By Tom Sloper

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Column #77

Hong Kong style. Although the group was playing with only a one fan minimum this night, Susie's deal convinced her to go for a high-scoring hand. She had some interesting decisions to make along the way.

With her first pick, half of her hand was Dots. She decided to start cautiously, throwing 7C, and see what came in later. Before long, she picked 7D and had gotten rid of some of her craks. When things started to get interesting was when Waiyee threw 2D.

"Pung!" Susie discarded 1C, and on her next pick got 3D. A couple of Whites had gone out, and she kept hers as a safe discard for later, and threw E. She was going for pure now, since she wasn't picking any honors in.

Soon Waiyee had two pungs showing (7C and 9C). The tension was mounting.

Earl threw 2D and Susie was at another crux. One of the problems with the pure hand is that the possibilities are so numerous that the player often has trouble recognizing all of them. Susie hadn't been planning to call 2D. She'd only been thinking 5D 8D, then throw Wh, and wait for 6D or 9D. But now there was a 2D and she saw other possibilities. She decided she'd take it, and think more about it afterwards.

The White gone, she was now waiting for 6D or 9D. Waiyee gasped when Nathan threw 3D, but Susie didn't jump. Instead, Earl punged it. When he discarded 2B, Nathan punged that. You could practically cut the air with a knife!

Susie picked 4D and was at a crucial decision. It would be dangerous to throw 4D. She considered her choices.

So whichever tile she threw, she'd have a 2-way call. The best thing about throwing 9D is that it's traditionally considered safest to throw a terminal. But the bad thing about throwing 9D is that she wouldn't be waiting for a likely discard. She opted for safety, throwing 9D, waiting for 4D or 7D. With just 11 pickable tiles remaining, she picked 7D. Seven fan.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.