Basic Strategy 6: Hand Discussion – 2


Another basic strategy article translated from the JPML site. Original link is at the bottom of the article



This time we will introduce some very important yaku.


You should remember their characteristics and use them to get to ready when you can, even if you can’t reach.


Yakuhai  役牌  1 yaku


Key: Value Tile

☆  You have a yaku if you can get a yakuhai, even if you have opened your hand.


If you have a hand of three or more of the same value tile, you have a yaku.


It does not matter how you collect the tiles. And if you have any other dora or yaku in your hand, these will be added to the score.



☆  If you can collect three value tiles, you can go out even if you are not closed.

☆  It doesn’t matter how the rest of your hand is formed, so you can go out quickly.

☆  It easily combines half flush (honitsu) or outside hand (chanta) for a high value hand.


Examples of when it’s good to call for the last tile if you have two value tiles in your hand.

-You have no other yaku, but you have a lot of dora tiles.

-When you call you will be ready and you can go out on two or more tiles.

-When it’s the last hand, and you could reach the top spot.



★  It can’t be used with peace (pinfu) or inside hand (tanyao).

★  If you call for it, you won’t be able to reach so your hand could be cheap.


Not all honor tiles are value tiles, so get into the habit of confirming with yourself which are your value tiles at the beginning of each hand.


Types of Value Tiles


Three Dragons  三元牌 1 yaku




☆These are always value tiles.


Table Wind 場風牌  1 Yaku


Key: Dealer Button


☆  This is a yaku for everyone at the table.


At the beginning of a round, to the right of the dealer, there is a marker indicating東 or east. This is the dealer button. If you can collect three 東, this is a yaku for you.


When a round has been played, the button is turned over to reveal 南 instead. This means if you can collect three 南, you get a yaku.


Don’t forget to turn over the dealer button


Seat Wind 自風牌 1 Yaku


Key: Assigned in this order starting with the dealer:


Double Wind 連風牌 1 Yaku + 1 Yaku


Key: A double東 or double南.


☆  You can claim this if your seat wind and the table wind are the same and you go out.


Peace Hand (Pinfu) 平和 1 Yaku


Key: A plain and simple hand. All runs.


☆  This is an easy yaku considered the way a beginner gets into mahjong and the way a player masters mah-jong.


★ You cannot make pinfu if you call for any tiles.


You need to create pinfu with your dealt hand and draws for this to be a yaku.


Any dora will increase the value of your hand.


The Rules of Pinfu

① Closed

② All runs (no trips or quads)

③ You have to have a two-sided wait (ryanmen) For example: 45, waiting on a 3 and 6. 46, waiting on a 5 is not pinfu.

④ The head cannot be a value tile. For example: 發



Winning tile:

If you are not west, your head can be west (西).

If you are west, your head cannot be west (西).



☆  Pinfu is fairly easy to create and can be combined with other yaku.

☆  As you need to be waiting on two or more tiles, if you reach, you can get a high value hand.



★  You can’t use it with seven pairs or concealed pungs.

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