By Tom Sloper

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Column #49

Hong Kong Old Style. "This game is all luck," Nathan said. "No way," Earl shot back. "Strategy and skill are everything." Finished counting his chips, Earl closed the drawer. Looking at the ceiling, Susie pointed out, "I don't think I would have thrown a five that late in the game, myself." Nathan was silent as he closed his nearly empty chip drawer and joined the others in building the wall. Earl rolled the dice and the tiles were dealt. Waiyee, who'd sipped her drink during the verbal exchange, now looked at her tiles.

She had her own flower, which was worth one fan (the table minimum). So she was free to do whatever she wanted. Which was a good thing, because other than the flower, the hand was junk (and we're not talking about a Chinese sailing vessel). The other players also had one flower each, but only Waiyee had her own.

She played pretty much on autopilot. Her first pick was W (her own wind), and she threw out the 1B. When she picked G, she threw the 1D. Then, wouldn't you know it, her next pick was 1D. She threw it back, disgusted. When Susie threw 6D, Waiyee chowed it. There were two Whites on the floor, so she threw hers out. Her next pick was 5D. West wasn't coming in, so she discarded that.

On a later pick she got 9B. She threw it immediately. "Pung." Susie took it.

On her next pick, Waiyee got a West. Disgusted, she threw it. (This game often made her disgusted.) Nathan apparently decided he wasn't going to make his own wind. When he threw N, Waiyee snapped it up.

She threw G, waiting for 5B or 8B. Fives are usually dangerous late in the game, but a couple eights were already out, so that didn't look dangerous.

It was Earl who threw the 8B. As Earl paid, Nathan mused, "Strategy and skill..."

Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.

Here are a couple of websites where you can read rules for Hong Kong style rules:

  • http://www.agoric.com/Mahjong.html
  • http://www.geocities.com/coppy1586/ (Coppy explains the 3-fan rules used by many Yahoo players)

    For more sites where you can read about HKOS rules, see FAQ 4b. And read the listing for Amy Lo's book in FAQ 3.

    Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.