The scoring system to Japanese Mahjong is complex and may seem overwhelming. While the scores are generated by a particular equation, it is possible to memorize the points table, or parts of it. This eliminates the need to perform calculation. Regardless, players may need to learn how to count fu to effectively learn the scoring table.
Breaking down the scoring table
While it is recommended to learn the scoring table by memorization, it is an overwhelming task to learn the whole scoring table at once. It is possible to break down different sections of the scoring table, in order to learn certain parts at a time.
Mangan and more
When a hand is valued at mangan, the factor for Fu no longer applies.
30 and 40 fu
Among the hand values of 4 han or lower, the most common values involve hands of 30 fu or 40 fu. Do note that dealer 40 fu 1 han ~ nondealer 30 fu 2 han.
Due to Chii Toitsu assigned 25 fu by default, the point values for this hand may constitute a separate table. All values in the table are powers of two times 100 or 150, and are never rounded, so this is an easy one to remember.
Some Han and Fu combinations are equivalent to others. For example, a 4 han and 20 fu has the same point values as 3 han and 40 fu. These are even equivalent to 2 han and 80 fu. Notice, for each decrease in han, the fu count doubles; yet, on the scoring chart, they show equivalent point values. Of course, this pattern ends with hands of value mangan or more.
The most important equivalences are 20 fu ~ 40 fu, 25 fu ~ 50 fu and 30 fu ~ 60 fu. The vast majority of hands have these fu counts. Thus one only needs to learn three scoring lines to be able to score the majority of hands.
70 fu and more
In the case of 3 and 4 han, mangan is capped for each of these han values at 70 and 40 respectively. Therefore, hands with 70 or more only apply to 1 and 2 han. In addition, the maximum possible fu for a hand is at 110. Even then, this is a rare occasion. Even an experienced player may resort to using a scoring table if a hand like this appears.