Mahjong Gambling Online – How to Play Mahjong

Steve Myatt
May 23, 2023

In online gambling, games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat have long held the limelight with their never-ending appeal and widespread popularity. However, one game stands out for its uniqueness and fascinating gameplay: Mahjong.

Tracing its roots back to ancient China, Mahjong has surpassed time and cultural boundaries to become a favorite game that has now found its place in online gambling. While blackjack, roulette, and baccarat may be household names, Mahjong offers a fresh and distinctive alternative with its intricate tile-based mechanics. 

Mahjong has captivated players for centuries with its strategic decision-making and the excitement of assembling winning combinations. As we dig into the world of Mahjong gambling online, we will uncover the beauty and glamour of this classic game in a present-day setting.

Where to Play Mahjong Gambling Online

There are several sites and platforms to play Mahjong gambling online. These platforms offer a virtual environment for Mahjong enthusiasts to enjoy the game. Some of these platforms are;

  • National Mah Jongg League,
  • My Jongg,
  • Real Mah Jongg,
  • Mahjong Time,
  • I Love Mahj.

Best Mahjong Casinos

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History of Mahjong

Mahjong or mahjongg is an ancient tile-based game found in the late 19th century in Southern China. The name precisely means “Sparrow” due to the noise made from shuffling the tiles by the players. Many debates exist on who invented the game, making the owner unknown. 

It was during the Taiping Rebellion period of the Qing Dynasty when Mahjong was believed to have been developed. It is believed to have been developed by army members who fought during the period. The game aimed to pass the time. During that time, there were still popular games like Tang Dynasty, Madiao, etc.

In the early 20th century, Mahjong was introduced to the Western world by the non-natives who lived in China.

Mahjong was developed from the inspiration of various games like Madiao and became popular around the 1920s. The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, so Mahjong was banned. The reason was that the game represented gambling features, resulting in social corruption.

Mahjong is a social game that connects different people, both the young and old, men and women, and brings harmony to the community. Playing Mahjong acted as a relief to the boring lives of many. It was not until 1985 that the ban was removed, and Mahjong was brought back. That was when the game grew popular internationally.

Over the years, Mahjong has become more popular and has had some variations into several forms of Mahjong. Seemingly, the most common form of online Mahjong gambling is Mahjong Solitaire, also called Shanghai Solitaire. Mahjong Solitaire is a combination of traditional Mahjong with card games like Solitaire.

In 1981, a U.S. software engineer named Brodie Lockard developed the first computer version of Mahjong. There are dozens of variations of playing Mahjong online.

How to Play Mahjong Gambling Online

You can play Mahjong online for free or for gambling purposes. Playing Mahjong online is simple, but it’s a bit challenging because of the Chinese terms and symbols used on the tiles. To play online Mahjong gambling, you must understand the basics of traditional Mahjong.

Explanation of the Basic Rules and Objectives of Mahjong

The primary objective of Mahjong is to create a winning hand by accumulating sets and sequences of tiles. A single set can contain three identical tiles, known as a “pong,” or four identical tiles. A sequence may consist of three successive tiles from the same suit. The particular requirement for a winning hand may differ depending on the variation of the game.

To date, Mahjong has different variations, such as;

  • American Mahjong. This variation of Mahjong features eight jokers, the Charleston, a tile trading tradition with five and six tiles melds.
  • Japanese Mahjong. It is also known as Riichi mahjong. The game’s basic rules are maintained, but there are additional features, such as Dora.
  • Mahjong Solitaire. Unlike traditional Mahjong, played by four players, Mahjong solitaire can be played by a single player. Unlike traditional Mahjong, the game’s goal is to match up a set of tiles identical to clear the board.
  • Chinese Mahjong. It is also referred to as Hong Kong Mahjong. The objective is to collect a  complete marching set of tiles(must contain tiles of the same suit) and a pair.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Play Mahjong Online

To play Mahjong online, you will need to understand the major categories of the tiles. There are a total of 144 tiles. The tiles are divided into three categories:

SuitedDots/Circles- 36 tiles
Bamboo/Sticks- 36 tiles
Characters/Numbers- 36 tiles
HonorsWinds- 16 tiles
Dragons- 12 tiles
BonusFlowers- 4 tiles
Seasons- 4 tiles

The Dots contain a dotted representation of 1 to 9, while the Bamboo represents bamboo sticks from 1 to 9. The Characters/numbers include numbers 1 to 9 in Chinese symbols. Below the numbered tiles, there is a symbol representing 10,000.

Wind tiles consist of East, South, West, and North, while the Dragons consist of Red, Green, and White tiles. The flower tiles consist of Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo, while the season tiles consist of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

The process starts with shuffling the tiles while facing them down. A dice is thrown to decide the player who will start the game, called the dealer. Then the tiles are arranged on four sides, each representing a player. Each player takes 13 tiles except for the first player, who adds one more. The game involves picking a tile from the stack and discarding the one from your pile of tiles.

The game’s goal is to end up with four sets of three, with one pair equating to 14 tiles. To achieve identical tiles in a set, you can shout out ‘pong!’ after a player discards a tile to claim the tile immediately.

Skill or Luck: The Role of Skill in Mahjong Gambling

A group of Asian men playing mahjong at a table.

In online Mahjong gambling, skill plays a vital role in determining a victory. While luck may influence the distribution of tiles, skilled players will have an advantage through their strategic decision-making and tile management ability.

Playing Mahjong online may require more skill than luck. Players must skillfully analyze patterns and make calculated moves based on the virtual environment. By honing skills in online Mahjong gambling, players can increase their mastery to outwit opponents and make perfect decisions beyond mere luck.

Does Mahjong Improve IQ?

According to studies, playing Mahjong can positively alter the brain’s health regarding attention, logical reasoning, and retaining memory. The complex arrangement of the game serves as a challenge and needs a degree of attention and concentration. As a result, this may keep your mind sharp and can also help treat dementia.


Mahjong has a rich history and has affluently transitioned into online gambling. With its strategic decision-making and skill-based features, Mahjong captivates and entertains its players.

Whether playing for fun or money, Mahjong gambling online provides an exciting and cognitively stimulating experience that continues to fascinate players worldwide.


  • Can You Play Mahjong Online for Money?

    Yes, it is possible to play Mahjong online for money. There are dozens of sites that offer different variations of Mahjong which you can play for free or even earn money.

  • Is Mahjong a Game or Gambling?

    Mahjong can be both a game and also a form of gambling. In many cultures, Mahjong is played as a recreation or entertainment. However, in some cases, it is associated with gambling, where players stake real money.

  • What is the Secret to Winning Mahjong?

    Have a strategic plan and skill of attack. Make sure to make wise decisions and have calculated moves. You must have a keen eye on your opponent. Being flexible at all times and having patience would make you a winner.

  • Is Mahjong a Luck-Based Game?

    Mahjong is a game based on skill, strategy, and luck. Luckily, chance can make you win the game. But this doesn’t mean that Mahjong is a luck-based game. It requires an understanding of the skills and strategies to play the game.

  • What are the Disadvantages of Playing Mahjong Online?

    The disadvantages of playing Mahjong online include reduced social interaction compared to the traditional play, untrustworthiness, insecurity of online platforms, financial strains from gambling practices, and addiction.

Last updated on June 16th, 2023 at 08:37 am

Author Steve Myatt

Steve is the founder of Gamblers Cafe. He came up with the idea in 2022 and has been providing insights found herein. Having been in the gambling industry for over 5 years, he uses this opportunity to make the industry safe by assessing casinos and recommending the best ones.