Mastering Tichu: A Comprehensive Guide to Gameplay


Embark on a journey to mastering Tichu, an enthralling card game that combines strategy, teamwork, and a hint of luck. Originating from Asia, this game has captivated the hearts of card enthusiasts worldwide. With this ultimate guide, dive into the depths of Tichu’s rules, strategies, and nuances that make it a uniquely engaging experience. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or a seasoned player aiming to refine your skills, this comprehensive guide will serve as your beacon through the exciting world of Tichu.

Understanding the Basics of Tichu

Tichu is typically played with four players forming two teams. The game uses a standard 52-card deck plus four special cards: the Dragon, the Phoenix, the Dog, and the Mah Jong. The objective is for one team to be the first to score a predetermined number of points, usually 1000.

The Deck Composition

  • 52 standard cards (4 suits: Jade, Sword, Pagoda, Star)
  • 4 special cards: Dragon, Phoenix, Dog, Mah Jong

Scoring System

Card Point Value
5 5 points
10, King 10 points
Dragon 25 points
Phoenix -25 points

How to Play Tichu

The game begins with each player receiving 14 cards. Players then pass three cards to their opponents – one to their partner and one to each of their opponents. The player holding the Mah Jong card leads the first trick, and play proceeds clockwise. Cards can be played in singles, pairs, consecutive pairs, triples, full houses, and straights. The trick continues until all players pass. The highest card or combination wins the trick and leads the next one.

Special Card Functions

  • Dragon: Wins any single card trick but must give the trick to an opponent.
  • Phoenix: Acts as a wild card or can be played as -25 points.
  • Dog: Passes play to your partner but cannot win tricks.
  • Mah Jong: Allows the holder to declare a specific card they wish to see.

Winning Strategies and Tips

Success in Tichu not only requires understanding the rules but also strategic thinking and effective communication with your teammate. Here are some tips to elevate your game:

  • Coordinate with your partner to ensure optimal card passing and trick planning.
  • Save special cards for critical moments to turn the tide of the game.
  • Be mindful of the score and adapt your strategy to either accelerate the game or slow it down.
  • Practice predicting your opponents’ moves based on the cards played and passed.


Tichu offers a complex blend of strategy and unpredictability, making each game a fresh adventure. By mastering the rules outlined in this guide and implementing the strategies discussed, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Tichu champion. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the most important rule of all is to enjoy the game. Gather your friends, form your teams, and let the Tichu tournament begin!

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