Mahjong is a game that originated in China and is still deeply rooted in Chinese culture. In the 1920s mahjong was introduced in the West and it became highly popular. Its popularity has never disappeared, despite the dips that it has seen. Today, millions of people around the world play mahjong games.

While mahjong remains more popular in the East (with it being the most popular game in Japan) than it is in the West, people from all over the world enjoy mahjong in a land-based form, as well as online. There are many different variants of the game of mahjong that are available. Here is a brief overview of the types of mahjong games that you can play.

Classic Chinese Mahjong

Classic Chinese mahjong was the variant of mahjong that was introduced into the West in the 1920s. It has retained a following, but is not the most common variant among those that play mahjong games.

Hong Kong Mahjong

Also known as Cantonese mahjong, this is the most popular variant of mahjong that is played today. It contains similarities to classic Chinese mahjong, but differs slightly with regards to scoring.

Japanese Mahjong

Japanese mahjong has been standardized in Japan. It is also found in many video games of mahjong. Its main variations are found in terms of scoring and the rules regarding a ready hand and bonus tiles.

American Mahjong

American mahjong has been standardized by the American Mah-Jongg Association and the National Mah Jongg League. This variant differs in terms of scoring, its use of a joker tile, the Charleston and the ability to form melds of five or more tiles. The concept of a standard hand is also characteristic of this game.

Western Classical Mahjong

This game is commonly played in America, but is far closer to the original variant of mahjong that was introduced to America in the 1920s by Babcock.

Mahjong Solitaire

Mahjong solitaire is a game that is played by one player against the computer. It involves stacks of mahjong tiles in various arrangements and then matching pairs of tiles in order to eliminate them from the board. A popular variation of mahjong solitaire is Mahjong Titans, developed by Oberon Games and included in Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows 7.


There are many variants of mahjong that are available and as mahjong is popular throughout the world, some of these variants are more widely played in some countries than others. When playing mahjong online, it is more common to find a number of different variations that are available.

Online casinos are typically limited in their mahjong options, however if you download mahjong software or you play at a dedicated mahjong site, you can play mahjong games of many different variations. It is important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the variant that you are choosing to play so that you will be comfortable with any slight changes to the rules, as this may alter the strategy you use to play.