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Classic Chinese Mahjong (麻将)

First invented back in the 1800's the Classic Mahjong game was first established in China before spreading across to other countries after the turn of the century in the 1900's. Once hitting the western part of the world Mahjong began spreading more rapidly as popularity and awareness grew around Europe. As the game spread from region to region the rules have evolved slightly into what is considered today to be "Classic Mahjong".

The classic version of mahjong is played with 144 tiles, 13 of the tiles are randomly distributed to each player with the exception of the starting player who receives 14. The starting player discards the spare tile and gameplay continues clockwise, from here on out each player must draw a new tile from what remains in the original stack, they then need to discard a tile from their hand which can be used by other players in the game

Tiles used in Classic Mahjong (麻将)

The 144 tiles used in Classic Mahjong can be broken down into seven main sets and each of the sets appear four times to form a complete Mahjong set. There are three main sets consisting of nine tiles plus additional sets as shown below.

  Bamboo Set


  Character Set


  Circles & Dot Set


  Wind Set


  Dragon Set


  Flowers Bonus Tiles


  Dragon Bonus Tiles


Objective of Classic Mahjong (麻将)

The objective of the game is to match four sets and a pair using all of your tiles, this is known as a MAHJONG. When someone declares Mahjong the game ends, and points are distributed based on your hand. Each player is then paid out from the pot based on the points total of their hand, this is calculated automatically by the online mahjong casino before distributing the payout. Once this happens the deck of tiles is re-shuffled and the game is restarted ready for another round.

A set can consist of either a PONG (three of the same suit) a KONG (four of the same suite), or a CHOW (three running tiles of the same suite).

See below for example sets in Classic Chinese Mahjong:

  PONG Example


  KONG Example


  CHOW Example


A PONG or a KONG must be made up using identical tiles, a CHOW must consist of three tiles running in the same suite eg. 1,2,3.

Once you have formed four sets all that is needed is to make a pair which can consist of any two identical tiles excluding the bonus tiles. Bonus tiles cannot be used for pairs nor for sets and are instead set aside and will count as an additional amount towards your end score.


Forming Sets in Classic Mahjong (麻将)

Sets in Classic Mahjong can be formed by retrieving from the deck forming a concealed set or retrieving a tile when its been discarded by an opponent player to complete a set in your hand. Once a set is formed in this way the tiles are shown face up for other players to see. Mahjong is declared once four sets have been formed followed by a pair to complete the hand.

All sets must be formed using pieces from the same suit either Bamboo, Character, Dots, Wind or Dragon tiles. PONG and KONG sets require 3 or 4 tiles of identical value and suit where as a CHOW is more like a straight in poker but using only three values from the same set eg. 1 2 3.

Point Scoring in Classic Mahjong (麻将)

As soon as Mahjong has been declared play automatically stops and points are allocated based on set/tile values.

Chow/Chi - 3 Running Values of the Same Suit

All Chow/Chi sets - 0 Points

Pairs - 2 Matching Values of the Same Suit

Pair of Dragons - 2 Points

Pair of Winds (matching seating position) - 2 Points

All other Pairs - 0 Points

Pong - 3 Matching Values of the Same Suit

An exposed Pong (Simple Values 2-8) - 2 Points

An exposed Pong (Terminal Values 1, 9, Winds or Dragons) - 4 Points

A concealed Pong (Simple Values 2-8) - 4 Points

A concealed Pong (Terminal Values 1, 9, Winds or Dragons) - 8 Points

Kong - 4 Matching Values of the Same Suit

An exposed Kong (Simple Values 2-8) - 8 Points

An exposed Kong (Terminal Values 1, 9, Winds or Dragons) - 8 Points

A concealed Kong (Simple Values 2-8) - 16 Points

A concealed Kong (Terminal Values 1, 9, Winds or Dragons) - 32 Points

Bonus Tiles

Season tiles - 4 Points Each

Flower tiles - 4 Points Each

Winner Bonus Points

Declaring Mahjong - 20 Points

Drawing the Winning tile from the Wall (Deck) - 2 Points

Drawing the only possible tile to form Mahjong - 2 Points


Once scoring is completed hands are double a numbers of times depending the make-up of each players' hand at the end of the round. The winning player that declares Mahjong receives additional Doubling bonuses again dependant on the make-up if the hand. All doubles are cumulative meaning that points you score may for example be doubled three times over:

1 Double - Multiply by 2

2 Doubles - Multiply by 4

3 Doubles - Multiply by 8

4 Doubles - Multiply by 16

5 Doubles - Multiply by 32

Standard Doubles

For each Pong or Kong of Dragons - 1 Double

For each Pong or Kong Wind (of player position value) - 1 Double

For all four Season tiles - 2 Doubles

For all four Flower tiles - 2 Doubles

For all 8 Bonus tiles - 5 Doubles

For 2 sets of Dragons with a Pair of the third Dragon - 3 Doubles

For all 3 sets of Dragons (The Great Scholars) - 5 Doubles

For 3 sets of Winds with a Pair of the fourth Wind - 1 Double

For all 4 sets of Winds (Four Large Blessings) - 3 Doubles

For 3 concealed Pongs - 1 Double

Winners Doubles Only

Drawing the last tile from the Wall(Deck) - 1 Double

Claiming the last discarded tile - 1 Double

Going out by drawing a replacement tile from the Wall (Deck) - 1 Double

Going out by drawing the last remaining tile of the Wall as a replacement tile - 2 Doubles

Going out with a point-less hand (Chows with a non-scoring Pair) - 1 Double

For a hand with no Chows - 1 Double

For a hand using only Terminal Values and any Pair - 1 Double

For a hand consisting of Honour (Winds & Dragons) tiles only bar one suit - 1 Double

For a hand using only one suit and no Honour Tiles - 3 Doubles

Points are compensated from your allocated start total and cash is paid out to each player in respect to the points total, the more points you have the greater the win.

Play Classic Mahjong (麻将) Online


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