Having originated in China, Mah Jong is a complex game similar to poker, where the objective is to draw matches or patterns in the tiles in one's hand. Of the four players, the one with most matches or patterns (called "Melds") at the end of the game wins. Common variants also include bonus tiles and wild tiles, which add to the overall unpredictability of the game. Since each turn includes several decisions which affect the chances of winning, Mah Jong requires skills in strategy and calculation, in addition to sheer luck.
Contrary to popular belief, the form of Mah Jong solitaire, where tiles are matched to form pairs, is a separate game entirely, and has roots in America, where it began as a casino arcade game. It is rarely played with a real Mah Jong set, and is rarely seen anywhere other than arcade and computer games.
There are underground mah jong gambling dens spread all over Chinatown.
The employees at the Chinese restaurant often played a few rounds of mah jong after work, wasting away the money they had earned that day.