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FAQ 7f. Mah-Jongg Tables

Latest update: August, 2011

Ordinary playing-card tables are quite suitable for Mah-Jongg -- such a table can optionally be covered with cloth (pinned together underneath so the cloth doesn't slide around while shuffling). Tables should be no smaller than 33" square, no larger than 36" square. Round tables of 36" diameter are also acceptable.

An ordinary playing-card table.

In Asia, they even make special Mah-Jongg tables -- with a lip around the edge so tiles don't fall off while shuffling.

A mah-jongg table. Note drawers, cup holders, and ashtrays.

Hong Kong players also use a triangular piece to indicate which player was "Original East" (AKA "Home Base" or, in American mah-jongg, "Pivot"), to make it easier to know when the prevailing wind is supposed to change and when the game is supposed to end. My mah-jongg table even has a soft-plastic flap in each corner, to hold this triangular marker.

A recommended accessory when hosting a mah-jongg game is a set of party tables.

A set of party tables.

First set up the table, and place two party tables "kittycorner."

Table, with two party tables kittycorner.
(Kitty optional.)

Add four comfy chairs...

Table, party tables, and chairs.

Add a mah-jongg set. And you're all set!

Now all you need is players.

Here's the corresponding mah-jongg setup, with Chinese table and Hong Kong mah-jongg set:

In Japan and China there are companies that make special tables that shuffle and build walls for you.

There are also fancier (more expensive) models that even keep track of the score for you, or break the wall for you and deal tiles to the players! You can see a video on YouTube.

But there are a few problems with these tables:

I got lucky in 2004, and bought a used Cosmo Jansui machine for $52 on eBay. It wasn't in operational condition.

It lit up, but it wouldn't "wash" the tiles.

I had to order parts (including a new set of tiles) from Japan, with the help of friends, and do some more troubleshooting. Eventually I got it working.

Click this image to see the machine working. Large file - over 7 megabytes.

You can read the full story, and see more pictures, HERE.

For more pictures of Japanese dealing machines, visit my "Mah-Jongg Friends" page, and you can also see photos on Uwe Martens' site where he reported the work he and Andre Marohn did on their Kakinuma machine.

There's a Chinese company, AoToMo, that offers automatic tables, apparently even supporting American mah jongg:
Hangzhou Zhaofeng Entertainment Products Factory
Mr.Frank Du(Owner)
Address:No.42 Jianding Road,Hanghzou Zhejiang Chian 310021
Tel:+86 571 8504 0367
Cell:+86 139 5807 7373
Fax:+86 571 8504 1685
Info confirmed as recently as 2013. Aotomo has sent the following photos:

Sizes offered by Aotomo

And here are some more sources you can try if you want to obtain a dealing machine. No guarantees that any of these are still up to date.

2215 E. Huntington Dr., Duarte, CA 91010 (possibly old address, perhaps now in La Verne, CA instead)
(626) 930-0760
Teena - (866) 565-5988 (July 2003 #) $1,999

Work:           (415) 566-6751
Fax:             (415) 566-5211
Other:         (415) 298-6751
E-Mail:        tanakaburt[AT]
1284 27th Ave., San Francisco, CA  94122-1507

No. 15 Fuhua St.
Nangang District, Harbin
China 150001
Tel 0086 (451) 6222-324 or 6416-478
Fax 0086 (451) 6222-325
Harbin Gongda Dengen (HGD) Co., Ltd.
2390 Tilden Way
Henderson, NV 89014
Tel (702) 617-3482
Fax (702) 617-3482
Email: zwang[AT]

KAKINUMA Mah-Jongg Equipment Sales Corp.
Tokyo office
FAX: 81-3-3454-3560
Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Tel 81-78-371-4181
Fax: 81-78-371-1081

DOME (Majantaku Dome) (Fourwinds) -->

JOYS Kabushiki Kaisha
Tokyo, Japan
FAX to: 011-813-3803-5766 (Yokohama office: 011-81-45-201-0615)

Here's a Hong Kong company who makes and/or imports mah-jongg tables (just tables, not dealing machines):

Tel: 852-2637-1120
Fax: 852-2647-4475

New, April 13, 2008:
ZHEJIANG JINJIANG CO., LTD. says they sell automatic mahjong tables for around $600-800, plus $100 freight to the US from China.
Email: louiskingyao[at]

New, May 7, 2008:
Contact Mr. Guanrong Du
Telephone 86-571-8504-0367
Fax 86-571-8504-1685
Address No.238 Jichang Rd,Jianqiao, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 310021
Table's advertised price: US$680

New, June 16, 2009:
Guangdong automatic mahjong machine 希贵 Group Co., Ltd.
Guangdong Province Shunde Ronggui Town, China 528305
South Avenue, No. 16A Business
Phone: (86) 0757-28682089,28682098,28898777
Service: (86) 0757-28682056
Purchasing Phone: (86) 0757-28682058-823,26166604
Fax: (86) 0757-28897663
Email: market at

From: ""
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 6:16 AM
Subject: Automatic Mahjong Tables, Sets, Tiles Supplier
Dear Tom,
We are a company focus on providing high quality automatic mahjong tables, sets, tiles, dices, etc. with competitive price. Our table products are micro computerized to shuffle and wall tiles or cards for all games.
If you are interested in our automatic mahjong tables, please feel free to contact us to get further information. We sincerely hope to establish relationships with customers worldwide.
Would you please forward the email to Purchasing Department?
Best Regards,
Leo Chen
Company: Xiamen Splendid Cospark Import & Export Co., Ltd.
Address: Room 502,Building 5,No. 35,LeHaiBeiLi,Jimei District of Xiamen,Fujian,China.
Postcode: 361000

Name = Steve Sera
Email = kurumayasan-usaⒶ (copy and paste this into your email program and change Ⓐ to the @ symbol)
Posted = March 11, 2008
Service offered:
Do you live in the Los Angeles area and own a Japanese automatic mahjong table? Steve Sera is a highly skilled and experienced mechanic, has spare parts for many table models, and even better, he makes house calls! Email him and tell him Tom Sloper sent you.

What fabric works well as a table cloth?

> From: "Jeanne_H
>Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 11:58 AM
> Subject: Q&A Bulletin Board
> I see beautiful embroidered table covers sold at mah jongg game days, but it is almost impossible to shuffle the tiles on those suede-like covers. What fabric has anyone used that works well for the mah jongg tiles?

Hi, Jeanne.
I haven't seen these embroidered table cloths of which you speak, but I can imagine that anything suede-like would not be good. And certainly, embroidery would be problematic. Any smooth linen tablecloth, without bumpy threading or embroidery, should be good. It's best if it's a fairly heavy material. You could also put a linen tablecloth atop a suede padding.
One time I was teaching at my students' home, and they didn't have a suitable tablecloth for the hardwood table. What we did was use some flat bedsheets, folded for thickness. That worked fine.
This is such a great question that I'm going to add this to the Tables FAQ.
May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper

Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
September 16, 2013

Name: Norm Daley
Date: 01 Feb 2002


Tom, For players, frustrated by tiles falling off the table or with not enough playing surface on a standard 30 inch card table, I have an idea, probably not original, but very easy to build. Get a piece of 3/4 inch plywood, affix a 1 X 2 inch piece of wood of your choice around the outside edge with 1 inch of the board above the plywood for a "lip". Cover with either a cloth easily found on any mahjonng site or one of the Organizations or simply plastic shelf paper. All you have to do is place this on top of a standard card table or any other table for a "custom" mahjonng playing surface. Probably cost you about $25 and easily storable. Norm

Here are some suggestions for those handymen wishing to build their own mah-jongg table:

In Feb. 2004, reader Will Harper added that wooden MJ tables have been spotted "at a 99 Ranch supermarket in [California's] Orange County. Ranch 99 markets are all through the Southland (L.A., Riverside, Orange, [and San Bernardino] counties)."

And in August 2004, a friend emailed me a link to where you can read about the Agyris Gaming Table (the "ultimate gaming table" - mainly intended for Role Playing Games - I don't know if it's suited for mah-jongg, since I'm too lazy to read the site, but you might want to, for all I know!).

In October 2004, I went to San Francisco to attend a wireless game conference. I stayed with friends, met an internet mah-jongg friend, and went mah-jongg shopping in Chinatown. I found not just sets but also tables for sale there.

In December 2004, Stephane informed me of a Chinese furniture store in Oakland, California where wood mah-jongg tables are available.

In July 2011, Derek and Alison shared this photo:

From: Filipe Silva> Date: May 31, 2004
Subject: MJ Table
>Here's a rather poor picture of my table with the Japanese set. Thought you'd like to see it. Ok, ok it's not "automatic" but...

>How's it going with the Jansui? Have you checked the TT sheet? If it's made of rubber it will certainly go bad with usage (-) and age (+).
>Old floppy drives had a rubber belt (who drove the heads) that had to be substituted from time to time because it simply melt (don't know if this is the right word but I can't find a more accurate adjective).
> Cheers,

Hi Filipe,
Your mah-jongg setup is shaping up nicely!
I have to sit down at the Jansui with my toolbox to remove the TT sheet and have a look. I haven't done that yet.

From: Filipe Silva ->
Date: June 1, 2004
Subject: Re: MJ Table

> I'll give you a few more information on the table.

> [The given dimensions are approximate -  if anyone wants to build a similar table I can check the real dimensions]

> -The design is inspired on a picture I saw in Perlemen & Chan book.

> -The table is made of 9 wood pieces plus cloth/mat:
>-A square 95 by 95 cm, 8 mm thick board.
>-Four 95 by 95 pieces of wood to serve as outer raised lip (2 by 2 cm thick)
>-Four 92 by 92 wooden rulers for the inner lip and chip holders (8 mm thick)

> -The table cloth/mat is made in Hong Kong. I got two (one meant to be a spare) of these mats from a friend there for 20 EUR including postage. They measure 92 by 92 cm. There are two kinds of these mats available - with or without sponge backs - mine both have sponge backs. The second was unfortunately ruined while I tried to apply it on the table.

> -The outer raised lip is nailed between itself and the square board.

> -The chip holders were drilled then rounded and smoothed with a file.

> -After the table was built, but before I got the mat attached - I gave 2 hands of varnish (for interiors) on the outer lip - oh - never varnish near cats - ask me how I know... The inner lip was painted/treated with a product called Cuprinol (trade mark?) I had here. It gave the inner lip a nice walnut color. Afterwards I gave two hands of varnish on it too. Again - do not - paint/varnish/spray near cats...

> -The mat was attached to the square board using double-faced cloth carpet tape. The inner lip/chip holder is attached to the mat with the same tape. This double face tape is extremely strong - no space for mistakes when applying the mat (that's how I ruined one...). I applied the mat almost cm by cm while I peeled off row by row of tape.

> -The table is actually a tabletop. The legs are a cheap pine table I have. When I want to play I just get the tabletop on the table. I can also store the tabletop on the vertical.

> Cheers,

>Subject: Success! I found a table!
>Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004 08:49:21 -0600
>From: "Gilbert, Aidan O." [AGilbert@FFSPC.Com]
>After a year of looking for the right mah jong table, I have found and purchased a table which is really terrific!
>As you probably recall, I was looking for a higher end solid wood table to replace my folding card table. I wanted something nice that would be up all the time, instead of something that needed to be taken down.
>I considered antique tables on eBay, but wanted a 36" square table, and most of the antique tables are only 30" or 32" square.
>I searched all the high end stores in Chicago -- Fields, Bloomindales Home, Crate and Barrel, Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, Pier 1, and the big furniture stores. I ended up selecting a table from Cost Plus World Market. (A picture is attached.)
>I had to make one concession -- the table is 40" square -- but I am sure I will learn to live with it. The table (called the Sourav table) is solid sheesham wood with a dark stain. The table top is had chisled, so it is slightly irregular. I was worried that this would be bad for play, and even made sure I could take the table back if it affected play. Well, it does affect play, but in a delightful way. The tiles slide across the table so fast, and they make this lovely loud clatter -- the tiles wash beautifully. I was absolutely amazed.
>The table, chairs, and four seat pads cost about $900. Money well spent. My birthday is January 2, and my wife is throwing a mah jong birthday party for me. (Seven of my mah jong friends and a dim sum banquet!)? I can't wait to show the table off!

Great, Aidan! Thanks for sharing. Happy mah-jongging! - Tom
Tom Sloper

Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Dec. 18, 2004

My automatic table

> From: Madison U
> Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2014 5:49 PM
> Subject: Auto tables in US
> Hi, i wanted to say i really enjoy your site, and have found it useful many time as it has been a valuable resource for me learning and as a resource for members of my mahjong club.
> I purchased an automatic table from Versatile Machinery in Tampa They are a family operated business and i had an opportunity to visit their business, which is not really a showroom as it is a small warehousing unit, but suitable for their business type. They were extremely courteous, and they were very friendly and willing to show me the machines inside and out, and answer any questions i had. They sell and service their machines from Tampa, and their warranty will cover any problems a user may have. The owners are a husband and wive team, Charles and Vicky Vera. Charles is from the US and his wife Vicky is from China, and both of them are fun to talk with. Charles has a background as a mechanical engineer who worked in china on factory machine manufacturing. They are easy to communicate with, and bend over backwards to accommodate the needs of their customers. They offer Chinese as well as Japanese tables which are smaller in size, also they sell American tiles, 40mm Chinese tiles and smaller Japanese tiles, even playing card times, and dominoes. The tables have a switch inside that allows you to select a number to correspond with the number of times being played , this allows one table to be able to accommodate at least 40 different games. Their styles range from basic to very elaborate with beautiful wood and detailing.
> I would recommend them to any customer in the US, they are trustworthy, have excellent service, sell a fine product that works very well. This is especially important to any customer who is leery doing business with a Chinatown NY shop that has limited English and even more sketchy service.
> Here are some photos of my machine, 3 are just pictures of it in all its beauty, the 4th is a photo of the chart on the inside of the panel displaying the many choices of games you can set the table up for.
> Also here is a link to my group, we play Chinese and Japanese style mahjong, but i have a chinese style table, Charles and Vicki were nice enough to send me extra 5's i could paint red.
> Glens Falls Mahjong
> Please use my photos and review of this company. And if you have a resource of local clubs, can you list me on it?
> Madison U

Hi, Madison.
That's great that you found a nice table. If Versatile wants to advertise on my site, they should email me and inquire about rates.
I can list your club on the Find Players/Teachers/Events bulletin board - just send me a brief email to post verbatim.
May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper

Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
February 16, 2014

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