Mahjong (also delcared as hu, maj, or out) is a complete hand consisting of four sets and a pair. A set can be a chow, pung, or kong either melded or concealed. The pair can only be melded when going out. When your hand requires only one more tile to make four sets and a pair, then your hand is ready. These are a complete hands:
(chow) + (chow) + (chow) + (pung) + (pair)
(kong) + (pung) + (pung) + (chow) + (pair)
(chow) + (pung) + (chow) + (pung) + (pair)
Developing a Complete Hand
A mahjong can be delcared in two ways:
- Self-drawn. Drawing the tile to complete your hand.
- By discard. Claiming the most recent discard to complete your hand.
In most rules if you win by discard, the discarder is often penalize by paying the full value of the hand or even more.
When you declare mahjong take the tile and reveal your entire hand so that everybody else can see it and verify that your hand is valid. After you win a hand, typically you would calculate your score and make your opponents pay up.
Order of Claims
If players claim the same discard, a pung or kong supercedes a chow. However, a claim of mahjong trumps all other claims. Depending on the rules, if two or more players claim mahjong, then the next player counterclockwise from the discarder gets the discard to win. In other rules, the player closest to player East gets the discard to win.
Some hands do not follow the basic mahjong hand structure (four sets and a pair).
- Heavely Hand
- Out on the dealer's first turn.
- Earthly Hand
- Out on a non-dealer's first turn.
- Moon from the Bottom of the Sea
- Out on very last tile of the wall or very last discard with that tile being 1-dot.
- Plum Blossom on the Roof
- Out on a replacement tile with that tile being 5-dot.