Things You Should Know About The Mahjong Game

Mahjong is a popular Chinese game that thousands of people worldwide enjoy playing with loved ones. But if you haven’t played this game, you might be wondering how to play Mahjong.

Don’t worry because this short guide will help you understand everything about Mahjong so you can play this game the right way.

How to Play Mahjong Online and Offline?

In the Chinese game, Mahjong, the goal of the players is to gather four sets and one pair of tiles, forming a Mahjong. It’s important that the pair of two comprise the same tiles. But the four set tiles can either have a chow (three consecutive numbers in a row), pung (set of three identical tiles), or kong (special elated pung).

This game has been adapted and readapted throughout the years and regions. Some regions introduce special tiles and let the players implement new rules for the game.

But many people like to keep the game simple by sticking to the standard Chinese rules of Mahjong. 144 tiles and two dice make a complete set. Let’s discuss the tiles in more detail.

Mahjong Tiles

The Mahjong tiles are split into three parts, including suits, honor tiles, and bonus tiles.


Suits, also called dots, are groups of 36 tiles. These groups include four sets of nine tiles numbered from 1-9 each. There are three suits in Chinese Mahjong: circle tiles, character tiles, and bamboo tiles.

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The tiles of every suit have the corresponding symbols on them to indicate their value. For instance, in the circle suit, 1-tiles will have one circle imprinted on them. Similarly, 2-tiles will have two circles, and so on.

By the same token, the character tiles have the corresponding number of characters on them, and the bamboo tiles have the corresponding number of bamboo shoots on them.

Honor Tiles

The honor tiles comprise 16 Wind tiles with four sets of four, representing North, West, South, and East.

This group of tiles also includes 12 Dragon divided into three sets, representing the Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon. The white dragon can either be blank or have the letter P imprinted on it, which stands for Pai, meaning pure in Chinese.

Bonus Tiles

The set of Mahjong tiles also includes four Flower tiles and four Seasonal tiles. You will be granted bonus points if you draw any of these tiles.

While the depiction of the flowers on mahjong sets will vary depending on the set, the most common variations include plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo.

Mahjong Board and Online Game Rules

Mahjong typically involves with four players, but some regions have three-player variations.


The game begins with one player shuffling the wind tiles in a face-down manner. Then the player deals the tiles to everyone.

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After receiving the Chinese Mahjong tiles, the players are required to sit as per the wind direction (north, east, south, west) in a clockwise direction. This seating helps in determining the dealer of the game.

The game’s dealer is the person who sits in the east position, as the east is considered the key position. The dealer position scores double, but it also pays double. The modern version picking the deal by dice roll to simplify the process of finding a dealer.

After the dealer is selected, they shuffle the tiles together in a face-down manner. Remember that beginners should not play the game with season and flower tiles till they do not develop a better understanding of this game.

When each player gets 34 tiles, they must arrange the tiles face-down, forming a wall of two stacks of 17 tiles. After that, the players must push the tiles to form a square.

When a dealer rolls a dice, they must separate tiles from the wall corresponding to the number they land on. Here, the dealer gets 14 tiles while the players get 13 tiles. The players are required to arrange the tiles in a way so no one can see them.


The Mahjong game starts with the dealer discarding the one tile in the center. In subsequent turns, players take a tile, optionally play a tile combination before discarding a tile. But which player takes the turn and from where they pick up the tile varies.

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Every time tiles are discarded, any player on the table who has two or three tiles that match the discarded tile can take the next turn by calling out the name of the meld the discarded tile completes. The player can then pick up the discard and play the resulting Kong or Pung on the table.

If the player has a Mah Jong, they can take the discard and declare all the tiles in their hand, finishing the game.

On the other hand, if no player calls out any melds, the player to the right takes the next turn.


If you’re wondering how to play American Mahjong, the gameplay is similar to the Chinese version, with the key difference being that the American version introduces tiles such as the Joker tile into the game.

But its important to note that the rules of how to play Mahjong solitaire are completely different from this game.

Now that you have understood how to play Chinese Mahjong, you can visit, the best website to play Mahjong, and enjoy the game for free.

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