Jewish Journal


by Elaine Sandberg

April 25, 2011 | 12:56 am


The holidays, family visits and cooking special meals are over and the kids are heading back to school.  It’s back to the normal routine for most of us.  And back to playing Mahj for lots of us.
But I did manage to get in a game over the holiday break.  And of course something happened I realized many players, experienced and otherwise, do.
The card is new, out since the 1st of April (I always wonder why they come out on April Fool’s Day) and many of you are just getting comfortable with the new hands. I noticed this year’s card has many more Pairs hands than last year’s, the odd Section has Dragon hands and my favorite Consecutive Run hand is gone but some of the same hands remain.  I think this year’s card is a little more challenging than last’s.
Anyway, let’s get back to the game I was playing.  Since it was the first time playing the new card, we all were a little tentative, but still,  a couple of Mahjs were declared.
In one of the games, my friend Linda exposed a Pung of 3 Dot.  A Pung of 3 Dots doesn’t reveal Linda’s hand. The game continued and she then exposed a Kong of 4 Dots, clearly a Consecutive Run hand.  Nobody noticed anything, but then Linda looked at the card and realized she made a mistake because there is no consecutive hand that requires a Pung of 3Dots and a Kong of 4Dots..
“Oh, I made a mistake!” she blurts out.  “I was playing last year’s hand. I’m dead!”
Well, Linda, you made more than one mistake.  You declared yourself “Dead!” 
I was a little surprised because it was not like Linda, who likes to win—a lot. And is a stickler for the rules.  Although there’s no actual rule about calling yourself Dead, it’s not a wise practice. Clearly she gave the rest of us the advantage of being able to pick and/or call 25% more tiles and 25% more chances to win. It’s the responsibility of the other players to determine your hand from the Exposures and declare the hand Dead—not yours.
So if you find yourself in the same situation, button your lip.  There is an expression used during WWII, “Loose Lips Sink Ships”.  Hopefully, your “lips” won’t sink your hand.

Til the next time……



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A kid from Brooklyn, a graduate of Syracuse University and an immigrant to California via Palo Alto, San Juan Capistrano, finally, Los Angeles, I have been here for the past 15...

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