American Scoring
American Mahjong: Overview Gameplay Scoring Penalties & Errors Resources

The NMJL publishes a new scoring card each year, so there is no standard or set hands that the game uses.

Initial Points

The scoring card, which contains the eligible hands for mahjong, vary from year to year so there is no standard scoring rubric. The values of the hands were developed in such a way that if you wanted to gamble a single point equates to a penny (25 point hand would be a quarter). Because American mahjong is also a gambling game, no initial points are specified.


After the winning tile has been self-drawn or claimed the player must announce that he has won the following hand (by declaring ‘mahjongg,’ or ‘maj,’ etc.). The hand must be displayed and arranged according to the score card and thereafter the points are scored.


The payout to the winner are as follows:

  • Win by Self-Draw: Each player pays double the value on the score card.
  • Win by Discard: Each player plays the value on the score card and the discard pay double the amount.

If the winning hand contains no joker and is not under the category of a Singles and Pairs hand (which implies a jokerless hand) each non-winner pays double what they would have.

Scoring Table

This section will provide examples of how the scoring card is read. The following is a typical example:

111 222 333 444 55 (Any 3 Suits, Any Consecutive Nos) … X 25

The hands marked on the scoring card are in different colors, meaning different suits have to be used. The colors are not specific to any one suit. Flowers and zeros do not count as a suit (these will always be colored blue). If the hand consists of two colors then two suits must be used to complete the hand. Following the colored numbers and letters, maybe supplemented by instructions in parentheses. These instructions provide details on what the hand is asking for. Next is either a C or X, meaning concealed or exposed, respectively. A concealed hand may not have any elements exposed at all, except for at mahjong. An exposed hand, is the opposite.

Example Card

Flowers NEWS - Dragons Text Values
0 NN EE WWW SSS DDDD (Kong any Dragon) c 30
4 FFFF NNNN RR SSSS (Red Dragon Only) x 25
4 FFFF EEEE GG WWWW (Green Dragon Only) x 25
0 NNNN 11 11 11 SSSS (Any like odds) x 25
0 EEEE 22 22 22 WWWW (Any like evens) x 25

D — Dragon
c — Concealed
x — Exposed
0 — White dragon
G — Green dragon
R — Red Dragon
F — Flower


The scoring card has a list of hands that are categorized:

  • This Year: Patterns that represent the year such as 2008.
  • Evens: Patterns that require even-numbered tiles.
  • Change-up: This section varies.
  • Quints: Patterns that require at least one quint.
  • Consecutive Runs: Patterns that have consecutive numbers.
  • Odds: Patterns that require odd-numbered tiles.
  • Wind-Dragons: Patterns that require winds and dragon tiles.
  • 3-6-9: Patterns using tiles numbered 3, 6, or 9.
  • Singles and Pairs: Patterns with single tiles.

Additional Notes

  • Dragons are considered part of the three suits: green dragon is a bamboo, red dragon a character, and white dragon a dot.
  • East and West tiles are considered even. North and South are considered odd.



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Example of a Wind-Dragon hand

FF NNN SSS 11 11 11 (Pairs Any Like Odd Nos) … X 35

This hand asks for: a pair of flowers, two pungs of winds, and three pairs of odd-numbered tiles of a different suit. Notice the flowers and winds are always colored blue even though they are suit-less. The three identical pairs (represented by 11's) are three different colors meaning, so each pair is a different suit. The instructions in the parentheses provide further explanation. The X means elements of the hand can be exposed. And the number 35 is the value of the hand.


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Example of an Evens hand

22 44 DDDD 66 88 … X 25

This hand asks for a pair of 2s, 4s, a kong of dragons, and pairs of 6s and 8s. The dragons maybe exposed and the value is 25. Notice the hand is all of one color and therefore only one suit can be used.

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