Play-by-play: Jerk Move
Warning: This post is not for faint-hearted. You might want to save it for Halloween.
I do not fear furiten. Those who have watched me play can attest to that. I am more than happy to dance around the suits to find the elusive combination that will not only give me a yaku, but also the points I need for placement.
It can get very aggressive.
There is one particular occasion that I would like to share with you. Rather than answer a question or make a theory point with this play-by-play, I want to ask you all a question…
What points context would you consider this a good move? (If you consider it a good move at all!)
So far, so boring. My typical plan here is a pinfu, riichi, dora with a hope for a 234 sanshoku tanyao.
I’ve cut the points context on purpose. But even if we just want to consider the fastest way to tempai, pinfu is the way. Trying to call a tanyao early could result in difficulties if I end up waiting with either the ニ三 or the (2)(3).
Still all very dull but that (6) draw has pushed my hand into a situation where I’m going to start thinking about whether I can win this. It’s been a little slow to get to 2-shanten. Sanshoku has faded from view. The players on my right and left look like they have started to pull something together with the (4) and 4 discards. (They’re both 1-shanten so closer than I am, but I’m not to know that in the game.) This is the point where I need to decide if I want to try and push my foot on the gas and try to catch up and overtake them, or if I start planning my defence.
A wild riichi appears!
My gut instinct was right and a riichi comes in from the left. Luckily I have some tiles I can throw while not gaining shanten.
It’s too early to read whether the player on my right is pushing or not. However, the player opposite is pushing (which is not surprising as they are dealer), and thankfully creating some paths for me to avoid throwing dangerous tile with that 2.
Things get crazy
This is the point where things get questionable. For some reason the lure of a red five is just too much for me, and I call it. I have no yaku but I’m in tempai with 七 discard… The 七 is not a safe discard but it is relatively more safe.
It looks like the player on my right is folding now with that 四 discard straight after the player in riichi discarded it. I can probably give them less focus when calculating dangerous throws. It’s me, South and East who are in the running.
What’s the plan here? I have a ニ三 but I can’t win without trying to find a yaku. Sanshoku is gone… The only way to get to this to the finish line is to push it into a tanyao. There are only two 四 which I must get for this plan. However, the benefit here is they’re likely to be dropped considering the discards after riichi.
Incidentally, at this point, I would have called a 四 getting me into a tanyao furiten tempai (dropping (1). I would call a (4) or a (7) to complete (5)(6)(7) discarding (1) to get me into tanyao tempai and happily avoiding tempai and the kuikae rule.
Luck has it and I draw the exact tile I want and also the one that was causing the most risk to my plan. I throw the (1) to give me that furiten tanyao tempai, two dora.
It’s now all entirely dependant on my luck.
The grand finish
And I draw it. It wasn’t a bad wait to try and tsumo considering there were still five out there. But was it worth it? From this aggressive play, I was obviously heavily invested in winning this hand at orasu no matter what shenanigans it…
This is where I can cycle back round to the question I asked at the start…
In what points context would this have been a valid move?
[Edited 12th October: Thanks Ozball!]
The only real case I’d do the same:
Mostly flat scores going into the hand, ie only needing 2k or 3.9k to jump one or two places, or just end up in first. Any gap larger than that and I probably wouldn’t open, and pray on getting riichi/ura/tsumo as possible extra yaku.
Quick question about this part:
“Incidentally, at this point, I would have called a 四, a (4) or a (7) to get me into tanyao furiten tempai.”
If you had called a (4) or a (7) here (and assumedly discarded the (1), wouldn’t you NOT be in furiten? Just waiting on a 一 or 四? Though of course you couldn’t win on the 一, but three are out, compared to only two of the 四, so the odds would be slightly in your favour.
Hey! Thanks for picking up the error. Must check my work better. I’ve edited it now. 🙂