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Discarded Joker Stays Down (Article ID 88)
Abstract: Since Jokers can be named same when discarded, players must watch the table. If someone discards a Joker and names it same, another player not watching the discards might call the tile, thinking it was the same tile as previously discarded. Since a Joker can never be picked up from the table, the player would not complete their call.
Question from a player: One person says, “5 Bam”. The next person says “same” but puts a joker down instead. However, the next person, not looking at the table but concentrating on her own hand, says she wants the “5 Bam”. Which tile can she take?
Answer from the NMJL: “Neither. You may never pick up a joker from the table. A joker when discarded is a dead tile. All players should always watch the table for discards as well as listen. The original”5 Bam” that was discarded can no longer be called, as the next person in turn had already picked and discarded.”
Source: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A (2000 page 5, 2015)
Other answer from the NMJL:
“A discarded Joker can never be picked up. It is a dead tile.”
Source for other answer: Mah Jongg Made Easy 2020 page 23 #11 https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org