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Mahjong Cheating Techniques

How to spot & catch cheaters in Mahjong?

© Crazy Rich Asian

People do not cheat by chance, they cheat by choice. Even if the cheater was your dear friend, never forgive them. No matter how much they try to justify themselves, do not give in. Cheating is a criminal offense. If you ever find yourself wanting to cheat in Mahjong, better think twice. Once you start cheating, there is no turning back. You will risk all your friendships and the trust you have built with others over all this time. Therefore, never cheat.

On the other hand, if you think you are a plausible victim of cheating in Mahjong, do continue reading. In Mahjong, there are various ways to cheat. Even with the innovation of automatic tables, cheating is still possible. After all, cheaters will have many means to try and suck your wallet dry. So, if you ever suspect someone is cheating in Mahjong, here are some things you can look out for as evidence of their cheating activities.

1. Palming

Palming is the act of hiding the tiles the cheater wants under his palm while shuffling. The catch is that he is not shuffling the tiles. Instead, he is only keeping the tiles needed on his side after taking a quick glimpse of the tiles.

2. Setting up the wall

After "shuffling", the cheater will start to set up his wall in 19 columns, assuming he is the banker. Normally, he will set his wanted tiles in the wall's 1st, 2nd, 9th & 10th columns. The reason behind this will be discussed in our next point.

3. Rolling of dice

After setting up his tiles as mentioned above, the cheater will have to roll a perfect 9 with 3 dice. This is so that he can attain the tiles placed in the columns as said. And, if he constantly rolls a 9 with the dice, you know that the dice are most likely rigged. To prevent this, you can consider playing with 2 dice instead of 3.

4. Hand Signals

In the event the cheater has an accomplice, they will try to communicate with one another by any means. However, hand signals are less common these days due to new technology like our phones. Hence, if you see two people constantly on their phones while they play, something smells fishy. Of course, never be too quick to judge as they may be the type of players who are just bored due to the dry run.

5. Under-the-table dealings

Another way players can cheat is by swapping tiles with one another. Although uncommon as others can catch on easily, such methods are still possible.

6. Sleight-of-Hand

The sleight-of-hand maneuver is the hardest cheating technique to pull off. Due to its difficulty, only professional cheaters can truly master it. There are many ways to cheat with this skill. For instance, the cheater can quickly change the tile in his hand with a discarded tile. Or, he can also change his tile with a wall tile while shifting it. And without you realizing it, the cheater has performed his magic in a blink of an eye.

7. Rigged Automatic Tables

In this digital age, any piece of technology can easily be tweaked with some programming involved. This goes without saying for automatic Mahjong tables as well. If you find your host constantly winning in most of your sessions, there is a chance he is cheating. But, never jump into conclusion as you do not want to frame someone wrongly. Instead, just be more observant of your surroundings and look out for any suspicious devices.


In a nutshell, the techniques mentioned above are meant for educational purposes. We do not want to see our readers walk down the wrong path by learning to cheat. The cons will always outweigh the pros regarding cheating in Mahjong. You can give a million reasons to justify your cheating, but we can guarantee you nobody will buy that. After all, it is always better to "fail with honor than to win by cheating" - Sophocles

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