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


Drop me a line


1With the exception of Dragons, active Winds and Bonus-Yaku, each Yaku in an open or partially open is reduced in value by one point. Thus, in an open hand all one-point Yaku (except for Dragons, active Winds and Bonus-Yaku) are worth zero and no longer qualify as Yaku.

2Players whose hands contain no Yaku cannot go Ron on these Yaku without first going Riichi.






3-Player Mahjong Yaku Table

1 Point Yaku

Kazehai (Winds)

One set of three identical Winds that are active, i.e. the Wind allocated to the table or to the player:

, or , or .

Note: in Three Player Mahjong, Pei (North) is used as a Dora and is never an active Wind.

Sangenpai (Dragons)

One set of three identical Dragons, either hidden or open:

, or , or


Two identical runs of 3 e.g.:

Note 1: This Yaku disappears if the player goes Pon.

Note 2: A player with no other Yaku in his hand can go Ron without going Riichi provided that he is waiting for just one tile to complete this Yaku provided that it is the only tile he is waiting for.

Note 3: If a player makes two identical runs of 3 by going Ron it will not qualify as Iipehkoh if his hand contains the possibility of a non-Iipehkoh finish.


Four runs of 3: Pinfu is made by going Ron when waiting for 2 or more possible completing tiles that belong to either end of a run of three:

If either , , or is discarded this player can go out on Ron.

Note 1: The Head must not be an active Wind or Dragon.

Note 2: This Yaku disappears if the player:

  • is waiting for just one tile,
  • is waiting for just Head tiles,
  • finishes with Tsumo,
  • goes Pon.


When a player is Tenpai with a completely hidden hand, he may purchase this Yaku by placing a 1000-Tenboh in the middle of the table and calling "Riichi!" Once a player goes Riichi he may not change his hand. He may, however, go Kan on a tile that he draws from the wall provided that Kan does not change the tile or tiles he needs to complete his hand. A player who is Tenpai with no Yaku must purchase Riichi in order to go Ron.


This hand contains ONLY suit tiles from 2-8. No 1s, 9s, Winds or Dragons.

Note: If a player goes Ron with a tile that also gives him Tanyao, this Yaku will be discounted if his hand contains the possibility of a non-Tanyao finish.


The player completes his hand by taking the tile he requires from the wall. The hand must be 100% hidden.

1 Point Bonus Yaku

These Yaku are awarded after the player has successfully completed his hand.


Player B goes Ron on the tile that Player A used to make an open Kan. Note: If a player is waiting to complete a Kokushimusou hand, he can also go Ron if the tile he requires is used by another player to make a hidden Kan.


A player completes his hand with Tsumo or Ron on the last tile.


After going Riichi the player completes his hand within one turn (i.e. from the next discard of one of his two opponents, or from the next tile that he draws).

However, this Bonus disappears if somebody goes Pon, or Kan (hidden or open).


A player goes Kan, and then goes Tsumo on the tile he draws from the back of the wall. If the Kan was claimed off another player (an open Kan), that player must pay the whole bill - it is a form of Chyankan (see above).


A player goes Kan, draws a tile from the back of the wall and discards it - and another player claims it and goes Ron2.

2 Point Yaku


Each set contains either a 1 or a 9, Winds or Dragons. E.g.:

Note: If a player goes Ron he can only claim Chantai if there was no possibility of a non-Chantai finish.


7 sets of pairs. Note: It is not permitted to have two pairs of identical tiles.


"Double Riichi" occurs when a player announces Riichi with his first discarded tile, provided nobody has already gonePon or Kan.


This hand contains three runs of 3, all of the same suit, running in sequence from 1 to 9. E.g.:

Note: If the tile that completes this Yaku also completes the hand, the Yaku will only be valid if no other finishing options are available, and only provided that tile cannot also be allocated to any other part of the hand.


Three sets of three-of-a-kind, hidden only. An Ankan set (hidden Kan) may be included.

This Yaku cannot be completed by going Ron. Although the tiles that complete this Yaku must all be hidden the fourth set of three tiles may be an open Pon. Sanankoh will still count as two points in this case.


Three hidden and/or open Kan. The remaining set of three may be a run.


Three identical runs-of-three, all of the same suit:


The player has collected four sets of 3-of-a-kind, but they are not all hidden; at least one of the sets was claimed off another player by going Pon:


3 Point Yaku


This hand consists of just one suit (arranged into sets of runs &/or 3-of-a-kind), with Winds and/or Dragons.


Each set contains either a 1 or a 9. No Winds or Dragons. (See Chantai above.)

Note: Ron is only permitted if the player is waiting for just one particular tile.


The hand contains three similar runs-of-three. E.g.:

(A high scoring hand because it also contains Sananko, which is counted in addition to Iisoosanjyun.)


Two sets of double runs-of-three. I.e. this Yaku is "double Iipehkoh". E.g:

4 Point Yaku


Two sets of three Dragons, and Dragons as Head.

5 Point Yaku


This hand consists of just 1s, 9s, Winds, and/or Dragons in four sets of three-of-a-kind and a Head.

6 Point Yaku


Like Hon-itsu this hand consists of just one suit. But it is a pure hand - it has no Winds or Dragons.



A player goes Tsumo on the first tile he draws, provided nobody has gone Pon or Kan.


Unlike Junchantai this hand consists of 1s and 9s ONLY (4 x three-of-a-kind and a Head).


All the tiles are of the same suit, with three 1s and three 9s. In addition, the completed hand contains a tile of every number in that suit. E.g:

waiting for


Three sets of 3 Dragons. The Dragons may be hidden or open or both.

Note: If player A collects all three Dragons by going Pon, the player who gave away the third Pon (player B) will be liable for the whole fine. So, if player A goes Tsumo, player B will have to cover the whole fine. Player C pays nothing. Likewise, if player A completes his hand by going Ron off player C, player C pays nothing! Player B has to cover C's bill.


Four sets of Winds and any other pair as a Head. Or three sets of Winds, and Winds as Head, and any other set of three.


A player goes Ron in the first turn of play, that is, before the Oya has taken a tile from the wall, provided nobody has gone Pon or Kan (hidden or open).


1 and 9 of each of the three suits, one of each of the four Winds, one of each of the three Dragons, and any one of these to make a Head. Eg:

The Head = so the player is waiting for only.


The Oya has not changed for 8 hands. On his 9th hand the Oya does not need a Yaku to finish. He merely has to complete his hand to score Yakuman irrespective of the tiles his hand.

This Yaku only applies to the ninth hand.

Note: From the 4th hand under the same Oya TWO YAKU are needed to go out.


This hand consists of green tiles only. These tiles are:



Four sets of 3. The hand is completed by going Tsumo. E.g., (West Player, South Round):


Tsumo on or .


The hand contains four hidden and/or open Kan. This hand is complete as soon as the fourth Kan is made even if the hand lacks a head!!


Four sets of three in numerical sequence and all of the same suit. E.g:


Four sets of three Winds and/or Dragons.

Double Yakuman


1 and 9 of each of the three suits, one of each of the four Winds, one of each of the three Dragons, and any one of these to complete:

, Note: To score Double Yakuman the player should have none of these tiles in his discard row; nor should he have claimed as a Bonus tile.


Four sets of three-of-a-kind, waiting for the second Head tile to go out either by going Tsumo or Ron.

Triple Yakuman


All the tiles are of the same suit, running in sequence, 1112345678999. The player then waits for any tile of the same suit to complete his hand. E.g.:


and any other Coin.

Note: To score Triple Yakuman the player should have none of these tiles in his discard row.


Oya goes Tsumo without discarding a single tile. He may go Tsumo after setting aside any dora tiles in his hand and taking replacements from the back of the wall.


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Page last modified: 10th September 2011