Hong Kong Mahjong Rulebook
13 tiles to play, 14 tiles to Mahjong
The objective of the Hong Kong Mahjong game is to put together a complete set (or “hand”), which contains four sets of threes (either three of a kind of the same suit (or “pong”) or a sequence of the same suit (or “chow”) and a pair, for total of 14 pieces. Each player starts with 13 tiles. With each turn, a player picks up a 14th tile, and then discards one tile face up in the center of the table. At this point, other players can choose to pass, take the tile to complete a set (pong, chow or kong – we’ll describe this later) or to declare a win (“mahjong”). The first player who completes the set of 14 tiles wins the hand.
Let’s look at each step of the game in more details.
1. Determining the Seats (Dealing/seating part in game is performed for you automatically. View the Demo of Mahjong Game
a. First, the four players are assigned temporary seats arbitrarily.
b. Each player throws two dice. The player with the highest number becomes “temporary East”, and the other three seats, in counter clockwise order, temporary South, West and North. See the example below:
Note that the players are assigned temporary winds in counterclockwise order. (Note the difference to the compass winds).
c. Next, the player who is assigned as “temporary East” mixes four wind tiles, one of each wind, face down on the table and arranges them in a row. At one end of the row, an even-numbered suit tile is placed face up, and at the other end, an odd numbered suit tile. See the example below:
d. Temporary East then throws two dice and counts counterclockwise, starting with himself. The player indicated then picks up the wind tile at the odd end of the row, if the number thrown was an odd number, or even end of the row, if the number was an even number. The other three players, in counterclockwise order, pick up a tile from the same end. Each player then assumes the seat indicated by the tile, which was drawn. Here is an example:
e. The player thus indicated (B) picks up the wind tile at the end of the row, since the number last thrown was an even number (four). In this case, B is East.
f. The other three players, in counterclockwise order, pick a tile from the same end the first wind tile was picked. In this case, C is North, D is West, and A is South.
g. This is then becoming the initial position. Note that the winds follow each other in counter clockwise direction in order East, South, West and North (the order in which winds are customarily listed in Chinese) so they do not follow compass directions.
Dealing the tiles / Breaking the wall
a. The 144 pieces, including flowers & seasons (or 136 without flowers & seasons) are mixed and then placed faced down on the table. Each player then selects 36 tiles (or 34 without flowers & seasons) and arranges them face down in a row of 18 pieces (or 17 pieces without flowers & seasons) and 2 tiles high. Then, these rows are pushed forward to form a hollow square in the middle of the table. Below is an example of an unbroken wall:
b. To determine which side of the wall to be the starting point, East throws the three dice and counts counter clockwise round the walls, beginning with himself as one (accordingly, numbers 5, 9, 13, and 17 indicate East, numbers 2, 6, 10, 14, 18 indicates South, numbers 3, 7, 11, 15 indicates West and numbers 4, 8, 12 and 16 indicates North).
c. The player indicated then counts off along the tiles of his side of the wall, starting from the right end. Then, this player makes a break in the wall by pushing slightly the tiles to the left of the breaking point. The seven stacks of tiles to the right of the breaking point are known as Dead Wall (or Kong box); the remaining tiles, starting from the tiles to the left of the breaking point, constitute the Live Wall. The 14 tiles of the Dead Wall are reserved as replacement tiles for Kongs (and Flowers and Seasons, if they are used). The Dead Wall is replenishing so the used supplement tiles are replaced by reserving new tiles from the tail end of the live Wall (however, the supplement tiles are always taken from the left end of the Dead Wall).
d. East starts the deal by taking the first two stacks of the tiles (i.e., four tiles) from the left of the break, then each of the other three players pick two stacks of tiles in order South, West and North. This is repeated twice so that each player has 12 tiles. East then draws the next stack of two tiles, and South, East and North in turn take one tile each. Thus the dealer has 14 tiles and the other three players each 13 tiles.
The players take each 2 stacks of tiles (i.e., four tiles at a time) from the start of the live Wall, in order East, South, West and North, until each player has 12 tiles. Then East picks one more stack of two tiles and West, South and North pick one tile each (see picture).
Note. A very common variation is that East picks his 13th and 14th tile as illustrated in picture above (note that these two tiles are picked at the same time and South, West and North pick their final tiles only after this). This is called chan-chan because of the sound made by the clicking of the two tiles.
e. If the dealt hand contains Flowers or Seasons, they are immediately melded (placed face up above and to the side of the hand) and replaced with regular tiles taken from the Dead Wall (East replaces first his extra tiles, then South, West and North). Should a player draw further bonus tiles during this replacement procedure, he immediately takes supplement tiles for these, as well. If a player has a concealed Kong(s) in his hand he may declare it (them) at the same time he takes supplement tiles for Flowers and Seasons.
The game is now ready and new tiles will be taken from the “Wall” where the drawing of initial hand ended. The dealer (or East) starts the game by discarding a tile face up in the center of the table. South then draws & discards a tile, followed by West and North. Thus, the draw goes counter-clockwise around the table, unless a tile is thrown which a player can claim. In that case, the turn jumps to the respective player’s position. We’ll go into more details in the Hong Kong Mahjong Game Play section.
When a player discards a tile, any of the other players may pick up the discarded tile if he has a set, which may be completed by the discarded tile. However, a drawback of this action is that the player must now expose the completed set to the others, thus providing them a glimpse of what kind of hands he is creating. A player can pick up a discarded tile to complete one of the following sets:
1. Chow – Chow is a set of 3 tiles of the same suit in sequence. A player must say “Chow” when he gets another player’s discarded tile to form the combination. A chow can only be performed if the tile was discarded by the player from the claimer’s left. Here is an example of a Chow:
2. Pong – Pong is a set of 3 identical tiles. A player must say “Pong” when he gets another player’s discarded tile to form the combination. The player then must show the created set and then discard a tile. The next player (counterclockwise) will then have the next turn. Here is an example of a Pong:
3. Kong – Kong is a set of 4 identical tiles. When a Kong is formed with a discarded tile, the player must then expose the set. In addition, the Kong cannot be split once exposed. However, if a Kong is made from the existing hand, the player can conceal it from the others. The advantage of concealing a Kong is that the player can split the 4 tiles and use one tile to form a Chow if necessary. Here is an example of a Kong:
Whichever the case, the player then draws from the Dead Wall for a tile and discard as usual.
Note that a player cannot Kong a discarded tile to convert an exposed Pong to a Kong.
More details about Kong:
If a player draw from the wall to make a Kong in his hand, the player should expose the Kong on the table and draw a tile from the Dead Wall to make a correct number of hand, and then discard one piece. If this is the case, two of the Kong pieces are placed on the table face up and the two end pieces face down to show that the Kong still counts as if still held in the hand.
If a player has a pong on the table and draws the 4th from the wall, the player can place the 4th tile with the pong to make a Kong.
4. Pair — An Eye, or a Pair, are two identical tiles. It cannot be created with discarded tiles unless to declare a win / mahjong, and only one set is allowed in a hand. Here is an example of a Pair:
How about if two players are claiming a discarded tile at the same time? Then the Claim Priority is in effect. •Win has priority over Pong, Kong, and Chow.
•Pong & Kong has priority over Chow.
•If Two Players want to claim the same tile to win, 1st player to claim the tile who sits to the right of the thrower wins.
When a player gets flower tiles, they should be immediately exposed and replaced by another tile from the Dead Wall. Nevertheless, in some variations of the game, when a player has in his possession all of the flower tiles, he automatically wins the game.
Waiting to Win
A player with one tile short of winning the game is considered to have a “ready hand”. This is called “waiting” because that player is basically waiting for certain tiles to complete his hand.
When a player creates a set of hand or “mahjong”, he wins the game. A winning hand consists of four sets of chow, pong, or kong, and a pair.
In Hong Kong Mahjong If East (the Dealer) wins the game he stays as East. Also, in case of a Dead Hand, the wind / seating position stays in place. Otherwise, the player to the right becomes the new dealer (East) as the wind / seating position rotate counter clockwise.
In Hong Kong Mahjong, There are 4 rounds: East, South, West and North Round.
Within each round, the winds / seating position will rotate as follows: East, South, West, North (counterclockwise). The wind / seat won’t rotate if: East is the winner OR dead hand (nobody wins) OR wrong mahjong declared. Thus, there are total of 16 hands minimum in one complete game of Hong Kong Mahjong.
Hong Kong Mahjong Scoring System
Here is some basic scoring:
Complete hand – 0 fan
Kongs – 1 additional fan each
4 Chows in a hand – 1 additional fan
Half Flush (consists only of honors and suit tiles of one suit) – 2 additional Fan
Seat/Prevalent Wind – 1 additional fan
Self-drawn – 1 additional Fan
Last Tile Draw/Discard – 1 additional Fan
Out on Replacement Tile (Winning after drawing a replacement tile) – 1 additional Fan
Robbing the Kong (Winning on off a tile used to extend a kong) – 1 additional Fan
4 Pongs and/or Kongs in a hand – 3 additional fan
1 or 2 Dragon Pongs or Kongs – 1 additional fan each
A pair of Dragon Pong and another pair of Dragon – 4 additional fan
Pongs/Kongs of Winds that matches the round or seat – 1 additional fan
No Flowers/Season tile – 1 additional fan
Flowers/Season tile that matches seat value – 1 additional fan each
All Flowers/Season of a particular colour – 2 additional fan
Win by self-drawn – 1 additional fan
|Fan||Points||Other 2 players (Pays) (Double if Self Drawn)||Player who throw winning card (Pays)||By discard||Self Drawn|
|4, 5, 6||16||16||32||16+16+32=64||32+32+32=96|
|7, 8, 9||32||32||64||32+32+64=128||64+64+64=192|
|10 and above||64||64+64+128=256||128+128+128=384|
Comments: Some players can up the stake by dictating 1 Point = X amount of money.
Special hands which are difficult to compose but rewards the player with maximum pay out.
- Full Flush – 16 points (consists only of suit tiles of one suit. All types applicable: Circle, Character and Bamboo)
- Seven Pairs – 16 points + components (Hand containing any seven pairs)
- Hidden Treasure – 64 points (Four Pongs, any pair, all concealed, and win by Self-Drawn)
- Three Great Dragon – 64 points (Pong or Kong with all three dragons, any chow, pong or Kong, and any pair. May all be melded)
- Little Four Winds – 64 points (Pong or Kong of three Winds, a pair of fourth wind, any other set completing the hand. May be all melded)
- Big Four Winds – 64 points (Pong or Kong of each Wind, and any pair. May all be melded)
- All Honors – 64 points (Four Pongs or Kongs and a pair of Dragons and Winds. May all be melded)
- All Terminals – 64 points (Four Pongs or Kongs and a pair of 1’s or 9’s. May all be melded)
- Nine Gates – 64 points (Three 1’s, a sequence of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and three 9’s, all of the same suit, and any other tile of the same suit completing the hand. The hand must be concealed (the winning tile can be a discard). No Kongs are allowed)
- Thirteen Orphans – 64 points (One of each Dragon and Wind, 1 and 9 of each suite and 14th tile forming a pair with any of these. The hand must be concealed (the winning tile can be a discard).
- All Kongs – 64 points (Any four Kongs + any Pair)
- Jade Dragon – 64 points (Jade Dragon: Pong or Kong of Bamboos and a Pong or Kong of Green Dragon)
- Ruby Dragon – 64 points (Pong or Kong of Characters only and Pong of Red Dragon)
- Pearl Dragon – 64 points (Pong or Kongs of Dots only and Pong or Kong of White Dragon)
- Heavenly Hands – 64 points (East declares “Out” with the dealt hand (after supplement tiles, if any). Basically the player has all the cards in place to Mahjong after all cards are distributed. Mahjong will take place instantly without any players to withdraw cards.
- Earthly Hands – 64 points (Non-dealer goes out on dealer’s first discard (supplement tiles are allowed) Basically the player has all the cards (except one) in place to match for Mahjong after all cards are distributed. Earthly Hands Mahjong will take if the player manages to Chow, Pong to Mahjong.
- Thirteen unrelated- 64 points (all tiles are not related, 3 tiles in each suit and with any pair, need to contain 5 tiles of winds or dragons)
- Forteen unrelated- 64 points (all tiles are not related, 3 tiles in each suit and no any pair, need to contain 5 tiles of winds or dragons)
- All unrelated – 64 points (One of each Dragon and Wind, contain any 147, 258, 369 in any suit)