04-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-28-at-5-29-34-pm


You probably know that I adore both Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments, and Lynn Chorn, the owner of the fabulous Mah Jongg website, What a great delight today for me to see that Gladys has written a wonderful article for Lynn and her website. And it is really an informative and interesting article – one that all of you will want to read, especially for those of you interested in tournament play. Much thanks to Gladys and Lynn for always providing us with such wonderful Mah Jongg information!

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-08-27-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-08-50-pmRead on…screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-09-15-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-06-18-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-06-40-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-07-03-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-07-21-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-07-38-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-08-11-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-07-59-pm


Although it is a bit off in the future, I wanted to let you all know that I will be back in Southern California again on December 8th, speaking at the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County. I hope you will join me for a day filled with Mah Jongg fun!



  • To finish up the comments in response to the question asked on the posting , I received the following comments below from a few of the top Mah Jongg teachers in the country.  After looking at these comments and all of the responses from this initial comments posting – – I am afraid that the majority of people truly do believe that this person should not be allowed in this group any longer. What a sad and difficult situation.  screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-3-20-19-pm
  • Call her dead every time she has 14 tiles. She’ll figure out they are on to her after you’ve called her dead a few times..
  • Easy one. Make a rule, no touching the discarded tiles unless you’re calling it. Also, hands should be behind your rack unless you are drawing a tile. Explain that it makes it hard to keep track of discards when they get rearranged a lot. IF this is happening, she may have the beginnings of dementia, it’s a very abnormal behavior. I say IF because it’s an extremely obvious thing to do, and a player “noticing” it kind of makes me suspicious that maybe it’s not really happening she just suspects it. It’s pretty hard to palm a tile put it on your rack and slip another off.
  • I think it is very kind of you ladies to consider that it could be dementia, but I don’t think dementia usually involves intentional deception like this. Dementia could explain her inability to recall discards without touching tiles, but palming tiles??? I agree that calling her dead when she has 14 and establishing a table rule that hands must be behind racks are the best bet. Every time I hear these stories of people cheating at MJ, it really makes me shake my head. I wonder if maybe it is some sort of mental illness like kleptomania where they cheat simply for the thrill of getting away with cheating.


Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.48.50 PMOn September 27th I posted a question from a reader of this blog – she asked what she should do with someone who was cheating in their friendly (and small) neighborhood games. I gave my response but so many of you were kind enough to chime in. I received more responses than I could possibly re-post but here are a few of them. Be sure to scroll all the way through to the very last response as that one is from the wonderful and very knowledgeable Gladys Grad.

  • I would encourage everyone else to count her tiles continuously, and if she starts moving the discards do as suggested in the blog. If she doesn’t figure it out, then you need to be direct.
  • This situation is already ugly… and will get uglier without proof that she’s done anything wrong…
  • Very awkward for sure but cheating is cheating and can’t be tolerated even in a neighborhood game. Just keep declaring her dead. That should stop it.
  • Hard to believe that this person thinks she is getting away with cheating. Maybe it’s the thrill of thinking she’s getting away with it…living on the edge. I think Gladys and Ann are right on. Many players get annoyed when discards are moved around because they are visual and remember tiles by their placement on the table. Also, I’ve played in a tournament where hands in front of racks is not allowed. Perhaps you could just say that moving the tiles is distracting and during the next game have one of your players intentionally get caught with 14 tiles on their rack and call her dead. This would serve as fair warning. If the group is playing with loose rules, this could all be presented as an effort by the group to tighten up the game to conform with NMJL rules. However it is handled, it should be stopped before someone loses their patience and creates hurt feelings. If she can’t play by the group’s standards, she will probably find somewhere else to play.
  • Cheaters don’t just cheat in MJ. I broke up a game due to discovering a player cheating. That’s so wrong. Either call her dead every time she had 14 or call her out on it.
  • An ex-friend!
  • It is an awkward situation but I wouldn’t want to play with her & suggest telling her outright to stop.
  • I have to agree with the 1st suggestion about leaving all tiles where they are & if you are found to have 14 tiles you are declared dead. She must comply or no longer play with the group. What a shame. The game is supposed to be a fun social get together.
  • To me, there is never any reason to continue playing with somebody who cheats. If she needs the money that badly, take up a collection and put it in a good bye card.
  • Confront, poor character probably in other areas.
  • Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.
  • I played in a game for a few years, where two of the ladies ALWAYS made the correct bet. They never wanted to use a better (said friends should trust friends). Well, this friend got tired of it and I just left the game. It did end a friendship. But then again, what kind of a friend cheats for a quarter!
  • I think the suggestions are very diplomatic and should work to stop her behavior but I agree with the response that said the issue runs deeper and I would keep my eye on her in other social situations that she may participate in , such as bridge, etc.
  • It’s unfortunate that someone is desperate enough to make a hand that they would cheat! Tell her you made a new table rule where all hands must be behind the rack because it’s distracting to the other players. Personally, I find it annoying when a player has a need to constantly move the tiles on the table.
  • Is there someone in the group who is close to her? Perhaps one of the women can pull her aside and be direct and say, “We are a friendly game but we noticed…and if it happens again we’ll need to ask you to stop playing with us.”
  • Cheaters don’t just cheat in MJ. I broke up a game due to discovering a player cheating. That’s so wrong. Either call her dead every time she had 14 or call her out on it.
  • I would confront her as well. she has no problem taking advantage of her “friends” and cheating. then i would ask her to find another table. believe me…if she cheats in mah jong, it goes deeper than that.
  • For a friendly game I would suggest that the group announce they would like to streamline the game: 13 tiles ONLY on your rack. 14 makes you dead. Moving the tiles around is a distraction as many of us take a mental picture to remember what has been discarded. Trust you will have the support of the entire group. Good luck

And, finally…from Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments, comes the definitive response: The hardest thing we face in our tournaments is “firing” someone who has been found cheating. These players are usually good-natured, knowledgeable players….and come to these events with their friends. This makes it particularly tricky because we don’t want to embarrass them in front of their friends. In my previous profession, it was really hard when I had to fire employees; but dis-inviting a MJ player is worse. We warn them (after a thorough “investigation,” of course) …and tell them they can finish the tournament if they wish, so as not to embarrass them further; but they are never allowed back in another tournament of ours. Of course, they are always watched if they decide to play to the end; and their scores are not counted. I do not envy your very difficult position. Your situation is literally in your home. Ann’s solution may be the only way.

Much thanks to all of you for your responses!

















Oh, boy – today a package arrived from Sheila and Gil Linderman. Housed in a beautiful bag, I found two Mah Jongg racks specifically designed for Siamese Mah Jongg…BRILLIANT!img_1801Check out how the tiles play out on these special racks – I am loving how clever they are! img_1802 img_1805Gil is the wonderful Glady Grad’s brother and Sheila is his wife  – the two of them are both are very talented and have provided wonderful additions to our Mah Jongg accessories.  These racks are available now and if you are interested in purchasing them (BTW, a great holiday gift for your Mah Jongg-playing friends!), contact Gil and Sheila at

Now that I am playing Siamese Mah Jongg using these racks, I don’t know how I ever lived without them!