How to Play Solo Mahjong

Published: 16/02/2012

The game known as Mahjong was invented in China about 150 years ago. It gained tremendous popularity in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere in Asia during the 1920s, and more recently it has become a mainstay of casinos on the Internet, thanks in large part to innovations in the game developed by Playtech, such as “Solo Mahjong.”

Created for individual play, Solo Mahjong differs from the original Chinese game for four persons and is based upon the rules and scoring used in Japan. The game can be played without any special instruction, but familiarity with the basics is helpful.

For example, the Playtech version features the same 136 playing pieces or “tiles” used in live Mahjong games. They are divided into five suits—three Numeral suits and two Letter suits. The Numeral suits are the Bars, Wons and Dots. These suits contain nine tiles each, marked with numbers 1 through 9.

The Letter suits are the Winds and Dragons. The Wind suit contains four tiles for the North, South, East and West winds. The Dragon suit contains three tiles for the Red, Green and White dragons. For non-Chinese speakers, all of these tiles are marked with English letters: N, S, E and W for Winds and R, G and Wh for Dragons.

In addition, the 1st and 9th tiles of each Numeral suit (known as “Edges”), together with the letter tiles, make up what’s called the Honors suit. Sets made of honor tiles are worth more than sets made of Middle tiles (the 2nd through 8th tiles of number suits).

A winning Mahjong hand consists of 14 tiles arranged in sets. To qualify as a winning hand, the hand must be full, meaning that every tile in the hand must be part of a set. Available sets include Pong (three tiles of identical suit and value), Kong (four tiles of identical suit and value), Chee (three tiles of identical suit and sequential value) and Pair (two tiles of identical suit and value). Although the Pair has no value in terms of earning points toward the payout, it is necessary to have at least one Pair to complete a winning Mahjong hand.

In the Playtech’s Solo Mahjong, the player receives 13 tiles as soon as the amount of the bet has been selected and the “New Game” button has been pressed. The tiles appear face up and are already prearranged in suits. One additional tile called “Dora” is also dealt face up, but it is not part of the hand. If tiles that match Dora are part of the winning hand, a bonus is paid.

The object is to simply draw a winning tile to complete the hand from the “wall” of 24 unexposed tiles at the top of the screen. The player may draw up to three times. When a winning tile is drawn, the point value of the hand is calculated automatically and a payout is awarded according to the game’s paytable. If a winning combination is not obtained on any of the three draws, the bet is lost.

Other factors that enter into the calculation of points include the presence or absence of Honor tiles in the hand and tiles that match the pre-designated “Seat Wind” or “Quarter Wind” (both of which are indicated at the start of each new game). Bonuses can also be gained for specific sets, their combinations and actions such as Self Draw (taking a winning tile from the wall) or “Reach” (supposedly taking a winning tile from another player, even though it is a solo game).

According to Playtech, “The score is calculated from the game point total using a traditional, complex algorithm. The more points you get, the bigger your final score and your win amount is.” The paytable shows how points determine the multiplier applied to the original bet, from 700 to 7,999 points paying even money up to 48,000 points paying six times the bet.

Published on: 16/02/2012

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