The object of the game is to form a complete legal hand. The ultimate object is to accumulate the most points from winning hands.

Game Progression

After distributing the tiles, players compete to be the first to finish a hand. Players draw tiles and call discars to make progress toward a finished hand.
Players take their turns in order. East begins, and the turn order proceeds counter-clockwise.
A player begins his turn by drawing a tile. However, since East begins with fourteen
tiles, East doesn’t draw a tile on his first turn. If the player can’t or won’t declare a win
or a kan, the player ends his turn by discarding one of his concealed tiles.
Discards are placed in an orderly fashion, six to a row, in front of each player and
within the wall, so that it is clear who discarded which tiles and in which order.

Complete Hand

A complete mahjong hand is composed of 14 tiles (can be more, see later). The usual complete hand is composed of four sets (mentsu 面子) and a pair of tiles (jantou 雀頭). There are exceptions discussed later.


There are three kinds of mentsu:

1) Shuntsu 順子 (Sequence)

Three consecutive tiles in the same suit. Honor tiles cannod do sequences.

2) Koutsu 刻子 (Three of a kind)

It is composed of three identical tiles.

3) Kantsu 槓子 (Four of a kind, or Quad)

It is composed of four identical tiles.


It is composed by a pair of identical tiles


Complete hands examples


Special hands

Two special hands exist which are not composed of four sets and a pair:
Seven Pairs and Thirteen Orphans.

Kantsu (four of a kind)

Four identical tiles in the hand can be declared Kantsu. When that happens a supplementary tile is drawn from the dead wall so that the hand now contains one more tile. Also a new dora indicator is revealed. The dead wall always comprises 14 tiles, so after a kan the dead wall is replenished with the last tile of the wall.
When a hand contains Kantsus it will have more than 14 tiles.

There are three types of Kantsu. The first is called Ankan (concealed kan): when you have 4 identical tiles in your heand you can declare "Kan" and put the four tiles on your right, like this (two tiles face up and two facedown to indicate that is concealed):

and the other two in the next section.

Then you draw a tile from the dead wall, turn over a new Dora and then discard.
The other two types of Kan are described in the next section.

Calling tiles (naki 鳴き)

As well as drawing the tiles from the wall players can also call the most recent discard by any of the other players to complete a hand or a mentsu.

These are the possible calls:

Chi (吃 / チー)

This is a call made to complete a shuntsu (sequence). A tile can only be claimed for a sequence from the player on the left. Claiming the last discarded tile for a Chi is done by clearly calling "Chow" or "Chi", placing the tile face-up along with the two tiles from the hand that complete the set.

Pon (碰 / ポン)

This is a call made to complete a Koutsu (three of a kind). Claiming the last discarded tile for a three of a kind is done by clearly calling "Pon" or "Pung" and placing the tile face-up along with the two matching tiles from the hand. A pon may result in players losing their turn, as play continues from the claiming player, not from the discarding one.

Kan (槓 / カン)

There are two types of Kan call.
One is made to complete a Kantsu (four of a kind) when you have the other three tiles in your hand. It’s done by clearly calling kan,
placing the tile face-up along with the three matching tiles from the hand. Then a replacement tile
is drawn from the dead wall and after discarding, a new Dora indicator is revealed.

The other kan call is called Late Kan and can be declared when you draw the fourth tile of a Pon.
After the call a replacement tile
is drawn from the dead wall and after discarding, a new Dora indicator is revealed.

Ron ()

Claiming the last discarded tile from any player to complete the hand and win.


Winning with a tile drawn from the wall is called Tsumo.

Calling precedence

If two or more players simultaneously call the same discard the following rules of precedence are applied.

A Ron takes precedence above all. A pon or kan has precedence over a chi.

Open and Closed Hands

Before the first steal, the hand is defined as Closed, but after the first steal, the hand becomes Open, meaning that part of the hand has been revealed. Usually a closed hand has more value than an open one.

Finishing a round

A round can end in three ways: by exhaustive draw (no-one declares a win after the
discard after the last tile), by abortive draw or by one or more players declaring a win.

Last tile

The last tile in the wall when discarded can only be claimed for a win, not for a kan, pon or chi. In
case a kan is declared at the second-to-last tile, the replacement tile becomes the last


A rounds ends in Ryuukyoku when a player has drawn the final available tile from the and made the discard that follows without a win being declared.
In this case, each player in turn (starting with east) can reveal their tiles if their hand is Tenpai (ready). If a player called Riichi then it is mandatory that they show their tiles (to confirm that the Riichi was legal) but in other cases showing the hand is optional.
The players who are not in Tenpai pay a total of 3000 points to the players who are in Tenpai.

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