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Developing Better Strategies for Mahjong

Author: Neha Agrawal

Beginning players at Mahjong gamesmake moves that more experienced players would consider hasty. If you’re new to the game, you may be prone to jumping out quickly to make any “meld,” or set, that you can.

There are several problems with this strategy. You may well be hurting yourself for later in the game by playing in such a rushed manner. Better scoring may have come to your hand if you were building in the early part of a game, rather than racing excitedly to grab any discard that might help you.

You might well have been better off if you had paatience. The fact that you can rush to make a “chow,” a set of three, will not get you as good a score as you would have had if you had waited for a set of four, a Kong.

Another major problem when you rush to make sets is what you’re revealing. The other players, especially if they are experienced players, will gain a great deal of knowledge about your Mahjong hand from the melds you are making, They will also be observing the tiles that you are claiming and the others that you are discarding.

Part of the secret to success in mahjong is concealing your hand. You don’t want your opponents to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If they’re quite aware of what you have, they will not provide you with the tiles that can help you and you’re not likely to be able to score the way that you’ll need to in order to win.

Along with rushing their moves, another problem of inexperienced players is excessive concern about their own hand. Don’t forget, the object of the game is to beat the other players, so try to figure out what they have in their hand. You don’t want to discard tiles that will help them or even let them win. You want to give them the tiles that will not be of much use. So don’t forget that you have to balance the needs of your hand with what you think the needs of your opponents will be.

The more patient and analytical style that the experienced and successful Mahjong players have learned is the main reason that they will probably beat you. That is, they will beat you until you also learn how to be patient, study the other players and not be in a big hurry to make sets.