Singapore Mahjong Rules

Mahjong Tiles
A complete mahjong set usually contains 144 tiles (136 playable tiles and 8 flower bonus tiles). The Singapore mahjong set contains 4 additional animal suit tiles making 148 tiles in total.     
The 148 Tiles can be divided as follows:

Circles (Tong Zi)
Numbered from 1 to 9, four tiles of each number, for a total of thirty-six.
Circles are also called dots, balls, coins or stones.

Bamboos (Shuo Zi)
Numbered from 1 to 9, four tiles of each number, for a total of thirty-six. Each tile is represented by the number of bamboo sticks with the exception of the 1-bamboo tile, often depicted by a peacock, sparrow or pheasant. Its original depiction is actually of a mythical Chinese song bird called Pe-ling, which means “beautiful singing.”

Characters (Wan Zi)
Numbered from 1 to 9, four tiles of each number, for a total of thirty-six. The lower red ideograph represents the Chinese character wan, meaning ten thousand. The upper part consists of the Chinese numeric characters 1 through 9. So the character tiles represent the numbers ten thousand through ninety thousand in Chinese.

The Honor suit
The Honor Suit contains 2 types of tiles, the Dragon Tiles and the Wind Tiles.

Dragons
Dragons consists of Hong Zhong (Red Dragon), Qing Fa (Green Dragon) and Bai Ban (White Dragon). There are four of each tile, totaling twelve.

Winds
The 4 Winds are Dong (East wind), Nan (South wind), Xi (West wind) and Bei (North wind). There are four of each tile, for a total of sixteen.

Bonus Tiles
The flowers suit and animal suit are bonus tiles which are not used to build hands (i.e. Pungs or Chows) but instead at used as counters for special bonuses for players.
Flowers

The flowers suit is consists of the Seasons set and the Flowers set. It is important to note that each Season and Flower is represented by a number, 1 to 4.
The Seasons set consists of 4 tiles, namely (1) Spring, (2) Summer, (3) Autumn and (4) Winter. Red is their representive colour.

The Flowers set also consists of 4 tiles, namely (1) Plum, (2) Orchid, (3) Chrysanthemum and (4) Bamboo. Blue is their representive colour.

The Seasons and Flowers coincide with the status of the players during each round, eg. if the player is at the East position, he will get one tai if he receives (1) Spring or (1) Plum. If another player is at the South position, he will get one tai if he has (2) Summer or (2) Orchid.

Season

Flower

Belongs to

1

Spring

Plum

East

2

Summer

Orchid

South

3

Autumn

Chrysanthemum

West

4

Winter

Bamboo

North




Bite - The player will receive bonus money if he receives both his season and flowers tile, eg if the player is at the (3) West position and he receives (3) Autumn and (3) Chrysanthemum, he will collect bonus money from 3 other players. The bonus money is doubled if he gets both season and flower tiles at the beginning of the game, which is considered hidden or undeclared tiles.

Special Bonus - If a player manages to get one complete suit of Season or Flower tiles (1 to 4), he will receive double bonus money from each of the 3 other players and also gain one extra tai if he can game in that round.

Special Hand - If a player manages to get all 7 or 8 Season/Flower tiles, it is considered a special hand (Refer to special hands section)

Animals – The animal suit is unique to Singapore and Malaysia style of mahjong. The animals consists of the Rooster, Centipede, Cat and Rat. The player will gain one tai for each animal that he draws.
Extra bonus of one additional tai is awarded if a player gets all 4 animals, ie he will get a total of 5 tai and also the bonus money.

Bite - It is considered a bite if a player gets a set of Rooster and Centipede or a set of Cat and Rat. Bonus money is awarded to the player.
If the player gets the set right from the start, it is called a hidden bite and bonus money is doubled. If he draws the set after the game already starts, it is a declared bite and bonus money is as per normal.

Not all players follow this rule so it must be agreed among the players before the game starts. The rate of the bonus money is usually equal to the rate of 2.5 tai.

Seating Arrangement

4 players sit at the sides of a square table about 3 foot by 3 foot.  The 4 winds are put face down on the table and each player picks one.  The one who picks east picks his place, then the others will arrange themselves around him in an anti-clockwise order according to the card selected in the order south, west and north.

One exception is when couples play, the partners should sit opposite one another so as to be less able to assist their partner who sits next in turn by providing chows.

The one who picks east will also start as dealer.

Setting Up a Game

A standard mahjong game includes a mahjong set, chips (some prefer playing in cash), dice (2 or 3), a mahjong table and 4 players.


Rounds - Each round consists 4 Winds and 16 games (if there is no Bankers' repeat). The number of rounds to be played should be agreed upon by all players before starting the game.
Rates - In Singapore mahjong, 2 types of rates are used commonly: the linear rate and the exponential rate.
For the linear rate, the winning bonus increases linearly, eg $1 for 1 tai, $2 for 2 tai, $3 for 3 tai, $4 for 4 tai and so on.
For the exponential rate, the winning bonus increases by the double, eg $1 for 1 tai, $2 for 2 tai, $4 for 3 tai, $8 for 4 tai and so on.
All players pay double to the winner if he self-draws (Zi Mo) the winning card or he has a special winning hand. Otherwise, only the player who discards the winning tile to the winner will have to pay double.

Dice - Dice are used in mahjong games to determine where to draw the initial 13/14 tiles in each game. The banker always has the right to throw the dice.
In Singapore mahjong, 2 or 3 dice are used. For 2 dice, the number on the dice thrown by the banker determines which wall to draw the tiles from. The player who owns that wall will throw the dice again and the number shown on the dice this time will be added to the previous number. The total number is the section of the wall where the players draw the tiles. For 3 dice, it is simpler as the number on the dice thrown by the banker already determines which wall and which section (on that wall) to draw the tiles from.

Starting the Game

The players will have to choose a banker and their positions before playing the mahjong. Usually in Singapore mahjong, the players choose their positions by drawing a concealed set of the 4 Winds, where the one drawing East will be the banker.

After determining the positions, each players will set up their walls. The banker and the player directly opposite the banker (at West position) will set up walls of 19 sections (each section contains 2 tiles stacked together). The other 2 players will set up walls of 18 sections.

After setting up the walls, the banker will throw the dice (See Dices above), and the game kicks off.

Gameplay


Each player will have 13 tiles except the banker who has 14 tiles. The banker will discard a tile onto the common area (within the 4 walls) to kick off the game. Subsequently, each player will draw a tile from the wall and discard one from his hand upon his turn. The number of tiles in every player's hand will always be 13 and then 10, 7, 4 or 1 (after declared moves of eat, pong or kong (see below)). The game is played in the counter-clockwise direction.

Player's Options during a Game

Eat (or Chow, Chi, Jiak) - to make a suit of running numbers, eg if the player has 2 and 3 wan, he can eat 1 wan or 4 wan, but only from the player before him (player on his left).

He can also eat 2 wan if he has 1 and 3 wan, or 3 wan if he has 1 and 2 wan; this is termed a "kar long" and if he needs that eat to game, he will have to draw the winning card himself.

Pong (or Peng) - to make a suit of 3 identical cards, eg if the player has 2 Nan (South) Wind, he can call for a pong if any of the remaining 3 players throw a Nan Wind.

If the Game Wind is the same as what the player has pong, it adds one more tai to his hand. It also applies to the Player Wind, which means if the Player Wind is the same as the Game Wind, the player will have 2 tai if he manages to pong that Wind.

It also adds one tai to pong any of the 3 dragons.

Gong (or Gang) - to collect a suit of all 4 identical cards.

There are 2 types of Gong; one is the hidden gong, which means the player has to draw the 4 identical cards by himself; the other is the declared gong, which means the player already has pong 3 identical cards before drawing the fourth one on his own or the player has the 3 identical cards hidden in his hand and the fourth card is being thrown by any of the remaining 3 players.

Declared Gong can be "snatched" by any players waiting for that particular card.

Hidden Gong can only be "snatched" by the Unique Thirtheen

In Singapore mahjong, any players who gong can collect bonus money from the remaining 3 players. The Bonus money is doubled for hidden gong. The rate of the bonus money is usually equal to the rate of 2.5 tai.

Game (or Hu, Gao) - declaration of a completed hand. The player who discards the decisive tile to the winner shall pay him double, whereas the remaining two players will pay the normal rate. All players will pay double if the winner draws the decisive card himself, which is called Zi Mo (Self Drawn).

Other Mahjong Terms

Eyes - All winning hands need eyes to be completed. The player either has the eyes already in his hand, or he is waiting for one. Eyes come in pair, and the rest of the hand is made up of 3-cards set (3 consecutive numbers or 3 identical tiles) that are gathered through the methods of eat, pong or gong.

Kar Long - Kar Long refers to any particular single card the player is waiting to complete his winning hand, eg the player needs 6 Wan when he has 5 and 7 Wan. 3 Tong is also considered a Kar Long if the player has 1 and 2 Tong. In Singapore/Malaysia mahjong, a player cannot Hu if he has no tais and is waiting for a Kar Long to complete his winning hand.


Bao - Bao is a situation when the player hit a restricted card to the winner, and he shall be penalised in paying his share (double) as well as for the other 2 players. In Singapore/Malaysia mahjong, certain cards become restricted in some situations, such as:

1. Bao Da - When a player has 4 or more declared tais, eg 2 animals, 1 flower of his own and 1 declared set of Green Dragon (any card that will contribute in adding more tais will be restricted, eg the Winds and the Dragons)

2. When a player pong 2 sets of Dragons (the third Dragon become restricted)

3. When a player pong 3 sets of Winds (the fourth Wind will be restricted)

4.When a player eat/pong/gong 3 declared sets of the same suit (Wan, Tong or Shuo) (the cards of that particular suit will be considered restricted)

5a. Bao Sheng - When the wall has only 5 available tiles left (last 15 tiles are unavailable except for replacement for flowers), a card that is thrown by any player which leads to a win and is a Sheng card (not found in the common tiles area) will be considered restricted, and the player who throw the card will be bao.

5b. Bao Gong - When the wall has only 7 available tiles left, a Sheng card thrown by any player that leads to a gong will be bao.

5c. When the wall has only 5 available tiles left, a Sheng card thrown by any player that leads to a gong and then subsequently a Zi Mo (the player gongs and self draws his winning tile from the replacement tiles) will be bao.

Completing each game


There are 3 scenerios in each game:

1. A player other than the banker wins. The banker status will be passed to the next player.

2. The banker wins, so he retains his right of being the banker.

3. The game ends in a Draw. If there is no gongs in that particular game, the banker retains his banker status. He will have to pass the banker status to the next player if there is at least a gong in that game.

Draw - In Singapore mahjong, the remaining 15 tiles are unavailable except for the replacement of tiles during flowers or gong. Once the last 16th tile is drawn and there is no winner, the game is considered a draw. No payment will be made.

After all 4 players have consumed the role as the banker, a Wind is completed. The Wind is changed to the next one. When all 4 Winds are completed, it is considered one full round. The players can request to reshuffle their positions again.

Winning Hands


Below are the normal winning hands (not considering the tais contributed by the flowers and animals).

1 Tai

臭平胡 - a hand which consists entirely of 3-card sets of consecutive numbers (eat) and a pair of eyes

门清 - a hand without any declared sets (some players do not recognise 门清)

Note: 鸡胡 is not recognised in Singapore mahjong (鸡胡 is a hand which consists of a mixture of 3-card sets of consecutive numbers and 3-card sets of same numbers, and without any animals or own flowers)

2 Tai

碰碰胡 - a hand which consists entirely of 3-card sets of same tiles (pong/gong) and a pair of eyes

混一色 - a hand which consists tiles of the same suit and includes Winds or/and Dragons

4 Tai

平胡 - a hand which consists entirely of 3-card sets of consective numbers (eat) but without any flowers or animals

清一色 - a hand which is made up entirely of tiles of the same suit

Bonus Tai (+1 Tai)

抢杠 - a hand that is completed by a card from a declared gong by other players

花上自摸 - a hand that is completed by a replacement card after receiving a flower or animal

杠上开花 - a hand that is completed by a replacement card after a gong

海底捞月 - a hand that is completed by the last available tile

Note: 河底捞鱼 is not recognised in Singapore mahjong (河底捞鱼 refers to the hand that is completed by the last tile that is discarded)

Bonus Tai (+2 Tai)

小三元 - a hand that is made up of the 3 Dragons, but one of the Dragons is the eye (some players may rule that this hand is maximum tai, so it is better to agree among the players before starting the game)

混么九 - a hand that is made up of 1s or/and 9s of any suits and includes Winds or/and Dragons

Others

清一色平胡 - a hand that is made up entirely of tiles of the same suit and without any animals or own flowers (Because of its difficult, some players rule that this is a special hand and all players shall pay double to the winner, whether he self-draws the winning card)

一炮二响 - a scenerio where 2 players complete their hands from the same card discarded. In Singapore mahjong, the player next in turn to the one who discards the card will be the winner.

一炮三响 - a scenerio where 3 players complete their hands from the same card discarded. This is a rare and controversial situation in which there are many variations of rules:

a. the players next in turn to the one who discards the card will be the winner

b. the game is considered a draw

c. the one who discards the winning card will have to pay double to each of the 3 winners, where the amount is according to each individual winner's hand

诈胡 - a scenerio where a player claims he has completed his winning hand but in fact, he has not done so or there is a mistake in his hand. Usually he will be penalised to pay the maximum rate (but not double) to the other 3 players.

Note: 七对子 is not recognised by Singapore mahjong (七对子 is a hand which consists of 7 eyes
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