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How to play Mahjong?

From our last blog “What is Mahjong?”, we have briefly explained what is Mahjong and how to set the tiles to start the game. In this blog, we will discuss how to play the game.


To Start

There should be 4 players on the table and each of them has the role of东南西北. Before starting, each player should have 13 tiles on hand except the “东” player will have 14 tiles on hand. To start, the “东”player will have to discard one tile to the middle space of the stacks. Every tile that is discarded means it is abandon from the player and available for other players to “碰”, “吃” or “扛”.

“碰” is an action means a player has two matching tiles that match the discard tile.

“吃” is an action means a player has 2 consecutive tiles that can match the discard tile to form a sequence in the same suit. (e.g. 5, 6, 7 of bamboo)

“扛” is an action means a player has three matching tiles that match the discard tile.

If players perform any of the above 3 actions, the tiles must be reveal to other players and place on the player’s left hand corner of the table.


To Play


After the “东” player discard the tile, it will be “南” player’s turn, which is on the right-hand side of the “东” player. The “南” player has the choice to either take the abandon tile as “碰”, “吃” or “扛”, or draw a new tile from the stacks where players draw the tile, not the “补花” stacks. Whatever action the “南”player decided to do, he/she must discard one tile from his own stack after the action, in order to make the number of his own tile as 13 in total. After that, it will be the “西” player’s turn and so on.

Special Notes: For all abandon tiles, every player have a chance to “碰” or “扛” while only the next player can “吃”. If other players “碰” or “扛” the abandon tile, it will skip the original next player.


To Goal

The goal of the game is to get a “糊”, which consists of getting all 14 of your tiles into four sets and one pair. A pair is two identical tiles. A set can either be a "碰," which is three identical tiles, or a "吃," which is a run of three consecutive numbers in the same suit. A single tile cannot be used in two sets at once.

These are some of the basic rules of playing a mahjong. Every game might have different rules depending on the setting of the game by all players before the game. We emphasize all agreement have to be set before the game so there won’t be any assumption and discrepancy during the game.

Do share with us your rules to playing mahjong, we’d love to have a discussion on the different way of playing. 😊

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