Play by Play: Orasu

These play by plays are less in-depth strategy discussion and more like a collection of thematic tales, some with a moral twist. I’m a Geoffrey Chaucer-type traveling through a world of yaku and players, collecting notable stories to retell. (Some of them ribald…?)

This is no different. Look away now if you want some pointers on how to improve your tile efficiency. But keep staring if you like to consider for yourselves the psychology of players as we enter orasu.

First… My points condition. (I’m the one at the bottom)

I’m in fourth but it’s very close. It’s still anyone’s game as we enter orasu. I’m the North player, so the East player is on my right with 33.7. This is ron2 so it’s worth noting that if the East wins, the game ends. HOWEVER, if the game is a draw, we keep playing. They do not have an option to not claim tempai.

Let’s make the assumption that winning this game is essential for me. It’s like final table where only top will do. So consider that as we move forward. No discussions of “I would accept second.” It’s NOT an option.

Not the worst start. However, I just wrote that it’s a close game and it certainly APPEARS that way, but consider what yaku acrobatics I need to perform to get first.

With my seat wind and potential for a dora, I could have two han. Yet that’s not enough to spring me even into third unless it’s a direct hit on the west player. It’s a stretch but with a riichi I could make it second if I hit East or South directly. That’s a lot of ifs… Maybe I could consider a 678 sanshoku as well, or just pray for an ura. Biiiig stretch. But I’m at the bottom, it’s orasu…I’ve nothing to lose. Perhaps one of these guys will riichi and lower the bar for me.

So far, so bad. I’ve not called North because I need to find some score and ended up throwing those Norths. I’m now thinking tanyao, riichi, pinfu, dor.

I’m now 1-shanten (one away from ready) but not close to where I need to be for the score I have to find in this hand.

STILL 1-shanten. It’s pretty miserable but I’ve managed to dance around and not thrown into anyone. The key point here is that East is almost definitely certainly tempai. They’ve called so much that it would really be amazing if they aren’t. I don’t think I can make the points I need now in this hand, which means I’m hoping to see another hand.

I call it. I want to set myself up to not lose points and be in an easy situation to snipe at first position for the South-4 round. This is disputably a poor move. But perhaps this will scare players into throwing their hands to avoid me, meaning that the game won’t be ended by someone winning. East is likely to have to push considering how open their hand is.

Crud. That’s my winning tile. Guess I scare NO ONE. I have tanyao only. This is not the time I want to end this. I’m so close to a chance at drawing a way better starting hand so I let this one go.

As if to taunt me, here it is again! The final one. Mahjong has a beautiful cruelty to it that never ceases to amaze.

And here we are. Exactly where I had hoped…sorta. A draw and a chance of another and better hand. But this time I’m in third and in a slightly better shape to aim for first.

Patience is a conquering virtue.