Three Player Mahjong Overview
Three Player Mahjong: Overview Three Player Gameplay Three Player Minimum Hand Three Player Scoring
Three Player Mahjong
Length 9 or 18 games
Tiles Used
Wall varies
Hand 13 tiles
Dead Wall None
System Simple Point Based
Unit Simple Point Based
Minimum 3
Maximum varies (20 - 80)
Payout Winner

Three Player mahjong is a fast paced and challenging version of Mahjong. There are two common versions of three player Mahjong, one is played in parts of Japan and the other was played in Korea but is not not as common. The Korean/Japanese versions of mahjong is listed below.

Korean/Japanese three player

The following is a modern three player Korean version based on the classical Korean rules which incorporates some Japanese elements.



Bams Cracks Dots Winds Dragons Flowers Seasons Jokers Red tiles
Tiles used 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png
  • 112 tiles (Characters, Dots, 1 and 9 Bamboo, Dragons, Winds (west wind may be ommited) East, South and North wind and Flowers (but not seasons).
  • Dice
  • Counters or Yakitori Markers


For casual play any seating arrangement will do. Otherwise, mix the tiles from the East, South and West wind among a dozen or more pieces. Each player selects a piece one turn at a time until they select one of the winds. The other two players continue until one of them takes one of the remaining two winds. The other player will take the third wind remaining. No one begins as the North Wind.


See dealing. Dont forget, that as three players less pieces are dealt out. Do not deal pieces to an imaginary player. All pieces are used in the game.

Wall Building & Breaking

Four walls are built two stack high. The wall will be 17 tiles in length in front of the players and 18 in front of the dealer. There is no dead wall. Tiles are then dealt accordingly to each player. You may decide in casual play to build a triangular wall of 3 sides of 18 in length.

Missing West Wind

The use of the west wind is optional and does not have to be used. If used, the west wind functions much like the flowers do. If a player draws a west wind, they may claim it as a flower and then draw a replacement tile. The player may also choose to throw away the tile as a discard (i.e. as a safe tile to discard to avoid giving ones opponents other tiles that they may use to win). When scoring bonus points, one west wind does not count as any bonus. Two west winds count as one bonus point, three west winds count as two bonus points, and having all four west winds count as eight bonus points. Drawing all four flowers and all four west winds by one single player immediately ends the game with the player counting a limit hand.

A player may also hold onto the tile to form their hand, however the west wind can only be used in three ways if forming part of a winning hand.

Thirteen Orphans

A player may use the west wind in their hand to form thirteen orphans. If a player discards a west wind, or claims a west wind as a flower and another player needs the west wind to form a complete 13 orphans hand, the player may take it and go mahjong.

Sacred Pair

If a player can form a hand with at least six game points, they may use the west wind as the eye (the pair of two tiles to complete a hand). This scores an additional 2 points.

Sacred Seven Pairs

A player may use two west winds to form a hand of seven pairs. If he completes his hand by stealing a west wind from a discard or an opponent claiming it as a flower, he scores an additional 2 game points. If he draws it from the wall, it is scored as a half-limit hand.

Seat Winds

All pongs and Kongs of honours scores one point, and an additional point if it matches the players seat or prevailing wind(for a total of 2 points)

Bamboo Suit

Only the 1 and 9 tiles are used. There are no chows possible in the bamboo suit, only pongs and kongs. The bamboo tiles have unique scoring.

Next: Three Player Gameplay

Other Three Player Variations

Japanese Three Player Richii Mahjong (Classic)

Tiles 2 to 8 is removed from the bamboo tiles. All normal rules apply, exept that the dead wall has 18 tiles and the first dora indicator is the third to the right of the dead wall. The north tile can be used as if it is a flower tile. Some points are removed in the scoring table.

Japanese Three Player Richii Mahjong (Enlisted here originally)

Tiles 2 to 8 is removed from the character set. All normal rules apply, however for some there is a broken wall of 13 piecies (the last 13 tiles of the wall is not used). Some points are removed in the scoring table, but it can be modified a little depending on the players.

Malaysian Three Player Mahjong

Only the dots are used and the North Wind is removed, however all flowers, seasons, heads, animals and other honours are used. The fan table is modified a little.

Korean Three Player Mahjong

There are few changes with four player mahjong. Using the west wind is optional. Some variations include the terminals of the bamboo suit. The points are modified a little depending on the players. With the bamboo, terminal hands and 13 gates is possible. No broken wall.

Hong Kong Mahjong

Remove pieces 2-8 of one suit. All winds are used and a full game is atleast 16 rounds. Point system is modified. If playing Old Hong Kong rules, best to use variation number 3 in the points table, as it is more geared towards three players and all pong and one suit are more common. If playing Modern Hong Kong, some points should be removed, such as void suit, and the points are modified a little.

Chinese Mahjong

Not played often with 3 players.

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