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Mahjong yaku

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Yaku are hand patterns and/or luck situations in rīchi mahjong. To win a hand, besides it being a complete hand, it must have at least one scoring element, known as a yaku. Each yaku has an assigned han value which is used for scoring. This guarantees a scoring minimum and usually requires an additional element of skill in forming the hand. Dora tiles don't count as yaku and they only increase han value.

A hand can have multiple yaku and their han values are cumulative up to 13, the han value of a yakuman. In other words, the yaku patterns may be combined in a single hand to earn multiple yakus. Part of the strategy in mahjong is centered on maximizing this yaku count.

Many yaku require that the hand be closed. A closed hand contains no called tiles, however, taking the winning tile from another player's discard is acceptable. If no requirement is stated, the hand can be open or closed and the yaku is worth the same number of han in either case.

Some of the yaku require that there isn't an interruption, meaning that there are no called tiles nor are there any declarations of a kan, including a closed a kan, in a specific go-around.

Viewers and readers are encouraged to eventually learn all of the yaku. The earlier yaku in the list occur most frequently in real life games and should be learned first, along with the addition of rinshan kaihō and haitei raoyue. The Japanese names of the yaku are written in rōmaji to make them appear and sound like English. Viewers should hear Saki Miyanaga say rinshan kaihō several times. English equivalent names are given for easier understanding of the yaku that aren't said often in the anime, and for communicating these yaku to others when playing other variations of mahjong.

Yaku worth one han

Rīchi, riichi
Completing a hand after betting on a closed tenpai hand. "Ready hand" is a rarely used English name for this yaku.
A player with a hand in closed tenpai has the option of declaring rīchi. Rīchi can't be declared when a player's hand is open. The player calls out rīchi, which warns the other players of the hand's status as being in tenpai.
The player places the discard tile sideways in the discard pile. This keeps track of when a rīchi is declared. If the tile is called, the player places the next discard tile sideways.
In addition, the player places a 1000-point stick rīchi bet on the table. If the rīchi discard tile is ronned, the rīchi bet is invalid and returned to the bettor (unless it wasn't the first tile the bettor discarded sideways). The winner of a hand receives any rīchi bets, including any carry over rīchi bets. If it's a draw, any rīchi bets carry over to the next hand and are placed near the counters.
Besides earning a yaku, a player who wins after declaring rīchi turns over the ura-dora indicator tiles(s). These are tiles in the dead-wall underneath already revealed dora indicator tile(s). Thus, rīchi gives players a chance to gain additional dora. Also, since rīchi is a yaku itself, a player with a zero yaku hand often gains the option of claiming ron to win a hand.
A player in rīchi can't change her hand. Every tile the player draws must be discarded unless she declares a win, or in some rare cases a kan may be declared. To be able to declare a kan, the player's wait(s) for a winning tile cannot be changed, or else it results in a chombo penalty.
If the player passes on a ron, the player becomes permanently furiten.
Ippatsu, one-shot
+1 han when winning in the first go-around after the bet was made, including the bettor's next draw. The go-around must be uninterrupted.
Daburu, double
+1 han when declaring rīchi in the first go-around after getting the initial thirteen tiles. The first go-around is considered over if it's interrupted.
Menzen tsumo, all self-drawn hand
Completing a closed hand with a self-drawn tile.
Tanyao, all simples hand
A hand that has only number tiles in the 2 through 8 range. In Saki, this hand may be open or closed. Some rulesets may restrict this hand to closed only.
Example
RyanzouRyanzouRyanzouUupinRyuupinUuwanUuwanUuwanRyuuwanChiiwanPaawanChiisouChiisou Chiipin
Pinfu, minimal fu hand
A closed hand that has only the starting fu for winning. Thus, the four melds must be runs, the hand must be won on a two-sided wait, and it must have a valueless pair. Value pairs include dragons, the player's seat wind, and the prevailing wind. The hand's fu value will be either 20 or 30.
Example
RyuusouChiisouPassouRyanwanSanwanSuuwanChiipinPaapinChuupinUuwanRyuuwanUusouUusou Suuwan

Mentanpin is shorthand for a combination of menzen tsumo, tanyao, and pinfu.

Fanpai/yakuhai, dragon triplet
A hand that has a dragon triplet/kan. The hand receives one han per dragon triplet/kan, regardless of whether the meld is open or closed.
Example
PassouPassouPassouRyanpinSanpinSuupinSanzouSuusouUusouChunChunChunChiiwan Chiiwan
Fanpai/yakuhai, wind triplet
A hand that has the player's seat-wind or the prevailing-wind triplet/kan. The hand receives one han per qualifying wind triplet/kan, regardless of whether the meld is open or closed. The yaku is worth two han when both the seat and prevailing winds coincide.
Example
ChiipinPaapinChuupinSuuwanSuuwanSuuwanUusouRyuusouChiisouTonTonTonIipin Iipin
Iipeikō, two identical runs
A closed hand that has two of the same sequences in one suit.
Example
SanpinSanpinSuupinSuupinUupinUupinSuusouSuusouSuusouRyanwanSanwanPePe Iiwan
Sanshoku doujun, three matching runs
A hand that has a run in each of the three suits consisting of the same three numbers.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
SuusouUusouRyuusouSuuwanUuwanRyuuwanSuupinUupinRyuupinRyanpinRyanpinChuupinChuupin Ryanpin
Ikki tsūkan(Ittsū), pure straight
A hand that has exactly the sequences 1-2-3, 4-5-6 and 7-8-9 in one suit.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
IiwanRyanwanSanwanSuuwanUuwanRyuuwanChiiwanPaawanChuuwanHakuHakuUusouRyuusou Chiisou
Honchan taiyaochū(Chanta), outside hand
A hand that has all of the melds and the pair contain at least one honor or terminal tile. There is at least one run and at least one honor tile.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
NanNanChiiwanPaawanIisouRyanzouSanzouIipinIipinIipinChiipinPaapinChuupin Chuuwan
Haitei raoyue, last wall draw
Completing a hand with the wall's last tile. This hand means "scooping the moon's reflection from the sea".
Hōtei raoyui, last discard
Completing a hand with the discarded tile from the player who drew the wall's last tile. This hand means "scooping fishes from the riverbed".
Rinshan kaihou, dead-wall draw
Completing a hand with a self-drawn kan replacement tile. This hand means "flowers blooming on top of a mountain".
Chankan, robbing a kan
Completing a hand with another player's kan tile. This yaku only applies to added quads. When another player has an open triplet, has/draws the fourth matching tile, and declares a kan, that discarded-like tile can immediately be subject to ron. Also, when another player has a hidden quad and declares a kan, one of those tiles can be immediately ronned to complete the "Thirteen Orphans" hand. Winning by chankan is considered to be same as winning by ron except that it includes a yaku.

Yaku worth two han

Hon iisō(Honitsu), half flush
A hand that has honor tiles and tiles from only one suit.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
IipinIipinIipinSuupinUupinRyuupinChiipinPaapinShaShaShaHatsuHatsu Ryuupin
Toitoihō(Toitoi), four triplets
A hand that has four triplets/kans. If the hand is closed, see also san ankō or Sū Ankō.
Example
SuusouSuusouSuusouChiipinChiipinPePe Pe PaawanPaawanPaawan1 Sanwan1SanwanSanwan
Chiitoitsu, seven pairs hand
A (closed) hand that has seven pairs. All seven pairs must be distinct, that is, no hidden quads are allowed. This is one of two nonstandard complete hands. The fu value of this hand is always 25 and it has a unique set of point values.
Example
UusouUusouIipinIipinChuusouChuusouTonTonSuupinRyanwanRyanwanRyuusouRyuusou Suupin
San ankō, three self-drawn triplets
A hand that has three triplets/kans from only self-drawn tiles, not called nor ronned tiles. If any of the three melds is a kan, it must have been declared from a previously hidden quad. The hand itself can be open or closed.
Example
ChuupinChuupinChuupinSuusouSuusouSuusouRyuuwanRyuuwanRyuuwanRyanwanSanwanChunChun Iiwan
Junchan taiyaochū(Junchan), terminal in all melds
A hand that has all of the melds and the pair contain terminal tiles and there is at least one run. This hand is similar to chanta, except that no honor tiles are included.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
ChuusouChuusouIipinRyanpinChiisouPassouChuusouIiwanRyanwanSanwanIisouIisouIisou Sanpin
Sanshoku doukō, three matching triplets
A hand that has a triplet/kan in each of the three suits with one number in common.
Example
UupinUupinUupinUusouUusouUusouUuwanUuwanUuwanIisouRyanzouTonTon Sanzou
San kantsu, three kans
A hand that has three called and/or declared quads.
Example
NanNanRyuuwanChiiwan Uuwan ChuuwanChuuwan1ChuuwanChuuwan BackHakuHakuBack Iiwan1IiwanIiwanIiwan

Yaku worth three han

Ryanpeikō, two identical runs twice
A closed hand that has two sets of two of the same sequences in one suit. The two han for the two sets of two identical runs are already included in the han value.
Example
SanzouSanzouSuusouSuusouUusouUusouChiiwanChiiwanPaawanPaawanChuuwanChuuwanHaku Haku

Yaku worth four han

Shōsangen, little three dragons
A hand that has two triplets/kans of dragon tiles and a pair of the third type of dragon tiles. The two han for the two dragon triplets/kans are already included in the han value.
Example
HakuHakuHakuRyuupinChiipinHatsuHatsuHatsuChunChun Paapin SanwanSanwan1Sanwan
Honrōtō, all honors and terminals hand
A hand that has only honor and terminal tiles. Consequently, this hand must contain four triplets/kans or seven pairs. If it contains seven pairs, the fu value of this hand is 25. The two han for the four triplets or the seven pairs are already included in the han value.
Example
IipinIipinIipinPePePeShaShaIisouIisou Iisou ChuuwanChuuwanChuuwan1

Yaku worth five han

Chin iisō(Chinitsu), full flush hand
A hand that has only tiles in one suit.
+1 han when the hand is closed.
Example
IisouIisouIisouSanzouSuusouUusouRyuusouRyuusouPassouPassouChuusouChuusouChuusou Ryuusou
Nagashi mangan, all outside discards
This is a special yaku that focuses on a player's discarded tiles, rather than a player's hand composition. The player's hand is closed and the hand ends with an exhaustive draw. All of the player's discarded tiles are honors and/or terminals, and none of them were called by another player. This is treated like a tsumo win worth exactly five han, not as a drawn hand. No additional credit is given for an all self-drawn hand nor for any doras, but any rīchi bets and counter bonuses are collected as usual.

Yakuman

YakumanKazoe

Kazoe Yakuman example, with mixture of yaku and dora.

Yakuman are a separate class of yaku, where the maximum point limit to a hand is applied. With these patterns, the calculation based on han and fu no longer apply, aside from the Kazoe yakuman.

Kazoe yakuman, counted yakuman
A hand that has at least one yaku, but usually multiple yakus, which together with any doras, has a total han value that adds up to 13 or more. This is not technically a yaku, but a sum of yaku(s) and any doras. Since it scores like a yakuman, it's often thought of as a yakuman.

The following yakuman are automatically worth the limit in points based on their composition. This is due to the difficulty in attaining them. Furthermore, the yakus listed in above sections and any doras no longer apply. The current Saki tournament rules don't award double yakumans, although 1.5 yakumans may be awarded. However, in other Saki tournaments or casual play, some yakuman may be worth double; and further still, some yakuman may be combined with each other to achieve double, or even triple yakumans.

Sū Ankō, Four Self-drawn Triplets
A (closed) hand that has four triplets/kans from only self-drawn tiles, not called nor ronned tiles. If any of the melds is a kan, it must have been declared from a previously hidden quad.
Example
ChiiwanChiiwanChiiwanChunChunChunRyuupinRyuupinRyuupinPaapinPaapinRyanwanRyanwan Ryanwan
Sū Ankō Tanki, Four Self-drawn Triplets Pair Wait

This is the same as a normal Sū Ankō, except that it's won on a pair wait and counts as a double yakuman. Some may still count this as a single yakuman.

Example
ChiiwanChiiwanChiiwanChunChunChunRyuupinRyuupinRyuupinPaapinRyanwanRyanwanRyanwan Paapin
Kokushi Musō, Thirteen Orphans
A (closed) hand that has one of each of the thirteen honor and terminal tiles and has one duplicate of any of the 13 tiles. It is considered a complete nonstandard hand. If won on a 13-sided wait, it may count as a double yakuman.
Example
IipinChuupinIisouChuusouIiwanChuuwanTonNanShaPeHakuHatsuChun Iipin
Daisangen, Big Three Dragons
A hand that has three dragon triplets/kans.
Example
HakuHakuHakuHatsuHatsuChunChunChunSuupinUupinRyuupinRyuuwanRyuuwan Hatsu
Shōsūshii, Little Four Winds
A hand that has three wind triplets/kans and a pair of wind tiles.
Example
TonTonTonNanShaShaShaPePePe Nan Suuwan1SanwanUuwan
Daisūshii, Big Four Winds
A hand that has four wind triplets/kans. This is often worth a double yakuman.
Example
TonTonTonNanNanShaShaShaPePePeSanwanSanwan Nan
Tsūiisō, All Honors
A hand that has only wind and/or dragon tiles.
Example
HakuHakuTonTonTonShaShaChunChunChunPePePe Sha
Chinrōtō, All Terminals
A hand that has only number tiles 1 and 9.
Example
IisouIisouIisouChuuwanChuuwanChuuwanIipinIipinChuusouChuusou Iipin IiwanIiwan1Iiwan
Ryūiisō, All Green
A hand that has only tiles with only green designs on them. For Japanese mahjong sets, these are number tiles 2 3 4 6 8 of bamboo and/or the green dragon tiles.
Example
SanzouSuusouSuusouSuusouRyuusouRyuusouRyuusouPassouPassouPassouHatsuHatsuHatsu Ryanzou
Chūren Pōtō, Nine Gates
A closed hand that has number tiles 1 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 9 and one duplicate tile all in the same suit. It is a complete standard hand. If won on a 9-sided wait, it may count as a double yakuman.
Example
IipinIipinIipinRyanpinSanpinSuupinUupinRyuupinChiipinPaapinChuupinChuupinChuupin Ryuupin
File-Nine-Gates-anim
Sū Kantsu, Four Kans
A hand that has four called and/or declared quads. When one player has all four kans, there is no automatic abortive draw until a different player calls of declares a kan.
Example
Chun Chun BackChiipinChiipinBack SuuwanSuuwan1SuuwanSuuwan BackPePeBack Paawan1PaawanPaawanPaawan

First go-around yakuman

The following three yakumans involve winning in the first go-around. Any interruptions, including a declaration of a closed kan, ends the first go-around. Any complete composition is acceptable. Since no interruptions are allowed, all of these hands must be closed.

Tenhō, Blessing of Heaven
The dealer completing a (closed) hand with a self-drawn tile right after getting her initial thirteen tiles. In other words, the dealer has a completed hand before making the first discard.
Chiihō, Blessing of Earth
A non-dealer completing a (closed) hand with a self-drawn tile in the first go-around after getting her initial thirteen tiles. The first go-around is considered over if it's interrupted.
Renhō, Blessing of Man
Completing a (closed) hand with a discarded tile before drawing a tile in the first go-around after getting the initial thirteen tiles. The first go-around is considered over if it's interrupted. This yaku is optional and varies. Some variations count this hand as a mangan or a baiman.

Optional yaku

The following yaku are all optional. Per house rules, they can be added into the standard yaku listed above. Given the game of mahjong, an increasing number of combinations and patterns can be recognizable and applied. However, not all these patterns are included in the standard rules. Furthermore, the optional yaku here are those commonly used.

Pārenchan (Yakuman)
Winning nine straight hands (renchan). After the dealer win a total of eight straight times, the ninth hand is counted as a yakuman regardless of its composition.
San renkō, three consecutive triplets (2 han)
Three consecutive triplets/kans. This yaku is not used in Saki tournament play.
Sū Renkō, Four Consecutive Triplets (Yakuman)
Four consecutive triplets/kans. This yaku is not used in Saki tournament play.[1]
Isshoko sanjun (2 han)
Isshoko yonjun (2 han)
Dai sharin (Pinzu), Dai chikurin (Souzu), Dai sūrin (Manzu)
The seven pairs pattern where the pairs are consecutively 2-8. In other words, they follow the pattern of 2-2 3-3 4-4 5-5 6-6 7-7 8-8. The pattern has distinct names for each of the three numbered suits. Also, the pattern may count as a yakuman. Otherwise, it is an 11 han minimum hand composed of tanyao, pinfu, ryanpeiko, and chinitsu.
Dai shichisei(Dai tiishin), Great seven stars(Yakuman or Double Yakuman)
The seven pairs pattern where only winds and dragons.(Tsūiisō + Chiitoitsu)
Since the complex with Tsūiisō, is a real double yakuman or triple yakuman. Even otherwise, this holds itself in Tsūiisō.
TonTonNanShaShaPePeHakuHakuHatsuHatsuChunChun Nan
Beni kujaku, Red peacock(Yakuman)
A hand that has only tiles with 1 5 7 9 of bamboo and the red dragon tiles.
And the role to be paired with Ryūiisō(All green).
IisouIisouIisouUusouUusouUusouChiisouChiisouChuusouChuusouChunChunChun Chuusou
Ōpun rīchi, open riichi (2 han for tsumo, Yakuman for ron)
After calling rīchi, the player reveals the hand or the tiles in waiting. This yaku is not used in Saki tournament play.

References

  1. Saki manga, volume 7, hand 52. Saki anime episodes 18 and 19. Saki Miyanaga's hand fulfills the requirements for this yakuman, but she instead names off several yakus and a dora to barely get a counted yakuman. She also doesn't count san renkou. Nor do the onlookers count san renkou after Saki's 2nd dead-wall draw.

External links

Visual video on the yaku

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