Japanese Riichi Mahjong Rule
The 34 basic mahjong tiles are presented here. A full set of mahjong tiles contains four identical tiles of each of these.
1.1 The three suits
There are three suits, each has tiles numbered from one to nine:
The one of bamboo is often decorated with a bird, the design of which often varies between mahjong sets. The ones and nines are called terminal tiles.
In addition to the suit tiles, there are seven different honour tiles: four winds and three dragons. The winds are shown in the order: east-south-west-north. The dragons are shown in the order: red-white-green. The design of the white dragon varies between mahjong sets; usually it is either a blank tile or a blue frame is depicted.
1.3 Aka Dora/Red Dora/赤ドラ
With four of each of the above tiles, a mahjong set consists of 136 tiles. Sometimes mahjong sets contain further tiles: flower, season or joker tiles, which are not used in riichi mahjong.
Japanese tile sets often include red ﬁves. The red ﬁves are sometimes used to replace normal ﬁves, so that each suit has one red ﬁve and three normal ﬁves. Collecting aka dora in winning hand will earn the winner one bonus han each.
1.4 Tenbou/Scoring sticks/点棒
Tenbou 「点棒」 are the point sticks used to keep track of scores. In a sense, these sticks may be viewed as the game’s “currency”.
The value of the scoring sticks shown below are: 100, 1000, 5000 and 10,000. A stick of different colour can be used for the value 500. Players begin with 30,000 points.
2.1 Seat wind
Mahjong is played by four players, each of which is associated with a wind, denoted the player’s seat wind. East is the starting player. South is sitting at East’s right, West is sitting across from East, and north is sitting at East’s left. Note that the counter-clockwise order east-south-west-north is not as could be expected from the compass directions. During a full game, each player is East at least two times. Between hands the seat winds will change, see 3.4.11.
In addition to wind designations, three terms are used to designate other players relative to oneself. They are shimocha (下家) or player to the right, toimen (対面) or player across, and kamicha (上家) or player to the left. These designations do not necessarily take into account of wind position, which changes in relation to each other. As the wind designations change, the relative position to player does not.
2.2 Prevailing wind
When the game begins, east is the Prevailing wind. When the player who started the game as East, becomes East again after all other players have played at least one hand as East, the south round begins, and south is the Prevailing wind. A wind marker should be placed permanently by the player who begins as East, and when this player becomes East again after the first (east) round of the game, the marker is flipped to indicate the new Prevailing wind, south.
2.3 Seating determination
The players’ positions at the table are determined by drawing lots if they are not predefined by a tournament schedule.
For drawing lots one of each wind tile is used. The four tiles are shufﬂed face down and each player picks one of the tiles; the player who shufﬂed the tiles is the last to pick a tile. The player who picked the east tile will begin the game as East. The player who picked the south tile will begin the game as South. The player who picked the west tile will begin the game as West. The player who picked the north tile will begin the game as North.
2.4 Building the wall
The tiles are thoroughly randomized. Then each player builds in front of himself a wall of face-down tiles, seventeen long and two tiles high. The four walls are pushed together to form a square.
2.5 Breaking the wall
Once the walls are built, the dealer determines the initial breakage of the wall using a dice roll. Once again, starting with the dealer, the count begins at 1 and the count moves clockwise. Then the wall of the player at the end of this count is broken, where the player counts with the same dice number from the first tile on the right side of his/her wall towards the left. The first dice roll points to which wall is broken. The second dice roll uses a different number value to break along the same wall. The player thus determined breaks the wall in front of him, by counting from the right the same number of stacks as indicated by the dice. After the last counted stack the wall is broken by pushing the two wall sections a bit apart. If East’s dice roll was 12, North breaks the wall as shown:
2.6 The dead wall
Wanpai (王牌) are the tiles used to form the dead wall. Every mahjong hand session has 14 tiles, or 7 double-stacked tiles, set aside from the regular tile draw and discard processes. These tiles are considered to be out of play, hence it is called by “dead wall”. Most of these tiles are used to indicate dora. The rest are used for kan draws and tile wall replacements.
For every hand, the dead wall always starts with the very same arrangement. The kan draws are always the four tiles clockwise to the dora indicator. These are the rinshanpai (嶺上牌), which are only accessible via calls for kan.
2.7 The dora indicator
Count three tile stacks into the dead wall from the original break in the wall, and turn the top tile over to determine the dora indicator. This tile indicates which tile is dora. If the dora indicator is a suit tile, the dora is the next tile in the same suit, e.g. seven bamboo is dora if six bamboo is the dora indicator. If the indicator is a nine, the dora is the one in the same suit. If the indicator is a dragon, the dora is also a dragon, as the following order applies: red points to white, white points to green and green points to red. For winds, likewise, the following order applies: east-south-west-north-east.
is dora when the indicator is
is dora when the indicator is
is dora when the indicator is
is dora when the indicator is
2.8 The dealing process
The player who is East takes the first four tiles in the wall after the original break in the wall. Tiles are taken clockwise, while the players’ turns proceed counter-clockwise, South takes the next four tiles, West the next four, North the next four and so on until all players have twelve tiles. East continues by taking two tiles: the top tiles in the first and third stacks in the wall. South, West and North each take one tile in order. (This corresponds to East taking one tile, waiting for the other players to take one tile each, and then East takes his fourteenth tile). East now has a starting hand of fourteen tiles, whereas the other players have thirteen tiles each.
Each player arranges his tiles upright in front of himself, so only he can see the faces. The dice are placed at East’s right; in this way it is always clear to all players which player is East.
3 GAME PLAY
The object of play is to form a complete hand. The ultimate object of the game is to accumulate the most points from the winning hands. It doesn’t matter how many hands each player has won, the accumulated score determines the winner.
3.1 Phases of the game
A player’s turn begins when a tile is acquired and ends when a tile is discarded. During a normal set of turns all players have their turn once. A normal set of turns is interrupted if a tile is claimed for kong, pong or chow, or a concealed kong is declared. A hand lasts until a player has completed a hand and won, or a drawn game occurs. During a round all players are East in turn. A complete game consist of two rounds: the east round and the south round.
3.2 Mahjong hand
A complete mahjong hand is composed of four sets and a pair. A set may be either a chow, a pong or a kong. In addition, a complete hand must have at least one yaku (double). A player who is furiten, is not allowed to win on a discard. A chow is three consecutive tiles of the same suit. Chows cannot be made with dragons or winds. 8-9-1 in the same suit is not a chow. A pong is composed of three identical tiles. A kong is composed of four identical tiles. A pair is composed of two identical tiles.
Two special hands exist in riichi which are not composed of four sets and a pair: Seven Pairs and Thirteen Orphans.
3.3 A player’s turn
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 kong, the player ends his turn by discarding one of his concealed tiles. East should wait until all players have seen and sorted their tiles before making the ﬁrst discard.
Players should take care to discard tiles without covering them with the hand. Discards are placed in an orderly fashion, left to right and six tiles 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.
3.3.1 Precedence and timing when claiming a tile
The most recent discard can be claimed by any player for a pong or kong until the next player draws. The most recent discard can be claimed for a win by any player until the next player discards, except in case of tsumo.
A claimed kong or pong may result in players losing their turn, as play continues from the claiming player, not from the discarding player. If a player claims a tile for winning, any concurrent claim for kong, pong or chow is ignored. It is possible for several players to win on the same discard. The player about to begin his turn can claim the most recent discard for a chow. If the player doesn’t want to claim the discard, he begins his turn by drawing a tile from the wall.
Claiming a tile for winning takes precedence over any other claim. Claiming a tile for kong or pong takes precedence over a claim for chow. A player who has claimed a tile for winning cannot change his claim.
Players are not limited in time to play, but they are expected to play at a reasonable pace. A player drawing tiles too fast for the other players to have time to call, or repeatedly taking an overly long time, can be penalized for obstruction at the referee’s discretion.
If a player is drawing a tile too fast for the other players to have time to call, the call is still valid and the drawn tile is replaced in the wall.
3.3.2 Swap-calling (kuikae)
Swap-calling (kuikae) is not allowed. It is not allowed to claim a tile and immediately discard the same tile. It is not allowed to claim a tile for chow and discard the tile from other end of the chow.
It is not allowed to claim for pong and discard
It is not allowed to claim for chow and discard or
3.3.3 Melded chow
A tile can only be claimed for a chow from the player on the left. Claiming the last discarded tile for a chow is done by ﬁrst clearly calling “chow” or “chi”. Secondly the player reveals the matching tiles from the hand and thirdly discards a tile from the hand and claim the tile called for. For the third step the order of the two actions is not important: the player can take the claimed tile ﬁrst and then discard, or the other way round.
3.3.4 Melded pong
Claiming the last discarded tile for a pong is done by ﬁrst clearly calling “pong” or “pon”. Secondly the player reveals the matching tiles from the hand and thirdly discards a tile from the hand and claim the tile called for. For the third step the order of the two actions is not important: the player can take the claimed tile ﬁrst and then discard, or the other way round.
3.3.5 Melded kong
Claiming the last discarded tile for a melded kong is done by clearly calling “kong” or “kan”, placing the tile face-up along with the three matching tiles from the hand. After revealing a new kan dora, the player takes a replacement tile from the dead wall and continues his turn as if he’d drawn a tile from the wall. The dead wall always comprises 14 tiles, so after a kong the last tile of the wall becomes part of the dead wall.
3.3.6 Extending a melded pong to a kong
A melded pong may be extended to a melded kong in a player’s turn after the player has taken a tile from the wall or a replacement tile, i.e. not in a turn where a tile was claimed for chow or pong. The player must call “kong” or “kan” clearly, place the fourth tile by the rotated tile of the pong and then reveal a kan dora and take a replacement tile. The tile used to extend the pong counts as a discard, and can be claimed for a win. The dead wall always comprises 14 tiles, so after a kong the last tile of the wall becomes part of the dead wall.
3.3.7 Concealed kong
A concealed kong may be declared in a player’s turn after the player has taken a tile from the wall or a replacement tile, i.e. not in a turn where a tile was claimed for chow or pong. The player must call “kong” or “kan” clearly, reveal the four tiles of the kong, then turn the two middle tiles face-down, reveal a kan dora and take a replacement tile. The dead wall always comprises 14 tiles, so after a kong the last tile of the wall becomes part of the dead wall.
A player still has a concealed hand after declaring a concealed kong, if the player has no open sets.
A concealed kong cannot be robbed, except to win on Thirteen Orphans.
Note: Four identical tiles only make up a kong, if a concealed kong is declared.
3.3.8 Displaying sets
Tiles in melded sets can not be rearranged to form other sets, and they cannot be discarded.
After calling a tile, the relevant tiles from the hand are immediately exposed. It is allowed to make the discard before the claimed tile is taken. If the claimed tile is not taken within the next two opponents’ turns, i.e. before another two discards has been made, the player has a dead hand.
Melded sets are placed to the right of the player’s tiles in clear view for all players. Claimed tiles are rotated to indicate which player made the discard. If the tile was discarded by the player sitting on the left, the claimed tile is put on the left side of the set. If the tile was discarded by the player sitting in front, the claimed tile is put in the middle of the set. If the tile was discarded by the player sitting on the right, the claimed tile is put on the right side of the set. A claimed kong has one rotated tile. A kong made by extending an open pong has two rotated tiles: the extending tile is placed by the previously rotated tile.
3.3.9 Liability: Third melded dragon pong and fourth melded wind pong
A enforces responsibility on particular a particular discard on a player. Such discards involve one that aids in the formation of an apparent yakuman. Under this rule, the “one responsible” is liable to making point payments, due to particular mahjong plays, such as upgrading a partial threat of yakuman into an actual yakuman. If a called tile guarantees a yakuman for the caller, no matter how their hand is won later, the discarder of the called tile is considered liable and will have to pay extra for the win.
Point exchanges using sekinin barai occur if the yakuman is later won by tsumo, the entire value of the hand must be payed by the liable player. If the yakuman is later won by ron against a non-liable player, this player must pay half the value of the yakuman and the liable player must pay the other half of the yakuman.
If a player has two called pon of dragon tiles, then an open call for a pon / kan of the third dragon type upgrades the hand to an apparent daisangen, whether the tile call produces tenpai or not. The player dealing into the third dragon call is liable for the yakuman. If a player has called three mentsu of wind tiles, then an open call for a pon / kan of the fourth wind type upgrades the hand to an apparent yakuman. The player dealing into the fourth wind call is liable for the yakuman.
Suukaikan is declared when four kans are formed by different players. If all four kans are called by one player, play continues to give the player the opportunity to score the yakuman, suukantsu. No other players are allowed to declare kan from then on. If the four kans have been formed by more than one player, hand abortion after formation of the fourth kan when the following discard is not a winning tile.
3.3.11 Mahjong on a discard (ron)
A player who can form a valid mahjong hand with at least one yaku with the last discard, can win by clearly declaring ron or mahjong, unless he is furiten.
3.3.12 Mahjong on self-draw (tsumo)
A player who can form a valid mahjong hand with at least one yaku with a tile just drawn from the wall or the dead wall, can win by clearly declaring tsumo or mahjong. The player should keep the winning tile apart from the rest of the hand, so that it is clear to all players which was the winning tile. A player who is furiten can still win on self-draw.
A player’s hand is tenpai or waiting if the hand needs only one more tile to complete a winning hand. A player is still considered tenpai if all his waiting tiles are visible among the discards and declared sets. A player is not considered tenpai if he is waiting only for a tile of which he already has 4. A player is not considered tenpai if his hand has been declared a dead hand.
A player with a concealed waiting hand can declare riichi by clearly saying riichi, rotating the discarded tile sideways and paying 1000 points to the table by placing a stick by the discards. If an opponent claims the rotated discard for winning, the riichi declaration is invalid and the 1000 points are returned to the riichi declarer. If an opponent claims the rotated tile for a melded set, rotate your next discarded tile.
A player is not allowed to declare riichi if there are less than four tiles left in the wall.
The 1000 points goes back to the riichi declarer if he wins. If another is the winner of the current hand, he collects the 1000 points. In case of multiple winners, the 1000 points are collected by the winner ﬁrst in order after the discarder. In case of a drawn game the riichi bet says on the table to be claimed by the next player to win a hand.
A player who declared riichi can no longer change his hand. However, he may declare a concealed kong if a tile is drawn that matches a concealed pong, if this does not change the waiting pattern and if the three tiles to be kong can only be interpreted as a pong in the original riichi hand. (In case of three consecutive pongs in the same suit, no kong may be declared, since the tiles can be interpreted as three identical chows).
It is permissible for a player who is furiten to declare riichi. A player who after declaring riichi, chooses not to win on a discard that completes his hand, becomes furiten. A player who is furiten can still win on self-draw.
Riichi is a yaku. A player who wins in the ﬁrst set of turns after the riichi declaration (including the player’s next draw) can claim an additional yaku for ippatsu. The ippatsu chance is lost if the set of turns is broken by claims for kong, pong or chow, including concealed kongs.
A player who wins after declaring riichi, reveals the tiles underneath the dora indicator and any kan dora indicators. These tiles indicate ura dora which can be claimed only by players who declared riichi.
3.4 End of a hand
A hand can end in two ways: by exhaustive draw (no-one declares a win after the discard after the last tile) or by one or more players declaring a win. Chombo results in a redeal and does not count as a hand.
At the end of a hand players should never look at tiles in the wall.
3.4.1 Last tile
The last tile in the wall can only be claimed for a win, not for a kong, pong or chow. In case a kong is declared at the second-to-last tile, the replacement tile becomes the last tile. It is not allowed to declare a concealed kong on the last tile.
3.4.2 Exhaustive draw
An exhaustive draw occurs if no-one declares a win after the discard after the last tile. The 14 tiles of the dead wall are not used. After an exhaustive draw the noten players (players who can’t or won’t show a tenpai hand) pay a penalty to tenpai (waiting) players (players who show a tenpai (waiting) hand). Players announce whether they are tenpai or noten in order: East declares ﬁrst, then South, then West and ﬁnally North. It is permissible to declare out of turn, but the announcement cannot be changed. Players who have declared riichi are obliged to show their tenpai hands in case of an exhaustive draw. Noten dealers lose the dealership. Known as tenpai renchan.
The total noten penalty amounts to 3000 points. If three players are tenpai, the noten player pays 1000 to each. If two players are tenpai, they each received 1500 points from a noten player. If only one player is tenpai he receives 1000 points from each of the noten players. If none or all players are tenpai no points are exchanged.
After an exhaustive draw, a counter (100 point stick) is placed on the table at East’s right-hand side. If the dealer rotates, the new East places the current number of sticks; e.g. if there were 2 sticks before the draw the 3 sticks are placed by the new East.
3.4.3 Abortive draw
After an abortive draw no no penalty is payed, and players who have declared riichi are not obliged to show their tenpai hands, except in case of four riichi declarations. After an abortive draw, a counter is placed on the table at East’s right-hand side. Abortive draw can occur in four ways:
A player who after his first draw in the uninterrupted first go-around has at least nine different terminals and honours may declare an abortive draw. No-one wins after the discard after the fourth kong, and the four kongs do not belong to the same player.
All players discard the same wind in the first uninterrupted go-around.
All four players have declared riichi, and no-one declares a win on the fourth player’s discard. All players are obliged to show their tenpai hands.
3.4.4 Handling riichi bets after drawn games
In case of a drawn game, any riichi bets stay on the table to be claimed by the next player who declares a win. In case more than one player wins at the same time, the riichi bets go to the winner closest to the discarder’s right. At the end of the game, if the hand ends with exhaustive draw, any riichi deposits would go to 1st place.
If a waiting player can form a mahjong hand using one of his previous discards, he is furiten and is not allowed to claim a win on a discard.
A player who is furiten can choose to change his hand to avoid being furiten (except if he has declared riichi).
A player who is furiten, can still win on a self-drawn tile. A player who fails to claim a win on a discard that completes a mahjong hand, is temporarily furiten, even if the passed tile gives him no yaku, and he cannot claim a win on a discard in the current set of turns. The state of temporary furiten ends next time the player draws or claims a tile. However, if the player has declared riichi he remains temporarily furiten until the end of the hand. A player is never considered furiten on a self-drawn tile.
Furiten – example 1
If a waiting player can form a mahjong hand using one of his previous discards, he is furiten and is not allowed to claim a win on a discard, even if the hand completed with the previous discard is without a yaku.
Consider a player with the following hand:
The player has a three-sided wait for 3-6-9. The player is furiten if any of the three waiting tiles are among his discards.
Furiten – example 2
Consider a player with the following hand:
The player is waiting 1-4 circles. A discarded 7 circles does not make the player furiten. Only if one of the waiting tiles (1 or 4 circles) are among the discards is the player furiten.
Furiten – example 3
Consider a player with the following hand:
The player is waiting for three tiles: 4 and 7 circles and red dragon. If the player has discarded one of these tiles, he is furiten.
Severe offenses are punished by chombo, after which there is a re-deal of the current hand. If a win is declared at the same time as a chombo occurs, the chombo is voided.
In a tournament the chombo penalty is 20000 points which are deducted from the players overall tournament score after the game is ﬁnished and after the uma is added to the players‘ scores. Outside tournaments the chombo penalty is a reverse mangan payment: 4000 to East, 2000 to other players. If the offending player is East, 4000 is paid to each of the other players.
The following offences are subject to chombo penalty: •Invalidly declaring a win and showing the tiles. The win can be invalid because the hand is not a valid winning hand or because the declaration was not valid
- Declaring riichi on a hand that is not waiting. This is determined only in case of a drawn game. In the case where a riichi hand is only considered noten because it was declared a dead hand after the riichi declaration, it is not considered a chombo, and only the noten penalty is paid
- Making an invalid concealed kong after declaring riichi (determined only if the offender declares a win or in case of a drawn game)
- Attempting to claim a tile after the hand has been declared a dead hand
- Play cannot continue due to a mistake of a player. E.g. too many tiles were revealed for the game to continue fairly
After a chombo riichi bets are returned to the players who declared riichi, and there is a re-deal. No counter is placed, and the dealer does not rotate.
3.4.7 Dead hand
Some irregularities that are not punished by chombo result instead in a dead hand. A player who has a dead hand is not allowed to declare a win, kong, pong or chow, and can never be considered tenpai.
The following irregularities result in a dead hand:
- Invalidly declaring a win without showing the tiles
- Attempting to declare riichi on a open hand
- Attempting to declare riichi, but failing to call “riichi” or failing to rotate the discard
- Too few or too many tiles on the hand
- Making an invalid kong, pong or chow. The mistake can be corrected if it is realized or pointed out before the discard is made
- A referee call may result in a dead hand, e.g. for passing information
In the case where a riichi hand is declared a dead hand after the riichi declaration, and the hand ends in an exhaustive draw, the noten penalty is paid, the case does not result in chombo.
3.4.8 Minor irregularities
Minor irregularities are generally not penalized. Please refer to Section 5 on Etiquette and tournament rules.
3.4.9 When a win is declared
When a hand ends with one or more playes declaring a win, the hand(s) are scored. Only winners receive payment. If there are more than one possibility for which way the winning tile finishes the hand, the highest-scoring possibility is always chosen.
A player winning on a self-draw, receives payment from the three opponents. A player whose discard results in one or more winning declarations, pays the full value of each hand to the winner.
East receives more points for a win, but also pays more in case of an opponent’s selfdraw.
When east wins the hand (whether more players win or not), a counter is placed on the table at East’s right-hand side.
A counter is placed on the table at East’s right-hand side after a hand where East declared a win and after an exhaustive draw.
Each counter on the table increases the value of a winning hand by 300 points. In case of self-draw the payment is shared, so each opponent pays 100 points for each counter to the winner, in addition to the standard payment for the hand.
All counters are removed after a hand where another player than East declared a win, and East did not.
3.4.11 Dealer rotation
After the end of a hand, it is determined whether East stays East or whether the privilege proceeds to the next player.
East stays East if he declares mahjong or if he is tenpai when there is an exhaustive draw. If there are multiple winners, East stays East if he was one of the winners. Otherwise, the deal rotates, and the player who was South now becomes East, while West becomes South, North becomes West and East becomes North.
In case of chombo there is no dealer rotation: East stays East.
3.5 Continuation of the game
When the dealer rotation is resolved, the tiles are shuffled face-down, and a new hand is begun.
When the player who began the game as East, becomes East again after all opponents have had at least one hand as East, the south round begins.
When the player who began the game as East, becomes East again after all opponents have had at least one hand as East in the south round, the game ends.
3.6 End of the game
When the south round ends, and the game is over, the winner is the player with the most points. It is of no consequence how many individual hands were won, the total sum of points determines the winner. At the end of the game, if there is a tie, the tie is broken in favor of the person having the earlier dealership. At the end of the game, all riichi deposits go to 1st place. Agari yame is not allowed. This is a rule that would allow East to end the game early if he wins the ﬁnal hand and is leading the game.
3.6.1 Winner bonus
Players start with 25000 points and must return 30000 points. At the end of the game the winner would receive Oka bonus equal to the difference between collective starting and return points. Additionally at the end of the game an extra bonus/penalty (uma) is applied to the scores. The two best ranked players receive a bonus from the two lowest ranking players in the game, according to this scheme: Winner receives 20,000 points, second ranked player receives 10,000 points, third ranked player is penalized with -10,000 points and the last player is penalized with -20,000 points. If there is a tie, the tie is broken in favor of the person having the earlier dealership.
If there is a tie, the points for the relevant places are split between the tied players. E.g. if two players are tied at the ﬁrst position, each gets a bonus of 10,000 points.
4.1 Scoring a winning hand
All players at the table are responsible for ensuring that each winning hand is scored correctly and to the maximum points.
First ﬁnd total han value: Add the number of han given by the yaku (at least one), the number of dora tiles, kan dora tiles and, in case of a riichi hand, the number of ura dora in the hand. This sum is the han value of the hand.
Then the base value of the hand, the fu, is calculated. Round the number up to the next 10. (e.g. 32 fu are rounded up to 40). In case of a seven pairs hand, the hand is worth 25 fu and there is no rounding up. For hands with ﬁve or more han, fu calculation is irrelevant. The tables are further described in 4.1.3. The hand winning value are added 100 for honba on the table in case of self-draw, and 300 in case of winning on a discard. In addition any riichi bets from players who didn’t win the hand are collected by the winner.
In case more than one player wins at the same time, the discarder settles the score with each winner individually. Each winner receives the value of the hand including the value of honba counters in play.
In case more than one player wins at the same time, the riichi bets from players who declared riichi without winning go to the winner closest to the discarder’s right. Riichi declarers that win, always get their riichi bet back. When scoring is done with sticks, players should put the sticks on the table where all players can see them during the exchange.
When scoring is done with sticks, players are obliged to count up their sticks when asked to by opponents. Busting out ends the game. Having a negative score ends the game. Negative scores are recorded as such.
4.1.1 Fu Calculation
Winning with different condition grants different amount of fu:
- Every hand begins with a default start value of 20 fu.
- Winning with a closed hand by ron, the hand is awarded 10 fu.
- Seven pairs always gives exactly 25 fu when calculating the score/payout
- A win by tsumo with an open or closed hand is worth 2 fu. An exception to the fu for tsumo is a closed hand that satisfies all other criteria for pinfu.
The afterwards, calculate additional fu for each pon and kan in the hand. Chi have no any fu value. If the winning tile complete a triple, it counts as a concealed pon in case of self-draw, and it counts as an open pon in case of winning on a discard.
In addition 2 fu are added for each of the following:
- Pair of dragons
- Pair of seat wind
- Pair of prevalent wind
- Winning on an edge, closed or single wait
- Winning on self-draw (except in case of pinfu)
- Open pinfu
The 2 fu for edge, closed or single wait can be claimed even if the hand is waiting for other tiles. Edge wait is 1-2 waiting for 3 or 8-9 waiting for 7. Closed wait is waiting for the centre tile of a chow. Single wait is waiting to finish the pair.
Edge wait:winning on
Close wait: winning on
The highest-scoring possibility decides which set is ﬁnished by the winning tile. Consider the following waiting pattern:
waiting on or
Winning on the 7, the tile can either finish an edge wait (grants 2 fu) or finish the two-sided 5-6-7 chi, grants no additional fu, but instead a yaku for pinfu on a concealed hand. The highest-scoring possibility must always be chosen.
In special cases:
even though it is only possible to win on
no minipoints can be claimed, since the tile ﬁnished neither an edge wait, a closed wait or a single wait (pair wait).2 minipoints are awarded for winning on a self-drawn tile. This is voided, however, in case a yaku is claimed for pinfu.
Open pinfu is an open hand worth no minipoints (except the 20 minipoints for winning). It is rewarded 2 minipoints. Example:
4.1.2 Exact calculation of the hand value
Instead of calculating manually the value of the hand, the tables are recommended. For completeness, however, the calculation procedure is given here.
For hands worth five or more han, the table for limit hands is usually used. For hands worth less than five han, the value is calculated as follow: the base value of the hand ( the total fu rounded up ) are doubled by the number of han plus 2. This figure is the base figure to be paid by all three opponents in case of self-draw. For East, however, the figure is doubled one more time. East receives double payment, but also pays twice the amount of the base figure in case of an opponent’s self draw.
Payments are rounded up to the next 100, though never exceeding the value of a mangan. In case of winning on a discard, the discarding player must pay for all opponents, incl. East, i.e. four times the base figure if the winner is not East, and three times the doubled base figure if the winner is East. The payment is rounded up to the next 100, though never exceeding the value of a mangan.
In addition to this is the value of counters and riichi bets on the table.
4.1.3 Scoring tables
The scoring tables (please see excel scoring excel sheet) are categorized by whether the winner is East or not, and whether the win was on a discard (ron) or on self-draw (tsumo).
In the relevant table, use the column that gives the han value of the hand and the row that gives the fu value of the hand.
The table East on self-draw (Tsumo) gives the amount that each opponent should pay to East. The table Others on self-draw (Tsumo) gives two numbers; the largest number is the payment from East, the other number is the payment from each of the two other opponents. The tables for winning on a discard (Ron) gives the amount that the discarder should pay to the winner.
The tables for limit hands gives the amount that each opponent should pay to a self-drawn win. In case of winning on a discard, the discarder pays for all, e.g. for a haneman the payment is 18 000 to East or 12 000 otherwise.
The value of any honba counters and riichi bets are added to original value of the hand.
4.2 Yaku overview
Several yaku requires that the hand maintains concealed state. A concealed hand can win of discard as long as it meet the minimum yaku requirement. If the discarded winning tile completes a pon, the pon is considered open when calculating the fu bonus, but the hand state is still considered as concealed.
4.2.1 Yaku – 1 han
When a player has a closed tenpai hand, the player may declare riichi. Doing so gains the hand 1 han. To declare riichi, a player announces riichi and discards a tile facing sideways in the discard pile. This is done to indicate when riichi was called. If that tile is claimed by another player for an open meld, then the next discard is turned sideways as a replacement.
Unless the first sideways discard is claimed for a win immediately, the riichi announcer now places a bet of 1,000 points on the table. This bet is collected by the next player to win a hand. Of course, a player must also have 1,000 points to begin with, assuming that a game ends with negative scores. Specific rulesets may handle differently what happens to the bet on a multiple win.
After a riichi declaration, the hand remains locked and unchangeable. In this state, the player is simply waiting for a winning tile to appear, either by draw or discard. However, a notable exception may involve calls for kan.
It is not allowed to declare riichi when less than four tiles remain in the wall.
Kan during riichi is a discretionary play. Players must take note of the hand composition to determine, whether the kan is allowable or not. Disallowable calls either alters the hand’s waiting pattern or alters the hand’s composition, where tile groupings are changed.
Ippatsu is a yaku completely dependent on riichi. By definition, ippatsu requires a riichi declaration to be in effect, for an additional 1 han. Therefore, ippatsu cannot function as a stand-alone yaku.
It is awarded if the player receives a winning tile within an uninterrupted set of opponent tile draws after the riichi declaration. The earliest possible chance to win with ippatsu comes from the shimocha’s discard (player to the right). The latest possible chance to win with ippatsu is with the player’s next drawn tile after the riichi declaration.
Menzen Tsumo (Fully Concealed Hand)
Winning on a self-draw on a concealed hand. With this yaku, all closed hands qualify for menzen tsumo, even if it is the only yaku. No open hand may qualify for this yaku. The instant a player calls on a discarded tile, then the player forfeits the right to claim this yaku until the next hand, just like riichi.
Concealed all chis hand with a valueless pair. I.e. a concealed hand with four runs and a pair that is neither dragons, nor seat wind, nor prevailing wind.
The winning tile is required to finish a chi with a two-sided wait. The hand is by definition worth no fu, only the base 30 on a discard or 20 on self-draw.
Iipeikou (Pure Double chi)
Concealed hand with two completely identical runs. Identical means that both shuntsu must be of the same numbers and suit. This yaku also requires the hand to be closed. A single open call invalidates the yaku, even if the pattern exists within the hand. If this pattern is found twice in one hand, an alternative yaku, ryanpeikou, is scored.
Haitei raoyue and Houtei raoyui
Haitei raoyue is a yaku, where a player wins with the tsumo on the haiteihai, the last drawable tile from the live wall. As such, this yaku is only accessible via tsumo.
Houtei raoyui is the ron variant to haitei, which is dependent on the last discarded tile of a hand. So, players making the last discard of the hand must take extra care not to play into another player’s hand in this case.
The last tile draw and discard is defined by the dead wall. By rule, the dead wall must retain 14-tiles at all times; and this includes any revealed dora indicators.
Rinshan kaihou is a yaku, where a player wins with the rinshanpai, or the replacement tile after forming a kan. As such, this yaku is only accessible via kan calls. As the player wins with the tile draw from the dead wall, every instance of this yaku is won by self draw (tsumo) and never by discard (ron).
Chankan is dependent on the usage of kan, where a player may declare ron while a player calls to upgrade a minkou (triple called via pon) to a shominkan (added kan). In other words, if a player is tenpai for a tile used for that specific added kan, then the player may declare a win on that tile.
In almost all cases, players are not allowed to call ron on an ankan (closed kan). The notable exception involves a kokushi tenpai hand, where the last tile needed for the yakuman is called for an ankan.
Tanyao is a yaku, consisting of tile groups using numbered tiles 2-8 from any of the three main suits. Any tile numbered 2-8 are classed as chunchanhai or simples. Conversely, this yaku must lack the terminal tiles (1 and 9) as well as any honor tiles. Among the yaku, this is one of the more easier to attain; and it is also a cheap yaku. Kuitan is a rule allowing open tanyao.
Yakuhai is a group of 1 han yaku scored for completing a group of certain honor tiles. Along with tanyao and riichi, these yaku are the easiest and most frequently occurring yaku in the game. The yakuhai awarded for wind tiles are unique in that the eligible tiles change over the course of the game, relative to each player. Dragon tile groups, on the other hand, count throughout the game.
4.2.2 Yaku – 2 han
This is a special case for riichi. In this case, the player’s start hand is already at tenpai from the dealt tiles, or the initial draw produces a tenpai hand. Naturally, a player has the option to declare riichi at this time. No tile call may have interrupted the turn order before the declaration, where applicable. For the dealer, the only possible interruption would be a call for a closed kan. Double riichi is worth 2 han instead of 1 han for a normal riichi, as a bonus for the initial timing.
This yaku involves sequences of the same numbered tiles across the three main suits. The short hand sanshoku generally refers to this yaku, rather than the significantly more difficult to achieve sanshoku doukou yaku. This yaku worth 2 han if the winning hand is in concealed state and worth 1 han if it is open.
Ittsuu is a yaku, defined as three distinct tile groups containing 123, 456, 789 of one suit. Collectively, the three groups form a complete single suit straight of 1 through 9. This hand can also be noted as a “straight”, similar to the poker hand of the same name. This hand may be played open or closed. When open, the hand loses value of one han.
Has 2 han if concealed and 1 han if opened.
Chanta (Outside Hand)
It is a terminal and honor based yaku. For this yaku, every tile group and the pair must contain at least one terminal. A hand must contain at least one honor and one non-terminal tile, otherwise the hand will score junchan, honroutou, or chinroutou instead. This yaku worth 2 han if the winning hand is in concealed state and worth 1 han if it is open.
This hand consists of seven pairs, where no two pairs may be identical. In other words, every pair must be distinct. This hand is one of the two exceptions of the “four melds and one pair” rule of forming a hand. This hand is closed only.
This yaku involves koutsu (triplets) of the same numbered tiles across the three main suits. This yaku worth 2 han if the winning hand is in concealed state and worth 1 han if it is open.
Sanankou (Three Concealed pons)
Sanankou is a yaku, consisting of three concealed triplets (ankou). The third must not be completed off of another player’s discard, as this would not count as concealed. However, if it is completed with a tsumo, then the yaku is awarded. A concealed kan is also counted as a concealed triplet. The hand this yaku is awarded to may be open or closed, as long as it meets the conditions. This yaku is awarded by 2 han.
Sankantsu (Three Kan)
This yaku requires kan to be called three times by one player. Per the yaku’s name, kan must be called three times; and as a result, the tenpai hand has at most four tiles remaining as closed. If necessary, the hand can call as far as a single tile remaining.
Toitoihou (All triplets)
Simply, any group of triplets would suffice. In terms of han, this yaku is not devalued while open.
Shousangen (Little Three Dragons)
Hand with two dragon pons/kans and a pair of dragons. Additionally it worth at least two more yaku for the individual dragon pons.
Honroutou is a yaku, focusing on just the honors and terminals. To score honroutou, the hand must contain only honors and terminals. If the hand is all honors or all terminals, then tsuuiisou or chinroutou will be scored instead.
4.2.3 Yaku – 3 han
Honitsu (Half Flush)
Normally translated as a “half flush”, this yaku features a hand composed only of honor tiles and tiles of a single suit. If the hand contains no honors, then the chinitsu yaku is counted instead. This yaku is usually referred to as honitsu or, occasionally, honichi. Has 2 value if the hand state is open.
Junchantaiyaochuu (Terminals in All Sets )
Junchantaiyaochuu is a terminal based yaku. For this yaku, every tile group and the pair must contain at least one terminal. Additionally, at least one tile group must contain a non-terminal tile, or else chinroutou will be scored instead. Junchan is similar to chantaiyao, but chanta allows honours in addition to terminals. Has 2 value if the hand state is open.
Ryanpeikou (Twice Pure Double chi)
Concealed hand with four chis which two and two form Pure Double chis, example:
No additional yaku for Pure Double chi (IIPEIKOU) are counted.
4.2.4 Yaku – 6 han
Full Flush (CHINITSU).
This yaku is composed of tiles in one suit only. Chinitsu is worth 6 han, but it decreases to 5 han when opened.
Thirteen Orphans (KOKUSHI MUSOU).
Concealed hand with one of each of the 13 different terminal and honour tiles plus one extra terminal or honour tile, e.g.
Nine Gates (Chuuren Poutou).
Concealed hand consisting of the tiles 1112345678999 in the same suit plus any one extra tile in the same suit, example:
Blessing of Heaven (TENHO).
East winning on his initial deal. Concealed kong is not allowed.
Blessing of Earth (CHIHO).
Winning on self-draw in the very ﬁrst un-interrupted set of turns. Concealed kan is not allowed.
Four Concealed Pons (Suuankou).
Concealed hand with four concealed pongs/kans. Winning on a discard is allowed only in case of single wait on the pair.
Four kans (Suukantsu)
Hand with four kongs.
All Green (Ryuuisou)
Hand composed entirely of green tiles. Green tiles are: green dragons and 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 of bamboo. Example:
All Terminals (CHINROUTO).
Hand composed entirely of terminal tiles.
All honors (Tsuuiisou).
Hand composed entirely of honor tiles.
Big Three Dragons (DAISANGEN).
Hand with three pons/kans of dragons. In case of three melded dragon pons/kans, the player feeding the third set of dragons must pay for the entire hand in case of self-draw, and split the payment with the discarder in case of win on a discard.
Little FourWinds (SHOOSUUSHII)
Hand with three pon or kan of winds and a pair of winds.
Big Four Winds (DAISUUSHII).
Hand with four pon or kan of winds. In case of four melded wind pon / kan, the player feeding the fourth set of winds must pay for the entire hand in case of self-draw, and split the payment with the discarder in case of win on a discard. See section 3.3.9.
4.2.6. Optional Hand
It is defined by a player declaring ron with a starting hand before the dealer gets a second turn or before any called tile. This premise is similar to the chiihou, except the hand wins by discard (ron). Only non-dealers may invoke renhou, as the first discard always comes from the dealer.
Daisharin is one of three yakuman awarded for a closed hand with the following pattern: 22334455667788. The name daisharin applies to the pinzu. Using the exact same number pattern, daichikurin and daisuurin apply to souzu and manzu respectively. Despite the difficulty of attaining this pattern, they are classed as optional.
Despite the fact that they are technically three different yaku, they are often referred to collectively as daisharin: a ruleset which uses daisharin usually implicitly also uses the other two, and occasionally a daichikurin or daisuurin hand will be incorrectly referred to as daisharin.
Scoring example 1
The winning tile is 9 bamboo on selfdraw. The hand is concealed.
The player has declared riichi. The hand scores 1 yaku for Riichi, 1 yaku for Fully Concealed Hand, 1 yaku for Pinfu, 2 yaku for Pure Straight (because the hand is concealed). Total: 5 yaku. If there are no dora, kan dora or ura dora, the hand value is 5 han. 5 han is the limit hand called Mangan and it scores 4000 from each if the winner is East; a total of 12000 points. If the winner is not East, he receives 4000 from East and 2000 from each of the other opponents; a total of 8000 points.
The winning tile is 9 bamboo on discard. The hand is concealed.
The player has declared riichi. The hand scores 1 yaku for Riichi, 1 yaku for Pinfu, 2 yaku for Pure Straight (because the hand is concealed. Note that even though it is a claimed tile that finishes the Pure Straight, it still scores an extra yaku because the hand is concealed). Total: 4 yaku. fus: 30 for going out on a discard on a concealed hand. Since it is a pinfu hand there are no further fus. If there are no dora, kan dora or ura dora, the hand value is 4 han, 30 fus, and it scores 11600 from the discarder if the winner is East. If the winner is not East, he receives 7700.
The winning tile is 9 bamboo on discard. The hand contains a melded set.
7 bamboo is dora. The hand scores 1 yaku for Pure Straight. Total: 1 yaku. The hand scores an additional han for the dora tile. fus: 20 for going out on an open hand, and an additional 2 fus for Open Pinfu. 22 fus are rounded up to 30 fus. The hand value is 2 han, 30 fus, and it scores 2900 from the discarder if the winner is East. If the winner is not East, he receives 2000.
Scoring example 2
The winning tile is 8 bamboo on selfdraw. The hand is concealed.
The hand scores a yakuman for Four Concealed pons. Further yaku or dora tiles are irrelevant since yakuman is the limit. If the winner is East, he receives 16000 from each; a total of 48000. If the winner is not East, he receives 16000 from East and 8000 from each of the other opponents; a total of 32000.
The winning tile is 8 bamboo on a discard. The hand is concealed.
4 circles is dora. Even though the hand is concealed, the last pon (which was finished with the claimed tile) is not considered concealed. The hand scores 2 yaku for Three Concealed pons, 2 yaku for All pons and 1 yaku for All Simples. Total: 5 yaku. The hand scores an additional han for each of the dora tiles for a total of 8 han. 8 han is the limit hand called Baiman, and it scores 24000 points from the discarder if the winner is East. If the winner is not East, he receives 16000 points from the discarder.
Scoring example 3
The winning tile is 4 bamboo on selfdraw in the set of turns immediately after the player has declared riichi.
The hand scores 1 yaku for Riichi, 1 yaku for Ippatsu, 1 yaku for Fully Concealed Hand, 1 yaku for All Simples and 2 yaku for Seven Pairs. Total: 6 yaku.. This is the limit hand called Haneman, and it scores 6000 from each if the winner is East; a total of 18000 points. If the winner is not East, he receives 6000 from East and 3000 from each of the other opponents; a total of 12000 points.
The winning tile is 4 bamboo on a discard.
The player had not declared riichi. The hand scores 2 yaku for Seven Pairs. fus: 25 for going out on Seven Pairs. The hand scores no further points even though there is a pair of dragons and a pair wait. The hand value is 2 han, 25 fus, and it scores 2400 points from the player who discard it if the winner is East and 1600 points otherwise.
Scoring example 4
The winning tile is west on a discard.
7 bamboo is dora. The player is East in an east round. The hand scores 2 yaku for Half Flush, 1 yaku for Seat Wind, 1 yaku for Prevailing Wind and 1 yaku for Outside Hand. Total: 5 yaku. The hand scores an additional han for the dora tile, for a total hand value of 6 han. The winner scores 18000 from the discarder.
Scoring example 5
The winning tile is 7 circles on self draw. The hand is concealed.
The player is South. The hand scores 3 yaku for Half Flush (because the hand is concealed) and 1 yaku for Fully Concealed Hand. fu: 20 points for going out, 8 fu for a concealed pon of honors 2 fu for self draw and 2 fu for edge wait. Note that even though there is a three-sided wait, the winner chooses which set the winning tile finishes in such a way that the score is maximized. 32 fu are rounded up to 40 for a total hand value of 4 han 40 fu, equivalent to a mangan in payment: 4000 from East and 2000 from the others for a total of 8000 points.