Jewish Journal


by Elaine Sandberg

June 12, 2011 | 11:06 pm

                                                                    THE “REPEATS”

Interestingly, American Mah Jongg is the only variant, (Mah Jongg is played all over the World) that uses a card.  Published by the National Mah Jongg League, it’s one of the things it does—-produce a new card with new hands every year.  It can’t be the easiest job in the World, but, no doubt, it probably is fun….

But players who play frequently soon realize each new card has hands from the previous years. There are only a limited number of hands that can be designed and redesigned, given the restrictions imposed by the game.  For example, Mah Jongg requires 14 tiles, combinations of Singles, Pairs, Pungs, Kongs, etc. restricted by using the kinds ( 3 Suits, Winds, Flowers, etc.) and number of tiles. And there’s the tradition of the League’s card.

This exposition leads me to a recurring hand—and one that many players find confusing. This year, it’s the 2st. Quint hand.  My collection of old cards don’t go back too far—to the 90s—but the hand reoccurs on the ’94, ’95, ’96, and ’99 cards.  I’m sure it has occurred on cards before that. And it occurs again on the 2008 card.

Here’s the hand.
1223 11111 11111

The instructions say “Any 3 Suits, Any 3 Consec. Nos., Pr. Any No. in Run, Pr. & Quints Match”
Which means the hand requires all 3 Suits, any 3 consecutive numbers (5,6,7 3,4,5,  7,8,9). 
The next instruction says Pr. Any No. in Run. So you can Pair any number in your run of 3 consecutive numbers.
The 3rd. instruction requires that the number you Paired, must be repeated in the Quints.

So as examples, the hand can look like this:
3345 33333 33333
6778 77777 77777
2344 44444 444444

The hand is X, but, in answer to an email, you can call a tile to complete the first combination of 3 consecutive numbers only for Mahj…not an Exposure.  It’s a 40c hand, so it’s pretty difficult, but if you have several Jokers and matching Pairs, it is lots of fun, especially if you win!

Til 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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