Mahjong (or Mah Jongg) is a game where luck and skill are the key factors to winning. While luck is out of our control, starting a game with a Mahjongstrategy in mind increases your chances of winning significantly. The best thing is that these strategies are not exclusive to experienced players. Let’s go through the Mahjong rules and check out some ways to make it easier for you to obtain a winning hand.
It is worth remembering how to play Mahjong and the fundamentals of the game before we delve into the best strategies to win. There are different types of Mahjong, such as Hong Kong, American Mahjong, Mahjong Solitaire, and many more variations. All of them vary in terms of rules and levels of complexity. However, in essence, all the variations have the same goal: collecting sets of tiles to form a “Mahjong.”
Now, what does forming a Mahjong mean? This formation is composed of the following sets:
● 1 pair of identical tiles (for example, two wind tiles)
● 4 of the following sets:
- Pung: 3 identical tiles
- Kong: 4 identical tiles
- Chow: 3 tiles of the same suit that are consecutive numbers.
The rules change slightly depending on the different styles of Mahjong. For instance, in Mahjong Solitaire, the player needs to take the tiles from the top layers to reveal those under them. This is the most common type of Mahjong that is played online and comes in a wide variety of formats and themes, such as Mahjong for Christmas and Coffee Mahjong.
Although Mahjong Solitaire seems to be completely different from classic Mahjong, some of the strategies we are about to review can also be applied to this style of Mahjong, as well as the other variations.
Plan ahead and don’t rush
Good players start a game with a good Mahjong strategy in mind, and more than anything, they are patient. Even though luck is a relevant factor in a Mahjong game, a bad move could block the chances of getting the tiles you need, or even worse, help your opponents win.
You’ll feel more confident if you familiarize yourself with the Mahjong set, the number of tiles, the rules, and possible ways to create pungs, kongs, and chows. When playing Mahjong, observe the position of the Mahjong tiles and keep an eye on the ones that will help you get the sets you need.
Make sure to take your time before choosing a discarded tile in the first round. Doing so could end up revealing your hand to your opponent. For this reason, experienced players are also known for being patient. They remember that the first round is to get to know the board and the tiles. The moves to victory come in the next stages of the game.
Change your Mahjong strategy if necessary
Imagine you already have your eye on a tile. It’s the one you need to make a pung. However, your opponent picks a tile next to it, blocking your chance to take the one you wanted. As this is a very common scenario when playing Mahjong with other people, a good player has to be flexible enough to change their Mahjong strategy if necessary.
Let’s say you started your game focusing on matching the tiles. For the next round, you can look for consecutive numbers to make chows instead. The good thing about Mahjong is that you can win through different sets. Then, if your hand has to change, you still can come out victorious.
Keep an eye on the stacks and rows
It is important to carefully observe the position of the tiles on the board. The changes in the stacks and rows of Mahjong tiles can affect a player’s hand by either blocking tiles or showing new ones that could help create new sets.
Whenever a new round begins, pay close attention to the new options as new tiles are revealed, as well as possible obstacles while you and other players remove tiles from the discarded pile or the wall. The same tip can also be applied to any type of Mahjong Solitaire, such as Daily Mahjong, where keeping an eye on the tiles you unlock is extremely important.
It is difficult to encompass all the existing Mahjong strategies in a single place. Moreover, these strategies are not meant to guarantee a winning hand because, as we mentioned before, Mahjong is a game that relies on luck. However, by following these tips, you’ll be able to choose the best Mahjong strategy and feel more confident next time you and your friends play a new Mahjong game. Don’t forget though, in the end, it is all about having fun!
If you want to know more strategies and tips to hone your gaming skills, check out these Coolmath Games blog posts: