Mahjong Mania: Learn How to Play Mahjong

While the origin of mahjong (麻將, má jiàng), a game called mah-jongg in the US, is unknown, the fast-paced four-player game is popular throughout Asia. The game was first sold in the US in the 1920s and has become popular in the last decade. Mahjong is often played as a gambling game; therefore, mahjong was banned after 1949 in China but reintroduced after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

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6th Graders Play Mah Jongg During Lunch Break
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There are variations in mahjong gameplay from country to country. Many mahjong sets contain 136 or 144 tiles. There are 16 rounds in a game with a winner after each round. Learn how to play one common version (based on 136 tiles).

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Mahjong: Set up
After each player has drawn 16 tiles, the tiles are placed in a rack. Lauren Mack / About.com

Check out these websites to play mahjong for free.

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Mahjong Game Sets and Books

Chinese Games: Mahjong
Mahjong is a four-player game that often involves gambling, but it is also played for fun. Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

Once you've learned how to play mahjong, get a mahjong game set. Mahjong has many regional variations, Mahjong books will help you learn American mahjong, Shanghainese mahjong, Taiwanese mahjong and more.