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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Throwing to a Third

A little dispute has popped up in my regular game. It was spurred by a letter from a reader, and it goes something like this:

We all know that if you throw someone mahjongg, you must pay them double. And the rule is clear, in fact, it is written on the back of the card:  Bettor pays or receives same as player bet on.  These are undisputed facts.   The League makes no distinction in regard to how many exposures a person has on their rack. Now, in certain tournaments if you throw a player mahjongg and they have no exposures, you are penalized 10 points.  The rationale is you do have to pay double regardless of the number of exposures.  And in these tournaments the penalty goes up as the number of exposures go up.  Other tournaments do not penalize you if you throw to no exposures or one exposure but you are penalized if you throw to two or, Heaven forfend, three.

I have always been known to play by the Rules, but, folks, throwing to three exposures is BAD, and, frankly,  you should be penalized for taking such a risk.  Even if you are set for the Big Hand, if you throw a Green to someone who has FFFF 1111 2222, other players will really resent the fact that they have to pay for your chutzpah.  But the League has set no other penalty other than paying double to the winner.  So in order to prevent a possible massacre, some of the games I play in have instituted a table rule called "paying for the table," meaning if you throw to a third (some say a second, some say "hot," but let's leave it at throwing to a third) you must pay for everyone at the table.  Some of us who are more authoritative insist the money come from your pocket and not your pie, but others think that is going too far.

Now for the dispute.  Follow me, please.
Lanie throws a Green. Alice had  FFFF 1111 2222 on her rack.  Alice yells "Mahjongg!"  Fanny and Carol say "You threw to three, Lanie.  You have to pay for the table."  Edna pipes up:  "I bet on Lanie."
Fanny and Carol say "You have to pay what Lanie pays.  It says so on the card." Edna says:  "I do not.  Lanie pays for the table and I'm part of the table."

Who is right?  It's a 25 cent hand.  If Lanie pays for the table without Edna, she pays .50 for herself, and .25 each for Fanny and Carol, for a total of $1.00.  Edna would also pay $1.00, for a total to Alice of $2.00
If Lanie pays for the table including Edna, she pays .50 for herself, .50 for Edna and .25 each for Fanny and Carol for a total of $1.50.

I wanted to include a poll in this post, but I'm not that technically adept.  I would appreciate comments, as I told the group I play in I would abide by the majority opinion of my readers.  I will put the question up on the Fans of the National Mahjongg League Facebook page, as it is easy to post a question there, so feel free to leave your feedback.

For now I am off to the Mahjongg Madness tournament in Atlantic City, where you are minus 10 if you throw to 0 or 1 exposure and minus 20 for two or more.  Putative, I know, but at least I won't have to pay for the 200 other players!


  1. One person paying all the other players is a TABLE RULE, not a league rule. The Thrower should only be paying Double and everyone else should be paying their single portion. However, based on your HOUSE RULE, I agree BETTOR would pay SAME as all thrower. It is a hard penalty for betting on the "wrong player," but it happened.
    I don't agree with the house rule, however. I do believe in being OFFENSIVE at times. You are talking about "tournment play" even at home - and of course there are no bettors in a tournament. If I am a contender at a tournament, I am going for the points if I am set and if I am on the leader board. If someone else at the table gets upset, oh well! Everyone needs to play THEIR WAY and INSTINCT and SKILL and LUCK all have a play in the game. Yes, I do play DEFENSIVE MOST of the time, but............

  2. good reason for not having Table rules at all, we dont in our game and use the tournament rules to play with that way no arguments.

    Other than not paying attention, no reason to throw a green on that hand, I'd sooner break up my hand than give a MahJong.

  3. I agree with Faye! Now with that said, my house rules vary with the group I'm playing with. For example, my father just started playing the game so he actually through me the G for that exact hand, but of course we're family and love playing with each other so no penalty, just a lesson on recognizing exposures :)

  4. Throwing into a 3rd exposure, should require the player who took this risk, pay for the entire table.
    No penalty ($) should be that of the other players!
    In my game, the player who throws into a 3rd, pays out of her pocket!

  5. 1. Table is not allowed to throw into a 3rd exposure. 2. If you do and a maj is declared, pay the table accordingly OUT OF YOUR WALLET. 3. An experienced table should also NOT throw HOT to 2 exposures if the hand is obviously ONLY ONE HAND. Check the table for the obvious.

  6. I agree that if you throw into an obvious third exposure u have to pay for the table!!!!

  7. You also have to pay for the table!!

  8. Out of your wallet