Posted by Elaine Sandberg
“CALL!” FOR THE SAME TILE
Who Gets it?
I was playing in a game the other day when an unpleasant “discussion” broke out. Here’s the story.
The setting was I was East, Amy sat to my right, then Madge and then Jan. I made a discard. Madge and Amy both needed the discard for Mahj. Madge called for it and a couple of seconds later, Amy called for the same tile. Madge is quite competitive and claimed that Amy waited too long to call and that she called only to keep her from Mahj. A big, BIG “discussion” ensued.
So the question is Who get’s it? If two people want the same tile, the rule is the person to the discarder’s right gets the discard. So normally, Amy would get it. But Madge was adamant that her claim was justified. To settle things, although I felt the tile was Amy’s, I thought the rule needed clarification.
So I called the League’s office. I carefully explained the situation about the time lapse between the calls. The answer was—The person to the right of the discarder gets the tile—no matter there is a lapse between the time one player’s call over another.
But there is an exception. The determining factor is whether Madge had started to expose her hand or not. If Madge had begun to expose, the tile would be hers. Since she did not, the tile was Amy’s.
We all kissed and made up and had a glass of wine to soothe our savage breasts. And happily, Madge made the next Mahj, uncontested.
Til next time..
MAY THE TILES BE WITH YOU……
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September 20, 2010 | 12:51 pm
Posted by Elaine Sandberg
In my last posting I talked about common situations that necessitated changing your hand. Sometimes it can be a difficult decision. One discard can be the blow that finally upsets your well-made plan. And you need to quickly and quietly find a new one. Quickly, because holding up the play of the game is a clue that you don’t have a viable hand and quietly, because you do not want your opponents to know of your situation.
Here are some caveats.
Unseasoned players tend to lose confidence in their hands because one or two of their needed tiles are discarded, especially early in the game. Panic strikes and a frantic search for a new hand ensues—-unnecessarily. Hold on! Your hand is not dead—yet. The opportunities for you to complete your hand abound. It often happens that the player picks the missing tiles, picks Jokers, and/or exchanges Jokers from others’ (or your own) Exposures. Remember, there are four of each tile, eight Flowers and eight Jokers. Don’t give up on your hand too soon. Be sure all your options are gone before you decide your hand needs to be changed.
Avoid excessive hand-changing. Excessive hand-changing is when you pick a tile for one hand and change it, then pick another tile for another hand and change it, over and over. Changing the hand three or four times in a game is excessive and can lead to chaos and becomes almost impossible to make a firm decision about which hand to play. By the time a final decision is reached, the tiles you need for the new hand have undoubtedly been discarded and it most likely there are not enough Wall tiles left for you to create a winning hand.
Keeping options open is reasonable and productive. Having Plan B ready if Plan A fails is a good idea. But having Plan C and Plan D and Plan E ready is not. I know it’s hard to abandon “maybe” hands. But having too many options available is counter-productive and deciding which hand has the best possibility for success can be overwhelming.
There are situations when you shouldn’t change your hand, even tho you may have acquired a few tiles for an alternative. When you already have seven, eight or nine tiles toward Mah Jongg for a hand you have chosen, stick with that hand and do not even think about the other. You are already more than half-way toward Mah Jongg so why would you want to change? If you don’t need to change your hand, don’t.
And a most important factor is timing. Do you have enough picks from the Wall to create a winning hand? If the game is about half-way over, it probably is reasonable to think about changing your hand. But once the third Wall is more than half-way gone you have maybe 7 or 8 picks left and it probably is too late.
And check the discards. How many of the tiles for your new hand are already discarded?
Weigh all these factors before you decide to change your hand. Do it only when you successfully can and if you must. If you can’t or shouldn’t, play defensively….
Til next time,
MAY THE TILES BE WITH YOU….
September 12, 2010 | 7:09 pm
Posted by Elaine Sandberg
CHANGING YOUR HAND
Changing your hand is one of the most frequently occurring events of the game. Circumstances rapidly change and you frequently don’t end up playing the hand you start out to play. Many times you pick a tile that leads to a better, and/or easier hand.
Nor is there a lot of time for you to make the decision. Saying “Wait a minute” and frantically searching the card for another hand holds up the flow of the game and reveals your dilemma to the others. Not a good idea.
Every Mah Jongg player has been confronted with the circumstances that lead you to either decide to change or consider changing your hand. Let’s go over some of them.
• When you can’t call for your needed tiles because your hand is Concealed, your combinations are incomplete, or you are not ready to commit to a specific hand,
• When the tiles you need for a Pair are discarded or exposed in an opponents Exposure,
• You’ve made an erroneous Exposure,
• As the game progresses, your hand is not improving.
So under these circumstances, you will need to consider an alternative. Here are some guidelines to help you in deciding to change your hand.
Timing is everything. Consider if there are enough picks left in the Wall to create a winning hand. If the game is more than ½. over and well into the third Wall, it’s probably too late.
Check the discards to see how many tiles are out for the alternative hand you are considering.
If your hand is Concealed, try to change to an Exposed hand.
If you’ve made an erroneous Exposure, look for another hand that uses the Exposure, most times in the same Section or many times in the Like Numbers Section.
Depending on the hand, if the tiles are discarded for the Pair you need, try switching the Suits required for the Pair and the Pung. (See the 4th hand in the 369 Section, the 2nd. hand in the 2468 Section, the 3rd. and 4th. hands in the 13579 Section and the Like Numbers Section.)
But when all else fails and you can’t successfully find a new hand, play defensively and keep your opponents from declaring Mah Jongg. Have no regrets about breaking up your hand and discard safe tiles, including the Joker.
In the next posting, we’ll discuss some caveats about changing your hand.
MAY THE TILES BE WITH YOU!!!