Royale Siamese Mah Jongg (4-handed)

Royale Siamese Mah Jongg (4-handed)

Reprinted with permission

By Gladys Grad

Click here to purchase Siamese racks.


Two players face each other; and place 2 racks in front of each player. (“NOTE from Nat 

You might want to use slightly different colored tile sets, e.g., a white and a cream colored tile set, so they can easily be separated at the end of the session.)

  1. NO WALLS – EASY OPTION. Don’t build any walls.  Merely leave the shuffled unpicked tiles on the table. This makes it more fun because you are picking whatever tile you want.
  2. PICKING TILES. East takes 28 tiles from the table while the other players take 27 tiles each. NOTE from Nat

Push the remaining tiles away from the center of the table so discarded tiles can be placed there during the game.

  1. ARRANGING THE TILES. Players may arrange their tiles on both their racks…as many as desired; and may exchange tiles back and forth between their own racks. It does not matter how many tiles are on each rack at any one time.
    5. CHARLESTON. There is NO Charleston. (NOTE: You have plenty of tiles and a multitude of tile combinations over which you have control.)
    6. THE GAME BEGINS.East discards the 28th tile to begin the game; then the next player picks their first tile from the table; then discards a tile; and so on.  Picking and discarding proceeds.
  2. BE COURTEOUS.NOTE from Nat: Because games are sometimes longer than traditional Mah Jongg games, it is a good idea to put aside a tile or two that you don’t need so when you pick and rack a tile, you can immediately discard one of these tiles

. This strategy will keep the game moving along quickly.

  1. JOKERS.You may exchange your own Jokers from your own exposures, or from any opponents’ exposure; but you can NOT exchange a Joker from any existing EXPOSED Mah Jongg hand.  Jokers may be exchanged from exposures in a “dead” hand, IF that exposure did not cause the hand to be declared “dead.”
  2. YOU ARE PLAYING BOTH RACKS INTERCHANGEABLY. Even though the TILES ARE INTERCHANGEABLE on the racks, players must be cautious to NOT put their exposures on the WRONG Rack. A player’s hand should be declared “dead” if the exposures on a rack do not match a hand on the NMJL card.  Remember, the tiles are interchangeable IN the racks, not ON the racks.  However, the player may continue playing to try to build a 2nd Mah Jongg on their 2nd rack if one rack is declared “dead.” 
  3. a) A PLAYER HAS 1 DEAD HAND. If a player has a rack that is declared “dead,” player may continue to exchange tiles IN the two racks, but may NOT USE the tiles from the exposures that MADE the EXPOSED HAND “dead” – in order to build another hand.  However, Jokers may be exchanged from exposures in the “dead” hand, only if that exposure did not cause the hand to be declared “dead.” Play continues.
  4. b) A PLAYER HAS 2 DEAD HANDS. (Or 2 players have 2 dead hands, or 3 players have 2 dead hands)…Play continues by other opponent(s).
  5. A DISCARDED TILE IS CLAIMED FOR MAH JONGG BY 2 PLAYERS: the discarded tile may be claimed by the player CLOSEST to the discarder….regardless if it for a 1st or 2nd Mah Jongg.
  6. MAH JONGG. Once a Mah Jongg is declared by a player, and that player has discarded a tile to complete their turn, that rack with the Mah Jongg exposed must hold only 14 tiles.

STRATEGY NOTE:  The disadvantage of not exposing your own Mah Jongg is that the game might finish before you have declared your own Mah Jongg; and you must have a Mah Jongg exposed in order to be paid.  You won’t be paid for a MJ that is still IN your rack, not ON your rack.  However, once you’re first Mah Jongg has been declared and exposed, one MAY NOT exchange for those exposed Jokers. The longer you delay declaring a Mah Jongg and exposing those tiles, the longer you are able to use your own Jokers interchangeably.  Remember, once the Mah Jongg hand has been exposed and declared, the Jokers in the exposure can NOT be exchanged.

  1. GAME CEASES when 1 player has declared 2 MAH JONGGS -or- when the unused tiles from the table have been used, and the last discard has been made.
    15. SCORING. Using the National Mah Jongg League Card:
  1. a.      The 1st Mah Jongg by a player receives the value on the NMJL card, regardless if it is self-picked, but if it is JOKERLESS, the value is doubled. Reminder: A Player is not penalized for throwing a tile that is claimed for MJ.
  2. b.      If a player declares and wins the game with their 2nd Mah Jongg, the payout for the 2nd Mah Jongg is doubled, regardless if it is self-picked.  Payout is doubled again if the 2nd Mah Jongg is JOKERLESS (excluding singles and pairs). 
  3. c.      A player who declares, exposes, and wins with two (2) Mah Jonggs AT THE SAME TIME receives double the score for both hands.
  4. d.     The player who discards a tile that is claimed for their opponent’s 2nd Mah Jongg is penalized minus twenty points (-20); whether or not there is a first Mah Jongg already exposed on their opponent’s rack.

(“NOTE from NAT:

    1. You might want to consider making your own “house rule” which gives you credit for picking your own tile for a second Mah Jongg, e.g. 25 extra points.)
  1. PAYOUTS. For simplicity, KEEP SCORE. Cumulative SCORES are kept for each player after each full game and payment is made at the END of the games. PAYMENT is made out of a “POT” that is predetermined before the game begins: (for instance……$3.00, $5.00, $10.00 from each person.


  1. a.      “At the end, consider tripling each person’s score. (Since in a traditional Mah Jongg game, each player pays for a Mah Jongg, you might want to consider tripling each score to take this into account);”
  2. b.      “Subtract the lowest score for the other scores. Thus, the lowest scoring player will not be paid out of the “POT,” except if funds are left in the “POT” after payouts; see (d) below;”
  3. c.      “Pay each player from the pot in order of their scores from the largest to the smallest score. If the pot is emptied before payout is complete (“POT” wasn’t big enough to begin with), payment ceases;”
  4. d.      “Any remaining money left in the “POT” is redistributed equally back to each of the players.”




  1. Is there a 3-handed version of Siamese?  If so, do we do anything different? Karen G.
  2. Played with 3 Players, 2 Sets, 6 racks (2 per player) . . .  . . .  with just a small change . . .

   The only difference is that you remove 4 FLOWERS and 4 JOKERS from the game

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *