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Question: Why do the Singles & Pairs hands have such a high value?
Answer: Jokerless hands under the Singles and Pairs section of the card have the highest values for obvious reasons:
- You must complete the hand through your own picking except when calling your Mah Jongg tile.
- You cannot use Jokers
- You cannot call a tile for exposure unless it is your last tile which completes a hand for Mah Jongg.
Source: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A (1972 page 4)