Best version of Mahjong for gambling (1 Viewer)

subztance

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I’m sure this is subjective, but what’s the best Mahjong variant for gambling? I’ve only played a basic version (first one to 4 sets and a pair) and my extended family all seem to play different versions. I’d love to play at the next family gathering and whip out a few mahjong sets + poker chips, but I’m kind of an amateur (I really only know the basic 4 sets + pair game).
 

DrStrange

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You will be hard pressed to find many people who play anything but "American" style Mahjong here in the USA. That is the version where you make specific hands listed on this year's card each with various point values / monetary values. Pretty weak sauce.

Asian style Mahjong is far more bloody as a gambling game. This is the version described in the original post. Scoring included numerous ways to double the value of your hand. Perhaps not easy to achieve, but a lucky run can result is vast wins as the size of the wins can compound quickly.

The Asian game is a better choice for big swings ( i.e. it is a "no limit" game). The American version has more moderate swings ( i.e. it is a limit game)

Either way the stakes can be made high enough to make the games exciting or even terrifying, if that is what the players prefer. Or you could play for pocket change just for fun.
 

subztance

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You will be hard pressed to find many people who play anything but "American" style Mahjong here in the USA. That is the version where you make specific hands listed on this year's card each with various point values / monetary values. Pretty weak sauce.

Asian style Mahjong is far more bloody as a gambling game. This is the version described in the original post. Scoring included numerous ways to double the value of your hand. Perhaps not easy to achieve, but a lucky run can result is vast wins as the size of the wins can compound quickly.

The Asian game is a better choice for big swings ( i.e. it is a "no limit" game). The American version has more moderate swings ( i.e. it is a limit game)

Either way the stakes can be made high enough to make the games exciting or even terrifying, if that is what the players prefer. Or you could play for pocket change just for fun.
Thanks! Do you have happen to know any resources for some of different variants of Asian style Mahjong? Wikipedia has rules for Old Hong Kong Mahjong, which sounds similar to what my inlaws play, but not exactly.
 

DrStrange

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Last time I played Asian style Mahjong was 35 years ago. I got a couple of rule sets by visiting shops in Houston's China town and asking. The rules about scoring were very variable. Think of this like playing "Poker" - how many different poker variants are there? And then toss in special home rules just for your private game.

That is how this style of Mahjong seems to play - lots and lots of variants. No governing body, No firm set of rules. Everyone does their own thing.
 

subztance

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Last time I played Asian style Mahjong was 35 years ago. I got a couple of rule sets by visiting shops in Houston's China town and asking. The rules about scoring were very variable. Think of this like playing "Poker" - how many different poker variants are there? And then toss in special home rules just for your private game.

That is how this style of Mahjong seems to play - lots and lots of variants. No governing body, No firm set of rules. Everyone does their own thing.
Okay, good to know :) Yea, there's no consensus within my family either :) I was hoping there was some dominant rule set worth learning, but the analogy to poker is a good one :) I'll look through some rules and find one I think would be most enjoyable.
 

T_Chan

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Bigger hands can be achieved by using the "winds" and extra points for symbol sets.

The way I learned to play, is you need either 4 sets and a pair, or 4 runs of 3 and a pair, or you can mix and match, plus a pair. However, if you mix and match then you aren't able to take the discard of other players for the winning tile, and have to pick it up yourself through the stub.

Getting a set of symbols, the green, red and blue, gets you 1 extra point. Getting 4 of a kind too. If you get a set of the "direction of the round", or your "direction" based on your seat relative to the dealer, then you also get extra points.

Then there's the holy grail, royal flush hand which I forget how much it pays but it's a huge amount. 1 & 9 of each suit, 1 of each symbol and a pair.

Some mahjong sets come with "birds" which get an extra point just by getting a single one which you immediately place face up and get another tile from the back to replace it, similar to quads. I'm not sure but I heard it's the Taiwanese version? I've never learned official rules, this is how I've always played with family and when I've played with others, the rules are the same around here.

If you're already playing by these, then I don't know if there's any other variations that would lead to more gambool.
 

LeLe

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I think they are generally 3 main different style with some different rules

The Classic Chinese Style
The Don Japan Style
The Cantonese HongKong Style

There are also many sub varieties like

Taiwanese Mahjong that start with 16 tiles rather than 13 tiles
American Style that played like Gin Rummy etc

There are also 3 person version MJ which used 2 suited tiles rather than 3 suited and also required minimum 5 Tai to win

There are also many House rule like
- Animals that add Tai
- Fei / Joker that can substitute as any tiles
- 8 Flowers special etc

Mahjong are hard to teach through words, maybe you can try watching videos instead

I just pick up Mahjong naturally since a lot of my family members are playing them
 
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