No real food in this posting…just something to think about…
I’m thinking about East as the dealer. That’s the title she (or he!) has won by throwing the highest number on the dice. It’s true that she also has won an advantage by becoming East because she starts with 14 tiles when everyone else just has 13. But what else is her role? Although there is no official rule on this – and your table rules may dictate otherwise – I live by the rule that no one should be dealing out the tiles except for East because she is THE DEALER. I am of the school that I don’t want anyone else to touch the tiles until they are all dealt out. Interestingly enough, the wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments wrote about this in her Mah Jongg Madness March 2019 newsletter:
Q. In the old days, we thought nothing of exchanging a tile for a Joker from our friends’ racks. Now, every time you go to a game, someone tells you not to touch their tiles; don’t deal them for me; don’t exchange for my Joker; don’t touch my wall, don’t, don’t, don’t. Barbara CA
A. This isn’t something new…it’s been going on for a long time. Bingo players don’t want you to touch their cards or their daubers; domino players don’t want you to straighten their double 6’s; and you wouldn’t think of touching your poker buddies’ cards. It might have something to do with superstition….but there have also been some mistakes when players exchange for a Joker in exposures….like replacing a 1Bam for a Flower, or a West for a North. Please don’t take it personally.
When I teach Mah Jongg I tell the beginning students that no one should ever touch anyone else’s tiles or racks. When you want to exchange a tile for a Joker you extend the tile out to the player with the Joker and politely ask for her Joker. You do not take it off her rack yourself.
Why do I teach this way and why am I so adamant about this rule? As it was explained to me, all of this prevents any hint of cheating. I’m not sure that I think too much about that aspect because I would never play with anyone who is suspected of cheating. I think I am just superstitious about this! So, don’t touch my tiles and I won’t touch yours!
Let me know if you agree.
Leave it to the wonderful Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg, the beloved Gladys Grad, to come up with this gorgeous puzzle. The holidays are really not that far off and this could be the perfect gift for your Mah Jongg-loving friends…or for yourself! Click here to order this 1000 piece Mah Jongg Masters Collage Jigsaw Puzzle (completed puzzle measures 20″ x 27″) at a special discounted price of $19.99 with free shipping (normally $24.95).
As Gladys says, “This artistic assemblage of all-things-Mah Jongg is not only challenging…..but it’s so beautiful that you will want to frame it and hang it somewhere special; or put it under the glass top of your cocktail table.”
My students call me RackIt (!) because I am constantly reminding them to rack their tiles after they have picked from the wall. Why am I so fixated on racking the tile – and done in the proper way? Well, simply because this avoids any confusion, disagreements, and/or mistakes. But don’t take my word for it – let’s hear what the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg, Gladys Grad, has to say about this issue:
Please answer this question so it can be settled with my Mah Jongg group. When does your chance to call for a discarded tile end? I think we have some misinformation afloat.
A. You can claim a discard before the next player picks and RACKS their next tile. If they click the tile ON their rack, it does NOT count.
If they hold it (even for a long time), it does NOT count.
Putting their picked tile on the table in FRONT of their rack does NOT count.
And in order to claim the tile that you have already RACKED and that you don’t want to lose to someone who is claiming the last discard….make sure you RACK IT FULLY ON THE SLANTED PORTION OF YOUR RACK.
Much thanks to the wonderful Gladys Grad!
I know this question comes up frequently and is one of those issues that causes much discussion. Well, leave it to the Grand Master of American-style Mah Jongg, the wonderful Gladys Grad, to provide us with a definitive answer!
The hand in question is: 22 44 666 888 DDDD.
A player had 4 RED Dragons already exposed on her rack from a previous call for one of the Red Dragons. She declared Mah Jongg and picked up a 6 Bam and added 2 Jokers with it on her rack. Then she proceeded to expose the rest of the Mah Jongg hand. She put three 8 Bams on the rack and then two 2 Craks and two 4 Craks. Of course the hand was dead as she needed two 2 DOTS & two 4 DOTS because the hand calls for 3 suits. Now another player says that since she exposed the 6 Bams first with the 2 jokers, that that part of the hand was still available for exchanging the joker. Was the Joker in the 6 Bam exposure still viable? VS, CA
A. No, that Joker was NOT viable. If it had been a Joker in the previously exposed Red Dragons, then it could be exchanged. But the 6 Bam exposure made with Jokers was still part of the current turn that resulted in it being declared a dead hand.
I hope this will help those of you who are still not sure when a Joker is still viable in a dead hand. Send me some of your situations with dead hands and Jokers and I will post them on a future blog.
If you are a reader of this column then you know I am a big fan of Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg, and all she has to teach us about Mah Jongg, both for social games and tournaments.
Her most recent newsletter listed many of the rules for both types of games. I think these are important to know, especially for social games where we do not have a ruling director as we do in tournaments.
I agree with all of these rules. And, as a courtesy to your friends, please pay attention to #5 – there is no reason to wear perfume/cologne to your MJ game…please be aware of your friends’ sensitivities!