FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is in the field of gaming apparatus and methods, tool or accessories in the casino gambling industry. In particular, the present invention parallels the international 52 card pack, which has been used for decades for playing casino games of the West, to play a variety of new and novel casino games reflecting the civilization, culture and history of the East.
The casino gaming industry continually seeks to invent new gambling games in order to add flare to the old standbys such as Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Baccarat etc. The object is to keep the gaming interest of both the old and the new customers high in order to maintain and grow the revenues and profits for the industry. In actuality, the so-called new games surfaced in recent years are rarely new but are takeoffs from older games. For example, Caribbean Stud is based on Stud Poker. So are Let It Ride and Three Card Poker. Notwithstanding, new games are still in great demand whether or not they are really new or are just takeoffs from the older standbys.
As we, the “earth people” living in this planet, enter into the 21st century, there have been profound changes in world affairs that severely impact the well-being of our society. One can list a number of such events that led to those changes. But among them three really stand out. The first event has to be the end of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States which led indirectly to the breakup of the Soviet Empire. This event has changed many lives, both within and without the former Soviet Union. Many people living formerly under the Soviet rule are today enjoying their political freedom for the first time after many decades. More importantly they have now become productive and free citizens once again in their new environments leading to significant economical gain because of their entrepreneurship and hard work.
The second event has to be the advent of the Internet starting as early as in the late 1970s. Although it took more than two decades including the notorious “WWW or World Wide Wait” period instead of “World Wide Web” for its ridiculously slow services in the beginning, and a gigantic bubble burst in the capital investment community shortly after the turn of the last century to prove to everybody that it is indeed one of the most important events that has taken place. Indeed the Internet, together with the tremendous advances in the silicon chip and the computer software technologies during the past two decades have literally ushered the world into the so-called Information Age. Today virtually everything in private and public commerce is done on the Internet leading to an unprecedented productivity gain in many sectors of industry. It is primarily a direct result of the dawning of this Information Age discussed above that has led to the third event as elucidated below.
The third event could broadly be described as globalization, meaning simply that all activities involving international commerce, trade, finance, communication and production of goods and services are taking place irrespective of continental, national or geographical boundaries as long as they are done in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. The direct consequence of globalization is that goods and services are much cheaper than before because of the immense gain in overall productivity. In other words, countries that possess plenty of cheap labor will automatically be given the opportunity to produce goods or to perform services that are needed worldwide. This globalization has led to a significance rise in the standard of living for almost all countries during the past decade, especially those in the third world. However, globalization is a two-edged sword. Whereas some countries like China and India, whose economies have been benefited tremendously by the effects of globalization, other countries like the US, European Union countries and even Japan have suffered significant negative effects like the loss of employment and the closing down of many factories that are no longer competitive in the world scene. Globalization is today an on-going process and nobody knows for sure what will eventually become of our world. One thing, however, is amply clear. China is presently experiencing a strong rise in its economical fortune.
During the past two decades, as more and more affluent Chinese and Asian gamblers, a direct result of globalization discussed above, came to Las Vegas and Atlantic City to play, there has been a growing sense of opportunity for the casinos to come up with new games in order to attract the attention of these new customers. Common sense will have it that if these new games could be devised based upon the cultural folklores and ancient concepts that the Chinese and Asian revere, such as Yin Yang (two opposing forces) and Feng Shui (wind and water), the chance of these new games being enthusiastically accepted by the new comers will be greatly enhanced. Furthermore, if these new games could blend the old and popular Chinese gambling games such as Mahjongg, Tin Gau, Sic Bo and Fan Tan (the so-called “Big Four”), with the traditional Western style gambling games such as Roulette, Poker, Blackjack etc., the so-called gaming fusion of the East and West, then the chance of success should even be greater.
While the need to create new games for casinos in the U.S., based upon the fusion of the culture and gambling methods of both the East and the West, is pretty much a no-brainer, its realization might not be as simple as one is led to believe. However, it can clearly be done if innovation and prudence are brought to bear in reaching this goal. It is quite apparent that the single most important gambling tool or instrument that anchors many of the traditional Western gambling games is the international 52-card pack. The many versions of the poker games such as Texas Hold'em, 5-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud (Hi/Lo), Draw Poker etc. and many of the so-called new games such as “Spanish 21”, “Caribbean Stud”, “three Card Poker” etc. all use the international 52-card pack to play the games. In addition to the poker game, the vastly popular Blackjack and the new game of “Let It Ride” also uses the international 52-card pack to play them. Finally, the important game of Baccarat, the favorite of the high rollers, also uses the international 52-card pack to play the game. Apart from the international 52-card pack, the wheel and the small ball used in the playing of Roulette and the two dices used in the playing of Craps are dedicated to their respective specific games and are therefore different both in function and applicability to the international 52-card pack.
It is well known that over centuries the Chinese love to play the games of chance or to put it simply, they love to gamble. Gambling is literally in their blood, so to say, just as the Irish love visiting their neighborhood pub for a drink of beer after work prior to going home. As mentioned earlier, the traditional gambling games in the East for the Chinese are the so-called “Big Four”, namely Mahjongg, Tin Gau, Sic Bo and Fan Tan. Both the Mahjongg and the Tin Gau games have their special set of tiles dedicated to playing the game and they are therefore unique. One uses three dice to play the Sic Bo game and just a big pile of beans or pebbles and a “pick” to play the Fan Tan game. What is conspicuously missing in the East is the counterpart of the West's 52-card pack which anchors many favorite Western gambling games. As alluded to earlier, in order to fully grasp the marketing opportunity that more and more affluent Chinese and Asians will be visiting Las Vegas and Atlantic city in the coming years, casino operators are keen to score one or more “winner” games for the visitors. The current inventor recognizes this unique opportunity and captures it by devising a novel Chinese style poker deck called the “Chinese Poker Deck” whose construct reflects not only its Western origin, but also allows the permeation of the culture and thinking of the East into same through the use of one of the “Big Four” gambling games, namely the Mahjongg.
It is clear from the discussion above that a Chinese Poker Deck has to be invented, or created from scratch, but based upon the Eastern cultural thinking and concept of the original Western 52-card pack in order to take full advantage of the affluent Chinese and Asian gamblers visiting Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the coming years. It is without argument that Mahjongg is by far the most popular gambling game in China and the Far East for at least several hundred years. Thus it is prudent that a portion of the unique tiles of the Mahjongg set is used as a basis for forming the Chinese Poker Deck. Because of the fact that most Chinese and Asians are already quite familiar with and knowledgeable in playing Mahjongg, they naturally would be able to recognize the various special tiles of the game without much difficulty. As a matter of fact, most Chinese have already known for years the entire set of Mahjongg tiles by heart since their adulthood. During the early '50s, there were Mahjongg parlors in most major casinos in Las Vegas to accommodate small numbers of gamblers from China and the Far East. But due to the small operating profits obtained by casinos from these Mahjongg parlors, most of them started to disappear from the Las Vegas gambling scene in the early '70s. By the early '80s in Las Vegas, Mahjongg parlors became nothing but a fond memory of the past. Still, Mahjongg continues to be the number one family gambling game in Asia, particular in China. Although officially no gambling is allowed within the People's Republic of China, because people love to play this game so much that the playing of Mahjongg has been tacitly allowed since the communists took over China back in 1949 and such is still prevailing today.
It is difficult to imagine a Chinese who is indifferent to Feng Shui—the age old Chinese concept of associating harmony with luck and good fortune! Feng Shui in Chinese means wind and water. Its origin dates back several thousand years to ancient China. The geography of that vast land requires careful consideration when constructing a building since the mountain winds can be severe and the lower areas are prone to flooding. Thus for the ancient Chinese, Feng Shui literally means “luck engineering”. However, the ancient Chinese did not consider luck as synonymous with chance. To them luck was opportunity and they believed that even if presented with opportunity, many of us do not act and grasp it with both hands. Today Feng Shui remains as both a fascinating and a revered living concept for the Chinese. They not only believe in Feng Shui, but also strive to improve it whenever and wherever possible in order to increase their opportunity, thereby enhancing their luck in whatever they are doing.
Practically speaking, this Chinese folk culture of Feng Shui could therefore be interpreted as an “art of professional placement” or “opportunity engineering”. For the modern Chinese, it is most important for them to seek harmony with Feng Shui, meaning for them to find or identify opportunities for themselves and then to pursue them. The five opportunities most recognized with Feng Shui by the Chinese are 1) Longevity; 2) Luck; 3) Wealth; 4) Health and 5) Fertility. Every Chinese is advised to constantly seek out these opportunities in the hope that they can be realized by executing the right strategies.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, in addition to using a portion of the Mahjongg set to form the Chinese Poker Deck, the incorporation of the concept of Feng Shui into it is equally important and opportunistic in order to blend in the cultural folklore of the Chinese people into this new deck of cards. The novel approach to selecting a portion of the Mahjongg tiles set and the Feng Shui parameters into the Chinese Poker Deck, together with the detailed description of the present invention and its preferred embodiments, will be made in the following paragraphs along with the help of the accompanying drawings.
The present invention is generally directed to a novel deck of 52 cards named the “Chinese Poker Deck” that has: (1) 27 cards made up of three sets of nine cards, each of which bears a different designation representing the numbers 1 through 9 and a suit designation selected from circles, bamboo and script; (2) another 20 twenty cards bearing a designation associated with the number 10 made up of the four wind directions, East (“E”) , South (“S”), West (“W”) and North (“N”), plus a Green Dragon (“GD”), there being four identical cards in these five categories; and (3) an additional 5 cards, each of which bears a designation associated with the number 11 and a unique Feng Shui parameter designation (such as longevity, luck, wealth, health and fertility), the Feng Shui cards being ranked in value for certain uses from F1 to F5.
In a separate group of aspects of the present invention, a method is disclosed for playing Poker-like games using the Chinese Poker deck in which a hierarchical ranking for cards in the deck is assigned, in descending order, as follows: F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, GD, E, S, W, N, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, and then this ranking is used for determining who is the winner of the game.
In another, separate group of aspects of the present invention, a method is disclosed for playing a new game called LO SHU using the Chinese Poker Deck. In LO SHU, the player(s) and the dealer are dealt three cards, with two of the cards dealt to the dealer facing down and one of the cards dealt to the dealer facing up. Similar to Blackjack, the player(s) select one or more cards, before any additional cards are dealt to the dealer, until all players stand or bust, unless a player's initial cards are all 10s (i.e., selected from the group consisting of E, S, W, N and GD), in which case the player instantly wins. If a player stands, the dealer's down cards are revealed and the dealer must continue to take additional cards until the dealer busts or the unit digit sum of the dealer's cards is five or less (unless the dealer has 3 10 cards, in which case the dealer wins). A bust occurs when a hand has any combination of three 10 or F cards. The winning hand between a dealer and a player, assuming no busts, is the hand with the lowest unit digit sum.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a new deck of cards called the Chinese Poker Deck and new methods of playing games using this deck.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
This and further objects and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art in connection with the drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment set forth below.
FIG. 1. The currently invented Chinese Poker Deck.
FIG. 2. The point numbering convention for both the traditional poker deck and the Chinese Poker Deck.
FIG. 3. Tabulation of point values for three-card hands from the presently invented Chinese Poker Deck for playing the game of LO SHU.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 4. The ranking of the cards in both the traditional poker deck and the presently invented Chinese Poker Deck.
In accordance with the present invention, a new deck of cards is disclosed that can be used for a variety of different games, some of which are also described herein. The new deck of cards is referred to as the Chinese Poker Deck™ because, like a traditional poker deck (i.e., a deck of 52 cards, having four suits-clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades-each of which has 13 cards comprised of 2-10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace), it uses 52 cards, but the cards integrate various aspects of traditional Chinese games and culture. The result is a novel deck that allows the East to meet the West, and vice versa.
The Chinese Poker Deck is comprised of 27 numbered cards in three suits and 25 additional non-suit cards as shown in FIG. 1. The 27 numbered cards 1 are divided into three groups or suits—circles 2, bamboos 3 and scripts 4—each of which has nine cards numbered from 1 to 9. The 25 additional non-suit cards 5 are divided into 16 wind cards 6 (which is subdivided into four groups representing East 7, South 8, West 9 and North 10 winds, and each wind has four identical cards), 4 Green Dragon cards 11 (each of which is identical) and 5 Feng Shui cards 12. The 5 Feng Shui cards 12 are ranked from 1 to 5, 1 being the highest, and each bears a unique Feng Shui parameter designation which, in an especially preferred embodiment, represents, from 1 to 5, respectively, Longevity, Luck, Wealth, Health and Fertility. The wind and dragon cards might be compared to face cards in a traditional poker deck in that each such card is assigned a value of 10 in games in which the cards need to have a number value, such as in the game of Blackjack, while the five Feng Shui cards are assigned a value of 11 in such games.
The incorporation of the three suits of circles 2, bamboos 3 and scripts 4 into the Chinese Poker Deck ties the deck to the traditional Chinese game of Mahjongg which uses the same three suits. Similarly, Mahjongg also uses the four winds as well as dragons (typically green, red and white). However, unlike Mahjongg, the Chinese Poker Deck uses such symbols and designations in a new context, i.e., the context of a deck of 52 cards. Thus, the Chinese Poker Deck at one invokes a certain feeling of familiarity to one familiar with Mahjongg, while the 52 card deck also invokes a certain feeling of familiarity to one familiar with the traditional poker deck (international 52-card pack).
The Chinese Poker Deck departs from any similarity to Mahjongg by the addition of the five Feng Shui cards 5 (see FIG. 1) which are not found in Mahjongg. Because of the pull of Feng Shui in the Chinese and Eastern culture, even though Feng Shui is not incorporated into Mahjongg, its addition to the Chinese Poker Deck brings an additional type of familiarity to those familiar with its precepts. In addition, because there are 5 such cards, it allows the Chinese Poker Deck to be perfectly rounded out to 52 cards so as to maintain the same number of cards found in the traditional poker deck.
The ramifications of the Chinese Poker Deck are profound. The Chinese Poker Deck can be used to play traditional Western poker games, although the odds and some of the rules (such as values or ordering of hands) will necessarily have to be changed to adapt to the new composition of the deck. While this by itself is interesting, and offers new flavors and variants of games, such could be said for any change to the traditional deck of cards. However, because the Chinese Poker Deck also incorporates ideas found in Mahjongg, it can also be used to play new games that might be analogized as variants of Mahjongg, even though they are totally novel variants in a new medium. And, with the incorporation of the Feng Shui cards, the Chinese Poker Deck opens up totally new possibilities and allows persons familiar with the precepts of Feng Shui to connect with such possibilities on a whole new level. Finally, because all of these variants can be played with the same deck, as one begins playing any of the many games that are possible with the Chinese Poker Deck, one becomes familiar with the new deck, and possibly becomes more open to playing other games with the same deck. In this way, a person familiar with Western games may be drawn to more Eastern types of games, and vice versa, thus creating an intersection of the two cultures in a single deck of cards.
To better illustrate the novelty and usefulness of the Chinese Poker Deck, instructions will now be given for four novel games that have been invented that use the Chinese Poker Deck—Lo Shu™, Pa Kua Poker™, Dragon Poker™ and Mahjongg Junior™.
The first novel game that will be described is called Lo Shu. It is perhaps closest to Blackjack in terms of its play, but it also has elements of Baccarat, all in a totally new, and fun, format.
The Playing Rules of LO SHU™
- Set up like Blackjack, one dealer playing against one or more players.
- Each player, including dealer, is dealt 3 cards (one card per round), all facing down with the exception of dealer's last card which is dealt face-up.
- Like Baccarat, the unit digit of the sum of the 3 cards is the point value of the 3-card hand. For example, unit digit 4 of sum 24 is the point value.
- Contrary to Baccarat, the lowest point value “0” is the highest.
- Only hand to beat “0” hand is “LO SHU” or 3“10” cards.
- Player can select to get more cards (“hit”) to improve his or her hand without limit until “Busted” at which point he or she must show all cards and loses the hand.
- “Busted” in LO SHU is when a player's hand has more than 3 cards but with 3“10” or “11” cards in the player's possession.
- Dealer must stand (no hits) when the point value of his cards is “5” or better.
- Any player who gets 3 “10” cards before any “hit” or “LO SHU” wins first and with a bonus of 50% of bet. There is no draw in “LO SHU” hands.
- Any player who “Busted” first loses. There is no draw in “Busted” hands.
- If both the dealer and a player do not bust and have the same unit digit sum, it is a draw or push (nobody wins).
FIG. 2 shows the point numbering system for both the West (international 52-card pack) and the East (Chinese Poker Deck) deck. FIG. 3 shows the tabulation of point values for three-card hands from the presently invented Chinese Poker Deck for playing the game of LO SHU.
The second novel game that will be described is called Pa Kua Poker. It is perhaps closest to poker in terms of its play, but it has some variants.
The Playing Rules of Pa Kua Poker™
- A fully dealt Pa Kua Poker hand has 7 cards. One card is dealt first, followed by 2 cards, and then followed by 4 rounds of a single card each.
- Pa Kua hands used to determine a winner comprise 1-, 2- or 3-card hands and not a 5-card hand as in Western Poker.
- Pa Kua Poker has six rounds of betting starting with a 1-card hand bet followed by 4 2-card hand bets and ending up with a final 3-card hand bet.
- For the first 5 bets, the winner takes only half the bet money for a particular round and the other half goes to the pot.
- The winner of the final 3-card hand wins the entire pot.
- With the exception of the first 1-card hand, a player can show any 2 cards (open face) in the player's possession to win any 2-card rounds.
- A player does not have to show any cards during any 1-card or 2-card rounds if the player calls (matches the last bet) but later admits losing that particular round.
- For the final 3-card round, player can show any 3 cards in the player's possession.
- For Pa Kua Poker, there is no “straight”, “flush” or “straight flush”.
- Player can quit at any round of the game and loses all bet money including the ante.
In determining what 2-card or 3-card hand is a winner, a hierarchical ranking for cards in the deck, in descending order, is as follows: F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, GD, E, S, W, N, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 (see FIG. 4). In dealing with pairs or triplets, the hierarchical ranking follows that for the single card as depicted in FIG. 4. Thus any pair or triplet of the Feng Shui parameters (F1 through F5) is higher than that for the GD and so on. This same ranking scheme can also be used in other poker like games.
The third novel game, called Dragon Poker, is described in the following rules of play.
The Playing Rules of Dragon Poker™
Dragon Poker can be played by 2-4 players using the Chinese Poker Deck™. This game takes the features from both the Western Poker game (5 or 7 cards Stud) and also the popular Chinese game of Mahjongg. As such, it is a very unique game and can be played only with the Chinese Poker Deck.
Playing Principles of the Game
Players of this game try to build up a certain hand or combination of cards like Mahjongg from the player's collection of six cards in order to win. Players take turns to deal the six cards to the other players one at a time. Before dealing, all players have to pay the ante of one unit. The first player on the dealer's left gets dealt first and then the dealing goes around in a clockwise direction. Very rarely will any player be dealt a winning hand of six cards right from the beginning. If so, the game ends abruptly and every player pays the winner a predetermined number of winning units (see below). In addition, the winning player also gets to win the pot.
The remaining non-dealt cards are left as a deck and are placed somewhere near the pot and in a location most easily reached by all players. Assuming that nobody wins after the first dealing of six cards, the player who was dealt first has the right to exchange any number of the player's 6 cards up to a maximum of three. For every card that the player wishes to exchange the player has to put one unit into the pot. For example, if the player wishes to exchange the maximum of three cards, then the player has to put 3 units into the pot. The player puts his or her to-be exchanged number of cards (1 to 3) face down to start a second deck of cards somewhere near the pot and accessible to all players. The player receives the new cards from the original deck of remaining cards starting from the top.
Then it is the turn for the player on the player's left to exchange cards. This goes on until all players have completed their first round of exchange. If during or after the first round of exchanges has been completed, one of the players obtains a winning hand, then the game ends and each of the other players has to pay the winner a predetermined number of units (see below). The winner also wins the pot.
This will go on until 1) there are less than 3 cards left in the original deck at the end of an exchange by a player or 2) one of the players obtains a winning hand.
For case #1 mentioned above, the exchanged deck together with the remaining cards from the original deck will be shuffled by the dealer and cut by another player and then put back as a new exchange deck of cards near the deck. The exchange of cards continues for the players until case #2 mentioned takes place. The game ends and dependent upon the winning hand of the winner, each of the other players has to pay the winner a bonus (see below) in addition to the winner keeping the pot.
Tallying the Winnings for the Winner
- 1. If any of the players obtains any of the possible winning hands (see below) immediately after the dealing of the first round of 6 cards, each of the other players has to pay that player 100 units. If one or more of the players simultaneously obtain a winning hand under this circumstance, the player with the higher class of winning hands (see below) will be the winner.
- 2. If any of the players obtains any of the possible winning hands (see below) during the first round of card exchange, each of the other players has to pay that player 50 units. There cannot be more than one winner in this case because of the sudden death rule, namely whoever amasses a winning hand first wins.
- 3. If any player wins with a Class 0 hand (see below), that player will collect no additional winning bonus from the other players other than just winning the pot.
- 4. If any player wins with a Class 1 hand (see below), that player will collect an additional one-half of the pot value from each player as bonus.
- 5. If any player wins with a Class 2 hand (see below), that player will collect an additional full pot value from each player as bonus.
- 6. If any player wins with a Class 3 hand (see below), each player has to pay that player an additional 100 units as bonus.
Definitions for the Classes of Winning Hands
- This hand comprises the cards [Any F or Feng Shui card, F1-F5], GD, E, S, W, and N.
- This hand comprises two noncontiguous suit sequences of 3 from the same suit.
- This hand comprises two contiguous suit sequences of 3 from the same suit.
- This hand comprises all five of the Feng Shui cards, namely F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5.
The fourth novel game, called Mahjongg Junior, is described in the following rules of play.
The Playing Rules of Mahjongg Junior™
This game can be played by 2-4 players using the Chinese Poker Deck. In general this game is played almost exactly like the regular Mahjongg game but with the following exceptions:
- Because the Chinese Poker Deck only has 52 cards or tiles instead of the usual 136, the set is simplified with the following changes:
- There is only ONE each of the three suits, namely Circles [C], Bamboos [B] and Scripts [S] for a total of 27 cards or tiles.
- There is only the Green Dragon [GD] in this game and no Red nor White Dragons, for a total of only 4 cards.
- There are the usual East [E], South [S], West [W] and North [N] winds, four each for a total of 16 cards.
- Finally, five Feng Shui parameter cards have been added, F1 to F5, respectively representing Longevity, Wealth, Health, Luck and Fertility.
- Because of the 52 cards, the usual Mahjongg hand of 13 tiles is reduced to 7 Cards and the winning hand has 8 cards instead of the usual 14 in regular Mahjongg.
- The makeup of the winning hand for the Junior is in principle exactly the same as the regular Mahjongg comprising 2 triplets (three of a kind or a suit sequence) and a pair (eyes) instead of 4 triplets and a pair (eyes).
- There is one peculiar winning hand in the Mahjongg Junior game not available in regular Mahjongg and that is the so-called “Gar Yiu Gau” (GYG) or “Fake Yiu Gau” instead of the real one in the regular Mahjongg. This winning “Gar Yiu Gau” (GYG) hand is composed as follows:
- Seven distinct cards from either F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, GD, E, S, W, N, C1, C9, B1, B9, S1 or S9 card and a pair of eyes formed by having a duplicate card from the above list. For example, a winning GYG hand could be composed of cards F1, E, S, W, C1, B9, S1 plus another S to form the pair of eyes.
- This GYG winning hand represents the easiest hand to score and therefore is of the lowest winning value. It is often used as a strategy to get one out of a period of bad luck or not scoring or as a defensive play against some other player or players having a high-scoring hand.
How the Game is Played (Identical to regular Mahjongg)
- 1. Assuming that there are 4 players playing this game, the first order of business as in the regular Mahjongg game is to throw 2 dice to decide who is going to be the first banker (The East wind position). Dice number counting is always counterclockwise for Mahjongg.
Thus, the player to the right of the banker (East) would be the South wind position.
- 2. The banker shuffles the cards and haves them cut by another player before dealing or distributing each player one at a time with 7 cards but the banker with 8. This is the first hand of the “East” or first round of plays.
- 3. The banker first discards one of his or her 8 cards face-up unless the banker has a scoring hand (very rare), i.e. either the GYG hand, 2 triplets plus a pair (eye) or five Feng Shui cards (even rarer) [see below].
- 4. This discarded card can either be 1) ignored by other players; 2) picked up by the South player by using it to form any suit sequence of 3, an operation called “Tsee” ; 3) picked up by any player to form a three-of-a-kind, an operation called “Pung” or 4) picked up by any player to score.
- 5. If the discarded card is ignored, then it is the South player's turn to draw a card from the top of the remaining deck. The South player then discards one of his or her cards unless the player has a scoring hand. The fate possibilities for this discarded card follow those stipulated in item #4 above.
- 6. Following 2) of item #4 that East's discarded card is picked by a player in any wind position, e.g. South, to form a suit sequence of three (“Tsee”), South has to display this suit sequence face-up in front of him or her and discards one of the remaining 5 cards and is left with 4 cards afterwards. Then it is West's turn (opposite East) to draw a card followed by discarding one.
- 7. Following 3) of item #4 that East's discarded card is picked up by any of the three other players to form a three-of-a kind (“Pung”). The 3-of-a-kind triplet has to be displayed face-up in front of the player who “Punged” and followed by discarding one of his or her remaining cards. Afterwards it is the turn of the player to the right to draw a card.
- 8. Following 4) of item #4 that East's discarded card is picked up by any of the three other players to score. When this happens, that particular hand of the game is over and the amount of the winning is tallied up (see below) to be paid by the non-scoring players to the scoring player.
- 9. If the East player scores, then he or she will continue to be banker and another hand will start following the steps described in items #1-8. As long as the East player continues to score, the East player will remain as the banker until one of the other three players scores.
- 10. If East does not score, then it is the South's turn to be the banker and another hand starts following the steps described in items #1-8. This will be the second hand of the “East” or first round of plays.
- 11. When it is the “West” turn to be the banker, it will be the third hand or play of the “East” round. Finally, a four-hand “East” round will end and East will become the banker again to start the second or “South” round of plays. In general custom, the Mahjongg game is played in multiple units of “4-round” (namely East, South, West and North) events. The 4-round and 8-round events are particularly popular and common to play.
Other Occurrences During the Play
- 1. When a player has already a 3-of-a-kind triplet in his or her hand and obtains the fourth either by drawing during the player's turn or through a discard by the other players, he or she can display the quadruplet face-up and then draw a card from the bottom of the deck of remaining cards before giving up the turn of play to the player to the right.
- 2. When a player discards a card scored by one of the other players, the player is responsible for paying also the winning liabilities incurred by the other two players in addition to his or her own.
- 3. When a player scores after drawing a card during his or her turn, all players are liable for the player's own winning indebtedness to the scorer.
- 4. When a player officially declares that he or she scores but actually does not because of a mistake or oversight, the player is responsible for paying the other players the top winning liability (128 units) allowed for by the game.
- 5. The player's right to score through the discarded card is according to the player's position with respect to the banker (East) in a counterclockwise direction. Thus the player to the right of the banker (or South) has the right to score first followed by the West player (sitting opposite the banker) and the North player etc. Only 25 one player can score at any one time.
- 6. A player is allowed to pick up two discarded cards to form two triplets (3-of-a-kind or suit sequence of 3) and left with only one card. In this case, the player is looking for another card to match his in order to make a pair (eyes) to score.
There are several scoring conventions for Mahjongg and none is universal. Different players might wish to adhere to different scoring conventions but they have to unanimous before starting. The following is recommended for the Mahjongg Junior.
- 1. The lowest scoring hand is the “Gar Yiu Gau” (GYG) or Class 0 and is worth one unit of winning for regular players and double or two units for the banker. In other words, if the banker scores, all the other players have to pay 2 units. If a player other than the banker scores, only the banker has to pay 2 units.
- 2. Any time a player scores via drawing the player's own card, the winning value of the player's hand is worth double. Thus if a banker scores a GYG via drawing his or her own card, everybody has to pay the player 4 units. Similarly if a player other than the banker scores by drawing his or her own card, the banker pays that player 4 units while the non-bankers pay 2 units.
- 3. The next higher value hand is either (pair of eyes implied):
- 3-of-a-kind Triplet plus any suit sequence of 3, or
- Any two suit sequences of 3 but not in the same suit
- Each hand is Class 2 and is worth 4 units of winning. Scoring by self-drawing doubles to 8 units. If the banker scores, the winning is doubled again to 16 units.
- 4. The next higher hand is any two 3-of-a-kind triplets or Class 3 (pair of eyes implied). It is worth 8 units of winning. Scoring by self-drawing doubles to 16 units. If the banker scores, the winning is doubled again to 32 units.
- 5. The next hand representing the highest winning hand or Class 6 and is worth 64 units of winning. Scoring by self-drawing doubles to 128 units. If the banker scores, the winning is doubled again to 256 units. The Class 6 hands are:
- Five Feng Shui parameter cards in the scoring hand. No pair of eyes needed.
- Two sequences of 3 in the same suit, and a pair of eyes needed to score.
- 5. In addition, 3-of-a-kind triplet of GD adds one class of winning to any winning hand. Thus if the scoring hand is two 3-of-a-kind triplets and a pair and one set of triplet happens to be GD, then it becomes a Class 4 hand worth 16 units of winning.
- 6. Other wind direction cards, namely E, S, W and N may also improve the winning hand by one or two classes dependent on the location of the player and the round of play. For example, a triplet of E for the banker (East) is worth one class more and the same triplet for the banker during the East round is worth two classes more to his winning hand. Similarly, if the banker is East, then a triplet of W is worth an extra class for the West player. It would be worth two extra classes more if it happens to be also at the West round of play. The same holds true for triplets of S and N too respectively for the same situations with the South and North players.
Playing with Only 2 or 3 Players
Generally speaking, Mahjongg is best enjoyed when there are 4 players to play the game. However, Mahjongg can also be played by either 2 or 3 players. All the rules for playing the Mahjongg Junior described above apply equally.
While the invention has been described herein with reference to certain preferred embodiments, those embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and not to limit the scope of the invention. Additional embodiments thereof will be obvious to those skilled in the art having the benefit of this detailed description. Further modifications are also possible in alternative embodiments without departing from the inventive concept. For example, just like there are many variants on the game of poker, there can be many variants to the play, rules and characteristics of the games set forth in this disclosure, and many more games can be invented and played with the Chinese Poker Deck.
Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that still further changes and modifications in the actual concepts described herein can readily be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed inventions as defined by the following claims.