Wed, 28 May 2008 20:03


Mahjong solitaire and the tile version.

What is Mahjong?
A game that requires calculation, strategy, skill, and even luck, Mahjong is known to be a popular gambling in land-based and online gaming sites that is played from all over Asia and in many other parts of the globe.  This game can easily be played by two to four persons within any age range, as long as they know the rules of the game.  This game can last for a couple of hours, depending more on the skill of the said players.  Mahjong's objective is for a certain player to come up with complete melds or suits -- that come in threes -- from 16 or 13 tiles.  The first one to do this will be declared as the winner.

How and When Did it Start?
A popular myth regarding the origins of the game Mahjong can be connected to the great Chinese philosopher Confucius.  It was said that the doctrines of his teachings can be represented clearly within the game and evidence of these can be allegedly seen in the tiles.

However, people should know that there is also another theory that is prevalent about how Mahjong came into existence.  This theory supports the idea that the said game came from domino and card games that were prevalent in China during the 1850s.  A particular card game, the Madiao, which was popular during the early part of the Ming Dynasty, is often thought to have been the forerunner of Mahjong.

How Mahjong Grew in Popularity
If legend would be taken into consideration, then it would probably be the army officers of China during the time of the Taiping Rebellion were the ones who spread Mahjong.  This was done during their break periods and they played to keep themselves occupied.  

Another theory about the spread of Mahjong throughout China has a lot to do with the nobles who lived in the area of Shanghai between 1870 to 1875.  Their pastime was playing Mahjong with their friends and neighbors, and soon the game's popularity was spread to other areas as well.  Regardless of the real origins of Mahjong, the game spread throughout the country and even to the rest of the Asian continent as well.

The Spread of Mahjong to America
Due to the significant number of Chinese people who immigrated to the United States, coupled with the influx of westerners in China, more people became familiar with this game.  Mahjong was brought to the United States during the 1920s where it was given names like The Game of Thousand Intelligences and Pung Chow.  The appeal of Mahjong was doubled as players were required to dress Chinese whenever they played in Chinese-styled game rooms.

Mahjong's Popularity Online
Due to the popularity of Mahjong, more variations of these game were released. Online versions became popular as well, making it way easier for Mahjong enthusiasts to play the game without visiting land-based gaming halls.

There are now many Mahjong variations available, guaranteeing more options for players. Now, anyone can play Mahjong even if he is just wearing a shirt and pajamas while lounging at home.  With the number of people that are connected to the Internet on a daily basis, a player can be assured of a huge traffic whenever he enters a Mahjong online site.