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ID15-Etiquette and Sportsmanship
Question: Is there any guide to help players handle etiquette and sportsmanship during a game?
Answer: The only mention of etiquette and sportsmanship by the National Mah Jongg League was in a 1998 bulletin. Since questions often arise surrounding how to handle situations regarding too much chatting during the game, complaining, criticizing, and more, Debbie Barnett created a helpful list of her Golden Rules of Mah Jongg as follows:
- Wait until all your tiles are dealt out before racking them; this will prevent a misdeal and someone ending up short on tiles.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Refrain from touching anyone else’s tiles or racks. This applies during the deal, during a joker exchange and picking up a discard.
- Keep your exposures spaced that are atop the flat part of your rack.
- Refrain from grabbing another player’s joker during a joker exchange after all you are not diving for a buried treasure! The polite way would be to ask, “May I have your joker please?” This should be a hand-to-hand action as recommended by the National Mah Jongg League, as opposed to placing the tile on the table.
- Keep your tiles on the sloped part of your rack close together. In other words, avoid leaving spaces between them.
- When you pick a tile from the wall, place it on the sloped part of your rack, as opposed to holding it in your hand and admiring it.
- When you call a tile, place it on the flat part of your rack, as opposed to the sloped part of your rack.
- When a game has ended, if you were the bettor, please refrain from asking a player why they chose the hand they played. The tiles and hands are in the “eyes of the beholder”.
- During or after a game is over, refrain from criticizing another player for their choices as this can cause hard feelings. Share advice only when asked.
- Keep comments to yourself especially when someone misses a Joker exchange or discards a Joker. Your comments can give away valuable information about your opponent’s hand.
- Snap, crackle and pop are sounds that are better suited to a bowl of Rice Krispies. Leave the gum at home, please!
- Keep the chitter-chatter to a minimum during the game. For those of us that are a tad bit older or newer to the game, we need to concentrate.
- Keep your phone on silent or vibrate while playing. Everyone will appreciate this. If you are waiting on a call e.g., from a doctor, please let everyone know ahead of time.
- Play at a nice pace. Pause a few beats before picking your tile. Avoid slow play where your host needs to suggest they get out their egg timer.
- Be considerate by keeping food and drink off the Mah Jongg table. If you enjoy some treats, please remember before touching the tiles, to wipe your hands, dear peeps.
- Be a humble winner, no one likes a gloater: you have not won the lottery.
- Praise the winner and or their winning hand, you would expect nothing less from others.
- Complain, complain, complain! Do your Mah Jongg buddies put you in the category of “complainer?” Can you turn this around, or should I dare ask?
- During the game, do you whistle, hum, or sing along to the music? If these are annoyances to others, try to tone it down to keep the peace.
- Are you a finger tapper? Finger tapping is most likely an unconscious habit on your part but, consider reigning it in if those taps are zapping other’s patience.
If you want your Golden Rule to be considered as an addition here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org