How to Play Japanese Three-Player Mahjong

More Mahjong Styles




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


Drop me a line


Building a Hand - The Basics

The aim of Mahjong is to complete a hand before any other player does. The most common method of completing a hand is to collect four sets of three tiles - either "Three-of-a-Kind" or "a Run-of-Three" - and a "Head" of two similar tiles.

Each tile within a set of three must be of the same type - the same suit, the same dragon, or the same wind. For example:

A Run-of-Three:

A hand can consist of a mixture of sets, so a completed hand of 14 tiles might look like this:

Or this:

Or this:


Note 1: Although not every completed hand consists of four sets of three tiles, with but one exception, no hand is complete if it lacks a "Head" of two similar tiles.

The Exception: If a player goes "Kan" four times he automatically completes his hand even if it lacks a head.

Note 2: In the Three-Player game a Run-of-Three can only be made with tiles from the Bamboo or the Coin suits!

Privacy | Terms of Service

Page last modified: 10th September 2011