Mah-jong is a game of skill, strategy and probability. There are many different variations of the game, but the general objective remains the same: remove all tiles from the board before your opponents do. The “official” rules of mah-jong are almost as complicated as chess. The standard version is probably the Chinese variant known as “13 cards” (or “13 tiles”). However, there are many other versions that differ in small ways. If you want to learn how to play mahjong and the mahjong strategy that you can use, read on to know everything you need about one of Asia’s most popular games.
Strategies for Winning at Mahjong
There are various strategies for winning at mah-jong. Some are very simple, others are quite complex.
- The early game – The first thing you must do is get rid of your “bad tiles.” You don’t need to know what your bad tiles are just yet, but you do need to know they exist. This is done by discarding tiles that aren’t needed. When you need to discard, you want to discard the tiles that other players want.
- The middle game – Once your hand has settled down, you can start to make melds. A meld is a group of tiles that have the same numbers and/or symbols on them. The two most common types of melds are the “pong” and the “kong.” A pong is a pair of tiles with the same number and/or symbol. A kong is a triplet (three tiles with the same number and/or symbol) that may be extended with a pair.
- The end game – After all the tiles have been drawn from the stock and discarded, the game is almost over. The only things that matter at this point are your melds, and which hand has the fewest tiles.
Is Mahjong Just Chance?
The short answer is no, but the long answer is that there is a certain amount of luck involved. Some tiles are more likely to be drawn than others. Some tiles are extremely rare, while others are common. There are also certain moves that may change the probability of certain tiles being drawn from the stock, such as the “ko.” The “ko” is when someone discards a tile that was discarded in the previous hand. If you’re playing “ko,” you must first use the discarded tile, then discard another tile. If someone else also discards that same tile, the “ko” ends and the player who discarded it first is given another turn. This means that other players may have fewer chances to draw from the stock. In this case, it can still be helpful if you have a mahjong strategy in mind to have better winning chances.