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).
One of my star students has been practicing on the great websitewwwmyjongg.netand she isconquering the new National Mah Jongg League’s 2017 card! She frequently sends me screen shots of particularly great wins…check out this one…the last hand on the card (Singles and Pairs section) worth 60 points but, since she picked it herself, she received 120 points! Nice!!
The NMJL’s new card is now uploaded ontomyjongg.netand it is a great place to really get to know the card and hone your skills. Just be warned…once you start playing on myjongg.net, it is hard to stop!
The wonderful Faye Scher shared a link from My Jewish Learning – this link took us to “The History of Mah Jongg Snacks” written by “The Nosher” (explained as a “blogging tour of all things Jewish food, recipes, and news, written byShannon Sarna and other Jewish food lovers.”). If you have been a reader of this blog over the years then you know how important I think snacks are to our beloved game…and I suspect you will all enjoy this article. Pass the licorice!I had to laugh at the last paragraph in the article when Ivy Barsky observes, “food is a kind of fifth player.” So true!!!!
Have any of you seen theAmazon series “Red Oaks”with Jennifer Grey, Paul Reiser, Freddy Roman, Gina Gershon, Richard Kind and more? My dear friend (although not a Mah Jongg player!) Jodi D told me that I must watch this series, now in its second season. So, this afternoon I watched the pilot and then binge-watched right into Episode 2…and guess what I saw…the women at the Red Oaks Country Club playing Mah Jongg! Seriously, Mah Jongg is everywhere!!! Now I just have to contact the producers and let them know that in reality these women would have been playing with NMJL sets and racks because I definitely heard them say, “I still don’t have any Jokers!”
I recently received a question from our dear friend Joy H regarding Atomic hands in a Mah Jongg game. For those of you who do not know about Atomic Mah Jongg, I wrote about it several years ago in a previousblog posting. Since that posting the OM’s (my Wednesday Mah Jongg group) have amended the rules to say no Flowers as well as no Jokers are allowed. Here is Joy’s question:
Hi Ann – Our group has started playing Atomic hands when possible and now we are wondering if you could answer a couple of questions.
I read your posts about going ‘Atomic’ and understand that since it is not recognized by the NMJL, table rules must therefore be applied. We would like to follow your table rules, although we don’t play for money.
I’m assuming that your group declares when one is going ‘Atomic’, due to the fact that there is no line on the card. Is that correct?
Also why does your group follow a rule that if you pick a Flower or Joker you must change your hand?
I can’t understand this one but another in our group does not think 4 of a kind makes two pair, so I’m also assuming that is another table rule you have implemented.
So many questions… so many rules ….. so much FUN!
Think of you often, my friend,
My response to Joy was as follows:
Flowers and Jokers disqualify your hand for Atomic simply because there are so many of each and it is too easy to get pairs of them. That would give Atomic hands an unfair advantage so we say that if you pick a Flower or Joker then you are no longer Atomic (and hopefully you have a backup hand). This is not just a table rule for our group – this seems to be the standard accepted rule for Atomic hands. Also, you must declare yourself Atomic BEFORE the Charleston so that no one is allowed to pass you a Flower. And yes, with an Atomic hand, 4 of a kind is considered two pairs. Having said all of this I must also tell you that I do not “approve” of Atomic game play. It changes the nature of the game and I totally understand why it is not sanctioned by the NMJL. I only mention it briefly when teaching Mah Jongg and make it clear that I don’t like it. I personally do not play Atomic hands – I prefer to stay with the NMJL accepted hands on the card…but, that’s me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this game-changing hand. Let me know what you think!
Yesterday was a special day – Judy S arrived at LaGuardia around 10am and headed right over to chez moi. From the moment she walked in until she left, we never stopped talking! Although we only met in person for the first time in July at the Destination Mah Jongg Tournament, it is as if we have been friends forever. Judy is such a thoughtful and giving person – she walked in loaded with fabulous gifts for me. And I love them all – a magnetic clip for my refrigerator…Mah Jongg coasters – I LOVE these and I know they will get a lot of use!A purse-sized measuring tape – perfect for using when you are out and about and need to measure tiles or tables or whatever! And, in case you haven’t figured it out, Judy is one of the two CEOs of Dragons on the Green Mah Jongg (Bonnie Wise is her partner in the business) – the company that gives all of those wonderful tournaments in the greater Tampa area. BTW, if you live around Tampa, Judy and Bonnie are also great Mah Jongg teachers. Send me a message if you are interested in taking lessons from them and I will send you their contact information. And a Mah Jongg fabric case to hold my NMJL card – what great gifts!!! I can’t wait until everyone sees my card in this case!After talking away for a couple of hours, we decided it was time for lunch and headed over to the local neighborhood hangout, The Beach Cafe, for a great hamburger. Afterward we headed back to my apartment for hours and hours of Siamese Mah Jongg. All in all, the perfect day!BTW, I must admit that Judy beat the pants off of me today – she is such a great MJ player!