Korean Game Play With Bamboo
Three Player Mahjong: Overview Gameplay Without Bamboo Gameplay With Bamboo Scoring

Three player Korean mahjong with the Bamboo tiles is an interesting variation worth learning atleast once. In this game, the Bamboo tiles numbered 2 through 8 are removed, as well as two of the North Wind tiles. This means that there is no round of the North nor is there ever a North Seat. The north wind cannot be collected as a pong but only as a pair.

The object of the game is to complete a hand that consists of at least two points before any other player. Only the winner scores points.


During the game a player may call to complete any one of the following sets:

  • Chow: Claimed ONLY for mahjong. Melded chows are not permitted.
  • Pung: Claimed from any player.
  • Kong: Claimed from any player. A replacement tile is drawn afterward.
  • Concealed and Small Melded Kong: Announced only after drawing a tile (i.e. not after claiming a tile). A replacement tile is drawn afterward.
  • Flower: Announced immediately. A replacement tile is drawn afterward.

Bamboo Tiles

The bamboo tiles can only be used to make a pong or kongs. There can be no chows. Having one pong is worth one point. Having both pongs scores three points.


Melding Three Pongs in Korean three player mahjong is worth 1 point. Melding four is worth 2 points. Having 2 hidden kongs is worth one point, three Hidden Kongs with worth 3 points and four hidden kongs is a limit hand.

North Wind

The North wind is a special suit of its own. There are only two pieces. Including the North wind in your hand scores one point. It is considered an honour in terms of clean and pure hands. If a player discards the north wind and a player winds with it, the player who discarded the piece owes the other triple the winners score.

Arrangement of Discards

Discards are arranged on the floor in front of their respective discarded in rows of six, placed from left to right.

Arrangement of Sets

Tiles claimed are rotated 90 degrees within the set to show which player had discarded it.

Example 1
Chow. 3-character is claimed from the person to our left.

Example 2
Pung. 5-dot is claimed from the person across from us.

Ready (Riichi)

Any player to declare ready at on any turn when his/her hand is one tile away. The following rules applies to a player that has declared ready:

  • The hand must have a minimum of two points before declaring.
  • The player may declare if he/she is going to win on a self-drawn tile.
  • The most recent discard is rotated within the discard pile to signify which turn ready was declared. If this discard is claimed, the next previous tile in the discard pile is rotated.
  • The hand must be completely concealed before calling. Concealed kongs are okay.
  • No changes can be made to the hand.
  • When a tile is drawn, if it is not a winning tile it is immediately discarded.
  • When a tile is drawn, if it is any winning tile that completes the hand it mahjong must be declared. In other words, if you have multiple tiles to go out on the first applicable tile is used.

Sacred Discard (Furiten)

A player who is one tile away from winning cannot go out on an opponent's discard, if the player in waiting had previously discarded the same tile. The tiles discarded can be verified by the rows of discards in front of each player, as well as the rotated tiles claimed by opponents. The waiting player may go out on a tile that was previously discarded if the tile is self-drawn.

The Horse Race (Kung-ma)

Each players receive three counters each. After a win with a fully concealed, the winning player removes one. The first player to remove all three gets 2 point from all other players. Players who still have all 3 counters by the time another player finishes, he pays double (4 point total). The counters reset afterwards.

Post Hand

If the hand ends in a draw a one point ante is placed down by each player. The player who wins on a concealed hand is rewarded the pot at the end. If three draws occur in a row, the ante resets back to one.

Post Round

None specified.

Post Game

None specified.

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