Hong Kong Mahjong scoring rules

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Hong Kong Mahjong scoring rules are used for scoring in Mahjong, the game for four players, common in Hong Kong and some areas in Guangdong.

Criteria[edit]

A hand is considered a winning hand when it has 4 melds and a pair or is considered a special hand.

Points are obtained by matching the winning hand and the winning condition with a specific set of criteria, with different criteria scoring different values. Some of these criteria may be subsets of other criteria (for example, having a meld of one dragon versus having a meld of all of them), and in these cases, only the criteria with the tighter requirements are scored. The points obtained may be translated into scores for each player using some (typically exponential) function. When gambling with mahjong, these scores are typically directly translated into sums of money. Some criteria may also be in terms of both points and score.

The terminology of point differs from variation to variation. A common English term is double, as the point-to-score translation is typically exponential with a base of 2. Cantonese variants will use the term 番 (pinyin: fān / jyutping: faan1).

Because points and score are two distinct concepts, this article will adopt the use of the term score unit to refer to a point in a player's score.

At the beginning of each game, each player is given a fixed score, usually in the form of scoring chips. In many cases, only the winner scores, with the winner's gain being deducted from the three losers' scores (that is, the losers pay the winner). In many cases, there exist other modifiers to the score. A common set of modifiers (for which this article will call the standard payment variations) include:

There is no general rule for when a player runs out of score units. In some circles, the match is immediately aborted, with the player furthest ahead in score declared the winner, while in others, a player out of scoring chips continues to play without risk of further losses.

Mahjong is sometimes played in a gambling setting. Poker chips are used for keeping score only. Since Mahjong is a zero-sum game, when one player loses all his chips, his chips are distributed among the other winners. In this case, the loser pays cash to buy back the chips from the winners and the game continues. Before the game starts, all players must agree upon how much one set of chips (100 unit) is worth. Some gamblers do away with chips and pay cash after each round depending on local laws regarding legality of gambling.

The criteria mentioned below are by no means exhaustive or common to every variation, but are common to many 13-tile and 16-tile variations.

Terminology[edit]

The following is a list of the different terms describing the progress of one's hand:

Non-standard special hands[edit]

These hands are not standard hands, but can be used to win nonetheless. Because they diverge from the criteria for a normal winning hand, it is inherently risky to attempt these hands: effectively all pieces need to be self-drawn since melds are not useful to these hands

Scoring Table[edit]

The largest group of criteria concern the contents of the winning hand. Typically, a hand that is more improbable will score higher than one that is more common, but this may not be the case. In variations with scoring minimums, it is generally accepted that, barring improbable high-scoring hands (such as the heavenly victory above, even if the winning hand is otherwise scoreless), at least one point must be from this set of criteria.

Scoring based on type of hand
EnglishCantoneseFānDescriptionExample
Sequence Hand平糊 (ping4 wu4*21Every meld is a ChowMJt6.pngMJt7.pngMJt8.pngMJt1.pngMJt2.pngMJt3.pngMJw2.pngMJw3.pngMJw4.pngMJs7.pngMJs8.pngMJs9.pngMJw6.pngMJw6.png
Triplets Hand對對糊 (deoi3 deoi3 wu4*2)3Every meld is either a Pong or KongMJt1.pngMJt1.pngMJt1.pngMJw9.pngMJw9.pngMJw9.pngMJs5.pngMJs5.pngMJs5.pngMJt2.pngMJt2.pngMJt2.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.png
Mix Pure Hand混一色 (wan6 jat1 sik1)3Only honor tiles and tiles from one suitMJt1.pngMJt2.pngMJt3.pngMJt2.pngMJt3.pngMJt4.pngMJt5.pngMJt6.pngMJt7.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJt4.pngMJt4.png
Pure Hand清一色 (cing1 jat1 sik1)6All tiles from one suitMJt1.pngMJt2.pngMJt3.pngMJt2.pngMJt3.pngMJt4.pngMJt5.pngMJt6.pngMJt7.pngMJt7.pngMJt8.pngMJt9.pngMJt4.pngMJt4.png
Pure Honor Hand字一色 (zi6 jat1 sik1)LimitAll honor tilesMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.png
Seven Pairs七對子 (cat1 deoi3 zi2) / 七姊妹4Hand consisting of only pairs
Three Lesser Scholars小三元 (siu2 saam1 jyun4)3Melds of 2 dragons and a pair of the 3rd dragonMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd3.pngMJd3.pngMJd3.pngMJt6.pngMJt7.pngMJt8.pngMJw8.pngMJw8.pngMJw8.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.png
Three Great Scholars大三元 (daai6 saam1 jyun4)6Melds of all 3 dragonsMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.pngMJd3.pngMJd3.pngMJd3.pngMJs5.pngMJs6.pngMJs7.pngMJt1.pngMJt1.png
Four Small Blessings小四喜 (siu2 sei3 hei2)8Melds of 3 winds and a pair of the 4th windMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJw7.pngMJw8.pngMJw9.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.png
Four Large Blessings大四喜 (daai6 sei3 hei2)10Melds of all 4 windsMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJt4.pngMJt4.png
All Kongs十八羅漢 / 四槓子 / 槓槓和LimitHand containing four Kongs
Hidden Treasure四暗刻LimitHand containing four concealed (unmelded) Pongs, won by Self-Pick
Jade Dragon翡翠龍LimitHand containing Pongs/Kongs of the Stick suit only and Pong/Kong of the Green Dragon
Ruby Dragon紅寶龍LimitHand containing Pongs/Kongs of the Characters suit only and Pong/Kong of the Red Dragon
Pearl Dragon珍珠龍LimitHand containing Pongs/Kongs of the Dots suit only and Pong/Kong of the White Dragon
All Terminal清么九LimitHand containing Pongs/Kongs of Ones and Nines only
Nine Gates Hand九子連環LimitHand in any one suit consisting of 1112345678999MJw1.pngMJw1.pngMJw1.pngMJw2.pngMJw3.pngMJw4.pngMJw5.pngMJw6.pngMJw7.pngMJw8.pngMJw9.pngMJw9.pngMJw9.pngMJw9.png

Note: For Four Small Blessings, some variations have a further restriction with the prevailing wind or the seat wind disallowed as the pair.

Note: A Nine Gates Hand. It is called nine gates because there are 9 tiles that the player can win with. In some games it is required that the hand be totally concealed (i.e. the three 1s and 9s must be drawn from the wall and not taken from a discard).

Scoring based on presence of certain melds
EnglishCantoneseFānDescriptionExample
Seat Wind門風 (mun4 fung1)1A meld of the winner's seat windMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.png / MJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.png / MJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.png / MJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.png
Prevailing Wind圈風 (gyun6 fung1)1A meld of the prevailing windMJf1.pngMJf1.pngMJf1.png / MJf2.pngMJf2.pngMJf2.png / MJf3.pngMJf3.pngMJf3.png / MJf4.pngMJf4.pngMJf4.png
Red Dragon紅中 (hung4 zung1)1A meld of the red dragonMJd1.pngMJd1.pngMJd1.png
Green Dragon發財 (faat3 coi4)1A meld of the green dragonMJd2.pngMJd2.pngMJd2.png
White Dragon白板 (baak6 baan2)1A meld of the white dragonMJd3.pngMJd3.pngMJd3.png
Scoring based on winning condition
EnglishCantoneseFānDescriptionExample
Self-Draw自摸 (zi6 mo2)1The winning tile is from the wall
Concealed Hand門前清 (mun4 cin4 cing1)1The winner did not form a meld by discard
Robbing the Kong搶槓 (coeng2 gong3)1The winning tile is obtained from someone calling a Kong
Win on Last Tile海底撈月 (hoi2 dai2 lou4 jyut6)1The winning tile is either the last tile from the wall or the last discard
Win on Replacement Tile槓上開花 (gong3 soeng5 hoi1faa1)1The winning tile is from a replacement tile due to a Kong or a Bonus Tile
Win on double Replacement Tile槓上槓 (gong3 soeng5 gong3)1Similar to 'Win on Replacement Tile', except that the tile used to make the Kong was itself an extra tile from declaring a Kong
Heavenly Hand天糊 (tin1 wu4*2)LimitEast wins with initial hand
Earthly Hand地糊 (dei6 wu4*2)LimitNon-East player wins on East's first discard

Point translation function[edit]

The point translation function is, as stated above, typically an exponential function. The function itself is subject to variation, typically to set an upper bound:

Fān-Laak Table
FānChipsBy DiscardBy Self-Draw
011+1+2=4N/A
122+2+4=84+4+4=12
244+4+8=168+8+8=24
388+8+16=3216+16+16=48
4-61616+16+32=6432+32+32=96
7-93232+32+64=12864+64+64=192
10+/Limit6464+64+128=256128+128+128=384

Penalties[edit]

EnglishCantoneseDescriptionExample
9 Pieces Penalty九張包Discarder pays all losses for enabling winner to go out with Pure Hand after winner had already melded 3 sets (9 tiles) of the same suit
12 Pieces Penalty十二張包自摸Winner goes out with Self-Picked Pure Hand after discarder has allowed them to meld a 4th set of the same suit; Discarder pays all losses
Fifth Tile Penalty五子包生Discarder pays all losses for discarding a "fresh" (previously unseen anywhere on the table) tile when there are 5 or less tiles left in the wall, allowing winner to go out
Maximum Penalty

See also[edit]