Destination Mah Jongg Tournament Rules

E stays, does not move, N moves UP 1 table, S moves DOWN 1 table, W moves UP 2 tables.
Play is according to National Mah Jongg League Rules plus Tournament Rules and uses the NMJL Card.


Players are required to display the NMJL card during tournament play. The Card is part of this game and is considered a sign of courtesy. It should be on display during the official games.

• Give your scorecard to East. After each game East will fill it out and give it back to you to confirm your score by signing. Then give it back to East for the next game. West will also receive Easts sheet to verify their score. If there are errors/discrepancies in the scoring, they MUST be resolved before moving to the next table. After that there are no changes. If necessary, call the director for a ruling.
• Each player MUST keep a record of their own score on their personal sheet and be aware of their ID number.

• Amount on card – Player who makes Mah Jongg (ex. a 25 listed on the card equals 25 points).
• PLUS 10 points – Player who PICKS their own Mah Jongg.
• MINUS 10 points – Player who THROWS Mah Jongg to a hand with NO exposures or ONE exposure.
• MINUS 20 points – Player who THROWS Mah Jongg to a hand with TWO exposures.
• MINUS 25 points – Player who THROWS Mah Jongg to a hand with THREE or more exposures.
• PLUS 20 points – A winning hand with NO JOKERS. SINGLES & PAIRS hands do NOT get this bonus.
• PLUS 10 points – Wall Game: ALL players get points, except for a hand that was declared dead or Mah Jongg in error.
• MINUS 10 points – if you LOOK at a stolen tile during the blind pass, you still play in the game. You cannot go dead during the Charleston!
• Calling – You must verbally call for a discarded tile. PENALTY, if you don’t call the tile, you can’t have it and must be placed back on the table.
• Jokers – Request the exchange and hand the person the tile to replace. If you put the tile on the table without verbalizing the exchange, then the tile is dead for exchanging and available to others for calling for an exposure.
• Time’s up, each player gets a score of Zero for that game.
• Dead hands – Do not get a minus 10 and do not receive points for a wall game. Player gets a Zero.


• NO PICKING AHEAD. If you pick ahead, your hand will be called DEAD.
• Your turn begins when you pick a tile or call a tile for exposure.
• Do not place your hand on the next tile or hover over the wall until the player before you has made their discard.
• IF YOU TOUCH THE TILE, it’s yours! This applies to BOTH picking from the beginning of the wall and/or calling the last discarded tile.
• EXCEPTION: If you pick from the wrong end of the wall and look at the tile, your hand is dead. If you have not looked at the tile, then put it back and continue from the correct side of the wall. Also, if the wall was moved out and tiles were hidden your hand will not be called dead. The player pushing out the wall should be careful that tiles are not hidden, or he/she should realign the remaining tiles.
• A player may call the last discarded tile for Mah Jongg or an exposure until the next player either racks or discards the picked tile.
• Once a tile is racked, the previous tile is “dead”. (It’s no longer available)
• You must discard your tile if: (a) the tile touches the table, or (2) you start to say the name of the tile. It is called intent. Continue the discard.
• Player must pick before discarding or exchanging Jokers. The pick is the start of a turn.
• Picking and racking – although the last discarded tile is still available until your tile is racked it is discourteous to rack very quickly. Please take a pause before racking your tile; count to 3, there is plenty of time.
• Jokers may be replaced from any exposure before a hand went “dead.” Jokers in an exposure that made the hand dead are not available.
• When declaring Mah Jongg, the hand should be displayed as it appears on the card as a courtesy to others.

• If you call a tile for MJ or for an exposure, the called tile MUST be placed ON your rack, not IN the slope of your rack. This verifies that you picked the right tile. If you rack the tile, your hand will be called dead and play continues with the remaining 3 players.
• If you call a tile for an exposure or MJ, you can change your mind only if you have NOT touched the discarded tile. If touched, then it must be used for an exposure.
• If two players call at the same time for Mah Jongg the tile goes to the next player in the rotation.

• If the three other players expose their hands, all get 0 points.
• If two players do not expose their hands, game continues with two remaining players.
• If one player does not expose their hand, that player gets PLUS 10 points while others get 0 points.
• If a player calls Mah Jongg in error and the mistake is rectified BEFORE the hand is exposed and
BEFORE any other player exposes or disturbs their hand, game continues without penalty.
• If MJ is called and the player doesn’t pick up their MJ tile and place it on the rack the MJ is no good.

• Correct the tile name and continue.
• A mis-named discarded tile can be called for MJ. The discarder is penalized 25 points and the MJ receives the point value on the card.
• A mis-named discarded tile cannot be called for an exposure. If you start to expose tiles based on what you hear, and not see, your hand will be called dead.

• If you know a hand is “dead,” you can declare it. But, if you declare a hand dead in error, your hand is “dead”. Do not discuss it with others first.
• East could have MJ after the Charleston (Earthly Hand) or after the initial dealing (Heavenly Hand). In both circumstances, the game is over, and the hand is considered self-picked.
• If a Joker is Exchanged and gives a player their MJ, it is self-picked. The Joker can come from their own rack or another rack. It is called the “Finesse Move” and because the Joker is the 14th tile that they are picking, it is self-picked; this is a type of strategy.
• You must play all rounds of the tournament, if there is an emergency contact the directors.
• Players are required to supply their own National Mah Jongg League Card.
• The game does not start until East throws.
• You cannot go dead during the Charleston.
• Have patience for others; we all learn differently, and we were all new once.
• Please do not criticize or judge your opponent’s play.
• RESPECT: Players, please be gracious and courteous to your fellow players. This tournament enforces a “ZERO TOLERANCE” Code of Contact for inconsiderate, rude, or abusive behavior.
• Refund Policy-our full policy is on our website. There are no refunds within 30 days or less to the Mah Jongg Tournament.

Rounds 10, 11 and 12/MINI TOURNAMENT ON THE LAST DAY: (not applicable on a cruise)

During these 3 rounds, there is an optional mini tournament. You are playing these 3 rounds no matter what, they are not additional rounds, but for an additional fee there is an opportunity for your score to count twice.

Your score counts once for rounds 10-12 and then again separately for a mini tournament score.

For example: If you have 200 points and rounds 10, 11, 12 you get a total of 100, that means for the cumulative tournament you have a 300 and for the mini you have a 100. Therefore, all the scores for the mini are calculated in our system and you now have another chance to place and win a prize.

The cost to be in this mini is an additional fee and must be paid before round 10 starts.


TOURNAMENTS by their nature are especially more regulated than home games; rulings are closely stayed to, in order to avoid errors and disputes. If a question arises during play, Either DIRECTOR’S RULING will be final. All decisions made by the either Director shall be based on these rules and the either Director’s personal judgment. Any question that arises at the table, either director should be called to answer the dispute. East is to make sure the game finishes in time, marks the scoring cards, etc.  Scoring or rules should be addressed by either Director and not by the players or easts. Remember, if you resolve a question of rules or scoring at your table, there can be no recourse to the Director. Only either Director is authorized to arbitrate any dispute as to rules or scoring.