East is Playing a Singles & Pair Hand – First Discard is a Joker (Article ID 35)
Abstract: When East is playing a Singles & Pair Hand, the first discard must be named “Joker,” for obvious reason, there was no previously discarded tile for it to name it after. This ruling is not found in Mah Jongg Made Easy.
Question from a player: When East is playing a pair hand and has a joker for their first discard, what would it be called?
Answer from the NMJL: “She may only name it “joker”.”
“The one exception to the rule back of score card. If at the end of the Charleston East wishes to discard a joker in order to be set for a jokerless hand, she may discard joker and call it joker as she cannot call it the name of the previous tile.”
“There is one exception to discarding a joker and calling it the same name of the previous discard. If East wishes to discard a joker for the first discard, she may call it joker as there is no previous name to call it.”
“If East has two odd jokers at the end of the Charleston and wishes to play a jokerless hand, the procedure is the first joker discard (East only) must be called “joker” and remains on the table as a “dead” tile and the next joker discard must then be called the name of the previous discard, as usual, and remains on the table as a “dead” tile.”
If East has a joker at the end of the Charleston and wishes to play a jokerless hand, the joker may be discarded and it must be called “joker” and remain on the table as a dead tile. At all other times, a discarded joker may be called the name of the previous discard, as usual and remain on the table as a dead tile.”
Source: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A (1972 page 4, 1973 page 4, 1974 page 3, 1975 page 4, 1977 page 3, 1977 page 4, 1978 page 3, 1979 page 3, 1981 page 4, 1983 page 3, 1995 page 4, 2003) https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org