Osaka 3-Player Mahjong

Lately I’ve been playing a lot more Mahjong than I did last year. But, I’m not playing the mahjong that everyone else is used to. I’ve actually been playing in parlors in Osaka and the main game over there is with 3 players not 4. It’s actually much simpler than the To-tenko rule set used for 3 player games in Tokyo, but there are a few differences that might throw you off.

The scoring in Osaka is more similar to the 4-player game than you would expect. They don’t use 100 or 500pt sticks so you start with 35,000 (2 10k, 2 5k and 5 1k sticks) and the return is 40,000,so there’s already a 5,000pt ante going straight to the winner. Also there is no extra uma (placing bonus) so the goal is to be above 40,000 and even better, to win the game. For scores that have 100 point calculations (3900, 5200, etc.) round up (to 4000 and 6000 respectively). For self-draws the dealers (DL) and non-dealers (ND) pay the normal score but for mangan+ the total is split. Mangan is 3000 for ND and 5000 for DL, Haneman is 4000 for ND and 8000 for DL, Baiman is 6000 for ND and 10,000 for DL and a Triple Baiman is 9000 for ND and 15,000 for DL. When a Dealer self-draws the other 2 players just split the total score (6000 each for Mangan, etc.).

Game Play:
The only craks used are 1 and 9. These are used normally in the hands.
Most games will use a side dora, made up of either North (can also be used in hand for yakuman) or flower tiles. A supplementary tile is taken in this case and the dora is placed on the side of the table for later scoring.
There is no calling for chows (chi) in 3-player mahjong. If you’re not used to this it is a good trick to sit in the seat with no player to your left so you’re not tempted. You can pung and quad (kan) to your heart’s content though. Just one catch, you have to have a guaranteed Hand (yaku) before you ever call for anything. That means calling for a set of 9d and then calling for the Red Dragon after that won’t fly if the Red Dragon is your only Hand Point.
Also, forget about open simples (tanyao) hands in most games. Not allowed.
But, the killer is that no missed win (furiten) hands are allowed at all. You can’t even draw a missed win yourself if you have a winning tile in your discard. That also means no Riichi if your hand is furiten.

New Hands:
North: In games that use flower tiles, the North wind is often counted as a Value tile (yakuhai) during the entire game. That means a set of 3 gets you the HP you need.
7-Pairs Variation: The best rule of 3-player by far, 2 identical pairs can be used in the All Pairs hand. That means 4 of the same tile counting as 2 pairs.
Daisharin: Big Wheels is normally thought of as pairs of 2 through 8 of dots. But, in Osaka you just need a Full Flush and 7 pairs for the yakuman. Remember, you can use 4 of the same tile for this too.
Even Smaller Winds: In the games that use North in the hands, 3 sets of Winds will get you 2 extra HP, no matter which Winds they are.

These are the biggest rule differences. You usually only roll 1 die and count the same as if you were rolling 2. Most decks use all red 5’s (4 in bams and 4 in dots) but there are different rules at every parlor you may visit. If you’re so inclined, try this game out with your friends. Go ahead and come up with some questions about the rules on the forums and I’ll be happy to answer anything. I’m also traveling to Osaka monthly now so I can ask directly about any questions I don’t know the answer to yet!

**Also as a note, we missed the January 12th Ron2 update so we’ll come double to you on January 19th. Sorry!

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