By Tom Sloper

September 7, 2003

Column #123

Chinese Official rules. In last week's column, Noriko played a Five Types hand. Not that this writer is stuck on that hand or anything, but this week's column is also about a deal that immediately screamed Five Types.

Waiyee had four tiles to choose from for her first discard - 9B, 2C, 2D, W. W being her wind, she threw 9B for starters. Her next pick was a throwaway 9C, then she chowed 8C from Samantha for a 2D.

Her next pick was 2B, which increased the calling power of the hand. She discarded 2C. Noriko discarded W, then Earl discarded S. "Pung!" Waiyee's discard: W. She picked 3B, discarded 2B, and with that she was waiting.

The bad news was that this was a one-way call (7D). The good news was that this was very early in the game. Using the Japanese style of orderly discard placement, all players were still on the first row of discards. More good news: 7D didn't appear difficult to get. And if Waiyee picked a 5D, she could get rid of 8D and have a two-way call. Then again, there was a little bad news too: Five Types is only worth six points. But that was balanced by good news: the pung of S was worth one, and the one-way call made the needed eighth point.

With all this news both positive and negative swimming in her head, Waiyee played on fruitlessly while others made exposures left and right. In the course of the game, Earl discarded Wh. Waiyee didn't bite, but then she realized she should have - to add 2 points (she could have simply discarded a 3B). She got another chance a couple of turns later, though.

Then Waiyee picked 6D. She fairly screamed her frustration at the fates. If she'd only known! She could have discarded 8D instead of 3B, and she'd have had mah-jongg now. Having punged Wh, she no longer needed points to meet the minimum, so discarding 8D now would give her a 2-way call, which was better. So she did. Almost immediately, Noriko self-picked for a stunning pure hand (Full Flush). Which just goes to show.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.