Mahjong vs. Poker: How Are They Similar?

by , Jun 28, 2021 | 11:39 am

Mahjong and poker are two card games that are often confused and are mistaken for the same game. Even though these games have some similarities when it comes to gameplay, they do share a few differences. Thanks to the fact that online casinos rose to power and players can choose to bet money on both games, playing mahjong and poker has never been easier.

Many players who have played are well-familiar with the fact that they have some differences, but they also share quite a few similarities. That is exactly the topic that we wanted to discuss in this article. We’ll be looking at both mahjong and poker, check the basics of both types, then name what are the similarities. Let’s start with the mahjong gambling game.

Basics of Mahjong

In the game of mahjong, around 4 players play to win a reward. While this gambling game is often referred to as mah-jongg or mahjong poker, keeping it simple is the best way to help you understand the basics better, which is why we are going to refer to this game as just mahjong.

When players play mahjong, they have a set of 144 tiles that are based on Chinese characters. While some regional variations may have unique mahjong tiles, in most variations, each player starts with 13 tiles.

The goal of mahjong poker is simple – you need to score the so-called mahjong, which is done by collecting all the tiles into four sets and a pair. A pair in mahjong represents two same tiles, while a set represents a pung, which is three same tiles, or a chow (three consecutive numbers in the same suit). If one player manages to do this, then the player wins.

The mahjong scoring rules are quite simple – one point is given to the player hat achieved mahjong and thus, won the hand. Since mahjong poker represents the Chinese culture, there are many players in Asia who are fond of this game and thus, they play mahjong regularly.

Mahjong Gameplay

As for the gameplay, the priority goes to players who can claim the discarded tile and thus, can complete hand. Before your turn comes, you must give other mahjong players a few seconds to claim the most recently discarded tiles.

If the first player fails to reveal a winning hand of 14 tiles, then any player can claim the discarded tile to complete a pung. While calling ‘pung’, players reveal the two tiles that match the discarded one. You can claim the discarded tile by yelling chow if nobody claims it. That way, you will make sure that you are not one of the losing players. In doing so, your tiles face up and reveal the completed run. After that, you discard one tile and hence, the play continues.

You can turn the next tile on your turn if the discarded tile does not complete a set for you. If you want to play mahjong, you need to learn the suit tiles and learn how players bet in this game. This information will help you win this mahjong.

Basics of Poker

As for poker, this is a card game in which you need to form winning hands. To win, you must have the highest-ranked hand value. Poker is one of the oldest casino games known to the casino industry. This too is a game of strategy, where you compete with other players for the ultimate prize.

As time went on, numerous variations of poker have appeared. Not only that, but the number of places where you can enjoy this game has also increased. Thanks to the advanced technology, players can now enjoy poker online where they can play it for real money, and thus, win many rewards. The higher the stakes are in this card game, the bigger the money rewards are.

Poker Variations

As mentioned earlier, there are several variations of poker. Some of those that deserve a mention are the following:

  • Texas Hold’em
  • Badugi
  • Omaha Hi-Lo
  • Omaha Hi
  • 7-Card Stud
  • Chinese Poker
  • 5-Card Draw

Since Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant, we are going to take a close look into this game.

Texas Hold’Em Poker

Texas Hold’em is a community card game where up to 10 players can be playing on one table. In this game, the highest hand wins. Since Texas Hold ’em poker requires a lot of skill and focus, those that have played this game spent a lot of time learning and analyzing it.

While some would think that this variant has four rounds, it actually has 5. In each round, players either check (hold the bet amount), raise (up the stakes), or fold (quit playing). At the end of the fifth round, players reveal their cards, and the best hand wins. In between the rounds. the dealer draws new community cards that you combine with the two cards that you have in your hand. Community cards are facing up, while your cards are facing down.

The strongest winning hand in Texas Hold’em is Royal Flush. Then we have a straight flush and four of a kind. The medium category represents the likes of four of a kind, full house, flush, and straight. Finally, the weakest winning hands are three of a kind (three cards of different three suits), two pairs, one pair, and a high card.

The Similarities Between These Gambling Games

Mahjong and poker seem like two vastly different games. The first one is often played in Mandarin Chinese, while the other is more popular in the western hemisphere. Mahjong is played with tiles, while poker is played with cards.

But these two games have quite a few similarities, so let’s check them out.


The first similarity between poker and is that both games rely on strategy a lot. The beauty in them is that they do not rely purely on luck, like most casino games. You need to be well-prepared to win. In mahjong, you need to take full advantage of the mahjong sets, while in poker, you need to use the community cards.

Pairs Win the Games

Next up, in both mahjong and poker, pairs will provide you with a win. The used objects are different (poker uses cards, while mahjong tiles), but the idea is the same. A winning hand in poker and a winning pair in mahjong will win you the game.

They Require a Lot of Studying

Before you can play them professionally, you need to do proper market research and get familiar with how they work. They are not simple as a slot game, where players bet their desired amount and just spin the wheel.

Other Similarities

Some other similarities between poker and mahjong include the potential massive prize pools, as well as the facilities where you can access them. When it comes to land-based gambling, they can be played at every casino. As for playing them online, you can always rely on licensed online casinos that are supplied by the best game providers to offer you both products, such as at some minimum deposit casinos. Online casinos are extremely safe, which means that your personal data will be out of harm’s way.

Finally, poker and mahjong can be great social games if they are played without real money. Since multiple people can join in a round, they can be the perfect way to bond with friends.

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