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Dealing the Hands

Now that the wall has been opened and East has taken the first 4 tiles (2 stacks) from the wall, South proceeds to take the next 4 tiles, and so on, in counterclockwise order. This is repeated thrice more, until all players have 16 tiles each.

All Mahjong hands should be 16 tiles, except if any gàng sets exist, or while it's a player's turn and they have drawn a new tile, or at the moment a player is going out with a Mahjong. (These are all explained on the page discussing the play of the hands.)

The players now arrange their tiles in front of them, standing on edge so that they alone can see the symbols engraved on their faces.

Trading for Flowers and Seasons

If the dealer's hand contains any flower tiles, they are placed face-up on the table surface, next to his hand. The dealer announces that he will trade his flowers by saying buhwa (buhua, or just say "trading" if you want to stick with English). For each flower removed from his hand, he will draw a replacement tile from the end of the wall. (If the end of the wall was marked by stacking the last two tiles on top, then the innermost such loose tile is drawn, followed by the remaining loose tile, whereupon the next stack is placed on top as the new "end" marker.)

After all flowers have been traded out of the dealer's hand, he turns to the player on his right and says chingbu (qíngbu or "please trade"). It is now that player's turn to trade in any flowers from her hand. This continues until all players have traded in all their flowers.


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