In Defense of Mah Jongg Gods

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I’m certain the Mah Jongg gods were instrumental in a game I played this week. There’s no other explanation for what occurred.

I had decent tiles on my rack. I was considering a hand in the consecutive run section. I had two three bams, and when a third three bam was discarded, I should have called for it and used a joker to expose a kong of threes. However my mind wandered for a split second, the next player picked and racked a tile, and it was too late to call for the three bam.

I lamented what could have been, and played on, knowing there was a three-bam remaining. The player to my left exposed two four-cracks and a joker. Inexplicably I did not realize I had a four-crack in my hand that I was planning to discard. A few turns later I discarded the four-crack, and the other players groaned, feeling my pain. I never exchanged my four-crack for her joker. What a waste.

While it is rare for me to discard a tile in error that I could have exchanged for a joker, I don’t think I’ve ever held such a tile in my rack for several turns and not realized it. I was lamenting how badly I was doing, having made two mistakes, only one of which was known to the other players.

However, during the next few turns I picked tiles that were beneficial to my hand. I had no exposures and after several turns I was “on call” for Mah Jongg. There were only a few tiles remaining. The player to my left picked the last tile and discarded it and…I couldn’t believe it – I called for that last three-bam for Mah Jongg!

I thought later that I had not deserved to win that game. I guess the Mah Jongg gods were looking out for me – because that was a game I never would have won otherwise!


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