The mahjong competition consists of a number of hands. (See the "Tournament Format" chapter for details.) In a hand, through a process of drawing and discarding, the players compete to be the first to complete a winning hand. (Refer to "Drawing and Discarding" and "Winning Hand" below.) The winner of the hand receives points from the other players, but the amount of points earned varies greatly according to the content of the winner's hand. (See the "Scoring System" chapter.) Therefore, winning high-scoring hands (and preventing the opponents from winning high-scoring hands) is the key to victory. A player's result and ranking is determined by his total points won and lost over a number of hands.
When play begins, the four players go through the "selection of seats" procedure to assign their seats and choose the starting East player. After that, the specified number of hands is played. Each hand follows these steps:
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