How to Play Mahjong Online

By eHow Internet Editor

There are many websites where you can play Mahjong online. The game itself is complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier. The following is a step-by-step method to play the most popular online version of Mahjong.

Different Types of Tiles

Understand suit tiles. There are three sets of suit tiles that number from 1 to 9 and there are four identical tiles of each suit number making 108 possible match-ups. The three different suits are characters, bamboos and circles, which show on the tile.

Understand honor tiles. There are two categories of honor tiles, dragons and winds. There are three kinds of dragons (one red, one green and one white) and four kinds of winds (North, South, East and West). Each of these come in four identical matches, which makes 28 honor tiles.

Understand Bonus Tiles. There are 8 bonus tiles, each one with a flowery design and a number from 1 to 4. One set of tiles are called "seasons" and the other set "flowers." Bonus tiles are not included in the actual game, and when you draw one you keep it turned face up at the side of the table and draw again. The bonus tile simply adds a bonus onto your score.

Playing the Game

Find four people online to play the game. The computer will deal thirteen tiles to each player. If you have any bonus tiles, click on them to lay them out at this time. Replace them by drawing new tiles. The game starts with the player who is "east wind" and he is considered the "dealer."

Draw a tile to make 14 tiles if you are the east wind player, and make any pairs, pungs, kongs or chows that you can. A pung is three of a kind of the exact same tile. A chow is three consecutive tiles in the same suit. A kong is four of a kind of the exact same tile. A pair is two of a kind of the exact same tile.

Discard a tile. If a tile is discarded and you can use it to complete a pung or kong, you may click it to take it even if it isn't your turn. If no one claims the tile to complete a pung or kong, the south wind (the next player going counter-clockwise) can click on the tile to take it, if and only if, he can complete a chow with it. If he can't, he will need to draw a tile.

Win the round by having three combinations and a pair. The three combinations can be anything: one pung and two kongs or two pungs and one chow or any other such combination.

The computer game will add up the point value of your tiles if you are the winner and give you that amount as your score. The other players have a zero score until they win a round. If you won and were the dealer for that round, your points are doubled.

The next player to be the "dealer" (unless the east wind won that round) is the south wind. If the east wind won, he becomes the dealer again.