Interacting with other players

 OVERVIEW:  Not revealing your handPlaying to the person on your leftPlaying to the person opposite youDisrupting others’ plansTesting your theoriesReacting to a simple Mah-JongDissimulationDeceit


Not revealing your hand

If nobody knows what you are trying to collect, they cannot deliberately frustrate your attempts to get a MJ.

So if you want to keep your intentions and the state of your hand secret:

  • Do not make a pung until you think it critically necessary
  • Do not arrange the tiles in your hand so as to reveal if you have concealed pungs or pairs
  • Be careful about rearranging your hand immediately after a discard (which might indicate that you have the discarded tile in your hand) or after picking up a tile from the wall – do it later


Playing to the person on your left

If you think that the person on your left is collecting a particular set and a tile of that set comes to you, you might consider discarding it so as to jump over the two players to your right. You thereby get your turn earlier and deprive two players of their turns.

This tactic is particularly useful when you know that a player to your right, or opposite you, is fishing. If you are close to the end of the wall, it’s a way of thwarting an opponent with a dangerous hand.

But bear in mind that the player to your left also benefits (in getting a larger portion of the remaining wall).


Playing to the person opposite you

The same logic also applies to the person opposite you. But in this case you could only thwart the person on your right.


Disrupting others’ plans

If you judge that someone is saving for a special hand or a clean hand then discarding a tile that you judge he wants may disrupt his plans.


Testing your theories

Discard a tile you think someone may want (provided you are sure you don’t want it and he is not close to a MJ).


Reacting to a simple MJ

If you are trying for a high scoring MJ and there is a player who is going for a simple MJ, that can be irritating – but bear in mind that you need only win high once to counter several simple MJ scores.

Keep in mind the power of doubling.

However, if it is clear that others are close to a MJ it may be wise to try go out as quickly as possible with a low score.



Keep a stony face.

Be careful not to react in ways that allow other players to guess what you are collecting or looking to pung or go MJ with. For example, if you are looking to go MJ with a 5 Circles and someone discards a tile saying “5 of”, your excitement may lead you to give this away. Should the tile be a 5 Bamboos, an experienced player could deduce what you are looking for and be careful about discarding another “5 of”.

Organising the tiles in your rack so that you know clearly in advance what you are looking for and what you wish to discard will allow you to react more quickly without giving much away.

The more concealed your hand is, the less chance others have of guessing your intentions.

Vary your style of play so that others have less of an idea of the kind of hand that you are trying to collect.

If you are going for a big score be particularly careful how you behave, maybe even employing some deceit.



Discard a tile from the suit you are collecting (if you are reasonably sure you don’t want it).

Consider avoiding discarding tiles from a suit that you don’t want to give the impression that you do want it.

Arrange your tiles in pairs (with gaps) to disguise the fact that you have concealed pungs.

Try to react to others’ discards and tiles you discard as unwanted in ways that disguise your true feelings. For example, ponder over a useless tile (but be careful not to over-egg it!).



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