Mahjong Melds Essentials

Emily Thompson
Written byEmily ThompsonWriter
Fact checked byDylan ThomasFact Checker
Localised byMulenga ChandaLocaliser

Mahjong is a simple game that consists of 144 tiles. Each player gets 13 tiles, while the dealer will get 14. Players need to form meld by completing a legal hand. Many players still don’t know how to form a meld, so we are drafting this guide to tell them more about it.

Melds in Mahjong could be a little complicated to understand, but we will explain everything. Players should read until the end to find out all the essentials. Let us start right away.

Mahjong Melds Essentials

Mahjong Melds

The player's hand contains melds, which are collections of mahjong tiles that can be either a pong, a kong, a chow, or eyes. Drawing a tile from the wall or claiming another player's discard are two ways to create melds. Depending on how the meld is formed, there are mahjong rules that specify which player has priority for a discard and whether the meld should be exposed or not.

Pong

  • A pong is a set of three identical tiles.
  • A pong may be formed with any suited or honor tiles.
  • Bonus tiles cannot be used to form a pong because they are set aside, and there are not three identical bonus tiles in the set.
  • The tiles must be identical.
  • A pong may either be hidden or exposed.

Kong

A full set of four identical tiles is known as a kong. It is the same as Pong, but with an additional tile. The following are the three ways to make a Kong:

  • Hidden Kong: A player may declare a kong if they have three identical tiles and draw a tile that completes the set of four. They do this by uncovering the meld and putting two pieces in the center and two pieces on either end, facing up and down, respectively.
  • Exposed Kong: A player may take a discarded tile and reveal an exposed or melded kong if they can use it to complete three matching tiles in their hand. The player displays their three pieces face up and sets the stolen discard either face down next to the three other face-up pieces or on top of the center tile.
  • Exposed Kong from Exposed Pong: A player may declare a kong by laying the fourth tile on top of the centerpiece of a melded pong or by placing all four tiles face up in a row if they have an exposed pong and, later in the game, pull the fourth piece from the wall. A player cannot take the fourth piece from a merged pong if another player discards it; instead, it must be drawn.

Important Points

  • When a kong is created, the player must pull an additional tile from the wall's end and then throw away a tile.
  • One of the 13 tiles that a player is required to have in their hand at all times does not include the fourth piece of a kong.
  • A kong may not be created with bonus tiles, as the set does not comprise four identical tiles.
  • Kongs are worth gathering to gain extra points and prevent opponents from the option to get certain tiles.

Chow

  • A chow is created by melding three matching tiles in a row.
  • The meld needs to be in the same suit and in exact numerical order.
  • Players cannot skip numbers or meld from 8 or 9 to 1 or 2.
  • Because they have no numerical value, honor tiles and bonus tiles cannot be utilized to create chows.
  • Only the player whose turn came just before their own can steal a discard to build a chow. The person who forms a chow with a seized piece gets the lowest priority for that tile.
  • Any other player may take control of that tile in place of the other player if they need it to produce a pong or a kong to win.
  • The chow is either hidden or visible, like a pong.

Eyes

Eyes, also known as a pair, are two identical tiles essential to a lawful winning hand. A piece cannot be taken to create a pair of eyes unless the player concurrently completes a valid winning hand.

Interruption of Play

The game can be interrupted by four events. They are the following:

Flower or Season

The last tile of the wall is drawn as a replacement tile whenever a player draws a flower or season, ensuring that they have the 14 pieces required before their discard.

Melding Another Player’s Discard

Other players may take a tile that has been discarded by one player to finish a meld. The advantages of stealing tiles include constructing a winning hand more quickly and earning extra points. At the same time, the drawbacks include having to expose a portion of one's hand to other players and being unable to alter a declared meld.

Moreover, the player must specify the type of meld to be proclaimed when declaring it through a discard before exposing the meld by setting the three or four face-up tiles.

Winning A Hand

Play is stopped when a hand is won in order to evaluate the hand's viability. Following confirmation, the player receives the hand's worth in accordance with the rules of the particular game.

Winning a Hand From a Discard

A player declares victory and reveals their winning hand if, at any time throughout the game, they can utilize another player's discard to finish a legal hand. The hand is over at this point, and mahjong scoring starts.

Based on established table rules, there are several methods to handle the scenario if more than one player can utilize a discard to win the hand. The winner may be determined by adding up the points each player would have gained from the discard, selecting the person who is closest to the discarder in turn order, or concurrently awarding wins to many players.

Winning a Hand From the Wall

A player can also succeed by drawing a tile that finishes a valid hand. This can also be referred to as winning from the wall. Winning from the wall in Hong Kong Mahjong doubles the basic points that each loser must pay.

Winning a Hand By False Win

The declaring of a winning hand is technically permissible at any time. The player must have a full and legitimate hand, though. If not, the player is punished.

  • The punishment is based on the table rules.
  • The player can hand the other players their points back.
  • The player who announces the fake win is also subject to a potential punishment of having to play the remainder of the hand with their tiles face up.
  • Some strategies impose punishment at the conclusion of the whole contest.

Robbing a Kong

A play known as robbing the kong is an uncommon yet high-scoring element of Hong Kong mahjong. If a player attempts to declare a kong by adding a fourth piece to a melded pong, but another player can use that piece to finish the hand, the winning player has precedence and may remove that piece from the person who was attempting to declare the kong.

Conclusion

Playing Mahjong is not about just learning the rules or tiles. Knowing about the melds, how to make them, and the different types of melds in mahjong is necessary in order to have a successful game.

Mahjong is not as difficult as it seems. It's just there is so much to learn about the game. But when players have a whole understanding, they undoubtedly have fun.

About the author
Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson

Emily "VegasMuse" Thompson is a seasoned online casino enthusiast from down under. With a keen eye for details and an inherent knack for strategizing, she has turned her passion for the online casino world into a successful writing career.

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More posts by Emily Thompson

What is a meld in Mahjong?

Three different forms of combinations, each with a unique name based on where it occurs, can be considered melds.

What is a melded hand?

Four melded sets, and a pair make up a hand known as a melded hand. This implies that each component of the player’s hand was said to be made up of a discarded tile.

What are Pong and Chow in mahjong?

Pong is a term for three identical tiles of the same rank and suit, and Chow is the term for three identical-suite tiles in a row.

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