Strategies on Playing Mahjong

Chinese Fan Tan

Chinese Fan Tan is a simple game and it is based on the game of Fan Tan. This game was found at gambling houses around America in the past, but since the banker has no advantage it has disappeared.

Equipment needed in Chinese Fan Tan

The necessary equipment for Chinese Fan Tan is a standard deck of cards, a joker for the betting, and betting chips of different colors so each player has their own color of chips.


China Fan Tan is developed for at least two players.


The objective of Chinese Fan Tan is for the players to guess how closely the number of cards in a particular section that is cut from the deck will divide by four.

Choice of First Banker

High cut is used to determine the first banker.

Betting Limits

The betting limits are determined before the game begins.


Betting limits won’t limit losses to the bank because more than one bet may be placed by each player. Because of this the banker must place the amount of chips he does not want to risk to the side before he takes his turn as banker. The rest of the chips will be placed in the bank. Winnings will stay in the bank for the player’s duration as banker.

Betting Layout

The betting layout includes the face up joker in the center of the table. The joker is placed so that one of the short sides will be in front of the banker. A number is assigned to each corner of the joker card. From the banker’s point of view, the card’s corners are assigned 1 to the bottom left hand corer, 2 to the top left hand corner, 3 to the top right hand corner, and 4 to the bottom right hand corner.

Bets placed on the joker’s corners are only on the number itself. Bets that are placed on the joker’s side are for the numbers of two adjacent corners. Players can bet as many bets as they want as long as they are within the betting limits. For each bet the player will place the amount of bets on the table that he is willing to risk. The same bet may be placed by more than one player and there are no bets placed by the banker.


The cards are shuffled by the player sitting to the left of the dealer and once they are well shuffled they are returned to the dealer.

Fan Tan Play

About one third of a section of cards is cut from the deck by the banker. Then, they will be counted by the banker onto the table face down and placed in groups of four cards. If four groups of four are on the table then the winning number is 4. If some cards are left over after count the cards out in fours then the amount of leftover cards is the number that wins.

Settlement of Bets

The banker collects the losing bets first and then pays out the winning bets. Bets placed on single numbers have a payout of 3 to 1. The player sitting to the left of the dealer receives his winnings first and then the banker deals the winnings to other players in turn. If the bank is emptied out before all of the winnings are able to be paid then the winning bets that cannot be paid are given back to the bettors.

Change of Banker

Before the game, the players determine how many hands the banker will be in place. Then, this player remains the banker for the agreed upon number of games unless the bank is emptied out. When the player passes his job the chips in the bank are given to this player and the bank and deal are passed on to the player to his left. If the bank is empty then the bank and deal pass immediately.


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