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100224_ The Singaporean's Guide to Mahjong Winning Hands, Scoring and How to Play

The Singaporean's Guide to Mahjong Winning Hands, Scoring and How to Play

profileMing Feng

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Mahjong: Singaporean’s Favourite Pastime

Way before Crazy Rich Asians made the game of Mahjong famous by slotting it into the most critical scene in the movie, some of us Singaporeans were already killing it in our self-directed “God of Gamblers” series.

Source: fareastfilm.com

Week in and week out, we fully utilise the “healing power of mahjong” and how it treats senile as an excuse to gather with our friends or family members over a game of mahjong.

Mahjong is good, they say. It treats senile, they say.

That was before I lost $80 and had to scrimp for the rest of the week.

With that, we compiled a Mahjong guide:

Disclaimer: While we do not endorse gambling, we provide information on its statistical probabilities to raise awareness. We urge individuals to gamble responsibly, understanding it is not a guaranteed way to make money. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling-related issues, seek support from appropriate resources. Gambling is a personal decision; consider the risks carefully before participating.


Mahjong Winning Hands

Source: Hardwarezone

Mahjong Combination: All Chows without any animal or bonus tiles (平和) and Mixed Suit (混一色)

All Chows without any animal or bonus tiles (平和) and Mixed Suit (混一色) are the more common winning hands in a game of Mahjong. These two combinations are the most common that occur throughout a round of mahjong.

Here’s what an “All Chows without any animal or bonus tiles (平和)” combination looks like:

Source: mahjongstudio.com

It is a winning hand which consists only of consecutive numbers in sets of three. The set should not have any flowers, animals, wind or dragon tiles.

Here’s what a Mixed Suit (混一色)combination looks like:

Source: mahjongstudio.com

A Mixed Suit combines tiles of the same suit and includes Winds or Dragons tiles.

Mahjong Combination: Pure Suit (清一色)

A Pure Suit (清一色) winning hand has a 1 in 32 chance of occurring.

Source: mahjongstudio.com

A Pure Suit is a combination of tiles from the same suit (e.g. Bamboo, Circles or Characters).

Mahjong Combination: Winning With a Replacement Tile for Bonus Tiles (花上自摸)

For every 208 rounds of the Mahjong game, there is a chance of players winning the game, with a hand completed by a replacement card. This is after receiving a flower or animal tile.

Mahjong Combination: Robbing the Kong (抢杠)

A winning hand that is completed by snatching a declared Kong from other players. There is a 1 in 320 chance of this happening.

Mahjong Combination: Little Three Dragons/Little Three Scholars (小三元)

Little Three Dragons/Little Three Scholars is a hand made up of 2 sets of Dragon tiles and the remaining Dragon set as the eye.

Source: Mahjongstudio.com

Now, to some of the hardest combinations. These are the only types of winning hands worth putting on your social media.

Source: giphy

Mahjong Combination: Thirteen Orphans/Thirteen Wonders (十三幺)

This is, in my opinion, one of the hardest combinations to get, but I was wrong.

Turns out, the Thirteen Orphans/Thirteen Wonders is the easiest compared to the rest of the special combinations. It apparently has a 1 in 2,464 chance of happening.

Source: mahjongstudio.com

This combination requires each of the four Winds tile, each of the three Dragons tile, the number one and nine of the three suits (Bamboo, Circles or Characters).

Mahjong Combination: Little Four Winds/Little Four Blessings (小四喜)

We are now down to some of the rarer winning hands in mahjong.

Source: mahjongstudio.com

The Little Four Winds/Little Four Blessings comprises three of the Winds (in a pong or Kong)with one pair of the remaining Wind.

Mahjong Combination: Big Three Dragons/Big Three Scholars (大三元)

Unleash the Dragons!

Source: mahjongstudio.com

If you have three of the Dragons (in a pong or kong), you are winning the game with the Big Three Dragons/Big Three Scholars combination.

Mahjong Combination: All Honours (字一色)

If you have a hand comprising the four Winds or three Dragons, you have an All Honours winning hand.

Source: mahjongstudio.com

This combination apparently only appears once every 5,200 rounds.

Mahjong Combination: Pure Green Suit Hand/ The Green Bamboo (绿一色)

We are down to the second rarest combination. This set requires you to collect all greens (i.e., all Bamboo) and have a Fa set.

Source: mahjongstudio.com

This hand got its name in the colour of all the tiles in this winning hand. Made up of only Bamboo tiles and the ‘Fa’ tile, this winning hand is hard to come by.

Mahjong Combination: Big Four Winds/Big Four Blessings (大四喜)

No prize for guessing, but the Big Four Winds/Big Four Blessings winning hand is said to have the lowest probability in a game of mahjong. With a rare 1 in 57,856 chance of happening, this combination must go onto your Instastory!

Source: mahjongstudio.com

This winning hand requires all the Winds (pong or kong) to be in the combination.

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How To Play Mahjong

Source: Gfycat

The amount of money you win in a round of Mahjong depends on the number of Doubles (some people call them “tai” or “fan”) your combination entitles you to.

If you are having trouble remembering how many Doubles your combination entitles you to, we did a compilation to help you!

Number of doubles
(Tai or Fan)
Combination
1 Double
一台
Seat Flower (正花/门花)

All Chows but with Animal or bonus tile (臭平和)

Pong of Dragons (箭刻)

Pong of Seat Wind (门风刻)

Pong of Round Wind (圈风刻)

Concealed Hand and self-drawn (门清)

Robbing the Kong (抢杠)

Winning with the Last Drawn Tile (海底捞月)

Winning with a Replacement tile for kongs (杠上开花)

Winning with a Replacement tile for bonus tiles (花上自摸)

Flower Set Bonus (花杠加台)

Animal Set Bonus (动物杠加台)

Any Animal Tile (动物加台)
2 Doubles
两台
All Pongs or All Pairs (碰碰和/对对和)

Mixed Suit (混一色)

Mixed Terminals and Honours (混幺九/混老头)

Little Four Winds/Little Four Blessings (小四喜)
3 Doubles
三台
Little Three Dragons/Little Three Scholars (小三元)
4 Doubles
四台
All Chows without any animal or bonus tiles (平和)

Pure Suit (清一色)
5 Doubles
(Usually the limit in Singapore context)
五台
Heavenly Win (天和)

Earthly Win (地和)

Thirteen Orphans/Thirteen Wonders (十三幺)

Big Four Winds/Big Four Blessings (大四喜)

Big Three Dragons/Big Three Scholars (大三元)

All Honours (字一色)

Pure Green Suit Hand (绿一色)

All Terminals (全幺九/清老头)

Four Concealed Pongs (self-drawn) (四暗刻/坎坎和)

All Kongs (杠杠和/十八罗汉)

Kong on Kong Win (杠上杠和)

Flower Win/Robbing the Flower (immediate) (七抢一)

Flower Win/Eight Immortals (immediate) (花和/八仙过海)

Nine Gates (九连宝灯)

Source: Singapore Sparrows

How Many Tiles Are There in a Mahjong Set?

There are a total of 148 tiles in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The tilesets are:

The Circles Suit (筒子)

Source: Wikipedia

There are 4 of each tile in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The Bamboo Suit (索子)

Source: Wikipedia

There are 4 of each tile in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The Character Suit (万子)

Source: Wikipedia

There are 4 of each tile in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The Wind Tiles (四风牌)

Source: Wikipedia

There are 4 of each tile in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The Dragon Tiles (三元牌)

Source: Wikipedia

There are 4 of each tile in a Singaporean Mahjong set.

The Flower and Animals Tiles

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

There is only one of each per set.

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How to Win The Game?

Each player is supposed to receive 13 tiles, except the person who is the ‘dealer’, who will have an extra tile, which he/she can decide to swap out with their original tiles and discard one of the 14 tiles.

This player is responsible for rolling the dice to determine the starting point for drawing tiles from the wall and for breaking the wall to begin the game.

The dealer’s position rotates clockwise after each hand, with the player to their right becoming the dealer for the next hand.

In some variants of Mahjong, particularly in Asian countries like China and Japan, the dealer may have specific privileges or responsibilities during the game, such as having the first turn to draw a tile from the wall or receiving extra points for winning a hand while in the dealer position.

Each player will take turns picking and discarding a card, and the game ends once a winning hand is formed.

Otherwise, if everyone is fighting for the same tiles, chances are nobody will throw out any valuable tiles, and the unused tiles will run out. And when the unused tile runs out, the game is considered a draw.

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What Happens Next After A Win?

When someone wins the game, the banker position is passed on to the player on the right of the current banker. Each time the banker position completes its cycle on all four players, the “Wind” of the game changes.

A mahjong round is completed when all four “Winds” are completed.

That said, if mahjong seems too complicated and you just want something chill, consider other card games this Chinese New Year.

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About Ming Feng
A stint in Bloomberg gifted me with a beer belly, which only grew larger when I moved on to become a Professional Trader. Now I turn caffeine into digestible finance-related content.
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