First make sure that the one who hitlists you is on a hitlist server that doesn’t have lag and isn’t overpopulated. If you get placed on an overpopulated hitlist, it is very likely you will be stuck there for 2 hours with minimal exp. The hitlister determines on which hitlist you will be placed on, so they should check the situation from Fight > Hitlist tab.

Now, when you are placed on hitlist, the first instinct for most people is probably to use the hospital. DON’T. You should have enough health to sustain hits for maximum experience without using the hospital. The reason is that if you use the hospital, you will linger on the hitlist too long getting hits for 0 exp and in worst case risk getting stuck on the hitlist. And if you die soon after using hospital, you can’t heal and get relisted because the hospital has a 60 second cooldown which will hurt your exp gains in the end. So only use hospital after you are dead and are ready to be hitlisted again.

Do not take it personally when someone stronger whacks you on the hitlist in seconds and you lose 6 exp. Even with 1900 defense, this happens to me occasionally. The most important thing is the overall net exp. If it seems that the overall net exp gains on multiple hitlist rides are negative, build up your defense before trying again. Don’t ever hitlist anyone that is stronger than you, you will just hand them over free exp and make your Mafia Wars profile link appear all over their newsfeed for their convenience if they want to harass you again.

That should pretty much cover it. If you’ve ever wondered how some characters have such a high fights won stat, it is because they are constantly riding the hitlist and making other people work their fights won stat.