When is it over?

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Recently a member asked….

 “A player begins the game (accidentally) with last year’s card. No one else notices. This player calls mahjongg. The other players pay up since she got it herself. After 3 more games, another player calls mahjongg with a quint. Player 1 can’t find it on her card and it is discovered she is playing with the 2015 card. Everyone laughs but….the other 3 players say her game is a forfeit and she should return the money. She says it was an innocent mistake and the other players should have checked her mahjongg at the time. Is she right or is the other players right?”

What is the correct way to handle the situation?  Let us explore together.

There are actually a couple of items up for discussion.

Firstly, once someone declares Mah Jongg it is up to the others at the table to check the hand.  If no one checks the Hand and they just hand over the money to the “winner”, who is at fault for the mistake?   I know it sounds a little harsh said this way, but if you do not check and pay, it is entirely your own fault.  If the table had reviewed the hand, they would have determined the error, not paid and continued to play with the remaining three players.

Next, once a game is completed and you begin the next, the prior game is OVER!  There is no going back or changing outcomes or payouts.  Tournament players, think about signing that scorecard after each game.

Additionally, you as a group need to decide how serious a game you want to play.  You must be consistent with your rulings, and how you apply them.  The easiest example to site here is calling for discards and people racking their tiles.  It is unfair not to treat all members of the group equally.

Finally, and in my opinion maybe the most important, never fess up in Mah Jongg.  If you realize you have made a mistake there is no reason to share.  Keep it to yourself whether during a game or after.  During a game expressing your error, may result in your hand being called dead.  You want to keep playing, do not tell the others at the table. After a game is over, if you have won and realize maybe there was an error you may only evoke bad feelings amongst the others.  Creating controversy at the Mah Jongg table never ends well.

If you have a Maj situation you would like to share or for us to analyze together, send them in and we will open the discussion.

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  1. JoanL  August 23, 2016

    I agree that other players must verify the hand. We do in our group as a matter of interest as well. However, when someone makes a mistake i.e. calling for a tile in a concealed hand that person when realizing the error calls themselves out and declares their hand dead. I don’t know what the reaction would be in our group if someone did otherwise. Interesting read thanks! I will bring this up next week with my group.

  2. Leah  August 24, 2016

    Thank you for your comment. Many games play with “table rules”, however certainly helpful
    to understand what the actual rule is. It just adds another level of strategy (particularly
    in this case) to your game.

    May the jokers be with you,


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