Purse is Empty, also known as PIE (Article ID 145)
Abstract: A “pie” is a limit set by players. Players start with $5 in coins to pay the winner. When a player loses their pie, they continue to play but they are exempt from paying until they win money back. Players say that PIE stands for “purse is empty”. The league calls it a “PY” but we don’t know why.
Question from a player: We used to play with $12 to start and whatever it says on the card, we would double it. Is there a rule that discourages this?
Answer from the NMJL: PY Game.. unfair especially to the winner in the first part of the game after one or more players are “PY”. This winner can be the final loser as she is not being paid by all players and will have to pay if and when the “PY” players start to make a comeback. Our suggestion to eliminate UNFAIR PY GAMES – START WITH EXTRA CHIPS and SETTLE FOR YOUR USUAL STAKES!”
Source: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A 1967