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Thursday, February 7, 2019

What's the Score?

I did something a while ago that I wouldn't normally do, but a friend persuaded me and I acquiesced and attended my first 14-tile tournament.  Now, I won't go into detail about League rules and which is faster, which is better - hey, to each his own.  I won't even complain about going dead, which I did, as expected, but only once.  But what I will complain about is my score.  It was -690.  Yes, you heard that right,  minus 690.

Now, in all the tournaments I have attended, while there is some slight variation in scoring, for the most part if you win a hand, you get the value of the hand.  You will get more if you pick it yourself, and double for no jokers. If you give someone mahj, you get a minus - some will give you minus 10 for giving mahj even if the winner had no exposures, some give you minus 10 if the winner had one exposure and you lose more points if the player had two or three exposures.  So how could I get such a dismal score if I never gave anyone mahj? 😕😕

I can't say I wasn't warned, because the director sent an email outlining all the rules and the scoring system.  And from what I understand, this scoring system is starting to take hold in three states that I know of.  It goes like this:  When you win a hand, you get the value of the hand.  Everyone else gets minus the value of the hand, and if someone gave you mahjongg, they get minus two times the value of the hand.  Sound familiar?  Well, it's like money.  If I give you mahjongg on a 25 cent hand, I pay you 50 cents, the other two players pay you 25.  If you pick it yourself, everyone gives you 50 cents.  So if you play one round (four games) and you don't make a mahjongg, you could be down 200 points in the first hour. If you think of it as a purse, you have lost $2.00, but if you think of it as a tournament score, you are minus 200.

I don't like it.  A player told me at a recent tournament that out of three winners, one had a negative score.  WTF, as the kids like to say.  I wondered what my real score would have been at this tournament, but I was too depressed to figure it out.  I did make mahjongg a couple of times, and there were wall games, so from my point of view I did have some points, but, they were of no consequence, and I left feeling ashamed of myself.

So I am appealing to tournament directors who might be considering implementing this system. Please, please stick to the customary tournament scoring - I may not be in the running, but at least I will have retained my dignity.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

How to Buy a Mahjongg Card

The National Mah Jongg League website will begin taking orders for the NEW card on 1/1/19

'Tis the season...for thinking about the new card!  The question of how to get one is starting to surface, so I thought I would post a guide to buying the new card.  Please read this post and follow these guidelines to be sure you get your card as soon as it becomes available at the end of March.
You can ORDER your card in one of the following ways (but you will have to wait until the end of March to receive it):

1.  Collectors - A "collector" is a person who registers with the League and is able to take orders for cards beginning in November.  A collector works on behalf of a charitable organization - when all the orders are collected, payment is submitted to the League, and the organization receives a percentage back as a charitable donation.  Collectors must submit their orders by the end of January.  The collection season has started already and you may order your card from a collector now.
If you buy your card from a collector:  Make certain the collector has the name and address of the place you want your card sent to!  Give your complete address, including apartment number!  When you buy your card from a collector, she will submit your information to the League and your card will be sent to you at the end of March.

2.  By mail from the bulletin:  If you ordered your card from the League last year, you will receive the Bulletin before the end of the year.  When you receive the bulletin, you can remove the address label and attach it to the Application for Membership included in the bulletin.  Write in your e-mail address. Fill out the Order Form indicating how many cards you want, add up the amount and write a check payable to The National Mah Jongg League Inc. There is no sales tax on mahjongg cards. When your check is processed, you will get an e-mail indicating the date your card will be mailed.  The date your order is processed determines when you card is sent!  If you want your card mailed in the first mailing cycle, have it in by early February.

**NOTE TO SNOWBIRDS:  Think about where you will be when the cards get sent and provide the appropriate address.  Or better yet, order two cards; one for NY and one for FL!

3.  By mail without the bulletin:  Beginning at the end of December, you may mail in your order.  You may go to the NMJL website ( and click on "Order by Mail" where you can print out the order form, fill it in and send your check.  Make certain that you have the complete address that you want your card sent to.  You may add your e-mail to the form and you will receive confirmation when your check is processed.  Again, if you want to be in the first mailing, mail your order in by the first week in February.  If you don't have a printer, write the League a nice note containing how many cards you want, what size card you want, your complete name and address, and email address.  Send it to:  National Mah Jongg League, 450 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10123.

4.  Online at the NMJL website:  The website will not accept orders for the 2019 card until January 1.  If you submit an order before then, you will receive a 2018 card, so please wait until January 1 to order online!  If you want to order 2018 cards after January 1, call the League before you order online to make certain your order will be received correctly.  MAKE CERTAIN YOU ARE ON WWW.NATIONALMAHJONGGLEAGUE.ORG IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR CARD AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE TIME.  Click on the button to order and follow the prompts.  You may also click on "The Store" and follow the prompts.  If you previously bought your card from the League, you are a Member.  If you never bought a card directly from the League, you are not a member.  If you are not sure, click on "I am a Member" and see if it recognizes your name, zip code and house number.  If not, then go back and enter as a new Member.  You will be asked for your e-mail address and when your order is processed you will get an e-mail confirmation.

5. Online at a retailer:  Many online retailers (such as Amazon and mahjongg specific sites) will be accepting "pre-orders" for National Mah Jongg League cards.  Be aware that these retailers buy their cards from the League and then send it to you, so your card will be delayed, as the League's first mailing goes to members who ordered before the early February date.  The second mailing is to members who ordered in the mid-February to mid-March time frame and the last mailing goes to the retailers.  If you order your card from a retailer, the League will not be able to track your order, as it is out of their hands.  Please be careful when you order online as a search of "Buy mahjongg card" will sometimes redirect you to a site other than  so buyer beware!  Remember:  The League does not charge sales tax for cards!!!

6.  In person at the League - You may come to the League in person to buy the 2019 card.  However, not until all the cards have been mailed (late April), so you will be out of luck if you think you can jump the line!  

So there you have it - all the ways to order the new card.  Make sure you do it right!