It’s Poker for Asians

So, my otaku friends talked me into playing some Japanese Mahjong with them. I reluctantly followed suit because I don’t even have an idea on how to play. After five hours, I became somewhat addicted to it.

It all started on a Saturday night. I was playing Ys Origins on my laptop. I received a text message from one of my friends, inviting me to a game of mahjong. I thought “Hey, what the heck, it’s better than playing a game by yourself on a Saturday night”. So, long story short, I went up to his room and I was greeted to “the dark side” by my fellow, similarly creepy, otaku friends. They said they’ll teach me step by step — and they lived up to their word.

So, what’s with the weird tiles? They’re similar to cards — clubs, spades, hearts,and diamonds — instead, mahjong uses numerals, circles, and bamboo as their suits. There are also honors — wind and dragon — somehow similar to kings, queens, and jacks.

The technicalities are way too complicated to write here, so here’s the Wikipedia article about Japanese Mahjong. Also, here’s a great website for learning mahjong. Since practice makes perfect, here’s an online mahjong game which you play against the AI. If you’re willing to go against real humans, visit Tenhou (some Japanese proficiency required).

Out of 8 plays, I only won once. Though sickening, I think I may have found a new hobby. Thus, I now spend my spare time playing mahjong against the computer just to learn about the different hands and create my own strategies. So, have you ever played mahjong before? If so, please share!

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