What is Mah Jongg? Discover the Secrets of this Ancient Game!

What is Mah Jongg? Discover the Secrets of this Ancient Game!

Dating back to the mid-1800s in ancient China, a tile-based game emerged, gaining popularity among people of all backgrounds. People from several parts of China bought this game and took it back to their provinces to play for entertainment. The name of this renowned game is Mah Jongg. But, what is mah jongg? This game is more common among Chinese casino goers.

However, to date, only a few are familiar with this game. Non-Chinese folks, who love card and table games often ask, what is Mah Jongg? In this casino news, we will answer that question. 

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What is Mah Jongg? A Card Game of Sets and Tiles

Mah Jongg is a Chinese tile game involving four players’ actions, although some variants involve only three people. The tiles used in the game of Mah Jongg have engraved on them Chinese symbols and characters that aid in playing the game. These tiles with Chinese symbols and characters total 144, with each player receiving 13 tiles at the beginning of the game.

The 144 tiles used in playing Mah Jongg are divided into three categories, namely;

Suited tiles

The suited tiles contain 36 dots, 36 bamboo, and 36 characters. The suit tiles are circle, bamboo, and character suits.

Honors tiles

The honors tiles contain 16 winds and 12 dragons. We have East, South, West, and North for the wind tiles, with four tiles for each direction. The dragon tiles contain green, red, and white colors, having four tiles each. 

Bonus tiles

The bonus tiles contain four flowers and four seasons and are generally flowers.

The Chinese Mah Jongg game has a high RTP of 96.6%. If you need to know what is RTP, aside from its literal meaning, “return to player” percentage, check our casino guide section.

Rules to Play Mah Jongg

Players collect sets of three to four identical tiles and pairs, striving to achieve the highest score among competitors. It involves a lot of drawing and discarding of tiles until the goal is achieved. Therefore, as you digest the “What is Mah Jongg” answer, it is necessary to know it is not a game of luck; it also requires skill and strategy to achieve the purpose of winning.

Like every other casino game, players must take their time to learn how to play it, right? For example, when playing Minesweeper, it is essential to first learn how to play minesweeper and to study the game, its rules, and other details. The same thing happens with Mah Jongg, you must learn how to play it before diving into practicing, otherwise, it could be confusing.

Here’s a summary of the game phases.

  • A game session requires four players to commence.
  • Two dice and 144 tiles are required to play.
  • The player with the highest roll is the dealer, and every player takes turns to be a dealer. The dealer’s position is the east seat.
  • The dealer can still retain the east seat if he wins or ties; if not, he loses the seat.
  • Each round ends after each player has acted as a dealer.
  • Other seats aside from the east seat are selected by shuffling the wind tiles. Counting the outcome of the rolled dice, the dealer moves counterclockwise, passing the turn to the next player. Once it falls on a player, they take a wind tile to choose a seat.

Mah Jongg and Chinese Culture

It is important to note that not only is Mah Jongg a game, but it is also a part of Chinese culture, as it is held in high regard because it allows a deep connection to their roots, socialization, and entertainment. 

In the Chinese-Americans and Jewish-American communities, Mah Jongg brought a sense of belonging that needed to be added among many Chinese and Jewish immigrants. And to keep one of the most intriguing casino games from becoming extinct, the National Mah Jongg League was formed to create a standard for playing and keep the game alive. It is no shock that any Chinese or Jewish national knows what Mah is Jongg and finds it deeply ingrained in their family cultures today.


People play Mahjong because it offers a challenging and strategic gameplay experience, promotes social interaction, and provides entertainment and mental stimulation.

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