Mahjong is a game of both skill and luck that originated in China many centuries ago. It is a social game that is meant to be FUN. Rules may vary by Country or the Club you join. The game was brought West in the 1920’s. American Mahjong utilizes racks, jokers, “Hands and Rules” score cards and has several distinct game play mechanics. Mahjong is always played with four players seated around a table. Tiles are shuffled, die are cast, and rituals involving the allocation of tiles and then the exchange of tiles begin. The first person to match a hand of 14 tiles and thus “call Mahjong” ends the game, whereupon tiles are scored and a winner is declared. The excitement of Mahjong lies in the decisions that you will constantly have to make. DECISION: Is it preferable to discard a tile and thus gain an advantage, or would it be more prudent to stay with a decent hand? There is the exhilaration of winning a hand as well as regret at not having been bold enough to have made a different choice. Like poker, you will learn a lot about your opponents as you play Mahjong and adjust your strategy according to their strengths and weaknesses. AFTER the first game is complete, the position of East (dealer) moves to the person on their right. After each game, the position of East continues to move counter-clockwise. The process of shuffling the tiles, rebuilding the walls, and dealing is repeated until the games end. The Charleston is a ritual unique to American Mahjong with roots to its beginnings in the early 1920’s. It is an exchange of tiles that gives each player a chance to improve her hand by passing unwanted tiles face down to other players.
|1)||Each player passes 3 unwanted tiles to the player to her right.|
|2)||Each player passes 3 unwanted tiles to the player opposite her.|
|3)||Each player passes 3 unwanted tiles to the player to her left, known as ‘first left‘. The player is allowed to ‘blind pass‘ up to three tiles. A blind pass is taking the tiles received and passing them without looking at them.|
Occasionally mistakes are made such as erroneous discards, incorrect exposures, or calling Mahjong incorrectly. In such cases there may be penalties.
|Accidentally discarded tile has touched the table or been announced.||Tile cannot be taken back.|
|A tile has been announced incorrectly.||Tile cannot be claimed.|
|A tile is called but no exposure made.||The call may be retracted.|
|An incorrect exposure has been made.||The exposure may be corrected prior to discarding.|
|A player has too few or too many tiles.||The player’s hand is dead (out of the game) but will pay the winner just like all the other players at the end of the game.|
|3 players have too few or too many tiles.||The game is replayed.|
|A player’s hand is discovered by another to be impossible, based on the tiles exposed on their rack.||The player’s hand is dead.|