Mahjong Tips and Tricks - Things To Remember

Adaobi Okonkwo
Written byAdaobi OkonkwoWriter

Mahjong is not a game of pure luck. Players need to memorize rules and strategies in order to play the game. But, there is another crucial thing most players ignore. When a player has learned how to play Mahjong, the next step is to know about all the major tips and tricks.

In this guide, we will discuss the mahjong tips and tricks we know about, so players don’t have to worry. Now, let us get started right away without wasting any time.

Mahjong Tips and Tricks - Things To Remember

Start The Game With A Plan

Players should come up with a plan before playing the Mahjong game. As soon as a player sees a tile, they should start brainstorming about how to proceed further. The first ideal step a player should take is to decide which tiles to pick up, wait for, and which ones they don't want in their hand.

  • A player must remember that their rivals are constantly watching what they put on the table.
  • For the majority of seasoned mahjong players, the tiles that are thrown already offer them a solid sense of what they have in their hands and allow them to plan their strategy against others. Because of this, skilled players can exploit another player's toss to their advantage.
  • Pay attention that bluffing won’t exactly always be beneficial for players, as it can come back too, which will give opponents an idea of a player’s hand.

Memorizing the Tiles

A player cannot search for meld sequences if they are unsure of which characters go with one another. If they are unfamiliar with Chinese writing, that is very challenging. A player could desire to spend money on a set of Mahjong tiles with Arabic numerals. In addition to the conventional symbols on mahjong tiles, there are also these Arabic numerals. They won't have to learn how to read traditional Chinese calligraphy in order to find the tiles they're looking for.

Skipping the First Throw

Skipping the throw is one of the best strategies in mahjong as it will not give away a player’s plan to the opponents. It will surely help players to advance in the game early.

The disadvantage of this tactic is that it might expose a player's mahjong-winning steps for that specific round. The opponent's game strategy will already be known if they are motivated to win the match. Even though that player could have won a set with that throw, they will notice that their opponents will be more cautious with their throws going forward. This will prevent that player from winning another set.

  • Collecting the first throw may indicate that a player is still learning the game. This can be used against him by opponents.
  • They shouldn't be too upset about not receiving the leftovers. Players are free to put them off.
  • In Mahjong, players may use a variety of tiles; they simply need to wait for the right moment to assemble a strong hand that will guarantee victory.

Skipping the Gaps

Avoiding gaps between the tiles when arranging the rack is one of the best mahjong tip methods. Because mahjong players are very perceptive, maintaining gaps might reveal a player’s strategy. They are able to quickly identify the hand a player is attempting to put up and their potential actions.

To line up their tiles in combinations and determine their next movements, some new players would create a gap. Yet, it also implies that other players can use their hands similarly. Placing tiles that are not connected and leaving gaps might confuse opponents. But, doing so is only advised when a player is certain they won't become perplexed by their own tactics.

Appropriate Scoring

For new players, it is better to keep the scoring as simple as possible. If not, it could mess up their game, and they might not be able to win. The easiest approach to scoring the game is to award one point to the person who completes the first mahjong, and zero points to everyone else. Add up the points, and the one who wins the most games is declared the winner.

Players can use the other Mahjong scoring guidelines if they have a better grasp of the game. The regulations of the Chinese Official Mahjong Competition are similar to many of them. After that, they can experiment with more challenging scoring systems, such as those for Hong Kong or Ricchi Mahjong.

Point Values of The Tiles

It's also a good idea to remember that pongs have a higher point value than chows. Chows are only useful when there are four of them available to form a mahjong. Yet, making pongs rather than chows may seem counter-intuitive, particularly if a player has experience of playing poker.

  • Pong is equivalent to a three-of-a-kind in poker, while chow is nearly identical to a straight.
  • While chows are valued more in poker, a player could be inclined to concentrate on them, but mahjong games have distinct hand rankings.
  • If new mahjong players learn the various meld combinations and take into account the point values for each, they will make fewer mistakes and advance more quickly.

Hiding the Melds

A player will get more points by keeping the melds a secret until they are prepared to declare mahjong. Therefore, they shouldn't reveal them until absolutely necessary. Mahjong beginners frequently like moving their tiles around to observe which melds they are effectively working on. Players are free to move their tiles about, but they should try to keep them all in a row.

  • It is simple for the adversaries to see what a player is working on when full melds are separated, or certain tiles are set aside, so they will modify their mahjong strategy appropriately.
  • A player becomes a more difficult mahjong opponent to play against by maintaining a straight row of tiles.

Discarding the Tiles

Although it may be tempting, it is not a good idea to discard any tiles a player has in their hand that don't fit. Instead, a player should focus on the tiles that their rivals are tossing away.

When a player pays close attention to the discard pile, they increase their chances of finding the discards they require and decrease their chances of accidentally discarding them into another player's mahjong hand.

What would be the wisest course of action if a player had many tiles to discard? If you are certain that your opponents won't desire them, it would be best to discard the tile that is most near other tiles that have previously been discarded.

Sticking To A Pair

A pair is a hand that every player should keep close. These are among the most adaptable tiles. A player can adhere to them as pairs or use them to form a four-of-a-kind (Kong), a three-of-a-kind (Pung), or a group of three identical tiles (Chow).

  • Don't try to shatter them if they have a pair or two for this reason. In reality, when a player advances in the game, they can turn out to be their winning tiles.
  • It's important for a player to promptly implement their mahjong-winning techniques.


To learn mahjong completely, there are some tips and tricks that a player must remember. Without them, a player would never be complete with other players, as many of them observe the game and figure out others’ strategies as well.

About the author
Adaobi Okonkwo
Adaobi Okonkwo

Amidst the hustle of Lagos, Adaobi Okonkwo emerges as Nigeria's preeminent specialist in localizing online casino content. By fusing Nigerian zest with global gaming insights, she's become a household name in the industry.

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More posts by Adaobi Okonkwo

Is there a trick to mahjong?

There are many tricks in mahjong. Some of them are the following:

  • Starting the game with a plan
  • Memorizing the tiles
  • Skipping the first throw
  • Focusing on the foundation

What is the secret to winning at mahjong?

There is no secret to winning at mahjong. But players should keep their hand moving in the direction they want it to and be flexible at the same time. Picking up tiles only for the sake of doing so won't work; patience will always prevail.

What is the best hand in mahjong?

The best hand in mahjong consists of four sets of chow, pung, or kong and a pair.

Can you win with 7 pairs at mahjong?

There are only 3 ways to win in a one-sided wait. Thus, the odds of winning are limited. Moreover, in order to make the 7 pairings, a player cannot take any tiles from other players.

What are the 13 Wonders of mahjong?

Unquestionably, the finest final hand in Mahjong is 13 Wonders. Players have a 1/2464 chance of winning with 13 Wonders.

Can you use 4 jokers in mahjong?

The exposed pung/kong/quint can be played with one or more jokers. Unless it is the last tile required to declare Mahjong, players are not permitted to pick up a discarded tile for a single or a pair.

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