Tag Archives: Grand Master of American Mah Jongg


Another interesting question and informative answer from

Gladys Grad‘s Mah Jongg Madness newsletter


Q. I have been playing for over 40 years and just love this game.  My friends are all experienced players and we live in Canada. This week during a game, I had one exposure and no other player was exposed.  The last tile from the wall was picked by a player opposite of me and she put it in her rack.  She then took a tile from her rack,  discarded it , but did not name it.  I was just about to say mah jongg when she picked it up from the table and put it back in her rack, and replaced it with another tile.  The fact that she did not say what the tile was, does this make this move okay?I think that she should not have taken the tile from the table because it was discarded  But she feels that because she did not name it, that it was okay.  Was it okay? Sheila

A. Your opponent did you wrong.  First, once a tile has been placed on the table – or named….it is considered discarded.  No-take-backs.  The National Mah Jongg League says “Down-is-Down.”  Further, once Mah Jongg has been declared…that ends the game.  It doesn’t matter that this was the last tile.  Would she expect to retrieve a tile she threw to someone in the middle of a game, so it wouldn’t give her opponent mahj?


Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Mah Jongg, included me in what turned out to be a very lively email discussion regarding a question that had been posed to her. I promised Gladys that I would post the question on my blog and now I am asking for your opinions on this. Can’t wait to hear from you!


Hi, How would you rule in this situation?  Player A is set for Mahj, waiting for a 5 Bam.  Player A has two 5 Bams in her hand and a Joker.  Player A wants to self-pick her Mahj.  A 5 Bam  is thrown. Instead of calling Mahj, Player A calls for the 5 Bam and exposes it with one 5 Bam, a Joker, and the 5 Bam  picked up from the table.  With that action it is the  beginning of Player A’s turn. Now….Player A takes the  remaining 5 Bam from her hand and exchanges it with the  exposed Joker on her rack and calls Mahj. Is it a self-picked Mahj??? Does it matter that the exchange happens in her own hand? I know if she exchanges a tile from another player’s hand to get the Joker then it would be a self-picked Mahj. Does the same rule exist when it is her own hand? Thanks for your opinion.  P.S. Player A CHOSE not to call Mahj (just as some players would possibly throw the Joker to try for a Jokerless hand). Interesting dilemma….what do you guys think?