Total Pageviews

Friday, August 5, 2011

Are you dead? Can I have your joker?


Calling someone dead takes courage.  It's not enough to cock your head, screw up your nose and say "Are you dead?" or "I think you're dead."  You cannot expect an opponent to hang their head in shame and say, "Yes, I am."  No one is obligated to declare herself dead, nor should she be. 

If you look at the photograph above (sorry for the fuzzy focus) you will see four seven cracks and three greens exposed.  Is she dead?  What do you think?

To confidently make a death call you first need to know what hand is being played.  Could there be more than one possibility?  Rose has three seven cracks and three greens exposed.  Hmm...look at the card.  Only one hand it could be.  What tiles does she need?  A pair, maybe?  A pair of what?  Oh, I know.  Seven dots. Are they out?  Let me look at the table.  Ooo, there's two out.  Agh, I have one.  What should I do?  If I throw it she may mahj.  If she doesn't mahj, she's dead.  If I keep it, I can't mahj.  Aaaagghhh....  You throw the seven dot.  You've killed her.  No one says anything.  Rose frowns almost imperceptibly, but then stays poker-faced.  Myrna picks.  Myrna throws.    Rose is dead.  You know she's dead.  She knows she's dead.  Maybe Myrna and Shirley know, but they aren't acting like they know..  Wait, you think.  Is she really dead?  Yes, she is.  Maybe there's another hand?  There's no other hand.  Okay, just say it. 
 "You're dead.  Three seven dots are out."
This would be the time for Rose to admit defeat and cease playing.  If she doesn't and merely scoffs at your accusation, insisting her hand has every possibility of being a winner, then you must play till the end and if she can't prove you wrong, she must pay you $.25.

Now, about those jokers.  There is much confusion about taking jokers from a dead hand.  After all, the hand is dead, right?  Shouldn't the jokers be dead, too?  The answer is no...and the answer is yes.
If her exposures contained jokers before the hand went dead, then, yes, those jokers can be taken.
But if the exposure caused her hand to go dead then, no, they can't be taken.  In fact, the League recommends that an exposure that causes a hand to go dead should be returned to the rack so there is no confusion.    In the hand above, if there were jokers in those exposures they would still be good, because they were good at the time they were exposed.  In other words, the hand is dead, but the jokers are still alive, wiggling and shimmering and screaming "take me, take me."  A dead hand is like a body you step over on the battlefield.  The soldier is dead, but you can still take his gun and boots and move ahead to victory.

12 comments:

  1. What happens in the case as follows: Player makes a second exposure which results in no hands existing on the card that can use that combination or is only a combination of a closed hand. She is declared dead and accepts she is dead. If jokers were put out on first exposure prior to known dead hand, are they still alive? If jokers on second exposure , which determined the dead hand, are they now dead (and should probably be re-racked)? If she accept being dead, is there any penalty-i.e. paying $.25.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the first exposure had jokers, those jokers may still be exchanged. The exposure that made her dead should go back in the rack so there is no confusion. The first exposure stays out. If the player admits to being dead, she does not continue playing, and there is no further penalty. If she disputes that she is dead, then play continues. At the end of the game, she must state what hand she was playing at the time of the declaration. If she was dead, she must pay the person who called her dead 25 cents. If she was not dead, the person who called her dead pays her .25 This is in addition to whatever the winner is paid.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If a player asks another player if her hand is dead and it isn't, does the asking player incur a penalty?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. f a player challenges a hand, the player who is challenged must either admit that her hand is dead and stop playing or deny that her hand is dead, in which case she does not have to prove why she believes her hand is still good. She continues to play until the end of the game. If at the end of the game it turns out that she was really dead at the time of the challenge, she must pay the challenger .25 cents. If it turns out that she was not dead after all (she must show that she was not dead), then the challenger pays her .25 cents.

      Delete
  4. When playing MJ with 3 people and two players have dead hands is the remaining player the winner (collect money from bets)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on how the other players went dead. If someone declared mahjongg in error, and the other player threw in her tiles, then the remaining player gets paid twice the value of her hand by the person who declared mahjongg in error. However, if the players went dead for any other reason, then the game ceases and no one gets paid.

      Delete
  5. When declaring a person dead, is she dead even before she discards her tile?
    This was a very big bone of contention playing with my fellow players last week It turned into a huge argument The player even admitted she was dead after another player declared her dead She was playing a closed hand and called, then put up 3 Souths. I also declared her dead Then another player stated she was not dead because she hadn't discarded yet and she could have still taken back the tiles until she discarded BUT she had already been declared dead I know that the player who stated she wasn't dead hates for anyone to be declared dead because then the tiles left in the players hand and not revealed are dead
    If we played a polite game, then when I exposed an extra tile on my rack by mistake, and they would not let me take it back, I felt as if we were not playing a friendly game and whats good for one is good for the other I hope I have explained this without confusion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once the player exposed three souths, she could not "take back" the exposure. If she had another south or joker in her hand she could have added it to her exposure before she discarded. However, she did not do that. She was declared dead and she accepted the challenge. The challenge is between the player who makes the challenge and the player who is challenged. Other players should not weigh in. That said, however, it is best to wait until a player discards before challenging the hand, lest she think a bit more and change the exposure before accepting the challenge.
      As to the second part of your question, if you exposed more tiles than you intended in your exposure, you are allowed to make an adjustment before you discard. You may add to to subtract from the exposure. This is an official rule. Playing by the official rules should make for a friendly game, and if disputes arise the rules should be consulted or the National Mah Jongg League called for a ruling.

      Delete
  6. we have a player that figures out another players hand and announces it to everyone should she do this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While there is no written official rule prohibiting this, it is discourteous to make such an announcement, on a number of levels. Firstly, she could be wrong! Second, it may, and probably would cheat the player whose hand she announces out of a win. If the other players were unaware of the hand or thought she was playing something else, they might make different decisions about what to throw. It also cheats players out of a learning opportunity to figure things out for themselves. Your group needs to discuss this with the offending player, as it's really not fair. It's one thing if you're an instructor playing with a group of newbies, but quite another, and somewhat condescending, if you are playing with players who already know how to play.

      Delete