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3 Fan Yahoo Style

This brief webpage is created for the benefit of Yahoo mahjong players, especially the newcomers. It may or may not be applicable to other online mahjong games.

In yahoo mahjong, especially the advanced lounge, there exists 2 kinds of playing style - standard and 3 fan.

What is standard mahjong?

Standard mahjong is the easier method to play. There are no rules except the basic rules of mahjong as preset by the Yahoo programmers. Players may click the draw, pass, chow, pong, kong or mahjong buttons as and when highlighted.

For the basic rule of mahjong you can refer to yahoo's basic mahjong rules.

So what is 3 fan? And why?

3 fan is a style of play where each player accumulates 3 fan before he or she attempt to 'mahjong'. The player is NOT suppose to CLICK the mahjong button (even when the button is lit up) until the minimum 3 fan criteria or requirement is met. This style of playing is popular among the more experienced players, who tend to try to achieve higher scores by carefully choosing the kind of tiles to keep. The game thus is more restrictive but more fun.

3 fan encourages a player to think and formulates a winning hand that achieve highest fan possible. Winning big hands is fun when you can achieve that. But usually big hands may be difficult to achieve or take some time to complete.

On the other hand, a 'cheap' chicken hand can be easily completed very fast. That spoils usually the fun when you have a good hand. Hence the 3 fan restriction.

So what constitutes a 3 fan tiles?
Calculation of fan is pretty complicated for layman. The best and simplest way, is to keep to the following criterias ....

1. Same suit or half suit with Honour tiles.
This involves keeping one group of tiles (Bamboo, Character or Circle).

You may keep 13 tiles plus a winning tile (chow, pong, kong), all of same group of tiles. This is call same suit.
see examples

You may also keep 13 tiles plus a winning tile (chow, pong, kong), all of same group with honour tiles. This is call half suit.
see examples - half suit bamboo tiles
see examples - half suit character tiles
see examples - half suit circle tiles

2. All pong or kong tiles with no chow
This involves keeping 13 tiles plus a winning tiles consisting of 4 sets of pong tiles with a pair. There is no restriction on mixture of the group of tiles. You may make a kong out of the pongs. But chow is stricly not allowed once you started to pong with mixed group tiles.
see examples

3. Other acceptable tiles.
For example,
a) Peng Orr (or Ping Hu), self drawn (1 fan) winning tiles of 4 sets of chows plus a worthless pair of mixed group (1 fan), WITH NO FLOWERS (1 fan), is acceptable within certain groups of players. Total 3 fan. Please ask the other players if it is acceptable before attempting such hand. Some groups do not accept this, so clarify before attempting.
see example

b) All tiles pong/kong of honours tiles with a last pair, also honour. (this hand is worth more than 3 fan. limit hand in fact)

In 3 fan tables, if you don't fit in any of the criterias above, it is considered 'chicken' tiles.

A note to Yahoo mahjong newcomers.

Please do not play in a 3 fan table if you are still not sure what is 3 fan. In a mild case, you may get scolding for keeping the wrong tiles. In the worst case, you may be booted out of the table. Play safe by learning first. Use the kibitz function to watch how others play.

3 Fan Hall of Fame

I have noted that quite a number of 3 fan players are really good, while some are extremely lucky. Whichever the reason, I would like to pay tribute to these people for their effort in scoring high. The high flyers well done....

Some of you graduated to playing more than 3 fan. A majority now plays 5 fan and many of u are in the ladder. For more reading on 5 fan see the link below.

Happy mahjonging.....

My Mahjong 5 Fan Rules (Advanced Fan calculation)

Yahoo mahjong (Yahoo ID required)
Yahoo mahjong directories
Yahoo score list

If you have any comment/question please email me.

Last update: 31 December 2004