Right-Across-Left, second Left-Across-Right – All six passes of the Charleston MUST each contain THREE tiles. The seventh optional pass is decided between players sitting across from one other and may include zero, one, two, or three tiles, agreed upon for the lesser amount.
Any player may independently choose to Blind Pass only on the FIRST LEFT or LAST RIGHT pass of the Charleston.
Tom Sloper in his book entitled, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, defines the American Mah Jongg Blind Pass as, “A practice optionally used in the Charleston when a player cannot comfortably pass three tiles.”
A Blind Pass allows a player to take or steal one, two, or three tiles from the Incoming pass just received to complete his/her pass of three tiles for the next mandatory Outgoing pass of the Charleston. The video above demonstrates how to Blind Pass ONE tile from your incoming first Left pass received and forward this tile to create your outgoing pass of three tiles.
And…yes, if you choose to do so, a player may take ALL 3 tiles from the incoming pass and forward them along without a glimpse at these tiles to make his or her 3-tile outgoing pass.
It is important to remember that you may NOT look or even peek at the tiles you “steal” from the incoming pass. The stolen tile/tiles are to remain face down and forwarded.
In addition, it is NOT necessary to announce to other players that you are choosing to Blind Pass. Blind Passing is an individual player’s decision and other players at the table may simultaneously choose this option at the First Left or Last Right passes. If other players are also Blind Passing, you will need to wait for YOUR incoming pass of three before you take 1-3 tiles to form your outgoing pass of three tiles.
Blind Passing can indicate to the other aware and alert players that you may have a solid hand. Keep in mind that the tiles you blindly pass may be risky and inadvertently help the player to whom you pass due to the fact that you do not know what tiles are forwarded in the Blind Pass.
WHEN IS IT BEST TO CHOOSE TO BLIND PASS?
~If you are committed to ONE hand and have 2 or fewer tiles to pass
~If you have risky tiles to pass:
a pair, multiple dragons or winds, like numbers, flowers, and for 2020, passing both a Two AND a Soap could be risky
WHEN IS IT BETTER NOT TO BLIND PASS?
~ If you are between TWO categories
choose ONE section to play and have back up hands that utilize many of the same tiles within only that one section
~ If you are between hands within ONE category
narrow down your choices of Hands
~ If you are committed to a hand but have 3 or more tiles to pass
If you feel it is less risky and best not to Blind Pass and are unsure of what to pass, pass one tile from a Pung unit in your hand if you have this. Passing one tile from a Pung should be an easier tile to recoup and Call during game play when the tile is discarded. You may also have or pick a Joker that may be used to complete your Pung.
NOTE: During games, if I notice the same tiles recycled again and again during the Charleston, I may use the Last Right Blind Pass as an opportunity to keep more relevant tiles that help toward my Hand choices, and I will choose to Blind Pass a tile or two.