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Reading the Card (Article ID 86) 

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Abstract:    When there are multiple colors shown in a hand, the colors indicate a change in suit. You choose which suit represents each of the colors on the card.   There is one exception when three colors do not designate three suits, and flexibility in the parentheses supersedes the colors show for the hand (i.e., any three Dragons).   

Question from a player:  When playing a hand with three suits, do I have to follow the colors as shown on the card? 
 
Answer from the NMJL:   “A hand shown in one color represents any one-suited hand.  Two colors indicate any two suits.  Three colors represent any three suits.  A specific color on the card does not specify a particular suit.  For example, if a hand is shown in 3 colors, it means any 3 suits IN ANY ORDER.  If it is shown in green as the first color, it does not mean Bams, etc.”

Source: Mah Jongg Made Easy 2020 page 12


Other answers from the NMJL:

“A specific color on the card does not specify a particular suit.  The three colors indicate that the hand must be played in any three suits.” 
 
“When a hand is shown in one color, it can be played in any suit.  When a hand is shown in two colors, it is played in any two suits.  When a hand is shown in three colors, it is of course played in the three suits.  Suits do not have to be in the order as shown on the card.” 
 
“A hand shown in one color represents any one-suited hand.  Two colors indicate any two suits.  Three colors represent any three suits.  A specific color on the card does not specify a specific suit.  For example, if a hand is shown in three colors it means any 3 suits, in any order.  If it is shown in green as the first color, it does not mean Bams.”  
 
Sources for other answers:  National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A (1987 page 4, 1988 page 5, 1997 page 5, 1999 page 5, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2018, 2020 ) https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org

Reading the Card (Article ID 86) 
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