How to Play Mahjong – The Joker in American Mahjong
For players learning how to play mahjong, understanding when a Joker tile may be used is critical. It is common knowledge and has been well documented that the use of the Joker in card games, originated here in America. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the Joker is only used in American Mahjong. The Jokers introduction to the American Mahjong Rules has undoubtedly added a dimension of strategy to an already exciting game.
Let’s get down to the Mahjong Rules for Jokers. Firstly, it is important to understand that jokers can only be used to complete a set containing three or more like mundeejing tiles. Therefore Jokers can never be used in singles and pairs. In addition to this rule, a joker cannot be used in 2010 or similar runs.
To understand how the joker can be played during a game, let us assume a player exposes a set completed with the aid of a Joker. If another player has the tile replacing the joker in the set, they may switch the Joker for this replacement tile on their turn.
Finally, a Joker cannot be used during the pre-game Charleston.
Apart from the Mahjong Rules, for strategic purposes one should always keep in mind that there are only eight Jokers in an American Mahjong set. Once one has mastered the basic Mahjong Rules, the next step in learning how to play Mahjongg is to focus on strategy, which is the exciting and challenging part of the game.
I know that learning how to play Mahjongg may be intimidating at first, but I can tell you from personal experience that you will get into it before you know it. Mahjong is perhaps the hottest up and coming social game in America. Your children will pick it up in no time and once one knows how to play Mahjong, one becomes an instant Mahjong addict.