How to Play Japanese Three-Player Mahjong




The Winds & "the Oya"

Bonus Tiles

Playing the Game

Building a Hand - The Basics

Building a Hand with Special Combinations

How to Complete a Hand

Interrupting Play with Pon and Kan

Special Cases


Points and Payments

Yaku Table

Other Stuff



Mahjong in Japan

Books on Mahjong

Mahjong Sets & Accessories


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Three-player Mahjong is a fast-paced Japanese variation on the classic Japanese version of Mahjong. As such, it is an excellent gambling game.

As the name suggests, it is a game for three players whereas the standard game is played by four-players. However, four or even five players can participate in the three-player game, just as three or five players can participate in the standard four-player game.

There are fewer tiles in the three player game, but the basic procedure is similar to that of the standard four-player game. The middle tiles of the Characters suit are removed, and some four-player Yaku (special hands) are discarded. All the permissible Yaku for the three-player game can be found in the Yaku Chart elsewhere on this site.

There is no "Chi" in the three-player game. In other words a player cannot complete a run of three tiles by claiming a tile from the person to his left as is the case in the four-player game.

While the four-player is widely played throughout Japan, the three-player game is a popular variation in the Chugoku region, the western part of Honshu.

Little has been written about the three-player game in Japanese, and nothing had been written about it in English before this site was created.


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Page last modified: 10th September 2011