Is it legal to play Mahjong in India?
There was a public gaming act in 1867. We are heading towards the 21st century now. Needless the say the lawmakers in 1867 did not even know what a mobile phone is, let alone worry about the internet.
But yes, they sure did know about land-based gambling. So, to basically put it in simple terms, the laws are old and outdated, but they do exist. Fortunately, the laws cover only land-based gambling.
Online gambling is not covered under these laws and it’s safe to state that no one has been prosecuted for online gambling. One might argue that in the “Information Technology Act of 2000” the government has some power over the online market, but then again, this was a very generic law and has no mention towards online casinos or gambling as such.
You can read more about gambling rules in India in our article, Is it legal to gamble online in India?
The basics of Mahjong
Mahjong is one of the handful old ancient games which are surviving to this day in all its glory and more. Like I said it’s traditionally Chinese. This game is a delicate balance of skill, strategy and has an element of chance. It does not remind of other table games like Roulette or Sic Bo. It’s unique.
This game is played with a set of 144 tiles. These 144 tiles are divided into divided into 36 “Bamboos”, 36 “characters”, 36 “Circles”, 16 “Wind tiles”, 12 “Dragon tiles” and 8 “Flower tiles”. Each player gets 13 tiles. These tiles are based on Chinese characters and symbols.
If you didn’t know yet, Mahjong requires a high level of concentration and skill.
Each player will draw and discard a tile on their turn. They will need to keep doing this until they can form a legit hand using the 14th tile to be able to form 4 sets and a pair.
The rules of how to draw a tile, how to rob a tile from another player and how to use the numbered and the royal tiles like dragons and winds, how to form the melds etc are generic in nature and have been discussed in detail in this article. However, with slight twists here and there are many variations of this game popular in Asia and southeast Asia.
You will need to know about the rules of the game before you venture out to the open sea of online casinos for Mahjong.
You will also need to create an account with one of our suggested websites to ensure you can play the game online for better understanding. You might need to add and withdraw money and for that we have you covered in this article.
The main objective of this game is to be able to remove all mahjong tiles from the board before time runs out.
The goal is to get a mahjong which means a hand of 4 sets and a pair or a special hand out of the 14 tiles in your rack. In Mahjong terms it means collecting Chows (3 consecutive tiles of the same suit), Pungs (3 identical tiles of the same suit) and Kongs (4 identical tiles of the same suit).
This is essentially the Hong Kong version of Mahjong I am discussing. The Japanese version is a bit more complex and played with 136 tiles. You can only remove those tiles which are free means. By the word free I mean they are not touching any other tile on the left or right.
Points and their respective monetary value are mutually decided before the game commences.
Points are obtained by comparing the winning hand to various winning conditions. Each winning condition has a specific set of criteria. Different criteria have different point values associated with them.
Even though the rules change only subtly across various versions of mahjong, it will be good to read about the rules in detail at separate articles below.
Mahjong is a game of a high level of skill and concentration. To be able to strike it hard in Mahjong you need to have a good eye and good deceptive skills.
Traditionally you would have four players sit according to their tile shuffled amongst them and the person on the east would be the dealer.
Nowadays a simple roll of dice decides the dealer. Before every turn the player needs to allow the other players to choose if required the most recently discarded tile. The person who can utilize a discarded tile to complete a Mahjong wins by displaying a winning hand of 14 tiles.
Interaction with other players: You need to be able to not just read your own hands, but just like in the game of cards understand what the other player has in their hands. Based upon that you need to make the right move whether to go for the big hand or the smaller ones.
Making a Big hand usually ends up in sacrificing speed and aiming for a high score. The best strategy here can only be analyzed by judging the hands of all the four players. You can bluff a player in thinking you have a small hand and letting him for the time taking big hand which can buy you time.
The “Honor Triplet” has fewer options for combinations. It can combine with:
- Mixed One-Suit
- Mixed Lesser Terminals
- or kong the fourth tile for 5 points…
…but in general, it doesn’t combine well with other things. Instead, two identical sequences are the pattern which easily combines with others. It combines with tier 1 patterns for a hand of 15 to 25 points.
In the beginning of the game, after throwing away the guest winds and the terminal numbers, it’s usually a good idea to start with throwing the value honors which others have already discarded.
The key, however, is to understand which strategy to apply to what variation of the game and for that you can go through the articles below to the strategies and variations of Online Mahjong in greater detail.
In this game the players mutually decide the monetary values of the points before the game begins. On the online version the monetary values of the points are pre-decided.
Each variation has different point structure. Let me for this instance explain the Singaporean Mahjong scoring rules.
Let us say for example that the four players decide on the monetary value as 1S$ for 1 point in winning hand. Also, the player who discards a tile which is used by the opponent to utilize in a winning hand has to pay double the agreed payout.
For a 1point winning hand the payout would look like:
|Points||Losing Players||Guilty Player Pays||Winning Player takes|
And in the event that the player who won also happened to draw the winning tile himself.
|Points||All Players Pay||Winning Player Takes|
For a full list of all bets and payouts check in the detailed guides below.
Variations of the game
There are several types of Mahjong which are played worldwide. Essentially the Cantonese version which is also referred to as the Hong Kong version is most common.
The oldest version is the classical Chinese version.
The Japanese use the Japanese Mahjong which has slightly different from the classical version of the game. It is similar to what is used popularly in Japanese video games. Each player starts with a score variable between 20000 and 30000 represented by a series of bars. These basically are representative of the Chinese tiles and are available in four denominations 10000, 5000,1000 and 100.
When a player runs out of bars the game ends and the player leading in score wins.
The Singaporean Mahjong has similar rules to the classical Chinese Mahjong except for the fact that it uses an extra set of tiles. It consists of 148 tiles and has an additional Animal tileset. There are 19 stacks for the dealer (East), the player opposite to the dealer (West) also has 19 tiles. The other has 18 tiles each.
The Dead wall is made up of 15 tiles.
The American version or the version which will be basically of interest for us Indians is the version where these Chinese symbols have been numbered down. In the year 1917 Joseph P. Babock who was working for the Standard Oil learnt the game of Mahjongg and introduced it to the outside world.
Playing Virtual or Live
Online Mahjong is a completely different experience compared to real Mahjong with live physical players in person. It completely depends upon your taste as to how would you like to play the game in the online casinos in India.
Though there aren’t any virtual Mahjong by which I mean that there is a live dealer dealing out tiles to you over the internet in a studio with cameras located at specific angles to stream you the live feed as if you are right there in person.
You can however easily play it online amongst four ‘live’ real players. These players can be your friends or anonymous players but real humans.
When you play live Mahjong online over the internet, you are basically connected to a room where the game elements are controlled by registered and approved software and randomness is also defined and authorized by authorities to determine pure randomness.
There is no fraudulent activity and you can enjoy the game at your leisure and ease. All you will need is a good enough internet connection and an account at one of the online casinos offering Mahjong. Just be sure to check which casinos have the best payouts before you register for an account there. Also, check for good promotional events such as sign up bonuses when you register.