Learning Resources

To help you brush up your Mah Jongg skills, we provide the following resources:

Mahjong Teachers Directory

Search for mahj teachers in your area. To request changes or additions to the list, please contact us.

Best Mahjong Books

Several different games can be played with the standard Mah Jongg set and the game has evolved over the years and taken on differing national characteristics. So there are many ways to play! Below are our favorite mahjong books, along with our reviews. These books will help you to familiarize yourself with the main styles of Mah Jongg and improve your skills.

Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg

Author: Elaine Sandberg

Style: American Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
This excellent book for beginners is specifically geared toward American Mahjong (Mah Jongg) and follows the official National Mah Jongg League rules. It’s an easy-to-follow guide to this complex game and includes simple instructions and clear diagrams. You’ll learn how to select a hand, how to play and how to develop winning strategies. It includes exercises, tips and quizzes to aid the learning process. Although this book has been written with the beginner in mind, this is the perfect guide for all skill levels and a great refresher for those who are picking up the game again after a break. A must-have for new Mah Jongg players!

Order on Amazon

The Red Dragon and The West Wind: The Winning Guide to Official Chinese and American Mah-Jongg

Author: Tom Sloper

Style: American and Chinese Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
This is the perfect read for those who have a basic understanding of Mah Jongg and are now ready to dive into the intricacies of the game. It covers all aspects of the two most common varieties of Mah Jongg, American and Chinese, along with an overview of other global approaches. The book begins with the history of the game and moves on to rules, ways to win, avoiding errors as well as game etiquette. It includes everything from clear instructions on dealing, building, and distributing tiles to a look at the history and future of the game. The book’s focus on the rules of the game is sure to help any player to become more skillful, once they have mastered the basics. It’s no wonder that some refer to this as their Mah Jongg Bible!

Order on Amazon

The Little Book of Mahjong: Learn How to Play, Score, and Win

Author: Seth Brown

Style: American and International Mah Jongg

Format: Hardback and Kindle

Our review:
This wonderful “little” book is chock full of valuable information to help you easily learn the complex game of mahjong. It’s a comprehensive and well-organized guide that includes all the basics of the game, tips and techniques on how to play, and strategies to win both international and American versions of mahjong. Whether you are a complete beginner or a casual player looking to brush up on your skills and techniques, this book can help you get ahead. It includes a comprehensive breakdown of the various tiles involved in the different versions of mahjong, explanations of what each tile means, detailed information on scoring, tips on how to improve your skills, and strategies for winning. This is the perfect guide for mahjong players both new and old. The brief history of the game and its significance is very interesting, as well as the full-color photos of game pieces and game objectives. You’ll become a mahjong master in no time!

Order on Amazon

Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies: A Guide for the Novice Player - Learn the "Secrets of Success" to Strategize, Excel and Win at Mah Jongg

Author: Elaine Sandberg

Style: American Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
A fantastic read for those who have mastered the basics and want to take the next step in their Mah Jongg journey. An easy to follow and comprehensive guide to game strategy. Learn which hand to choose and why, which tiles to discard and when, whether to expose or not and much, much more. The practice exercises and quizzes are an invaluable tool to fast track your strategic and defensive gameplay. We’d recommend this book after reading Elaine Sandberg's Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg. Elevate your game, sharpen your skills and play to win!

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Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg: A step-by-step guide on how to play American Mah Jongg

Author: Debbie Barnett

Style: American Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
A must-have for anyone wanting to learn American Mah Jongg or improve their game. Concise, informative and easy to read with great illustrations. Topics covered include rules, understanding the tiles, playing the game, forming hands, betting, strategies and more. The end of chapter quizzes reinforce learning and the tips for playing are very helpful. This book is based on hands used in the 2019 National Mah Jongg League card, though once a new card is published by the National Mah Jongg League, an updated version or supplement will be available

Order on Amazon

American Mah Jongg for Everyone: The Complete Beginner's Guide

Author: Gregg Swain and Toby Salk

Style: American and International Mah Jongg

Format: Hardcover and Kindle

Our review:
This book was released in August 2020. Whether you're an American Mah Jongg newbie or an intermediate player looking to gain an edge over your opponents, this book looks to be the perfect companion. Experienced international Mah Jongg instructors Gregg Swain and Toby Salk walk you through the basics - introducing readers to the tiles, rituals, history, rules and winning strategies of the game. In addition to writing the foreward, National Mah Jongg tournament director Gladys Grad contributes a chapter that outlines the rules of Siamese Mah Jongg, a fun two-person game she created that can't be found in any other Mah Jongg book! This book has something for anyone interested in this fascinating game and comes with everything you need to get started playing.

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How to Play Mah Jongg: The Quick and Easy Guide to the American Game

Author: Mary Anne Puleio, Ph.D

Style: American Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback

Our review:
A practical and fun guide to American Mah Jongg for the absolute beginner. Information is presented in an easy-to-learn format and illustrated in full color to aid understanding and recall of the key points. This is a perfect quick reference guide and is extremely easy to understand - short, sweet and to the point. This guide gives new players the basics, so don’t expect much on strategy, but if you’re an absolute beginner it will have you playing the wonderful game of Mah Jongg in no time!

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Play and Win Mah Jongg: Teach Yourself

Author: David Pritchard

Style: American and International Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
This book will appeal to those who are interested in all styles of Mahjong and is an essential handbook for anyone new to the game. It takes you from the very beginning - learning the rules, choosing a set (or playing online) to advanced advice on strategy and gamesmanship. Each stage of play is clearly explained with diagrams and instructions and with plenty of practical examples to help you learn. Full coverage of the basics of scoring, settlements and penalties will help you become a true master of the game.

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The Complete Book of Mah Jongg: An Illustrated Guide to the Asian, American and International Styles of Play

Author: Amy Lo

Style: Asian, American and International Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Our review:
If you have an interest in learning about the many variations of the game of Mah Jongg, then it’s highly likely that you’ll enjoy this book! This is a great guide for learning the fundamentals of the game of Mah Jongg and covers most of the various styles of play both American and Oriental (including the Cantonese or "old rules" game). It also includes all of the most popular variations, such as the Shanghai game, the 16-tile or Taiwanese game, and the 12-tile game. Included are the rules, tactics, techniques, strategy and the rituals. Many of the traditions are referred to and some of the rich culture explained. It’s a great reference guide for all skill levels.

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Mah Jong Handbook: How to Play, Score, and Win

Author: Eleanor Noss Whitney

Style: Classic Chinese, Western, and Japanese Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback, Hardback and Kindle

Our review:
This book was first published in 1964 and it’s still going strong! This is a comprehensive and straight-forward introduction to the game of Mah Jongg, with its focus mainly on the classical oriental versions of the game. It presents the complex rules in a clear format and explores the fundamentals of successful strategy. There is certainly valuable information to be found for all levels of play and the exercises it contains help to solidify the concepts taught. This book is geared towards those who wish to learn more about the origins and rules of the Classical versions of Mah Jongg, although it contains notes on how other variants are played. If you are only interested in the American version of Mah Jongg, this book isn’t for you.

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Riichi Mahjong: The Ultimate Guide to the Japanese Game Taking the World By Storm

Author: Scott D. Miller

Style: Riichi Mahjong (Japanese Mahjong)

Format: Paperback

Our review:
This book is highly recommended for anyone wishing to take a deep dive into the intricacies of Japanese mahjong. Although this book may not be as aesthetically pleasing as many others (the pictures are black and white and the text a little densely packed at times), it is an excellent reference guide for Riichi Mahjong. It provides plenty of details about how to play, sprinkled with memorable anecdotes to help players get to grips with the rules of the game. Its guide to hands is invaluable for any beginner, as is its helpful basic strategy advice. This is a well-written book, brimming with advice for anyone who has an interest in learning the Riichi style of mahjong. Are you up to the challenge?

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Mah-Jong (Know the Game)

Author: Gwyn Headley

Style: British Mahjong

Format: Paperback

Our review:
This is an excellent little booklet for those who already have a good understanding of the game and want to learn how to play mah-jong the way the British do. The illustrations are clear, large, and colorful. It’s a well-presented, short and easy read. This book does a great job of covering the rules and is written and endorsed by the game's professional body in the UK (British Mah-Jong Association), so you can be sure that you are getting the best information available. This is a good basic introduction to the British version of the game and gives clear and concise instructions for playing the complex game of Mah Jong, using the British rules.

Order on Amazon

Mah Jongg Made Easy (2020 New Edition)

Author: National Mah Jongg League (NMJL)

Style: American Mah Jongg

Format: Paperback

This is the National Mah Jongg League’s official rule book for American Mah Jongg.

Order on NMJL website

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Here are a couple of DVDs which will teach you how to play mahjong.
Learn how to take your mahj game to the next level!

Learn Mahjongg With Susie

This DVD featuring Susie is simple to understand. You watch it once, maybe a second time and you are ready to sit down at the table and play. It covers everything from how to set up your pieces to how to play the game of Mahjong. And so much more! You'll never wonder if you are doing it wrong.

You'll never be embarrassed by saying the wrong thing or making the wrong move. You'll understand strategy, which hand to play, and the American Mahjong Rules. So if you've been on the outside and want to learn how to play Mahjong but didn't have a patient teacher, let Susie be your guide. You'll fall in love with her patient and clear teaching style an learn how to play American Mahjong with confidence.

Learn More

Mahjong For Beginners and Morons

This brand new DVD makes a complex game simple. This tutorial takes the viewer from opening up his Mahjongg set to finishing the game. Both traditional Chinese Mahjongg and American Mahjongg are explained in detail. Excellent graphics and music add to the enjoyment of learning this wonderful game. Showing this educational DVD to your friends will help them grasp what they need to know to sit at the table and start racking tiles.

"This DVD is well done and to the point. The graphics make the game easy to understand as the producers use the show me way of learning this wonderful game. This DVD should help the game grow because it makes the complicated seem simple. This is the only DVD we've seen of this kind. Nice job." - MahjongOnline.com

Learn More

Below are a few online videos that provide tutorials on how to play mahjong. Some cover American mahjong and others Riichi mahjong.
Learn how to take your mahj game to the next level!

American Mah Jongg

More videos from this teacher

Riichi Mah Jongg

Best Online Mah Jongg Games

"Practice makes perfect", some say. "PERFECT practice makes perfect", others correct. This is true in all activities and mahjong is no exception

As we discussed in our Complete Guide to American Mahjong Strategy, the key to getting better at the game is:

  1. Study the rules and (for American mahjong) the current card
  2. Practice with others who are also willing to learn or with online bots (at a slow pace)
  3. Once you’re confident with 1 and 2 above, start taking part in real (i.e. faster) games

One of the best ways to practice is using an online Mahjong game. Most will allow you to play against bots and/or people, and play at the desired speed and with people of your skill level.

Here are our favorite online games:

1 - I Love Mahj

Though, of course, we may be just a little biased here! ;)

  • Three levels of intelligent bots
  • Talk to other players within the game (no phone or Zoom required)
  • Play with bots, invite friends to play or a combination of each
  • Get matched with players of similar skill and speed
  • Ability to call other players (or bots) dead
  • Detailed game statistics to track your progress:
    • Wins, losses and wall games
    • Average game duration
    • Average thinking time
    • Points gained/lost
    • Rating history
    • Summary of hands completed
  • Feels like a live, in-person game
  • User interface is clean and modern
  • Specializes in American Mah Jongg
  • This is, in our opinion, the best online mah jongg game for beginner to advanced players.
  • Definitely our top pick for maximum fun!

$6 per month

Check out I Love Mahj

I Love Mahj Time Review

2 - Mahjong Time

A sophisticated and realistic user interface that simulates a real, live game.

  • This platform offers the most choice in game types and is very configurable
    • Choice of style (including American, Riichi, Chinese Official and Hong Kong styles among others) and type of play (including their trademarked "QuickMahjong")
    • Configure your avatar and its hand
    • Choose how you’d like the game to look and feel on your device
    • Many options, such as "auto-pass" (which automatically skips tiles you can't pick) and auto-sort (which sorts your tiles for you)
    • Finally, there are a number of options for sounds and animations
  • Mahjong School is free and allows you to play practice games or focus on specific hands with bots and/or friends
  • Large community of enthusiasts of all skill levels
  • Chat feature allows typed discussion between players
  • Online tournaments
  • App runs in any browser currently but you will need to enable Flash. Unfortunately, Flash will no longer be supported in any browser at the end of 2020. The game can also be downloaded and installed as a desktop app
  • The user interface is a little overwhelming at first, but once you're past the initial learning curve, it is a powerful tool.
  • 1000 free "dragon chips" to use per day or upgrade to the premium subscription ($5/month or $50/year) or become a VIP member ($8/month, $80/year)

Check out Mahjong Time

Mahjong Time Review

3 - Real Mah Jongg

Real Mah Jongg is a solid game playing platform.

  • User interface is clean but not as sophisticated as Mahjong Time
  • Play feels a bit more manual (like a real game)
  • Good prompts
  • Limited configuration options
  • Specializes in American Mah Jongg (you can choose the year card you wish to play)
  • You can play against friends, strangers, bots, or a combination
  • 2 week free trial (which includes unlimited games and features). After that, it's $6/month or $60/year.

Check out Real Mah Jongg

Real Mah Jongg Review

4 - Myjongg.net

Myjongg offers a decent alternative to the previous choices.

  • The user interface is a little cruder, but it is very functional and easy to use
  • Option to play against people, bots or a combination. For instance, you can create a private table to play with as many friends as you wish and the tool will provide the required number of bots to fill the table
  • Can play using NMJL card and also have the option to "bring your own card"
  • Currently 8 free games per day are being offered (was 4 prior to the pandemic). If you would like to play more games, it's $5/month or $40/year. The premium version gives you access to unlimited play and also the "tile tutor" (which advises you on the best hand to play), the “training room” (where you can learn to better recognize hands) and statistics

Check out Myjongg.net

Myjongg.net Review

5 - National Mah Jongg League

This is the official online mah jongg tool of the National Mah Jongg League. As such it claims to be the only site that supports official NMJL rules and card. However, we found the above websites all follow the same rules and allow you to play with the latest card.

  • Supports only American Mah Jongg
  • User interface is more primitive
  • Game appears to not have been improved since its initial release
  • Support is lacking
  • National Mah Jongg League, Inc. Membership ID is required to subscribe and play
  • Seems to only be supported in Firefox (web browser)
  • $50 per year. No free games. No free trial

All prices are as at September 2020.