Ken Shirriff > Mah Jongg > Mah Jongg Tiles 
Mah Jongg uses three suits (bamboo, coins, and numbers) that run from 1 to 9:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 
There are also three dragons and four winds:


Name  Picture  Chinese  Mandarin  Cantonese 
Red dragon (Middle)  中  hóng zhōng  hung4 zung1  
Green dragon (Prosperity)  發  qīng fā / fā cai 發財  faat3 coi4  
White dragon  白  bái ban  baak6 baan2  
East Wind  東 风  dōng fēng  dung1 fung1  
South Wind  南 风  nán fēng  naam4 fung1  
West Wind  西 风  xī fēng  sai1 fung1  
North Wind  北 风  běi fēng  baak1 fung1  
Bamboo  索  sǔo  sok3  
Coins  銅  tóng  tung4  
Numbers  萬  wàn  maan6  
1  一  yī  jat1  
2  二  èr  ji6  
3  三  sān  saam1  
4  四  sì  sei3  
5  五  wǔ  ng5  
6  六  liù  luk6  
7  七  qī  cat1  
8  八  bā  baat3  
9  九  jiǔ  gau2 
The dealer throws three dice and sums up the total. Counting counterclockwise so that the dealer is '1', a player's row is chosen. Starting at the right edge, 'sum' tiles are counted and shifted to the right.
The dealer now takes a block of 4 tiles to the left of the divide.
The player to the dealer's right takes 4 tiles to the left, and players (counterclockwise) take blocks of 4 tiles (clockwise) until all players have 12 tiles for 13tile variations and 16 for 16tile variations. In 13tile variations, each player then takes one more tile to make a 13tile hand. In practice, in order to speed up the dealing procedure, the dealer often takes one extra tile during the dealing procedure to start their turn.
The board is now ready and new tiles will be taken from the wall where the dealing left off, proceeding clockwise. (from wikipedia)
See also MJ terms FAQ
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