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Beginner's Lesson 3
Winning Hand = 4 Sets (Sequence or Triplet) and 1 Pair

In riichi mahjong, a complete hand consists of 14 tiles.

But how does it look when you win a hand?

 

4 Sets (Sequence or Triplet) and 1 Pair

(There are 2 exceptions which will be covered later)

 

Let’s look at the sets first:

 

Completed sets (mentsu) are either a sequence (shuntsu) or triplet (koutsu).

 

Sequences are three consecutive tiles in the same suit. The 9 does not loop around to 1, which is why 1s and 9s are called, “terminal tiles”. Sequences can only be made with number tiles; honor tiles cannot be used in sequences!

e.g. Sequences
Triplets are three of the exact same tile. Any tile can be used as a triplet. Honor tiles specifically can provide yaku when used as a triplet.
e.g. Triplets
The pair (jantou or atama) is just two of the exact same tile. Any tile can be used as the pair. However, certain yaku may require you to have (or not to have) specific tiles as your pair.
e.g. Pair

Yaku are combinations of tiles that allow you to win a hand and determine the score of your hand. These will be covered in detail later.


 

In conclusion, number tiles can be used in sequences, triplets, or pairs, but honor tiles can only be used in triplets or pairs.

 

In the next lesson, we will cover how to efficiently make sequences.