Tips from Seasoned Players

NEW 2nd edition changes: We’ve added:
“42 Tips From Seasoned Players”

And as promised, here are more tips… The 22+ tips below are in addition to the 42 offered in the book! If you’ve submitted a new TIP, check after tip #22 to find yours listed. Happy Mah Jongging!

  1. If your hand is declared dead, don’t take it personally. It happens to everyone.
  2. Play the tiles in your hand, not the tiles you wish you had.
  3. Find a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask that person lots of questions.
  4. To remember that soap goes with the dots think of geometry: rectangles and circles go together.
  5. Try for a harder hand because no one will expect you to go for it!
  6. Congratulate the winner and resist the urge to whine about how close you were.
    7. Go to Mah Jongg, That’s It! FB group page and read the help files.
  7. Watch how other “Easts” break the wall and experiment until you find a style that suits you best.
  8. Try not to pass a Flower during the Charleston.
  9. Be patient with a difficult hand. You don’t want to throw out a needed tile too soon.
  10. Learn from someone who really knows the game.
  11. Discard a Joker at the end of the game, if you have one.
  12. Discard Flowers early on, if you don’t need them, or you may give someone else their Mahj tile.
  13. Draw 13 random tiles and practice which hand you could try for .
  14. When you aren’t playing, try to figure out which hand others are going for.
  15. After surveying your tiles, pick a hand and stick with it.
  16. Play the addition hands if you can, because they are relatively easy.
  17. Stick with the easiest hands to build your confidence.
  18. If you never play singles & pairs hands, you’ll never win one!
  19. Go to Gladys Grad’s Website and read how to play Two-Handed Siamese Mah Jongg ®:
  20. Check out to learn about tournaments around the country.
  21. Run your own tournament using the free scoring materials here:
  22. Join the Facebook group “Mahjongg Fever” if you are in the Seattle area.If you have another tip to share, please submit it to us in the comment section of this page. We will add your tip to the list, if it’s a new one!
  23. GREAT TIP submitted by Barbara A. from San Diego: Hi, I have used your flip books to teach three different groups to play Mah Jongg.  It’s a wonderful guide and a great learning tool. I have a tip that a friend’s sister came with up for remembering that the white Dragon goes with Dots.  When I teach a group, I remind them that bamboo is green, so green Dragons go with Bams.  The Crak characters are red, so red Dragons go with Crak.  The white Dragon is called Soap, and soap makes bubbles, so Soap goes with dots.  Seems to work pretty well! Thanks, Barbara! (I underlined my favorite part)
  24. New Tip submitted by Sally R:  After choosing your tiles and racking them, STOP TALKING until the game is finished. Social chatter distracts you, especially as a beginner. Thanks, Sally! That is an important one.
  25. Tip Submitted on 6/13/18 by Judi W: [edited for clarity] When you first get your tiles, if you have some consecutive pairs in matching suits, but not many tiles that go with them, and you have the four winds, (NEWS), then consider saving your winds. You could try for that first singles and pairs hand on the 2018 card. This may be a good strategy if you also don’t have any jokers because it seems many players give away their winds during the Charleston. Thanks, Judi!
  26. Tip Submitted on 9/18/18 by Debbie N: To help new players remember that you are not allowed to use a joker as a single, or in a pair I came up with this:“1 or 2, NO joker will do!” Thanks, Debbie!
  27. Tip Submitted on 7/13/19 by Judy I.: White dragon goes with dots, as soap goes with soap bubbles. Thanks, Judy!