April 22, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Mahjong: It's Rules and How to Play

Emily Patel
Written byEmily PatelWriter
Researched byAmara NwosuResearcher
Localised byLiam O'SullivanLocaliser

Mahjong is a thrilling tile-based casino game that continues to gain popularity. From Asia to western countries, Mahjong continues to be the casino go game for most gamblers. Its burgeoning reputation can be attributed to several fantastic variants and straightforward rules. Here’s everything that gamblers, including new players, need to know about Mahjong.

The Ultimate Guide to Mahjong: It's Rules and How to Play

The Origin of Mahjong

The roots of this amazing casino game are deeply planted in China. The original period of the game’s invention is still debated, but it’s generally agreed that Mahjong was prevalent in China in the mid-1800s. From then, it spread rapidly and eventually was introduced to western nations in the 20th century.

Basics of Mahjong

Today, Mahjong has various faces like online Mahjong, traditional Mahjong, and even Mahjong spins such as Mahjong Titan. Ideally, Mahjong is played with a set of between 136 to 144 tiles, depending on the game’s variant. These tiles are further divided into three distinct categories, suits, honors, and bonus tiles.

The game is played by three to four players and incorporates the use of a pair of dice. The suits are made up of 36 Circle tiles, 36 Bamboo tiles, and 36 Character tiles. These tiles are further divided into numbers ranging from 1-9 in each suit. Twelve dragons and 13 wind tiles are also used.

How to Play Mahjong

The main goal is to obtain a Mahjong. It means having the highest combination of tiles known as sets. This set is can either be a “pung” or a “chow.” A pung is when a player has three similar tiles, while "chow" is a run of three successive digits in the same suit.

The game starts by selecting a dealer. After picking a dealer, wind tiles are dealt. Gamers then sit clockwise, depending on the tiles dealt. Each player then receives and arranges his/her tiles. After the dealer discards a single card, play commences. The player left to the dealer is one who starts the game.


Discarded tiles are crucial when playing Mahjong. These tiles determine whether a gamer can complete a chow or a pung. Priority, in most cases, goes to the player that shouts “pung” and reveals their winning hand made up of 14 tiles. The two matching tiles must match the discarded tile.

A player can also claim a “chow” for the discarded tile if all the gamblers fail to complete a Mahjong. Such a player also needs to reveal his/her completed run. If any player completes a Mahjong, the game ends. A draw is declared if no one has a Mahjong, and the table is out of tiles.

About the author
Amara Nwosu
Amara Nwosu

With roots in the vibrant city of Lagos, Amara Nwosu is MobileCasinoRank's premier researcher. Melding rigorous analysis with an intuitive grasp of the mobile gaming sphere, Amara unravels the intricacies of the casino landscape for readers worldwide.

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