Subject: Filipino mahjong
From: "J. R. Fitch"
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 21:04:57 -0700

To all:

It took me a while, but I have managed to track down the basics regarding Filipino mahjong. The following is based on Filipinos here in the Bay area but I believe that it accurately reflects the the style of play in Manila:

This is a 16 tile game.

All references to payment are based on a "$1.00/$2.00" game, as in "we're playing 1 - 2 tonight". Well-heeled players might agree to play $2/$4 or $5/$10. In the Phillipines, they might play for P20/P40.

Winds, Dragons, Flowers, and Seasons are all referred to as "Flowers". They are left in the Wall. When you pick up a "Flower", you set it aside. If you reach a total of 13, everyone pays you 25 cents immediately. Otherwise, these tiles have no meaning in the game.

During the game, everyone will pay you 25 cents for a melded Kong. A "secret" is a hidden Kong. All 4 tiles are placed face down on the table; you are paid 50 cents by all. Conversion of a melded Pong to a Kong ("sagasa") gets 50 cents from all.

When someone declares, the basic payment is $1 plus the following additions:

"escelera" - Chows ascending from 1 to 9: 50 cents seven pairs - plus a set : 50 cents
waiting back-to-back : 25 cents
waiting on a middle Chow : 25 cents
waiting single : 25 cents

A typical hand, then, might pay $1.50. The Thrower pays double, $3.00.
If self-pick ("bunot"), then all pay double.

Two dice are used to break the Wall at the beginning of the game. If they come up as a pair, the payment levels double for that hand. This is a common occurance, of course.

It is not unusual for a game to include wildcards. One of the tiles in the Wall is chosen by a second dice roll; it must not be a "Flower". It is turned face up in the Wall. That tile and its three mates are wildcards. There is a rule that allows East to change the wildcard during the hand (!!), but I'm unclear what the rule is.

That's about all there is to know, because the game is simple compared to other forms of mahjong, but if anyone has a question I think that I can track down an answer. --
J. R. Fitch
Nine Dragons Software
351 Ulloa Street
San Francisco,
California 94127
415.664.3474 v.
415.564.3161 f.