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Singles & Pairs & Closed Hands...Oh My!!

May I introduce you to the frequently forgotten category on the bottom right side of every Mah Jongg playing card called “Singles & Pairs”!!

~ these Hands are all Closed/Concealed: Hands in which NO tiles may be called during play except for the final 14th tile for Mah Jongg.

~ Jokers may NOT be used in any way in any of these Hands

~ this is the most challenging category

~ this is the most rewarding category (Hand values are .50 and .85)

How about taking a chance and giving Singles and Pairs a try?? It may be a good time to try Singles & Pairs section when:

~ you are NOT dealt any Jokers

~ you have some related Singles &/or sets of Pairs

~ you want to try something new and enjoy a challenge

~ you are feeling a bit lucky

Would you try for a Hand in Singles & Pairs if you knew you could convert to another section or two?

You may be able to switch to other Hands on the playing card if you see your tiles for Singles & Pairs being discarded, if your needed tiles show up in opponents’ exposures, or if you pick some Jokers during game play. Changing a Hand during game play will also depend if the game is at Beginning, Mid, or End game. Other strategies will be needed as End game draws near.

The following are a sampling of possible Singles and Pairs conversions. You may discover other Hands not listed here to which you can convert your tiles if your attempt at a Singles and Pairs Hand goes pun intended:

S&P Hand Can convert to:

#1 Winds & Dragons Hand #1

If you Pick Jokers later, try Winds & Dragons #7 Closed Hand or 2020

#4 Closed Hand

#2 Consecutive Run Hands #1, #2, #4 to utilize matching Dragon or

Consecutive Run Hand #6

#3 All Like Numbers Hands/Consec Run Hand #2 second hand

Consec Run #8 Closed Hand

#4 2468 Hand #2 or Hand # 7 using Dragons

#5 3 6 9 multiple suit Hands in this section (#1, #2, #4

NOT hands with Flowers unless picked later)

#6 13579 Hand #1 first hand- either one

#7 2020 Hands – #1 ditch the NEWS (NOT hand #2 as other Dragons are

required) Winds & Dragons Hand#2 use NEWS & Soaps,discard Twos

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Mah Jongg Mondays podcast with the lovely Fern Bernstein. Episode 11 aired on May10th where I discussed Patterns and Rhythms on the 2020 Playing card and Converting Singles & Pairs Hands. The link to listen to this episode is provided on my website page entitled, “About Daron.”

A special thank you to Dan Kellar who edited and created the “Kissin’ Cousins” spreadsheet shown below from the information I provided on the podcast. I hope this will motivate you to play the oft overlooked Single and Pairs category of Hands. Strong Mah Jongg players think creatively and are willing to take some give Singles and Pairs a try!!


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