Advanced Strategy for Mahjong
In some player circles MahJong is thought as a game of luck, although in reality the player that uses strategy to his or her advantage during the course of the game is most likely to win. So what strategies you ask are there to winning at MahJong?
What to do when starting your Mahjong hand.
After you receive your tiles you should immediately check how many you are away from going out or the shortest path to victory.
If you can go out with four or less tiles, be ready in about nine turns because you will be playing for the win.
If the number of tiles is five there is a bit of a luck factor. If you're lucky enough to draw some good tiles you might be ready early, but if not then it is time to give up.
If you're hand needs six or greater tiles to go out get ready to play defense and hope for a good draw.
When playing for the win, you will have to take chances. Go ahead and discard unneeded tiles including lucky tiles. Go ahead and chow or pung after about six or seven tiles as well.
When playing not for a loss, you should discard cautiously. When you have proceeded through four draws evaluate and you see you only need 3 or fewer tiles to go out then this could be your chance for the win. If more then three are needed you should play for a draw.
When playing for the draw, do not discard a Wind or Dragon before anyone else unless it's your own. Never play with doubles and never claim one for a triplet. You should keep your hand concealed and do not pung or chow.
In what order should I play my Tiles?
Isolated Ordinary Winds – These have no use to you and probably the same can be said for you're opponents too unless they already posses some. These should be discarded early if not first before your opponents' pung. If you are not the dealer begin with the East, after that immediately discard the Wind of the opponent to your left then follow a clockwise rotation.
Terminals – These should be next to be discarded. Which should be discarded first if you hold a 1, 6, or 9? If a 2 or 3 use 1, but if you end up with a 7 or 8 you don't need to use the 9 tile because you are holding the 6. So it is recommended to use the 9 first. Then afterwards use your shortest suit.
Dragons – To prevent your opposition from using pung you should discard these early rather than late. Keep pairs of dragons but any isolated ones should be played after the winds or not played at all.
Special Winds – Everyone in the match wants the prevailing wind. You should keep this tile until used twice by your opponents. Pay attention though because after play 9 or 10 your opponent could be using it in a pair. Always keep the double wind until useless as it is very valuable.
Simples – The 4, 5, and 6 should be kept as long as it can be as they are extremely valuable.
MahJong tactics should be changed after 10 turns. After turn 10 terminals, winds and dragons tend to be dangerous. Simples can also be very dangerous at this point in the match. Be well aware of what others are collecting so you are on top of the game.