How to Play Mahjong – What the Heck’s a Goulash?

If you’ve never experienced the hum and buzz of excitement around a game of American Mahjong, then you are missing out on one of the hottest gaming trends in American history. Thanks in no small part to its rich history and continuing evolution, Mahjong is a great way to bring family and friends together for a challenging and exciting game of strategy. Once you learn how to play Mahjong, other games just won’t even compare.

Every great game has its own specialized vocabulary and American Mahjong is no exception. In fact, newcomers to the game can often be overwhelmed by the sheer number of names for hands, game variations and special situations during game play. But this only adds to the allure of the game and lends a sense of exclusivity to the experience. One such term you’ll encounter in American Mahjong is a Goulash.

Basically a Goulash occurs when a game ends in a draw. Players can opt for a Goulash when all the walls, including the hot wall are exhausted completely and no one has yet declared mahjong. Each player must donate 100 points to the kitty (similar to the pot in Poker) after which the game starts again. During a Goulash though the Winds don’t rotate as they normally would. Another variation on the Goulash involves playing instead for the whole kitty rather than points. In this variation it is more difficult to go out because only one Charleston is allowed while Chows are not allowed at all. The winner that declares mahjong will take the entire pot.

Learning how to play Mahjong is a rewarding and exciting experience. Sure, your friends and family might start to wonder what strange language you’re speaking, but they will soon join in the fun!