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Did Someone Say, "SAME?"

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Every MahJongg tile that is discarded during play must be clearly, verbally named. Six Crak, Four Bam, Seven Dot, West, or Green are just a few examples of tile names.

The following tiles have unique names that you must remember:

~ 1 Bam may be called “1 Bam”, but I have also heard this tile named “Bam Bird”

~ Flower tiles are simply called “Flower” even though in many Maj sets the Flower tiles also have numbers or seasons on the tiles. I teach my students to disregard the Flower's number or season – this is all just Flower fluff!! All Flower tiles, whether Forget Me Nots or Freesias, palm trees or pagodas, boats or buddhas, go together as if arranged into a beautiful bouquet.

~ Blue or White Dragon may be named “White” or “Soap.” Many players use the name “Soap” as the tile actually does look like a decorative bar of hand soap. I have also heard many players name this tile “White” to distinguish it from “South,” as Soap and South sound very similar.


As the left panel on the flip side of the MahJongg card says, “Jokers may be discarded any time during the game and may be named either Joker, the same as the previous tile or just called Same.” Let’s take a minute to understand what exactly you are allowed to name this most coveted tile! You have three choices of what to say when you discard a Joker.

1. You may simply name this tile “Joker”. All players will know you discarded a Joker by listening.

2. You may name the Joker the same name as the previously discarded tile. For example, if the player before you discards a Six Dot and you are discarding a Joker next in your turn, you may say “Six Dot” and discard your Joker. Players who are both listening and looking at what tile is discarded should see that your discard tile was a Joker, not a Six Dot. Some players may miss that a Joker was just discarded if they are not also watching the discards.

3. Did someone say “SAME??"

First and foremost, I believe it is best practice to ALWAYS name a tile “SAME” when you discard the EXACT same tile as the player did before you. For instance, if the player before you discards an Eight Crak and you are also discarding an Eight Crak AND are next in turn, you may name your discard “SAME.” “Same” means your tile you are discarding is the exact same tile as the previous discard.

If you get into the habit of using the term “SAME” when you discard an exact tile as the previous discard, then, if and when the need arises for you to discard a Joker, you may

fool some of your opponents into thinking you actually discarded the same tile as just discarded and NOT a Joker.

MahJongg is a game that requires both listening AND looking. Strong players do not just LISTEN to what an opponent names as a discard, they also LOOK at the table to SEE the tile being discarded. Those players who are not listening and looking may miss the fact that a Joker has been discarded.

NOTE: No player may claim a discarded Joker, not even for their final tile for Mah Jongg!

WHY would you want to discard a Joker?? This question and its answers will make an awesome topic for a future “Ideas and Insights” Blog!!

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