Tag Archives: table rules


I’ve received this message from a reader of this blog. I’d love to hear how your Mah Jongg group deals with this issue. My group doesn’t pay for wall games but I think many groups do. So, let me know your thoughts.

I have two groups that I play with and love them both for different reasons.  I have been playing with my original group for over 5 years, but the other for only a year (they have been playing together for over 5 years, almost 50 years each individually!). One of their table rules is putting up a quarter for a wall game.  However, we disagree on how this should work when playing with more than 4 people.  They say the person coming in pays the quarter because they are the one who has a chance to win it.  I say the person who played the wall game pays it because it is in lieu of the (minimal) quarter they would have paid had someone won.  I can see it both ways, but it still bothers me a bit each time.  It’s only a quarter and I am a newer player so I go along with it.  I am wondering how other groups deal with this issue.  I’m sure there are some great stories about this!  Thanks for listening/commenting.


From time to time people will send me messages about table rules invented by their Mah Jongg group. Some of them make a lot of sense and some of them are just plain silly. I’d love to hear about your table rules, whether they are funny or fabulous. Send them to me – along with photos whenever possible – and I will post them up on this blog.

Here’s one to start…

This group has a specific way to set up “Mia’s” – or “Wally’s” – wall when they are playing with only three people. They call it a “Suzy” wall (obviously named after the person who figured out this way to ensure an easy Charleston for the missing player). Check it out – I got a kick out of it. What do you think?

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I’ve received a couple of messages from Georgelle in Naples, Florida, and she would like your opinions – please send them to me. Here’s the situation:

I discarded a North, called it a Soap, which is what I meant it to be when I discarded.  That was because I simply wasn’t paying attention and picked up the wrong tile.  I had a North and a Soap sitting on my rack together.  I actually picked up a North and threw it calling it a Soap.    One of my opponents saw the North, said that’s not a Soap.  The gals said I had to discard the North — even though I called it a Soap.  Thus the lady Mah Jongg’d with the North tile — which I didn’t intend to throw, but did it stupidly. 
I paid for myself and the other two players.  Was that necessary?  

Thanks from our whole group — most of whom have been playing for twenty or thirty years.  Me — only about four years, but never did such a stupid thing.  Just was talking and not paying attention.
Thanks for your help.

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I was invited back to join in a Sunday game with some of the ladies who live in my building. This is serious game play since most of these ladies have been playing Mah Jongg for around 50 years. Playing with this group is great for my game – although not for my wallet! – because the games are played with lightning speed. You have to be really sharp to play with these ladies. The good news is that one of their table rules is that you can only lose $5 maximum during the day.

But yesterday was a good Mah Jongg day for me – I ended up winning around $3.00 and generally was happy with my game play. But, before I post some of the winning hands, you might remember from the last time I played with this group that I posted the coin bag that A had needlepointed. Yesterday I noticed that not only did she have a needlepointed Mah Jongg coin bag but she had also had made a matching case for her glasses. And here it is:IMG_1556 Continue reading



The other day I met G, a wonderful lady who lives in my apartment building. We live only a few floors from one another and yet we had never met before. We sat and talked for a while and, much to my delight and surprise, she has been playing Mah Jong for over 50 years! She was on her way to a game right then but told me that she plays with a group on Sundays and they occasionally look for a fifth when one of their players can’t make the game. I let her know that I am usually free on Sundays and to please call me if they are ever looking for a fifth.

To my delight, G called me over the weekend and asked if I happened to be free for an afternoon of Mah Jongg on Sunday. I was thrilled and told her I would be honored to join her group.

Sunday afternoon I went down to G’s lovely apartment and met the other players – A,H, and L. What a terrific group of ladies! The first thing I noticed was this fabulous coin purse that A had needlepointed herself:


I love this bag – it holds money for the game and is large enough to hold the NMJL’s card. Fabulous! And what a beautiful job A did on this – every stitch is perfect.

I was happy that basically these girls play just like we do when the OMs get together. They do a “mish” (see Tom Sloper’s Table Rules in his definitive Mah Jongg book, The Red Dragon and The West Wind) although they only pull in three tiles from the wall and the OMs pull in five. Also, when the OMs play, we pool our winnings rather than giving them to individuals – sometimes we buy Lotto tickets and sometimes we just continue to collect the money for a future round of cocktails at some fabulous spot. Today’s group gives the money to the winner. I was up a nice amount of winnings by mid-day but by the end of the day I was out 75 cents. Actually not a bad day for me – I usually lose much more than that!


G had lovely snacks out on her table – lots of fresh pineapple that couldn’t have been more delicious, pound cake and fabulous salted caramel cookies, dried pineapple, yummy coconut and caramel-covered peanuts, and a big bowl of miniature Milky Ways along with a big pot of coffee.


I watched the ladies play their first hand so that I could get a feel for their game play. But I really couldn’t take my eyes off that creative coin purse that A had needlepointed! Also, I had to comment on G’s lovely Mah Jongg set – she told me that it had belonged to her mother!

The tiles dictated which hand I would be playing right after the Charleston was finished (NEWS, Dragons, and Flowers). And even though I had no jokers I was still feeling quite optimistic to have these tiles so early on.


Then I finally picked a Joker as well as a fourth Green Dragon which you can see exposed in this picture:


During my next turn I picked another Flower and was only one tile away – one more Red Dragon –  from winning when G declared Mah Jongg! Oh, so frustrating!

On this next hand I was debating between several different hands to play.


However, as the tiles were picked, the hand I should be playing became very clear:


Once again, I came very close to winning…I picked several Jokers and had filled in just about everything I needed for a consecutive hand – I was one tile away when A declared Mah Jongg. If only…

Even though I ended up in the negative by the time I left for home, I must say that it was a wonderful introduction to four really lovely – and so nice and welcoming – ladies. I hope to see them all again very soon. Much thanks to G for inviting me!