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A Player Mistakenly Thinks They are East and They Discard (Article ID 161)
Abstract: Sometimes, a player mistakenly thinks they are East discards to start the game. If the error is caught immediately, the player can retrieve the tile to make their hand whole, and East can discard to start the game. If it’s noticed later in the game that one or more players have the wrong number of tiles, the hands should be declared dead.
Question from a player: If someone other than East discards to start the game, is their hand dead?
Answer from the NMJL: If someone other than East discards after the Charleston, the tile is taken back and East discards.
Source: Player who called the NMJL