Monday, March 9, 2009

Mah Jongg!

How many of you play mah jongg? What?! You don't know what that is?

Well, to those who do not know, mah jongg is a Chinese game of both luck and skill. There are colored tiles used consisting of three suits - balls, sticks, and characters. Each suit consists of one to nine. There are also tiles called "flowers" which I call "mga panggulo" (nuisances).

The goal is to have a complete set of 17 tiles consisting of 5 "trios" and one pair, or 7 pairs and one trio. A trio can either be a chao (three consecutive numbers of the same suit) or pong (three tiles of exactly the same number and suit).

There can be a minimum of two players and a maximum of four players. At the start of the game, each player gets 16 tiles and tries to arrange them to get higher chances of winning, and the more difficult combination to attain, the higher the score.

The two most common "ambitions" are escalera (one entire suit from one to nine) or seven pairs.

Of course, the real jackpot is "bisaklat" which happens when you are the first to play and upon opening your tiles, you have a complete set already! I would say that bisaklat is to mah jongg as hole-in-one is to golf...except that the former is more of luck, the latter is more of skill.

I have never experienced "bisaklat", but second bisaklat, yes. Second bisaklat means winning upon the first throw of another player.

Why am I telling you all these? I'm not really teaching you how to gamble. But I just want to share that playing mah jongg can be a lot of fun. It can be thrilling and exciting! However, one must not allow mah jongg to rule his/her life. Obsession is never a good thing.

I look back to the days when we were growing up and we played mah jongg as a family. I also remember the times when I played the game with friends. What fun! I recall these days with fondness.

The last time I played mah jongg was with my mom. Just the two of us. I don't remember who won. All I could recall was that I enjoyed the bonding time we had.

If somebody invites me to play mah jongg, I will agree assuming that I have both time and money. I don't play for the money of course, but you've got to have money to play the game in the first place. I don't want high stakes. Just "barya" (change) will do.

So...let's play?


  1. The way you put it, parang mahirap mag-mahjongg :)) Pinoy street cArds are equally fun. Yung tong-its and pusoy. Uso yun sa BA. Haha :D

  2. Yup mah jongg is a bit more challenging than tong-its and pusoy. But it can be fun, too!


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