Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).
I’m looking forward to many comments from all of you regarding the following situation. My “sista” Johni and I had a long discussion about this and we were both in agreement that this was a valid Mah Jongg. But this could be looked at differently and not deemed to be valid. What do you think?
A Player had an exposure of three South’s and a Joker to complete the kong. Someone threw an East and she declared Mah Jongg. As she put up her tiles, she exchanged a South she had in her rack for her own exposed Joker, then put that Joker with three North’s that were in her rack to expose a kong which was needed to complete the Mah Jongg hand. The hand being played was NNN E W SSSS 2015. Was this a valid Mahj?
Two prior rulings by Ruth Unger are key to the discussion here.
#1 You are able to re-sort your hand into a valid Mahj if you have the correct 14 tiles.
Player calls Mahj and displays her hand, however she has placed the Joker in the incorrect spot in her hand and exposes a pung, pung, kong, kong, instead of a pung kong pung kong. Ruth stated that since she HAD the correct 14 tiles in her hand, it is a valid Mah Jongg, and could simply be arranged correctly. She ruled that you are allowed to rearrange your hand if you have the correct 14 tiles in your hand.
*This supports the contention that our player has Mah Jongg when she calls the East and is simply rearranging her exposed 14 tiles as allowed.
#2 You already “own” the Joker if the tile it is used for is on your rack.
Ruth calls this a “finesse” move. A player holds back a tile that can be replaced on another player’s rack. She waits until her 13th tile is thrown, calls it for exposure, then replaces the tile on the other player’s rack and that Joker gives her Mah Jongg. She is then entitled to a self-picked bonus. Ruth ruled that this does NOT apply if you exchange a tile exposed on your own rack because all you are doing is simply rearranging your own tiles. In essence,you already own the Joker. No self-picked bonus is then allowed.
*This supports the contention that our player already owned the Joker since she had the South tile in her own hand and is allowed to call the single East.
Back to our example …the calling of the single East obviously would not be allowed if she had to exchange a tile from ANOTHER player’s rack, but since it was on her OWN rack, it is allowed. If we apply either one of Ruth’s prior ruling that “any 14 tiles that can be arranged correctly is a valid Mahj,” or that you already “own” the Joker if you have the replaceable tile in your hand, this would mean she would be able to call that single East for a valid Mah Jongg. Both of her rulings seem to support this Mahj being valid. If you don’t agree, please explain.