How to Play Mahjong

How to Play Mahjong

What is Mah Jongg or Mah Jong?

Mah Jongg Solitaire is the single-player Japanese version of Solitaire and is somewhat like the Mah Jong that is played by four people, though much less complex. Like a game of solitaire, the rules are quite simple. Tiles are used which each have a match. Tiles are laid one atop another evenly and around each other together completely adjacent to one another. Tiles are removed by finding a pair.

Other tiles are then revealed and play continues until you can no longer match pairs. Pairs that can be matched, according to the rules of the game, are not adjacent to either the right or the left sides. Actually a very old game of oriental origin, Mah Jong is popular throughout the world in many forms. The rules, if you can call them that, are actually a guide.

You will see this once we get to them. Many believe that Mah Jong is the ancestor to the deck of playing cards of today. Originally, and now quite expensive, the game was and can be played with bone and or bamboo tiles. Now it is most frequently and more cheaply played with cards made especially for Mah Jong.

Mah Jong for four.

This is the extremely addictive and competitive game often played for stakes which was made even more popular by its very chic and aristocratic appearances in the famous James Bond films.

Needed game pieces.

144 tiles form four divisions – suits, honor tiles, flowers, and seasons.
There are also three suits: the balls, the bams, and the characters. The suits are made up of tiles that are numbered 1 through 9. In every suit, there are four of each number. Suit tiles are separated into two types, specifically named; one type is called the “terminal”.

Ones or nines are more valuable in winning, these are the terminals. Every tile from a two to an eight falls into the other grouping known as the simples. The characteristics of the varied suits evolve greatly from here, so if you wish to become extensively involved their understanding that will take months of study and experience in play.

Actual play.

The complete game or a full round of Mah Jong for four consists in sixteen individual hands being played. These several hands in turn are divided equally into four rounds of play. These rounds are each named after the four points on a compass namely the North, South, East and the West. As you can see, like the oriental culture, there is a very earthy nature to the game and how it was devised.

The rounds are played in this order: first the East round; then the South round, the West round and finally the North. In a hand, each opponent is to be named one of these directions on the compass. The dealer is always east and always the first to play.

The goal is to collect 4 sets and one pair.


A set consists in a sequence of three consecutive suit tiles of the same suit or a set of four or a set of three of a kind. Players may only take a discard at the time it is discarded if there are any. Discards can only be played if used immediately.

The winner.

When a player needs one tile go out, the hand is “ready” and should be declared. The “ready” player may draw any discard needed to go out or may draw the needed tile from the wall. The result is four sets of three (including 4s) and a pair. The hand is shown and the score is determined.

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