To complete a game depends upon probability, skill, and luck. The rule of probability suggests:
1. A sequence set is easier to complete than a triplet.
2. A triplet of crack, bamboo, or circle has more value than a triplet of wind or dragon, because the former can be manipulated to make sequence sets.
3. Sequence sets are easier to be manipulated to increase the number of doubles.
4. One and nine are relatively difficult to make into sequences.
On the basis of the probability rule, a player should consider using the following strategies in the game.
1. Discard a single wind or dragon tile which cannot be made into a sequence.
2. Discard the single numbered tile one or nine.
3. Discard unrelated crack, bamboo, or circle tiles, such as one, four, and seven or three, six and nine. One or nine takes Precedence for discarding.
4. Discard the tiles belonging to the kind for which you have the least number.
5. Be aware of the penalty rules.
6. Avoid resorting single chance or last chance to complete the game when possible, even though it will double your score.
7. Keep open the option to complete the game.
In Mah Jong, each one is playing against all others. A player should try to complete his game first. At the same time, he should try his best not to let others have an easy chance to complete their games. Two principles should be observed. First, don't discard easily the tile other players need most. Whether to discard or not is based on observation, calculation, and guess work. For instance, numeric four, five and six are regarded the most wanted tiles. These should not be discarded without giving due consideration. Also, if two discards of the same kind have been used by the player on your right side, any further discard of the same kind should be avoided if possible. In general, a single wind or dragon tile is discarded in the early stage of a game. If, however, after ten or more rounds of drawing, a particular wind or dragon tile has not been exposed or discarded, it may well be assumed that it is a tile someone needs. A player should weigh carefully discarding that particular tile.
Secondly, a player should be flexible to develop his strategy according the "tide of tiles." Assuming. you have a hand of two-thirds of tiles of crack at the beginning of the game, you plan to make a flush hand of crack. But after ten or more rounds of drawing, you have not drawn a single tile of crack, and the player on your left has not discarded any tile of crack, you may want to think twice about pursuing your original goal of completing a flush hand of crack and change your strategy instead. A smart player watches the discards of players on both sides to redesign his strategy and calculate what hands other players may have. He watches, too, the exposed sets of every player and discards in the wall to determine the chance of getting a needed tile. Last but not least, a smart player is ready to sacrifice. If you calculate that your chance in completing a game is very unlikely, discard the tile other players need least -- try your best not to let other players complete their games easily -- even to the extent that you have to disintegrate your own sets.