National Mah Jongg League’s 2024 Card
Full Analysis

By Philippe and Julie
Published April 16th 2024

2024 card

Well, it's that time of the year again: time to spring-clean the house, plant the garden and... learn the new Mah Jongg card! We know, right? Time has certainly flown by and here we are again, just when we were all getting comfortable and feeling as though we’d finally mastered the 2023 card.

Never fear, at I LOVE MAHJ, we offer all the tips and tools needed to improve your game significantly, whatever your skill level. In addition to articles such as this one, the I LOVE MAHJ online platform offers lots of resources and tools to help you learn the card in record time

We all get to start over every spring, no matter how many years we’ve been playing, or our level of experience. It can be tough and quite intimidating, at least initially, but it’s also absolutely fabulous for our brains! Our aim is to make getting to grips with the new card as painless, quick and fun as it can possibly be!

This is going to be a pretty comprehensive analysis, as we’ve got lots to share with you. So, make yourself comfortable, perhaps brew yourself a delicious cup of coffee, and be sure to have your 2024 National Mah Jongg League card to hand, so that you can follow along. By the end of this article, we promise that you’ll feel so much more prepared for the Mah Jongg year ahead. In fact, you may even find yourself referring to several of the sections below as the year progresses. OK, let’s get to it!

What We’ll be Covering

Rather than running through every single hand on the new card in order (which players can certainly do on their own), we believe it will be more helpful to touch on themes, insights and data. These will help you quickly familiarize yourself with the new hands, identify patterns and be able to confidently navigate your way around the new card. Our ultimate goal is for you to improve your knowledge of the card, so that you can win more often and thoroughly enjoy playing and strategizing with the 2024 card. Let’s face it, it’s no fun scrambling around the card trying our hardest to locate a suitable hand for our dealt tiles!

As you move through the sections of this article, we will:

  • Share our first impressions
  • Discuss common patterns
  • Clarify points of confusion
  • Point out carryover hands
  • Highlight subtle hand changes from last year, as well as gotchas 
  • Provide interesting analysis on the 2024 hands
  • Suggest strategy tips specific to the 2024 card (including how to switch between particular hands)
  • Point you to our method for learning the new card at record speed 

So, buckle up, as we test drive the 2024 National Mah Jongg League card!


Before we dive in, let's just clarify the way we'll represent hands in this article.

  • Hands will be labeled as <section>/<line>
    • The section will be abbreviated by its initials (e.g. 2024, ALN, CR)
    • When the card shows 2 variations for a particular hand, the first one will be marked “a” and the second “b” 
    • For example:
      • ALN/1 represents Any Like Numbers, line 1
      • CR/3b represents the second version of Consecutive Run, line 3
  • Hand patterns will be shown by the number of tiles in each meld (we find this format visually easier to follow). For example, pung-pung-kong-kong will be shown as 3-3-4-4.

First Impressions

The 2024 card is exciting, creative and quite unique, compared to recent cards. There are many new, never-seen-before, hands and unusual patterns and playing it should prove to be lots of fun!

To the chagrin of those who "don't like Math,” Addition Hands are back this year, along with several multiplication hands scattered throughout (hint: no math is necessary to play these hands, focus on the numbers and ignore the symbols).

Unlike last year, “year” hands are only found in the 2024 and Singles and Pairs sections (as is customary). Note that the "Big Hand" seems significantly easier this year, yet it’s still worth 75 points.

The Winds-Dragons section is very interesting, with excellent flexibility between hands. We also see the return of the beloved all-Dragon hand. Note that winds are also found in various sections of the card (2024, ALN, Quints and S&P).

The biggest shock of the card is Quint line 2, with its unusual "any 2 non-matching numbers" note. The flexibility this offers, results in a huge number of playable hands (864 to be precise), which will have significant repercussions on game play (more on this later).

Overall, the new card is fresh, exciting and very playable. It offers great switchability between hands and sections, and includes some interesting new hands and patterns. It also seems easier than last year's card. The flexibility provided by many hands and the (relatively) simpler version of some hands (including the "Big Hand") will make completing hands easier. We predict faster wins, on average, and fewer wall games.


The instructions for each hand on this year’s card are pretty clear. However, there are still a few areas where further clarification would be helpful and we highlight these below:

  • 2024/3: The kongs can be either 2s or 4s but must match
  • Q/2: The quints can be any numbers as long as each quint uses a different number and suit
  • 369/2 and 369/4: The pungs can be 3s, 6s or 9s but must match and be in different suits


Most non-concealed hands are 25 or 30 points (except Quints, which are 40 or 45 points). Concealed hands are 30 or 35 points (except Singles & Pairs hands, which are 50 or 75 points).

This year, there are six non-concealed 30-point hands, last year there were eight. Definitely consider these hands if you’re playing in a tournament. Yes, they are a little more tricky than the standard 25-point hands, but there are still elements that can be exposed and where Jokers can be utilized. Those few extra points could make all the difference to your ranking! Obviously, a Quint or Singles & Pairs hand would be even better…but these six are great back-up hands. 

The non-concealed, 30-point hands, are as follows:

  • CR/4
  • CR/6
  • 13579/4
  • WD/5a
  • WD/5b
  • 369/5

We've discussed in a previous article (in the Hand Popularity section) why we believe the point values listed on the NMJL’s cards are not in line with the true difficulty of each hand (i.e. some hands are significantly more difficult to achieve, but only worth 5 extra points). Sadly, this is true again this year, maybe more so. For instance, 369/5 and WD/5 contain 3 pairs, yet are worth only 5 extra points (30 points) compared to easy, run-of-the-mill pung/kong hands. Unless the tiles really lead you this way, you may want to think twice about attempting these particular hands, as the extra risk just doesn’t seem worth the reward of a measly 5 additional points.

Other anomalies are 2468/5 (which includes 3 pairs) and ALN/3 (which includes a pair and 4 singles) but are only worth 25 points.

There are also inconsistencies. For instance, CR/8, 369/7 and 13579/7 all contain 4 pungs and a pair and are all concealed, but the first two are worth 30 points and the last one 35 points.  

2468/6 and 13579/7 are both concealed and worth 35 points, yet the former requires 4 pairs and the latter only one.

Perhaps the most shocking point discrepancies are:

  • Q/2: which should be fairly easy to achieve, due to tile flexibility, yet it’s worth 40 points
  • SP/6 (the "Big Hand"): is far easier than previous years, but still worth 75 points

Overall, it feels as though point values are assigned somewhat arbitrarily by the League, with no analysis of the respective difficulty or probability of success for each hand.

The Card in Numbers

Before diving into card insights and tips, we'll start by looking at raw numbers. We will then use these numbers in further sections to provide insights and tips. Note that, unlike our stats articles, these numbers are purely theoretical (based on statistical analysis), and not empirical (based on game play). We will provide real-world game stats over the next few months (once we have gathered a significant amount of data from games played on the I LOVE MAHJ platform). Be sure to follow us on Facebook, if you'd like to receive notification of these results.

There are 73 hands printed on the 2024 National Mah Jongg League card (3 more than last year). However, when expanded to all permutations for each hand, the total number is 1683 playable hands, compared to 756 in 2023 (though most of the sharp increase is due to one particular hand. More on that later). 


At this time of year, there are many articles, blog posts and videos reviewing the new National Mah Jongg League card. There is much to be gleaned from reading and watching as many of these as possible. However, most reviews focus solely on the 73 hands that are actually printed on the card. Unfortunately, this results in misleading data analysis (eg: when stating "x% of hands include y"), as the way hands are printed on the card is just a “notation”, with each pattern describing a much larger set of playable hands. The bottom line is that there are not 73 possible hands on the 2023 National Mah Jongg League card, there are actually 1683.

The data presented in this article is based on this total number of playable hands, which includes all expanded permutations of each hand printed on the 2024 card. We believe this results in the most accurate analysis. If you're interested in understanding why, please click here.

Overall numbers

Number of hands as written on the card: 73
Total number of playable hands: 1683 (vs 756 in 2023)
Number of non-concealed hands: 1578 (93.76% of hands)
Number of concealed hands: 105 (6.24% of hands)

Number of hands per section

The table below details the TOTAL number of playable hands in each section of the 2024 card.
Section Number of hands % of total hands
Quints 96357.22%
Consecutive Run 23714.08%
Winds-Dragons 17410.34%
Any Like Numbers 814.81%
13579 633.74%
369 513.03%
2468 422.5%
Singles and Pairs 422.5%
2024 211.25%
Addition Hands 90.53%
In this table, we can see that the Quints section is disproportionately represented this year (due to the Q/2 hand, with its 864 permutations).

As a reference, below is the breakdown of 2023 Playable Hands by Section
Section Number of hands % of total hands
2023 27 3.57%
2468 36 4.76%
Any Like Numbers 36 4.76%
Addition Hands 12 1.59%
Quints 159 21.03%
Consecutive Run 240 31.75%
13579 69 9.13%
Winds - Dragons 108 14.29%
369 42 5.56%
Singles and Pairs 27 3.57%

Number of hands that include a given tile

Below is the number of times each tile appears in the TOTAL number of playable hands, and the percentage this represents of the total.
Tile Number of hands Percentage
1 Bam 1237.31%
2 Bam 1619.57%
3 Bam 19211.41%
4 Bam 18310.87%
5 Bam 18310.87%
6 Bam 19611.65%
7 Bam 17110.16%
8 Bam 1488.79%
9 Bam 1418.38%
1 Crak 1237.31%
2 Crak 1619.57%
3 Crak 19211.41%
4 Crak 18310.87%
5 Crak 18310.87%
6 Crak 19611.65%
7 Crak 17110.16%
8 Crak 1488.79%
9 Crak 1418.38%
1 Dot 1237.31%
2 Dot 1619.57%
3 Dot 19211.41%
4 Dot 18310.87%
5 Dot 18310.87%
6 Dot 19611.65%
7 Dot 17110.16%
8 Dot 1488.79%
9 Dot 1418.38%
Red Dragon 844.99%
Soap 1086.42%
Green Dragon 844.99%
Flower 31618.78%
North 35120.86%
East 35120.86%
West 35120.86%
South 35120.86%

Top tiles from the table above.
Tile          Number of hands Percentage
North 35120.86%
East 35120.86%
West 35120.86%
South 35120.86%
Flower 31618.78%
6 Bam 19611.65%
6 Crak 19611.65%
6 Dot 19611.65%
3 Bam 19211.41%
3 Crak 19211.41%
3 Dot 19211.41%

Total number of each tile

Below is the number of times a given tile appears in the TOTAL number of hands on the card, and the percentage this represents of the total. For example, 2024 line 3 includes ten 2s.
This percentage basically illustrates how "in-demand" each tile is this year and, therefore, how much competition there is likely to be for a particular tile.
Tile Number of hands Percentage
1 14466.14%
2 17917.6%
3 20648.76%
4 19718.37%
5 20318.62%
6 21519.13%
7 19508.28%
8 17497.42%
9 17047.23%
Red Dragon 2921.24%
Soap 3491.48%
Green Dragon 2921.24%
Flower 9804.16%
North 12245.19%
East 11714.97%
West 11714.97%
South 12265.2%

Below is the same list ordered by count.
Tile Number of hands Percentage
6 21519.13%
3 20648.76%
5 20318.62%
4 19718.37%
7 19508.28%
2 17917.6%
8 17497.42%
9 17047.23%
1 14466.14%
South 12265.2%
North 12245.19%
East 11714.97%
West 11714.97%
Flower 9804.16%
Soap 3491.48%
Red Dragon 2921.24%
Green Dragon 2921.24%
Among the numbers, we see that 6s and 3s are at the top of the list, while 9s and 1s are in fewer hands. It may be worth keeping these "popularity" figures in mind when choosing between hand options. If possible, you may wish to avoid tiles where there could be significant competition, especially if these form a “gap” in a particular hand you’re considering working towards (i.e. you have not been dealt any of these tiles). You may also wish to consider the popularity of a tile when deciding the order of your discards (more on this in the Strategy section). We can also see from the data that Dragons are required for significantly fewer playable hands than any other tile in the set.

Number of variations for a given card hand

Below is the number of actual playable hands for each hand written on the card.
Card hand Number of playable hands
2024/1 6
2024/2 6
2024/3 6
2024/4 3
2468/1a 3
2468/1b 6
2468/2 6
2468/3 3
2468/4a 6
2468/4b 6
2468/5a 3
2468/5b 6
2468/6 3
ALN/1 27
ALN/2 27
ALN/3 27
AH/1 3
AH/2 3
AH/3 3
Q/1 21
Q/2 864
Q/3 24
Q/4 54
CR/1a 3
CR/1b 3
CR/2 36
CR/3a 21
CR/3b 42
CR/4 21
CR/5 18
CR/6 18
CR/7a 18
CR/7b 36
CR/8 21
13579/1a 3
13579/1b 6
13579/2a 6
13579/2b 6
13579/3a 3
13579/3b 3
13579/4 6
13579/5a 6
13579/5b 6
13579/6a 6
13579/6b 6
13579/7a 3
13579/7b 3
WD/1a 1
WD/1b 1
WD/2 3
WD/3a 48
WD/3b 48
WD/4 1
WD/5a 21
WD/5b 21
WD/6 3
WD/7 27
369/1a 6
369/1b 6
369/2 9
369/3a 3
369/3b 6
369/4 9
369/5 3
369/6 6
369/7 3
SP/1 3
SP/2 6
SP/3a 6
SP/3b 6
SP/4 3
SP/5 15
SP/6 3

The most startling value in this table is 864 variations for Q/2. This ONE hand on the 2024 card translates into more playable hands than all the other hands combined, and more hands than were present on the entire 2023 card! Yes, it does require at least 2 Jokers, but the flexibility makes it easier to achieve, especially given the overlap with many other hands. Yet, it's worth 40 points, which is significantly more than most hands, even concealed ones! Finally, because the numbers only need to be "non-matching" (in different suits), it will be impossible to determine which exact hand a player is working towards, even with one quint and a wind exposed. This certainly complicates defensive play, and accidentally throwing a winning tile (with the corresponding penalty) could easily happen. For these reasons, we suspect Q/2 will be extremely popular in 2024, especially in tournaments.

Number of hands that include a given grouping

Below we show the number of hands (and percentage of the 1683 total hands) that include each type of grouping.
Includes Number of hands Percentage
Single(s) 165 9.8%
Pair(s) 460 27.33%
Pung(s) 450 26.74%
Kong(s) 1506 89.48%
Quint(s) 981 58.29%
By far, Kongs are the most prevalent grouping, appearing in 89% of hands. Quints are unusually high due to the presence of Q/2 (discussed above).

Card hands matching a given exposure

Below is the list of hands for each exposure. This is very helpful when making decisions between hands (as it shows how “in demand” each exposure is). You can also see how “locked in” you are when making a particular exposure, and how much that exposure reveals to others. Finally, this table is useful for identifying what hands other players may be working towards.
Exposures Card Hands
Kong of 6s 19 hands: 2468/1a, 2468/1b, 2468/4a, 2468/4b, ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/1, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, WD/3a, WD/3b, 369/1a, 369/1b, 369/3a, 369/3b
Kong of 9s 18 hands: ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2b, 13579/3b, 13579/4, WD/3a, WD/3b, 369/1a, 369/1b, 369/3a, 369/3b, 369/5
Kong of 5s 17 hands: ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/2, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/1a, 13579/1b, 13579/2a, 13579/3a, 13579/5a, 13579/5b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Kong of 3s 17 hands: ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/3, CR/1a, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2a, 13579/5a, WD/3a, WD/3b, 369/3a, 369/3b, 369/5
Kong of 7s 17 hands: ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/1, AH/2, AH/3, CR/1b, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2b, 13579/4, 13579/5b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Kong of 8s 16 hands: 2468/1a, 2468/1b, 2468/2, 2468/4b, 2468/5a, 2468/5b, ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Kong of 4s 14 hands: 2024/1, 2024/3, 2468/4a, ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/3, CR/3a, CR/3b, CR/4, CR/7a, CR/7b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Kong of 2s 13 hands: 2024/1, 2024/2, 2024/3, 2468/5a, 2468/5b, ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/2, CR/3a, CR/3b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Pung of 3s 12 hands: ALN/1, CR/2, CR/5, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2a, 13579/3a, 13579/6a, 369/1a, 369/1b, 369/2, 369/4
Pung of 6s 12 hands: 2468/2, 2468/3, ALN/1, CR/2, CR/5, CR/6, CR/7a, CR/7b, 369/1a, 369/1b, 369/2, 369/4
Pung of 9s 10 hands: ALN/1, CR/1b, CR/5, CR/6, 13579/1a, 13579/1b, 13579/6b, 369/2, 369/4, 369/6
Pung of 5s 10 hands: ALN/1, CR/1a, CR/1b, CR/2, CR/5, CR/6, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2b, 13579/6a
Kong of Soaps 10 hands: 2024/2, 2468/3, Q/4, CR/2, CR/5, 13579/6a, 13579/6b, WD/2, WD/6, 369/4
Pung of 7s 9 hands: ALN/1, CR/2, CR/5, CR/6, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2b, 13579/3b, 13579/6b
Kong of Flowers 8 hands: 2024/2, 2468/4a, 2468/4b, ALN/1, 13579/5a, 13579/5b, WD/2, 369/6
Pung of 4s 9 hands: 2468/1a, 2468/1b, 2468/2, ALN/1, CR/2, CR/5, CR/6, CR/7a, CR/7b
Kong of Green Dragons 9 hands: 2468/3, Q/4, CR/2, CR/5, 13579/6a, 13579/6b, WD/2, WD/6, 369/4
Kong of Red Dragons 9 hands: 2468/3, Q/4, CR/2, CR/5, 13579/6a, 13579/6b, WD/2, WD/6, 369/4
Pung of 1s 7 hands: ALN/1, CR/1a, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/1a, 13579/1b, 13579/2a
Kong of 1s 8 hands: ALN/1, ALN/2, ALN/3, AH/1, CR/3a, CR/3b, WD/3a, WD/3b
Pung of 2s 7 hands: 2024/1, 2468/1a, 2468/1b, ALN/1, CR/2, CR/7a, CR/7b
Pung of Soaps 6 hands: 2024/1, ALN/2, 13579/3a, 13579/3b, WD/2, 369/6
Pung of Red Dragons 5 hands: ALN/2, 13579/3a, 13579/3b, WD/2, 369/6
Pung of Green Dragons 5 hands: ALN/2, 13579/3a, 13579/3b, WD/2, 369/6
Pung of 8s 5 hands: 2468/3, ALN/1, CR/2, CR/5, CR/6
Kong of Souths 4 hands: Q/2, WD/1a, WD/4, WD/5a
Quint of 3s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 2s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 4s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 5s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 6s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 7s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 8s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Quint of 9s 4 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/3, Q/4
Pung of Easts 3 hands: WD/1a, WD/3b, WD/4
Pung of Wests 3 hands: WD/1a, WD/3b, WD/4
Kong of Norths 3 hands: Q/2, WD/1a, WD/5a
Kong of Easts 3 hands: Q/2, WD/1b, WD/5b
Kong of Wests 3 hands: Q/2, WD/1b, WD/5b
Quint of 1s 3 hands: Q/1, Q/2, Q/4
Pung of Norths 2 hands: WD/1b, WD/3a
Pung of Souths 2 hands: WD/1b, WD/3a
Quint of Flowers 2 hands: Q/4, CR/6

Number of hands that include a given number of suits

The table below shows the number of hands (and percentage of the 1683 total hands) that include a given number of suits. Note that since Dragons are associated with a suit, they are counted under that suit. The only suitless tiles are Flowers and winds.
Number of suits Number of hands Percentage
0 3 0.18%
1 157 9.33%
2 1254 74.51%
3 269 15.98%

Exposure overlap

In this table, we show the number of hands that include a given exposure. Note that since we're discussing exposures, concealed hands are not included. Also, due to Q/2's large number of permutations, kongs of winds and quints of numbers are disproportionately represented.
Hand Number of hands Percentage
Kong of Souths 239 14.2%
Kong of Norths 238 14.14%
Kong of Easts 238 14.14%
Kong of Wests 238 14.14%
Quint of 3s 207 12.3%
Quint of 4s 207 12.3%
Quint of 5s 207 12.3%
Quint of 6s 207 12.3%
Quint of 7s 207 12.3%
Quint of 2s 204 12.12%
Quint of 8s 204 12.12%
Quint of 9s 204 12.12%
Quint of 1s 201 11.94%
Kong of 6s 126 7.49%
Kong of 5s 114 6.77%
Kong of 7s 111 6.6%
Kong of 3s 102 6.06%
Kong of 8s 102 6.06%
Kong of 4s 99 5.88%
Kong of 9s 81 4.81%
Kong of 2s 78 4.63%
Quint of Flowers 72 4.28%
Pung of 3s 69 4.1%
Pung of 6s 69 4.1%
Kong of Flowers 66 3.92%
Pung of 5s 60 3.57%
Pung of 4s 57 3.39%
Kong of Soaps 56 3.33%
Kong of Red Dragons 50 2.97%
Kong of Green Dragons 50 2.97%
Pung of Easts 50 2.97%
Pung of Wests 50 2.97%
Pung of Norths 49 2.91%
Pung of Souths 49 2.91%
Pung of 7s 48 2.85%
Pung of 9s 45 2.67%
Pung of 2s 42 2.5%
Kong of 1s 33 1.96%
Pung of 1s 30 1.78%
Pung of Soaps 30 1.78%
Pung of Red Dragons 24 1.43%
Pung of Green Dragons 24 1.43%
Pung of 8s 21 1.25%
Quint of Red Dragons 0 0%
Quint of Soaps 0 0%
Quint of Green Dragons 0 0%
Pung of Flowers 0 0%
Quint of Norths 0 0%
Quint of Easts 0 0%
Quint of Wests 0 0%
Quint of Souths 0 0%

Tiles that don't appear as a single tile

Red Dragon
Green Dragon
So, if you can account for the other tiles of these types (in the discards, exposures or your own hand), these could be a safer discard toward the end of the game. Obviously, if a player has been lucky enough to be a “Joker magnet” they could still call your discard, so nothing is certain!


Overall, there is a good variety of patterns this year, with a mix of old-faithfuls along with a plethora of interesting and creative options.

Number of hands that include a given pattern

Below is the popularity of each hand pattern. The numbers represent the size of the grouping (eg: 3|3|4|4 = pung|pung|kong|kong).
Pattern Number of hands Percentage
5|4|5 918 54.55%
3|3|4|4 189 11.23%
2|4|4|4 81 4.81%
2|5|2|5 45 2.67%
4|2|2|2|4 45 2.67%
2|3|4|3|2 36 2.14%
2|2|3|3|4 34 2.02%
2|3|2|3|4 33 1.96%
4|4|4|1|1 30 1.78%
4|3|4|3 30 1.78%
2|4|1|1|1|1|4 30 1.78%
3|1|1|3|3|3 27 1.6%
3|3|3|3|2 24 1.43%
1|2|4|1|2|4 21 1.25%
2|2|2|2|2|2|2 21 1.25%
5|1|1|1|3|3 18 1.07%
3|2|4|2|3 15 0.89%
2|1|2|2|1|2|2|2 12 0.71%
2|4|2|2|4 9 0.53%
2|1|2|3|3|3 9 0.53%
3|4|3|4 9 0.53%
2|1|1|1|1|4|4 6 0.36%
2|2|3|4|3 6 0.36%
2|2|2|4|4 6 0.36%
3|2|3|3|3 6 0.36%
4|2|2|3|3 6 0.36%
2|3|1|1|1|1|3|2 3 0.18%
2|3|2|3|2|2 3 0.18%
2|2|1|1|2|2|1|1|2 3 0.18%
2|2|2|2|1|1|1|1|1|1 3 0.18%
1|1|1|1|2|1|1|2|1|1|1|1 3 0.18%
4|3|3|4 1 0.06%
3|4|4|3 1 0.06%
Note that the numbers are skewed by the very flexible Q/2 hand. Excluding that hand, 3|3|4|4 is the most popular pattern, followed by 2|4|4|4.
Below are the specific card hands that follow a given pattern.
Pattern Card Hands
3|3|4|4 2024/1, 2468/1a, 2468/1b, CR/7a, CR/7b, 13579/2a, 13579/2b, WD/3a, WD/3b, 369/1a, 369/1b
2|4|4|4 AH/1, AH/2, AH/3, CR/3a, CR/3b, 369/3a, 369/3b
4|4|4|1|1 2024/2, 2468/4a, 2468/4b, 13579/5a, 13579/5b
2|2|3|3|4 2468/3, CR/5, 13579/6a, 13579/6b, WD/4
3|2|4|2|3 CR/1a, CR/1b, 13579/1a, 13579/1b
4|2|2|2|4 WD/5a, WD/5b, 369/5
2|2|3|4|3 13579/3a, 13579/3b
3|2|3|3|3 13579/7a, 13579/7b
2|4|2|2|4 2468/5a, 2468/5b
2|3|2|3|4 2468/2, ALN/2
2|1|2|2|1|2|2|2 SP/3a, SP/3b
4|3|4|3 ALN/1, WD/2
2|4|1|1|1|1|4 ALN/3, WD/6
3|3|3|3|2 CR/8, 369/7
2|2|2|2|2|2|2 SP/2, SP/5
2|5|2|5 Q/1, Q/3
5|4|5 Q/2, Q/4
2|2|2|4|4 13579/4
2|1|1|1|1|4|4 2024/3
2|3|1|1|1|1|3|2 2024/4
2|3|2|3|2|2 2468/6
4|3|3|4 WD/1a
3|4|4|3 WD/1b
2|1|2|3|3|3 369/2
3|4|3|4 369/4
4|2|2|3|3 369/6
2|3|4|3|2 CR/2
1|2|4|1|2|4 CR/4
5|1|1|1|3|3 CR/6
3|1|1|3|3|3 WD/7
2|2|1|1|2|2|1|1|2 SP/1
2|2|2|2|1|1|1|1|1|1 SP/4
1|1|1|1|2|1|1|2|1|1|1|1 SP/6

The 3-3-4-4 pattern is very popular this year, appearing in 11 card hands. These particular hands are played open and Jokers can be used in any grouping, making them very appealing. Familiarize yourself with these 11 hands and you’ll have built a great foundation to work from!

Note that this card includes a new pattern in the form 3-2-4-2-3, which differs from the usual 2-2-3-3-4 or 2-3-4-3-2. We like to think of this new pattern as a “citrus juicer,” with a high center, surrounded by a dip and then a rim. 

A few additional interesting patterns:

  • CR/4: consecutive single, pair, kong in two suits
  • CR/6: this hand includes a quint of Flowers, a run of three consecutive single tiles in the same suit (known as a “chow” in traditional Chinese Mahjong) and 2 matching pungs as the fourth number in the run
  • SP/3b: this hand includes consecutive sequences, but they are shown in reverse order (which is rare)


Flowers appear as pairs, kongs and quints (including a quint in the Consecutive Run section). But, there are no pungs of Flowers this year.

Math Hands

Addition Hands are back this year, and there are multiplication hands in the 2468 and 13579 sections. Math-related hands can be particularly interesting, because they typically provide opportunities to use numbers that don’t ordinarily go together (e.g. 3 + 4 = 7). 

Winds & Dragons

The Winds-Dragons section offers a great deal of flexibility this year. In particular, we love that WD/1 has remained on the card, allowing this winds hand to be played two ways (4-3-3-4 or 3-4-4-3). Similar to last year, there is an interesting crescendo pattern (WD/4), but the beginning of this hand is different (less Flowers required, but more N and E) This pattern is a break from the symmetry traditionally seen in wind hands.

At first glance, Dragons seem to be quite well represented on the new card. However, when we look at their proportion of total tiles in all 1683 playable hands, Reds and Greens are some of the least used tiles on the 2024 card (1.24% of total tiles each), with Soaps being only slightly more popular (1.48%), due to their dual role in year hands. 

However, Dragon fans will be pleased that the full-Dragon hand is back (WD/2)!

Note that, unlike last year, Green and Red Dragons are not found as singles this year. 

Good NEWS 

The beloved NEWS pattern is back this year in a Any Like Numbers hand (ALN/3), and WD/6 with Dragons. It also pops up in a slightly expanded fashion in the 2024 (2024/4) and the Winds-Dragons sections, as well as the aforementioned crescendo pattern FF NN EEE WWW SSSS (WD/4), and the concealed hand (WD/7). Finally, a variation of NEWS is featured in the so-called Big Hand (SP/6).

Consecutive Runs

Besides the actual Consecutive Run section, there are quite a few hands which follow a run pattern. These include:

  • Q/1 (3 numbers)
  • Q/3 (2 numbers)
  • WD/3 (2 numbers)
  • WD/5 (3 numbers)
  • SP/3 (3 numbers, the stated numbers only)
  • SP/5 (5 numbers)

Being aware of all these possibilities, in addition to the CR section, will allow you to easily build back-up hands when constructing a run.

Like Numbers

There are many hands outside the Any Like Numbers section that also include like numbers (for at least part of the hand). These include:

  • 2024/1 (2s) 
  • 2024/3 (2s or 4s))
  • 2468/2 (4s)
  • Q/3
  • CR/4
  • CR/6
  • CR/8
  • 13579/2a (3s)
  • 13579/2b (7s)
  • 13579/6a (3s)
  • 13579/6b (7s)
  • 13579/7a (3s)
  • 135797b (7s)
  • WD/7
  • 369/1a (6s)
  • 369/1b (6s)
  • 369/2 (3s, 6s or 9s)
  • 369/4 (3s, 6s or 9s)
  • 369/5 (6s)
  • 369/7 (3s and 6s)

Some of the hands above may only require a pair of a certain number along with a like number in a different suit. However, as we all know, pairs often grow as we progress through the game! Our advice would be to keep all the above hands in mind when choosing back-ups, as you never know what might come your way during the Charleston or game! Be vigilant and keep hold of as many tiles as you can for your back-up options. Once you run out of discards, it’ll be time for you to make a decision as to which way your hand will go. 

Big Hand

The "Big Hand" departs from its traditional format this year. It includes a NEWS variant and only two "2024" sets. This hand will be much easier to make than last year's (or most year's) Big Hand, yet it's still worth 75 points

WD/7 with 2s makes a good back-up hand, along with 2024/4 (both are 30 point hands). ALN/3 could also be a good back-up hand if Flowers come your way (25 points).


Four hands have been carried over from the 2023 card. These are:

  • CR/3a and b (was CR/5 a and b in 2023)
  • WD/1a and b

Subtle Changes and Gotchas

Since most of us are so familiar with the 2023 hands, our brains are likely to play tricks on us and “see” something that is not really there! Our brains have a habit of quickly interpreting something familiar and matching it with something that we already know, such as a hand from the 2023 card!

There are indeed some carryovers from last year (see above), but there are also hands that are very similar, but different enough to throw you off, should you glance at them too quickly. Below, we highlight these differences, and also list a few gotchas that are useful to be aware of. These tips will aid the smooth transition from last year's hands to their corresponding hands this year.

Several hands are similar to last year but now use a 3-3-4-4 pattern, instead of the 3-4-3-4 pattern that was used on the 2023 card. These are: 

  • 2024/1
  • 2468/1a and b (vs 2468/3 last year)
  • CR/7a and b (vs CR/6 last year)
  • 13579/2a and b
  • WD/3a and b
  • 369/1a and b

2024/3: similar to 2023/2, but the two kongs are flexible (can be 2s or 4s).

2468/2: similar arrangement as 2468/4 last year but the pattern is now 2-3-2-3-4 (this hand will be easier than last year since it contains only 2 pairs instead of 3).

ALN/1: 4-3-4-3 pattern (vs 4-4-2-4 last year).

CR/1: now follows the 3-2-4-2-3 pattern (the “citrus juicer” shape we mentioned previously). This hand usually switches between two standard patterns, so this is definitely a significant change.

13579/1: follows the same pattern as CR/1, as it usually does, so this year it’s the new 3-2-4-2-3 pattern.

13579/3: easier than last year as only 2, rather than 3, pairs are required. The Dragons are a pung this year. Also note the new pattern for the number part: 2-3-4 (instead of 4-2-4).

WD/4: the crescendo Wind hand now requires only 2 Flowers and the pattern for winds is 2-3-3-4 (1-2-3-4 last year).

WD/5: winds are now kongs (pungs last year) and all 3 numbers are pairs. The value has been increased to 30 points.

WD/7: requires like numbers (last year it was consecutive numbers).

SP/1: the numbers pattern is now 2-1-1-2 (twice), rather than 1-1-2-2 (SP/4).


In this section, we’ll be covering the following:

  • Potential challenges you may encounter
  • Exposures that will give your hand away or cause your hand to be called dead
  • Switching strategies (so you can increase your flexibility and have a hand to fall back on, should your primary option not pan out)
  • General strategy tips


There are a few challenges awaiting you as you play this year's card. These include:

CR/1a requires pairs of 2s and 4s (so no Jokers allowed here). This could increase the competition for these number tiles and thus make hands using a 2024 grouping more difficult to achieve.

Also, given that 2s and 4s are used in all year hands and the 2468 section of the card, the competition for these tiles could result in these hands being more challenging.

3s and 6s: Since the numbers 3 and 6 are used in the greatest number of hands on the 2024 card, it may prove to be more challenging to build hands using these numbers. So, be sure to have the majority of what’s required of these particular numbers before settling on a hand.

S&P/3b: the League decided to show this hand in descending order on the card, which is proving quite challenging for some players! Let’s make things a little easier and turn it around. Here’s what it would look like in ascending order: 899 78899 778899. That’s so much easier on the gray matter! Remember, it’s these numbers only, so keep an eye out for these high numbers in all three suits after the deal.


The 2024 card is flexible enough that one exposure isn’t going to totally give your hand away. In fact, this year, there are no single exposures that would give your hand away. Though a quint of Flowers or a pung of North or South will narrow the possibilities down to 2 potential hands. A pung of East or West would narrow the possibilities to 3 potential hands.

Even two exposures could still be reasonably safe this year. Though, as always, every additional exposure decreases the potential subset of matching hands and, therefore, makes it easier for your opponents to identify the hand you’re working towards. The more your opponents can gleen about your hand, the more likely they are to prevent you from achieving your goal. 

As discussed earlier, Q/2 offers an interesting situation because of the "non-matching numbers" note. Even with a quint of numbers and a kong of winds exposed, there's no way to know what other quint the player is working towards. So, there will be few safe tiles in this case.

"Dead" Giveaways

There are only 3 exposures that will make your hand dead (since they don't exist on this year’s card). Take note, and be careful not to expose these by mistake. Also, be on the lookout for opponents exposing these in error (and, if so, call their hand dead accordingly). The 3 exposures are:

  • Pung of Flowers
  • Quint of Dragons
  • Quint of Winds

As mentioned previously, once you have 2 exposures, you're reducing the hand possibilities that you could be working towards, and your opponents will likely have a much clearer idea of where you are heading, and whether your exposures are valid. You may still have options if you make an exposure error, but some combinations are definitely going to allow your hand to be called dead.

Strategy Tips


As is the case every year, Flowers are a prominent feature on this year’s card. Therefore, Flowers are always going to be in high demand (though, thankfully, there are 8 of them in the set). We would caution against passing Flowers in the Charleston. If you have Flowers and don’t need them, we would recommend discarding them fairly early in the game. Since there are quite a few pairs of flowers on the card this year, discarding them later in the game will be risky!

Like Numbers

There are a plethora of hands using like numbers (even outside the ALN section), so be even more careful than usual passing like numbers in the Charleston. On the flip side, if you have like numbers in your hand, you will have more opportunities to construct hands and back-ups.

Popular Tiles

In the "Card in Numbers" section above, we highlighted the popularity of each individual tile (i.e. how many hands use each particular tile). A casual analysis may assume 2s and 4s would be most popular this year, as it's the "2024" card, but this is not the case. As a reminder, 3s and 6s are the most in-demand number tiles on the 2024 card and 1s and 9s are the least popular. Greens and Reds are the least in-demand tiles overall.

Based on this analysis, we expect it to be more difficult, on average, to complete hands that contain either 3s and/or 6s, and easier to complete hands that contain 1s and/or 9s. So, if you have several hand options available to you, you may wish to lean towards the latter (this is particularly applicable to hands in the Consecutive Run and Any Like Numbers categories).

Also, you may wish to use our tile popularity analysis to order your discards once the game begins. By discarding popular tiles first, you may have a higher chance of thwarting other players' plans. Of course, be sure to keep tiles you may need for back-up options you're considering. 

Safe(r) Tiles

There are 3 tiles that do not appear as singles on the 2024 card. These are: 

  • Flowers
  • Red Dragons
  • Green Dragons

This means that, as long as you can account for three Reds or Greens, or seven Flowers (in the discards, exposures or in your own hand), you can safely discard any of these towards the end of the game, without a significant risk of another player calling Mah Jongg. Obviously, there’s a very slim chance that an opponent could be using them in a pung, kong or quint with a plethora of Jokers, so there’s always going to be a certain amount of risk involved! Jokers will always be the absolute safest discard, if you decide to break up your hand and play defensively. Be sure to check your opponents’ exposures and the discards to glean information regarding the hands they may be working towards.

Switching Hands

When considering hands, it's always a good idea to have a back-up plan. Thankfully, there is a generous amount of overlap in this year’s card, offering lots of flexibility between hands. So, keep your options open as you receive new tiles, and you might be surprised where you end up as the game progresses!

In general, there are good opportunities to switch within a given category. So, if you're unsure of the actual hand you’re aiming for, you can always collect tiles for a particular category (such as all evens, all 3/6/9s, etc) and switch between hands within these, depending on the tiles that come your way. Be sure to also collect Flowers and relevant Dragons, if these are included in potential hands you may aim for.

There is also a great deal of flexibility for switching between sections of the card. We recommend reviewing the section "Card hands matching a given exposure" to familiarize yourself with hands that share exposures. Also, look for hands that have similar exposures (bear in mind that these hands might be a variation of one that is shown on the card, especially when related to the CR section). Finally, review the sections describing hands with like numbers and hands with consecutive runs, as they can provide excellent switchability options.

Hands with 10+ potential overlapping tiles

# Hands Overlaping tiles
1 2024/2 - Q/412
2 Q/1 - CR/3a12
3 Q/3 - CR/412
4 WD/1a - WD/1b12
5 WD/1a - WD/412
6 2024/3 - ALN/111
7 2468/1a - 2468/5a11
8 ALN/1 - 369/211
9 Q/2 - WD/3a11
10 Q/2 - WD/3b11
11 CR/1a - CR/7a11
12 CR/1b - CR/7a11
13 CR/3a - CR/7a11
14 WD/1b - WD/411
15 369/1b - 369/3b11
16 369/1b - 369/711
17 2024/3 - ALN/310
18 2024/4 - WD/1a10
19 2024/4 - WD/1b10
20 2024/4 - WD/410
21 2024/4 - SP/610
22 2468/1a - 2468/310
23 2468/4a - CR/3b10
24 2468/4b - CR/3b10
25 2468/5a - 2468/5b10
26 ALN/1 - CR/610
27 ALN/2 - 369/410
28 ALN/3 - WD/710
29 AH/1 - CR/3a10
30 AH/2 - Q/110
31 AH/2 - CR/3a10
32 AH/3 - CR/3a10
33 Q/3 - CR/810
34 Q/4 - 369/610
35 CR/1a - SP/510
36 CR/1b - SP/510
37 CR/2 - CR/7a10
38 CR/2 - SP/510
39 CR/3b - 13579/5a10
40 CR/3b - 13579/5b10
41 CR/4 - CR/810
42 CR/4 - SP/3b10
43 CR/5 - CR/7a10
44 13579/2a - 13579/6a10
45 13579/2b - 13579/6b10
46 WD/7 - SP/610
47 369/1a - 369/1b10
48 369/2 - 369/510
49 369/3a - 369/510

The table above shows the intersection between various hands on the 2024 card. This is extremely useful information, as it’ll assist you in finding the most efficient back-up hands for particular situations. For example: 

Line 1 shows that 2024/2 and Q/4 have the possibility of 12 tiles in common. So, here you could aim for 2024/2 (a 25 point hand) and switch to Q4 (a 40 point hand) if you acquire enough Jokers, or have been unable to secure the single tiles for the year hand.

Line 8 shows that ALN/1 and 369/2 (both 25 point hands) also have the possibility of 12 tiles in common (if 9s are used for the like pungs in the 369 hand).

Line 38 demonstrates that CR/2 (35 point hand) can be transformed into SP/5 (50 point hand), as they have 10 tiles in common. For a chance to make this pivot to the higher value hand, you’d need a Jokerless hand and to hold on to any opposite Dragons received.

Lines 39 and 40 show that CR/3b and 13579/5a and b potentially have 10 tiles in common. So, if you’re aiming for 13579/5a, be sure to hold on to 4s in the third suit and for 13579/5b, be sure to hold on to 6s in the third suit. These are all 25 point hands.

Line 42 connects CR/4 (30 point hand) and SP/3b (50 point hand), which potentially have 10 tiles in common. So, let’s say you’re aiming for SP/3b and you start collecting Jokers, or more 9s than you need, you can easily pivot into CR/4.

Line 48 shows that 369/2 (25 point hand) and 369/5 (30 point hand) potentially have 10 tiles in common, when 6s are used for the like pungs in 369/2. 

In line 49, we see that 369/3a (25 point hand) could easily pivot into 369/5 (30 point hand), if you found yourself collecting 6s in the other 2 suits (10 tiles in common).

We highly recommend being very familiar with all the options in the table above. Knowing these companion hands, and which specific number tiles would work for each scenario, could mean the difference between winning with a 25 point hand or a 50+ point one! Be ready to switch to the higher value hand whenever the opportunity presents itself. Or, use this knowledge to assist in pivoting into a better hand option for the tiles you’ve gathered and, therefore, a quicker path to Mah Jongg. Plus, if you play in tournaments, this knowledge could mean the difference between not ranking and winning first prize!! 

The list above is limited to at least 10 overlapping tiles. Obviously, more options can be found with fewer overlapping tiles.


After using our crystal ball, our tarot cards and reading the tea leaves, we feel confident enough to make a few predictions about the 2024 card.

The 2024 card is far easier than last year’s (or any card of recent memory), so we expect players to win more often and also win earlier in the game. We also expect fewer wall games. Many players will be excited about the prospect of winning more often, however, this is a double-edge sword: the card is also easier for your opponents, so you might find that THEY win earlier as well (just when you thought you were ahead and had a great chance of winning!). Those who play Mah Jongg for the mental challenge it provides may tire of the card more quickly, finding it too easy and not challenging enough over time.

Due to the large number of hand options available, we expect Q/2 to be played more frequently than typical quints hands. At 40 points, this hand is a good choice (with easy pivot options and difficult to defend against) so we suspect it will be popular at tournaments.

Because of their flexibility, and the fact players can use Jokers in each grouping, we expect hands with 2 pungs and 2 kongs to be very popular (eg: CR/7, WD/3, ALN/1).

Because 1s and 9s are the least used numbers, there will be less competition for these tiles. So, we predict that like-number hands and run hands that include these numbers will (on average) be more successful than those that include other numbers.

Finally, the “Big Hand” has traditionally been the most challenging hand on the card. At 75 points, it should certainly be challenging! However, this year, the Big Hand isn’t all that more of a challenge than any other 40+ point hand on the card. Expect Big Hand celebrations to be popping up everywhere, and especially at tournaments!!

Learning the Hands on the Card

Learning a new card can seem like a daunting task. Trying to learn the new hands by just playing is ill-advised, as it will take significantly longer to assimilate the information and you’ll likely find yourself heading to the same familiar hands over and over. This will only lead to frustration due to missed opportunities, and being unable to quickly identify what your opponents are playing. Frankly, that’s no fun!

Careful study of the card and lots of practice, especially at this early stage in the Mah Jongg year, will lead to a much more enjoyable and fulfilling game, and significantly more wins.

We recently wrote an entire article on this subject, our Top Tips to Learn the new Card... Fast! , which includes details of the tools we highly recommend to make the learning process an absolute breeze. We definitely suggest checking out that article and, if you follow our tips, you’ll be at the top of your game in no time! 


Well, that brings us to the end of our 2024 card analysis. We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the card, and that the insights in this article will help you become more confident playing with the new card. There is a great deal of information in this article that could truly elevate your Mah Jongg skills to the highest levels. We would definitely recommend reading through the article again, once you’ve had a chance to play with the new card and begin to assimilate the information we lay out above. Our passion is to help players take their game to the next level and we hope we have inspired you to do just that.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at We're always happy to help!

Also, to remain in the Mah Jongg loop, don’t forget to join our Facebook Group and/or follow us on Instragram .

Mahj On everyone!

Philippe & Julie
Creators of I LOVE MAHJ