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April is a time for new Mah Jongg Beginnings! The arrival of the 2021 playing card brings much excitement and eagerness to players of all skill levels. I survey the card's categories and dissect each and every Hand with a fine tooth comb. I analyze the changes, additions and deletions that are made to the playing card by the National Mah Jongg League.

Did you know there are 67 Hands as written on the card? However, due to the myriad combinations of suits from which to choose, those 67 Hands morph into over 750 variations for players to create! That is quite a few more variations of the Hands than there were to be made on the 2020 playing card! I believe it will be an easier year to make the 2021 only ONE Soap, one "ONE" tile and a Pair of "TWOS" are required in 2021, as opposed to two sets of Pairs to make 2020.

I take time to count and verify the number of Hands with, for example, Flowers or Dragons. This year, there are NO PAIRS of Dragons in any Hand! Concentrating on the nuances of the Hand patterns on the card, I locate and become aware of rhythms therein. Is it a Pung Kong Pung Kong year? How many matching and opposite Dragon Hands are on this year's card? Do many Hands require three sets of Pairs? What truly unique patterns can be seen in the Hands on this card? From this analysis, I create questions, like those above, for a worksheet packet so the interested Maj-minded player can look at the card from various perspectives and complete the worksheets. Familiarity with all the Hands from the card will add to your enjoyment and enthusiasm for the game! (Please see the information at the bottom of the blog with the link to my SHOP page to purchase the 2021 Mah Jongg worksheet packet. Subscribers can now receive 15% off the 2021 worksheet packet price with code PACKETSALE15.)

I am delighted to be able to both play and teach in person again! Many players have gotten used to playing online using the various Mah Jongg websites.

When returning to in person play, the following are a few reminders:

  1. PICK RACK SHOP DISCARD - in this order on your turn. Remember to RACK and let go of your tile IN your rack and throw another tile as your discard if you can. Doing this will give you some time to decide if the newly picked tile from the wall is needed for your hand or for any backup hands you have in mind. Don't forget to SHOP for Jokers in other player's exposures before you verbally name and DISCARD a tile. A tile laid and correctly named is a tile played! Online play made it easy not to have to verbally name your discarded tile!

  2. When you CALL for a tile, place the CALLED tile ON TOP OF the flat part of your rack and then bring up the tiles from IN the sloped part of your rack to complete the pung, kong, or quint.... NEVER place the Called tile IN the sloped side of your rack that faces you. There is an important distinction between ON and IN a player's rack.

  3. Remember NOT to reach onto another player's rack to retrieve a Joker when shopping. For Joker redemption, simply hand the tile to the player and allow them to exchange your tile for the Joker in the exposure on their rack and give the Joker tile to you.

  4. Verify the winning Mah Jongg hand! When playing online, the game verifies Mah Jongg and let's the players know when there is a winner. Conversely, we all dislike that awful sound that is heard when you have made a Maj mistake or have Maj in error during online play! When playing in person, players should not throw all their tiles in to begin a new game until the winner's Mah Jongg Hand is placed in Hand order on their rack and is verified as correct!

  5. Change seats please! This certainly wasn't necessary when playing online unless you were moving from the dining chair to the couch! Switching up the seating is not a NMJL rule of play, but it is a common practice. When playing in person, after 4 games, East, called the Pivot, should take the dice with him/her and switch seats with the player to their right. East then deals (rolls the dice and breaks the wall) from the new seat position. An orderly seat rotation allows players to both pass to and receive passes from other players during the Charleston routine...and the last courtesy pass across will have a new face!

I hope you have been enjoying playing with the new 2021 Mah Jongg card as much as I have! I hope to MAJ on each and every hand on the card this year!


If you are a local player and plan to attend or have already attended a 2021 Playing Card Workshop with me, you will complete or have already completed these worksheets.

If you could not attend an in person workshop, this worksheet packet will definitely help you become very familiar with the new card. Learning and playing Hands from all of the categories on the card will render you a stronger, more flexible & knowledgeable player.

Please click on the link below if you would like to purchase the 2021 Mah Jongg Worksheet Packet! Once purchased, you can download and print the worksheet packet which includes the 2021 card overview, worksheet pages, and answer keys.

Subscribers can now receive 15% off the 2021 worksheet packet price with code PACKETSALE15.

Apply Promo code PACKETSALE15 when checking out on my SHOP page.

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