An Example of a Luk Fu Pai Game
Illustrating the most common incidents occuring during play.

Four players sit with the dealer at South (S). The dealer shuffles the 37 cards (new pack minus the Leefa card) and then offers the pack to the player at his left which is at West (W). W cuts the pack and is allowed to look at the card which is on the bottom of his half of the pack, since it will be his at the end of the dealing. The dealer, S, then places W's half pack at the underneath the remaining half of the pack. S deals himself a card first. He then proceeds to deal anticlockwise around the table, so the second card will go to East (E) and then one card only to the Tsuk Mung player at North (N), and then to W. The dealer will now deal himself, E, and then West and back to himself again, etc. When all the cards are dealt, all active players S, E, and W will have 12 cards, whilst Tsuk Mung at N will have only one.

A little time is given to the players to sort their cards according to the best possible combinations. The dealer has first call to say whether he will 'Tsoh' or not. This means that if S thinks he can win the game, he will play. If not, he will say 'Um Tsoh' meaning his chances are not too good, so he passes the buck to his right hand player at E. E assesses his cards and says he will Tsoh or Um Tsoh. If he says Um Tsoh, then the buck passes onto the last active player. If likewise he does not think his cards are good, then the whole pack is shuffled again and a new hand is dealt.

First we have a look at the hands that have been dealt.

CARDS DEALTSome thoughts from our players
N 8 gon.

North sits opposite the dealer. As the

Tsuk Mung person N holds this card 

without showing it to anyone, until 

the game has been won by one of the 

other players.
S 9 sip 9 sop 1 ten 3 sop 3 ten 3 gon 2 gon 1 gon 5 gon 7 sop 7 ten 6 ten

South is the dealer. S has three red 

cards, and the choice of whether to 

use the triple 3 combination, or the 

123 Gon combination. Horizontal 

combinations, of 123 Gon type are 

generally harder to beat than triple 

threes combination, however, one must 

weigh whether the numerical value 123 

and Gon suit are suitably high not to 

be beaten. Judgement can be made 

looking at the remaning cards that 

s/he holds. South has the possibility 

to win with the miniumum six cards, 

and since he is the dealer, if he says 

Tsoh, then he can open with whatever 

card he chooses. This gives him a 

great advantage in winning. Though 

the 123 combination is low in value, 

he convinces himeself to Tsoh, because 

Gon is a relatively high ranking suit, 

and he has three Lao Sui red cards. 

The winning score, will be one for 

obtaining Luk Fu, then three bonus 

points for the reds, making a score 

of 4.

E 4 sip 4 sop 4 ten Leeten 9 gon 7 gon 6 gon 8 sop 1 sop 2 sop 2 ten 7 sip

East sits at the dealer's right. E is 

the next active player. He notes that 

the only prominent combination that 

s/he posseses is the Gok See, or All 

4's combination. Apart from that, s/he 

holds two red cards. The LeeTen card, 

and the 9 Gon card. All the remaining 

seven cards do not form any combinations. 

Stuck with five cards, E will have no 

choice but to say Um Tsoh if and when 

it comes his way.
W 9 ten 8 ten 3 sip 2 sip 1 sip 5 sop 5 ten 5 sip 6 sip 8 sip 4 gon 6 sop

West is to the dealer's left. On the 

whole, West observes that s/he has a 

rather good set of cards. There is 

the possibility of the 123 Sip 

combination being high, because he 

already holds the 5,6 and 8 Sip so 

there will not be anything higher to 

beat this high rank combination. The 

fives combination looks good, but he 

doesn't hold a value seven card, so 

playing a triple five combination will 

probably be hedging his bets. The 8 

and 9 Ten cards are high cards, 

playable only if he moves towards 

winning. If and when he is able the 

onus to Tsoh lands on her/him, s/he 

will take the opportunity to do so. 

If West wins, s/he will obtain Bat Fu 

making three points and two red bonus 

points, totaling 5 points altogether.

The game proceeded in the following manner, using the Luk Fu recording shorthand the author has devised.

The cards that West holds are:

1 sip 2 sip 3 sip 5 sip 5 sop 5 ten 9 ten 8 ten

As we have said, this makes for 5 points. The person Tsuk Mung, reveals an eight :

8 gon

and since this matches with one of the eight in the winning cards, North collects one point from each of the losers.

But it was South who said Tsoh, and lost. He in the state of Bao Su, forfeiting the points of two losing parties. East doesn't need to pay out because South is Bao Su. Therefore, the winning player at West recieves 5 points twice from South, and North who Tsuk Mung recieves 1 point twice from South again. In total South has forfeited 12 points, demonstrating the precarious nature of the player who says Tsoh. If it were money that was played for, then that would be 12 units of money from South altogether.

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This page was last updated on Sunday 25th October 1998,
Last major change: Friday 25th October 1998.

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