Advance Mah Jong Guide

Japanese Reach Mahjong Rules. Strategy, news, sets - anything!

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Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby BeyondDestiny » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:35 am

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Last edited by BeyondDestiny on Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby Shirluban » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:32 pm

I don't really agree with you.

Yaku pai is not a good hand, it's heavily dependent of a good starting hand, barely gives any points by itself and hardly combines with other yaku.
I mean, it does exist some nice combo like yaku pai + honisu or yaku pai + chanta, but in such cases the core of your hand is not yaku pai, it's the other yaku that rewards more.

Chi Toi
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Comment: One of the best hands in the game. You may have difficulty getting into tenpai but this hand pays out significantly. Riichi + Tsumo + Chi Toi + 2 Dora (for one of your pairs) is instant haneman. (You can also do riichi + chi toi + 2 dora ron for mangan or add tan yao to it). When folding with this hand, you can still recover by dealing safe tiles while progressing with danger tiles. Waits can be pinpointed to trick opponents (dealing a 4 pin and going in riichi while waiting for a 1 pin, etc).
What?
"One of the best hands" - "You may have difficulty getting into tenpai" Isn't it contradictory?
"Riichi + Tsumo + Chi Toi + 2 Dora (for one of your pairs) is instant haneman." That's not the typical chiitoi hand.
1) Chiitoi = only seven different tiles = the fewer chance to get a dora.
2) Riichi = no defense. As you said chiitoi is very nice for defense, so it could be a good idea to not kill this feat sometimes...
3) Menzen tsumo should theoretically occurs only 25% of the time, needless to say it's not the majority. Plus, as you said, chiitoi is nice to trick your opponents into giving your winning tile...
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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby xKime » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:19 pm

Please, pleeeeease, tell me you were joking. Either that or kill me.

Also, it's not a "buff." It's a "bluff."

A "buff" is like "Healing + Increase AGI + Blessing + Impossitio Magnus + etc" in Ragnarok Online, and probably similar things in other games, but I doubt you can do that in mahjong.

Also, if you're doing such things (bluffs) in an unnatural way like that, you're just killing your hand right from square one, doing something very stupid and annoying at that. Players with marginal hands may stop discarding tiles in the suit "you are collecting," but if someone has a "shoubu te" (a hand where they will take a stand) little will it matter, and they will go for it without thinking twice; you shot yourself in the foot because your hand has no shape for either attack or defense at that point, or to even defend by attacking, and since you even took the luxury to make a call, you're the most likely of the three to deal in. More so if a second riichi comes in. If you insist on using such "tatcits [sic]" I suggest you choke a few safe tiles as well while you're at it. But that's giving up your hand and shooting yourself in the foot from the get-go to do something that won't accomplish much against players with good hands. If you're going against players with bad hands, just push as well with your own hand; if you're going against players with good hands, then you're not accomplishing anything anyway. Also, with your nice little bluff, you probably gave the person to your right enough tiles to call and go out before you realize it, or even deal into a silent tenpai while not even aiming for a win OR defense.

Also, noten reach is just stupid. You will -never- win points from it, and again, you're not fooling anyone with a good enough hand to go for it. People will push and reach after you have reached even if you WERE tenpai, so by reaching without even being tenpai you're just giving everyone everything you draw.

You have watched too much Akagi. Get back on the real world. Seriously.
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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby Jiazzz » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:07 pm

In other words:
Hi, welcome to the forum, I also recently joined here. Don't be afraid to ask questions, there are enough experienced players (including people living in Japan and often visiting/running jansou) who'd gladly help.
How long have you been playing? How did you get here? What made you start playing mahjong? :P

And indeed, there are holes in your guide... ¬_¬

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby BeyondDestiny » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:38 pm

Shirluban wrote:I don't really agree with you.

Yaku pai is not a good hand, it's heavily dependent of a good starting hand, barely gives any points by itself and hardly combines with other yaku.
I mean, it does exist some nice combo like yaku pai + honisu or yaku pai + chanta, but in such cases the core of your hand is not yaku pai, it's the other yaku that rewards more.

Chi Toi
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Comment: One of the best hands in the game. You may have difficulty getting into tenpai but this hand pays out significantly. Riichi + Tsumo + Chi Toi + 2 Dora (for one of your pairs) is instant haneman. (You can also do riichi + chi toi + 2 dora ron for mangan or add tan yao to it). When folding with this hand, you can still recover by dealing safe tiles while progressing with danger tiles. Waits can be pinpointed to trick opponents (dealing a 4 pin and going in riichi while waiting for a 1 pin, etc).
What?
"One of the best hands" - "You may have difficulty getting into tenpai" Isn't it contradictory?
"Riichi + Tsumo + Chi Toi + 2 Dora (for one of your pairs) is instant haneman." That's not the typical chiitoi hand.
1) Chiitoi = only seven different tiles = the fewer chance to get a dora.
2) Riichi = no defense. As you said chiitoi is very nice for defense, so it could be a good idea to not kill this feat sometimes...
3) Menzen tsumo should theoretically occurs only 25% of the time, needless to say it's not the majority. Plus, as you said, chiitoi is nice to trick your opponents into giving your winning tile...


Yaku-pai is only good in two theoretical situations. When you want to achieve a quick win, and if it's 3 dora. I'll change that part.

Difficulty getting into tenpai's one of the only major drawbacks to chi toi. Riichi + Tsumo + Chi Toi + 2 Dora isn't typically, but it's can turn into a high paying hand with better potential than for example...pin fu + tao yao + san-shoku + 2 dora. There's about 21% chance that you'll get 2 dora from the start / from ura-dora. The defense I referred is only when you aren't in tenpai and someone declares riichi first. In MOST situations, they'll have dealt pairs that you have or at least suji tiles. You can abuse Chi Toi by abusing the suji concept, or getting certain tiles to flow out. When you have 3s or 7s of a certain suit, 2s and 1s/8s and 9s of the suit will typically flow out if you act on a silent tenpai because it makes it difficult for them to extend a sequence with these tiles. Also, the inevitable honor tiles can flow out when someone isn't going for them and the majority of them have been discarded. A good idea when going for a defensive game would be to go for tao yao + chi toi + 2 dora (if you have the dora) for mangan. The only drawback to that is the discard strategy I mentioned early. It can still work with suji tricks and waiting for 2s/8s of a suit however.

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby BeyondDestiny » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:52 pm

xKime wrote:Please, pleeeeease, tell me you were joking. Either that or kill me.

Also, it's not a "buff." It's a "bluff."

A "buff" is like "Healing + Increase AGI + Blessing + Impossitio Magnus + etc" in Ragnarok Online, and probably similar things in other games, but I doubt you can do that in mahjong.

Also, if you're doing such things (bluffs) in an unnatural way like that, you're just killing your hand right from square one, doing something very stupid and annoying at that. Players with marginal hands may stop discarding tiles in the suit "you are collecting," but if someone has a "shoubu te" (a hand where they will take a stand) little will it matter, and they will go for it without thinking twice; you shot yourself in the foot because your hand has no shape for either attack or defense at that point, or to even defend by attacking, and since you even took the luxury to make a call, you're the most likely of the three to deal in. More so if a second riichi comes in. If you insist on using such "tatcits [sic]" I suggest you choke a few safe tiles as well while you're at it. But that's giving up your hand and shooting yourself in the foot from the get-go to do something that won't accomplish much against players with good hands. If you're going against players with bad hands, just push as well with your own hand; if you're going against players with good hands, then you're not accomplishing anything anyway. Also, with your nice little bluff, you probably gave the person to your right enough tiles to call and go out before you realize it, or even deal into a silent tenpai while not even aiming for a win OR defense.

Also, noten reach is just stupid. You will -never- win points from it, and again, you're not fooling anyone with a good enough hand to go for it. People will push and reach after you have reached even if you WERE tenpai, so by reaching without even being tenpai you're just giving everyone everything you draw.

You have watched too much Akagi. Get back on the real world. Seriously.


Bluffs are very situational. What would you do if you started off with a 6 shan ten hand and haven't made much progress during the 6th draw? Especially if you are in 3-4 place. It's possible that you'll make the 1-2 place people fold their hands when it could be possibly good since they do not want to risk losing points at all. You don't necessarily have to call tiles for the bluff to work. If you make the bluff appear as though you are going for honitsu/chinitsu, then you'll inevitably have some honor tiles, which are typically safe against common high paying hands. You can simply immediately fold when someone riichis or when you predict that someone has reached tenpai. No Ten riichi's almost never used since it's also very situational. It's just a possible option I put there. Thanks for the criticism though.

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby xKime » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:50 am

BeyondDestiny wrote:
Bluffs are very situational. What would you do if you started off with a 6 shan ten hand and haven't made much progress during the 6th draw? Especially if you are in 3-4 place. It's possible that you'll make the 1-2 place people fold their hands when it could be possibly good since they do not want to risk losing points at all. You don't necessarily have to call tiles for the bluff to work. If you make the bluff appear as though you are going for honitsu/chinitsu, then you'll inevitably have some honor tiles, which are typically safe against common high paying hands. You can simply immediately fold when someone riichis or when you predict that someone has reached tenpai. No Ten riichi's almost never used since it's also very situational. It's just a possible option I put there. Thanks for the criticism though.


...first of all, a 6 shanten starting hand is even rarer than some Yakuman, as Japanese mahjong has irregular complete hands such as Chii Toi Tsu (seven pairs) and Kokushi Musou (thirteen orphans) most starting hands will seldom ever be farther than 4 shan ten. And 4 shan ten hands rarely don't progress at least one or two steps in six draws.

Even in such cases, if you're third or four, you don't purposely "bluff" other players (even a pon on the dora with no yaku and far away from ready was considered a good bluff, but in reality you're wasting a concealed and thus flexible hand that has a pair of dora). Your hand has priority, as other players will not doubt to run over you when they have a hand worth going for. If you're fourth, rest assured the other guys will be more than happy to run over you. If you're third, the guy in fourth will be especially glad to. Doing this "I'm going for a flush... just kidding!" half-hearted bluff will have an effect on the table, sure, as everything you do, but will it do you more good than harm? No. If anything, you're better off -actually going- for the flush itself. Do not castrate yourself by discarding middle tiles that are vital to your flush to just "restrict a certain suit from flowing out." Even by the time you get to "complete" your bluff by discarding the middle tile you said, I'm pretty sure there should be at least one riichi or fuuro tenpai on the table, unless your opponents are really slow (and if they were slow, then you were better off aiming for a win). Maybe in Showa era, in gambling nights among co-workers, it would prevent you from losing as much money, but in competitive mahjong of the Heisei era, you're pretty much just shooting yourself in the foot. A win or a tenpai will always award you points; folding to bigger hands will prevent you from losing points; everything else you do, trying to take your opponents for fools, will just hurt you and your winning percentage.

If your hand -really- is 6 away and doesn't even progress, you -may- consider it an "ori haipai" or "defensive starting hand." Concentrate on accumulating as many safe tiles as possible for middle-end game, especially safe tiles against the dealer. But if you really are third or fourth, I would advice for or against this depending on how many rounds there are left, and how much of a point difference there is.

I don't have such a problem with you hurting your winning/agari percentage to pull an often ignored warning sign to the table, that's cool, okay, kosher, it only hurts yourself, if anything I'd recommend you do a semi-bluff, where you are actually -going- for the hand despite you being so far away, but that's okay, it's open for debate among digital and occult players alike, I may encounter one or two situations in my life to do that, okay, I won't pick at you for that, but please at the very least do not try to defend noten riichi too. Purposely doing a noten riichi not only is a chonbo after being discovered in a ryuukyoku, but it is also bad manners and altogether a stupid losing bet. It's a bet made to lose. You will either pay a mangan in ryuukyoku, or you will deal into someone else very easily, and in anyway it is, you're already losing 1000 points you throw on the table and that you will not be getting back. Not only that, but it's terrible manners to purposely perform "faults" like this in a game. If every time someone ponned Haku, Hatsu and Chun, I declared an obviously invalid win on purpose, pay a chonbo and restart the hand, no one would ever sit to play a game with me again. And they would be right. I'd kindly ask you refrain from ever giving terrible advice like that to any player. It just makes you seem like you don't really know mahjong, or fair and smart play.

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby Shirluban » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:47 am

BeyondDestiny wrote:A good idea when going for a defensive game would be to go for tao yao + chi toi + 2 dora
You make me wonder if I'm right to open my letters with a paper-cutter instead of using a FAMAS.


Seriously, what is your goal with this whole thread?

Saying "When your starting hand is sanshanten with an obvious yaku, you should go for it" is pretty much common sense.
And your "tactics" have holes so big we can pass an arm thru them!
There is no way someone can seriously label this "Advance Mah Jong Guide".
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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby audacity » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:54 pm

Some of the posts in this thread sadden me greatly. It's a tragedy that someone thinks he has progressed so much, only to find he has taken but a single step.

xkime, I am disappointed.

What is mahjong to you? A game? A calculation? Possibilities, permutations, probabilities and such have no place here.

Mahjong is an all-out contest of wills. It is a struggle of superiority.

I would like to share with you one of my life-changing experiences. I used to play mahjong with a regular poster on this forum. He was always full of sage advice, but always kept an air of superiority around him, hinting at heights I could not reach. I was determined to prove him wrong. In the course of many matches with him, I noticed that either he would almost always go for a Hon Itsu hand, unless the tiles for a complete hand fell naturally into his lap. However, when necessary, he would always have the tiles to intervene for a quick ron in a threatening situation. He usually ended up 3rd or 4th in our encounters, but never once changed his style of play.

Sooner or later this got to me. How could someone go straight for a Hon Itsu every hand? To do so is to damage your chances of winning beyond repair. Even the best player in the world could not keep up a winning record with such a handicap. And then it hit me. Even though he was always dead last, he had stamped his authority on the match, and the specter of his will loomed over every hand. Was it a Hon Itsu or not? Would he riichi with a double honor wait? How many tiles away from tenpai was he? The match was always about him, and we were inevitably dancing to his tune.

I immediately opened up all the replays from our previous games. It was as I feared. He would routinely tear his hands apart, sacrificing value and potential to control the flow of the game. Moreover, it was an obvious challenge to me, and I regret not seeing it every time I recall our games. Why play a game subject to its whims and desires, he seemed to be asking me, when you are the one played by the tiles instead? It was a challenge to get on his level, to beat him at his own game and break his dominance over the match itself. Since then, he has not asked for a game with me, and I fear I have disappointed him far too much to request one myself.

This guide is imperfect, but it carries a strong message. Mahjong is a game where you are buffeted hither and thither by the winds of chance. Instead of striving in vain to navigate a course, a real man plays and wins by his own rules, and nobody else's.

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Re: Advance Mah Jong Guide

Postby xKime » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:48 pm

audacity wrote:Some of the posts in this thread sadden me greatly. It's a tragedy that someone thinks he has progressed so much, only to find he has taken but a single step.


Great. This thread wasn't supposed to enlighten your day anyway. Look at it from a more objective standpoint, rather than "it makes me happy" or "it makes me sad." This thread doesn't do one thing or the other to me, as I always knew people who thought like this, who feel "so yakuza", always existed. They either learn a little bit more about mahjong and become more serious, or they just leave the game as just "one more thing" they have learned the basics of.

xkime, I am disappointed.


I doubt it. You would be required to expect something from me, and I do not remember giving you anything to do so.

What is mahjong to you? A game? A calculation? Possibilities, permutations, probabilities and such have no place here.


You would be surprised the amount of calculation involved in a single hand. Even to recieve points you're expected to calculate. I don't know if you know how to calculate points, it strikes to me as though you probably don't, but that's also one of the things you're expected to study for a very good reason.
Also, yes, probabilities do have a lot of place. Don't try to lecture me as if you knew any better. That's the very basis of why a three sided wait is better than a penchan wait under neutral situations. Mahjong is different from other "digital" games in a way that not all calculations are numeric, but some other are also theoric as well, but there is something you cannot change: The better your stats get, the better player you are becoming. And it's like that in about any game. The better your average income is, the better poker player you are; the better your win percentage is, the better kishi (igo/shogi) you are. If within 1000 games you only won 10, you suck, with no way to deny it. If within 1000 games you won 333, you're pretty decent. Remind me again, how is your winning percentage? Did it improve considerably the last year?

Mahjong is an all-out contest of wills. It is a struggle of superiority.


You need a strong will, and you need superiority to win, but with a "strong will" alone you accomplish nothing. We are all willing to win, no sane human being is willing to lose, but if you do not have the knowledge to back it up, you're just a random entity discarding random tiles. Also, take into account, this guy's post had nothing "superior" in any part of it; if anything, he assumes his opponents are fools. I doubt he would do well in mahjong, or get any far at all in net servers like tenhou. Not the way he began to think. He should start studying the game seriously to do so. Taking it so lightly like that, he's just making a mock of it. By thinking this way, he's just going on a very dangerous downwards slope, where his game is just not going to get "optimal." He would be convinced the reason his stats are bad is because "he has bad luck" or because "his opponents suck and can't be bluffed." The truth is, his game is far from optimal because he still chooses to perform TV stunts.

I would like to share with you one of my life-changing experiences. I used to play mahjong with a regular poster on this forum. He was always full of sage advice, but always kept an air of superiority around him, hinting at heights I could not reach. I was determined to prove him wrong. In the course of many matches with him, I noticed that either he would almost always go for a Hon Itsu hand, unless the tiles for a complete hand fell naturally into his lap. However, when necessary, he would always have the tiles to intervene for a quick ron in a threatening situation. He usually ended up 3rd or 4th in our encounters, but never once changed his style of play.


So, all in short, he was all talk but no show. I hope you didn't listen much to his "expert" advice, unless you too want to end 3rd or 4th usually, never changing your style of play. (Even if mahjong itself is changing)

Sooner or later this got to me. How could someone go straight for a Hon Itsu every hand? To do so is to damage your chances of winning beyond repair. Even the best player in the world could not keep up a winning record with such a handicap. And then it hit me. Even though he was always dead last, he had stamped his authority on the match, and the specter of his will loomed over every hand. Was it a Hon Itsu or not? Would he riichi with a double honor wait? How many tiles away from tenpai was he? The match was always about him, and we were inevitably dancing to his tune.


This is only so because you rarely had other friends to play mahjong with and just played with him over and over. In the mahjong world, you get to play with a lot of completely different people most of the time. Some amaze you with their flawless play, while some others just make you think "What the heck is wrong with this guy?"
The fact that you got overwhelmed by the persistent and hard-headed game of your friend will not affect the way you have to play to either rank up in a league, in a tournament or in an internet client.

I immediately opened up all the replays from our previous games. It was as I feared. He would routinely tear his hands apart, sacrificing value and potential to control the flow of the game. Moreover, it was an obvious challenge to me, and I regret not seeing it every time I recall our games. Why play a game subject to its whims and desires, he seemed to be asking me, when you are the one played by the tiles instead? It was a challenge to get on his level, to beat him at his own game and break his dominance over the match itself. Since then, he has not asked for a game with me, and I fear I have disappointed him far too much to request one myself.


If he sacrifices value and potential, unless he gets really lucky, he is probably not winning a lot more than he is losing, unless you three were -also- below his level; you just happened to assume you were supposed to be better than him, and whenever things would go his way, you just like to think it was his "dominance." When in reality, you were just not playing with a clear mind, and not making winning bets at all.
And for not playing with a clear mind, you only have yourself to blame. I don't think this story led anywhere at all, and it is also just hear-say anyway.

This guide is imperfect, but it carries a strong message. Mahjong is a game where you are buffeted hither and thither by the winds of chance. Instead of striving in vain to navigate a course, a real man plays and wins by his own rules, and nobody else's.


Exactly. The important thing is that you consistently win. And in a game of chance, to do that, you must be a better player than your opponents, and make the correct calls more times than them. To know that, you need strategy, theory and advice from real expert players or at least players with a reputation or decent win record, and hours of practice and study of the game and each of its aspects. When he advised for a noten riichi, that was just the last thing I needed to be convinced he doesn't really know what he is talking about, and that his win rate right now is probably something like 20-20-30-30 at best. And I don't think that's a bad thing, to start off with, but I would highly suggest that he takes the game and his opponents seriously, and study real mahjong theory instead of writing either obvious advice, or outright terrible advice.

In short:

If mahjong is a thing you will only do in counted times, with a limited number of friends, feel free to play tricks, stunts, and just have fun.
If you plan on playing mahjong seriously and improving as a player, take the game and your opponents more seriously, and polish your flaws and holes in your statistics and records with some real hard work.


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