Dude, where's the strategy?

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby xKime » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:19 am

@xKime
Thank you for taking the time and writing something really helpful and motivating. For me your post is the most valuable on how to play in quite some time. I guess there are quite a few people like me, who gained a little experience through online play but at some point don't know how to advance their play and get frustrated with Tenhou's open lobby.

I'm gratefull that you backed my theory of "lack of skill" in the open lobby. After I wrote my initial post I felt like an idiot to write something like that because it is easy to accuse other people of bad play when you just lost your full flush hand to a cheap yakuhai hand. I would lie if I would say that this doesn't hurt :-) But losing is part of the game and to play riichi means also to deal with defeats. But it's really not about one or the other game, it's more about the whole thing. And of course I would like to say that there are also people playing in the open lobby which really know how to play - just in case somebody gets the impression through my post that on Tenhou's open lobby skill is absent.


No problem. It's just my opinion, though, it's by no means a holy book on anything. If anything, Pechorin has a lot of better "commandments" about playing on tenhou, that are more philosophical than strategic ("don't think of yourself as weak" "have a rival to compare yourself to" "don't whine about being caught by other players" etc). If I can ever find that post in his archive, I'll give it a shot at translating it.

Tenhou's open lobby stops being profittable from the moment you get to the dan ranking, as you're not making enough points by winning to make up for the ones you are losing when you... lose. That's why the higher lobby you play in, the better. That is if you keep up with the level. If you don't, then relax, study some more, and grind your way back into the higher rooms.

It's hard to measure the level of skill of another player in just one game, judging by the hands he put together... I guess it's easier to determine the lack of skill if anything. Or the lack of being willing to learn how to play better.

You can distinguish the player who folds even at times when he shouldn't, which can also be an unskilled mistake, but it hurts only himself and shows true interest and commitment to getting better, and the player who just tries to push ahead with every single hand and more often than not deals in for no reason. The latter shows no commitment to improvement or consideration.

That's exactly what I think. After watching Mondo's videos you might know how to squeeze a hand but you don't know how to play your way through Tenhou's open lobby.

I could also comment on all other examples which I felt you took straight out of open lobby play, but it's not neccesseary because I've seen these kind of situations so often and you're right on every single one of it. I can only recommend your post as one of the best I've ever read on playing real life online mahjong (no folks, I'm not getting paid by xKime to say that), especially on Tenhou - like you say, this might be a platform where some odd mahjong physics takes place and not every riichi rule set on this planet favours playing tactics like you described in your post, that has to be kept in mind.


That's mainly because of how scores are written at the mondo leagues, in contrast to how you earn points on tenhou. Results like 333313331331 however an unlikely example it may be, will take you to higher rankings in tenhou, eventually, but it will -not- earn you first place in a league.

Well, thanks for saying that, and no I'm not paying you to say that indeed. I'm saving for my stay in Japan, during which I hope to be accepted in any pro league after succesfully completing the exams.

Still, the golden rule on tenhou is, don't underestimate your opponents. They might suddenly decide to make the right move one out of ten times. Still, you can underestimate them whenever you get a big or special hand. Like, one away from a kokushi 13-sided-wait. But always remember that if you are going to deal into them, deal in with the tile that hurts a bit less...

Image

Fck. That's as close I'll be to a 13-sided kokushi in quite some time, and the jerkoff to the left decided to go menzen chin itsu. Nice call.
(Before any wisecrack says "should have discarded the red 5 earlier," that red 5 dora is the tile I drew right after the riichi, as if to also make me deal into ippatsu. The game loves me so. I decided to keep it, and then I drew the suji 8.. what happened after that is pretty much obvious)

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Barticle » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:18 am

b4k4ni04 wrote:Shouldn't he(sir ryuuisou) have nothing to worry about as it's an abortive draw on triple ron?

I don't know - do cats normally play with abortive draws? :? :lol:

If so, I guess they'd call it San Chat Hō rather than San Cha Hō.

I think I just made a French/Japanese pun. How awesome am I? 8)

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Shirluban » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:24 pm

Barticle wrote:If so, I guess they'd call it San Chat Hō rather than San Cha Hō.

I think I just made a French/Japanese pun. How awesome am I? 8)


And they don't do タンヤオ (tan-yao) but タニャーオ (ta-nya-o).
Cats don't do タンヤオ (tan-yao) but タニャーオ (ta-nya-o).
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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Barticle » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:19 pm

:lol: I concede - that's undeniably the best Japanese mahjong/cat pun!

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Referee » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:54 am

Just be glad your opponent on the left didn't have a third iisou instead of the extra 4 or 6, hehe.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby xKime » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:54 am

Referee wrote:Just be glad your opponent on the left didn't have a third iisou instead of the extra 4 or 6, hehe.


I would have loved to deal into a chuurenpoutou.
I dealt into kokushi, payed the oya-kaburi for suu an kou tsumo and even dealt into an all green. A chuurenpoutou would at least have made me smile.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Barticle » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:53 pm

Another for the collection, huh? :) I admit it'd be nice to see Nine Gates, but it's an expensive whim!

Kaburi? ...as in "overdraft"?

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby xKime » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:09 am

Barticle wrote:Another for the collection, huh? :) I admit it'd be nice to see Nine Gates, but it's an expensive whim!

Kaburi? ...as in "overdraft"?


As in, like, you pay more points because you're oya/dealer and yeah.

I try to respect the current oya, and not discard dora yakuhai or make unnecessary kan, but other players hardly respect me, and I end up paying a lot of points because of an inflated tsumo. Meh, those things do happen. I'm exagerating. More often than not, I lose my turn as oya to a 2000 point hand.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Barticle » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:13 pm

Okay, cool. Hadn't encountered the term. As in real life, you should respect your parent!

I've seen a lot of dora yakuhai pons recently. Better than not seeing them and dealing in. Easy to assume it's a cheap hand.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Fat*Dragon » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:36 pm

@xKime

Do you consider a kan a legal weapon of choice in mahjong? There's a saying that in love and in war everything's allowed... This has to be changed then to: in love, war and mahjong everything's allowed. At the moment I just can think of three situations where you want to make a kan:
1. when you think you're the one who's going to win (you should be in tenpai already).
2. you want to build a hand where kans are the basis for a yaku - but this seems very risky to me and might lead to an undesirable result.
3. when you're light years away from the pack und you hope that one opponent will take a major hit so you're not that alone in the cellar.

In my experience kans are weapons of mass destrucion. They are hard to controll and more often than not hurt the wrong person. If you want to turn the game upside down then they are the best choice. But maybe they can be controlled more efficiently, if somebody has exprience whith that I would like to hear about it. I really should test this myself because I seldom think of using them. I like the impression of "control", whith already 4 red fives, dora and ura dora in a game a newly added kan-dora is not really part of that impression. I'm aware that "control" of a mahjong game is something that's not so easily archievable, that's why I wrote it in quotation marks.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Shirluban » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:17 pm

There are also situations you do NOT want to make a kan:
- You have an open hand (no riichi -> no kan-ura-dora for you).
- Your opponents have a concealed hand and may win (they can riichi -> kan-ura-dora for them).

In general, making a kan is simply giving points to your opponents:
1) The kan-dora is active for every one.
2) Each player have the same chance to have a new dora.
3) You are alone and have three oponents.
1+2+3) Their is 3 more chances an opponent get a kan-dora than you.


This story may interest you:
At the first European championship, one of my opponent made an exposed kan :!: , and opened her hand at the same time. It wasn't even a yakupai, just a mere "simple" tile (2-8, I don't remember exactly which one). Since EMA don't allow open tanyao, I'm not sure what she intended to do.
Some turns latter, an other player made an open kan too :!: .
While this, I had four identical tiles concealed (from the starting hand or so) and delayed to be tenpai to declare my kan + riichi.
Then a strange thing happened: I drown another set of four identical tiles!
I could have push the hand thru riichi, but considering I wasn't tenpai yet and I didn't have any of the twelve dora, I had a better idea:
By declaring my two concealed kan, I forced to abort the game. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Cats don't do タンヤオ (tan-yao) but タニャーオ (ta-nya-o).
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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby jcr661 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:14 pm

That seems to be a trend. Especially an open kan, the whole game takes on a new meaning. The conservatives become attackers and the game takes on an "all or nothing” feel.

I tend to freak out and bail when people start kan(ing) like crazy. And every time I decided to stay concealed and riichi to take a chance at those extra ura dora, it bites me in the ass.
Not enough time to do a cost benefit analysis mid way into a game and figure out who did those last 2 kans help/ hurt the most.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby xKime » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:21 pm

Fat*Dragon wrote:@xKime

Do you consider a kan a legal weapon of choice in mahjong? There's a saying that in love and in war everything's allowed... This has to be changed then to: in love, war and mahjong everything's allowed. At the moment I just can think of three situations where you want to make a kan:
1. when you think you're the one who's going to win (you should be in tenpai already).
2. you want to build a hand where kans are the basis for a yaku - but this seems very risky to me and might lead to an undesirable result.
3. when you're light years away from the pack und you hope that one opponent will take a major hit so you're not that alone in the cellar.

In my experience kans are weapons of mass destrucion. They are hard to controll and more often than not hurt the wrong person. If you want to turn the game upside down then they are the best choice. But maybe they can be controlled more efficiently, if somebody has exprience whith that I would like to hear about it. I really should test this myself because I seldom think of using them. I like the impression of "control", whith already 4 red fives, dora and ura dora in a game a newly added kan-dora is not really part of that impression. I'm aware that "control" of a mahjong game is something that's not so easily archievable, that's why I wrote it in quotation marks.


First of all, if an opponent (especially the dealer) has declared riichi or is waiting with a possible monster hand (dealer has double east, someone ponned the dora, chin/hon itsu is visible, etc), it' generally not a very good idea to kan. That being said...

To start with, not every kan is the same. You have ankan (concealed kan), daiminkan (called kan(?) if someone has a better translation) and shouminkan (extended kan).

For ankan, you generally -want- to do it when you're very close to tenpai, or tenpai, right before you're about to riichi. A one away from tenpai with an uke-ire of 16 tiles or so, or tenpai. (12 is not that bad either)
Especially if it's an honor tile, you want to wait until the very end. If someone declares riichi, you have 4 safe turns.
However, if your hand is already open, you want to take the same considerations of the following two types.

When gone right:
Image Image

As for open kan, we have the two types I mentioned. Daiminkan and shouminkan.

For daiminkan. Just, don't do it. Generally. More often than not, it's just a novice's bad habit. An ankou (concealed pon) is much more flexible and it's generally not worth opening your hand. Not only do you not have access at ura-dora, but you don't have a chance at kan-ura either. You're at too much of a disadvantage, and you can risk your lead. The only situation you want to do this, is when you're down in the lows and you don't really care if the current leader solidifies his lead as long as you get a better chance at improving your placement (4th place avoidance). Not only you may score dora yourself, but you also increase the chances that third place deals into a dora filled hand, or the dealer absorbs a huge tsumo. Still, you're relying too much on chance. Just avoid it altogether generally.
Also, saying "I get a free draw!" is no excuse. You don't get a free draw. You lose one turn and get one draw. It's the same.

For shouminkan you generally want to consider your placement/points (will it hurt you or benefit you?), whether you want to discard the tile or not, and whether your hand is worth of it. If it's a dora, it's generally ok. If it's a honor/terminal, you get a lot of extra fu, so if you need an extra push, go ahead, though I generally use the fourth as safe tiles unless I'm confident about my hand.
The problem is middle tiles... you risk yourself falling into them chankanz.

When gone right:
Image Image
Image
(it went right... for him)

When gone wrong: (for the other guy at least)
Image
Image

Getting too large, so... aborting the mission.

To sum it up, ankan is the best to declare when you're about to win. Don't ever daiminkan unless you're down on the lows or in an already open hand tenpai with a good shape and you can benefit from the kan. Shouminkan depends on the situation at the table and the tile you're adding.

Sorry to be so vague, but I could go into further examples, exceptions and analysis, and it would become a wall of text. More than it is already.

EDIT:

To illustrate further, this just happened a while ago. This guy made two idiotic daiminkan just before dealing into ippatsu- baiman. He wasted two perfectly useful ankou for a marginal hand and raised the other guy's hand value to baiman. Not the very best game strategy if you ask me.

Image

I was pissed enough about finishing on third when I didn't really desserve that.

EDIT2:

Image
Image

Here, I made a daiminkan. I don't do this often, so it was a strange occurrence. The red 5. I surely wanted to use it, I was tenpai, the whole rinshankaihou thing, and also I didn't want the west house (already opened up) calling it. Two of the other three players already couldn't reach. Furthermore, even if things go awful, I have three safe tiles. Considering these points, I decided to call it. In the end, the change in turn order made me draw my winning tile. Some dumb luck right there.

Sure, I sacrificed my chance at san an kou tsumo or at calling 3-6p and getting a ryanmen, I'm very aware, but nonetheless, if I don't play this agressively in tenhou, I never seem to get a good placing. And since this topic was mainly on tenhou, yeah.

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby Fat*Dragon » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:10 pm

@Shirluban

This story may interest you:
At the first European championship, one of my opponent made an exposed kan :!: , and opened her hand at the same time. It wasn't even a yakupai, just a mere "simple" tile (2-8, I don't remember exactly which one). Since EMA don't allow open tanyao, I'm not sure what she intended to do.
Some turns latter, an other player made an open kan too :!: .


This sounds like a lot of fun! It also reminds me of a tourney report I read here: http://www.osamuko.com/2009/05/25/hannover-german-riichi-open-2009-report/

Somwhere down in the comments someone says: ... Also, many, especially the older ladies happiliy open kan'd when there were other riichis already. ...
These must be the infamous Kan-Dora-Grannies. They also made their way to Tenhou already. After I worte my post yesterday I played a hanchan where two players tried to beat everyone else in making kans. Unfortunately they were lucky with their strategy.

I could have push the hand thru riichi, but considering I wasn't tenpai yet and I didn't have any of the twelve dora, I had a better idea:
By declaring my two concealed kan, I forced to abort the game.


That's what I would have done in that situation and I also do this in any other game where I think it's not worth going for it or where I don't want anyone else to benefit from it.

@xKime
Great post again with lots of examples. Thanks for sharing. I have to read this another time, lunch ist waiting! :-)

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Re: Dude, where's the strategy?

Postby xKime » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:28 pm

@xKime
Great post again with lots of examples. Thanks for sharing. I have to read this another time, lunch ist waiting! :-)


No problem. I have been paying more attention to kan tendencies after reading this post. So, I took two more screenshots for example purpouses:

Here, I made another daiminkan:

Image

Why? The answer is 4th Place Avoidance. Well, it's oorasu and I'm last by 1100. A 1000 points hand will not do unless I get the tsumo or direct hit, which I wouldn't necessarily bet on. If I keep the concealed ankou and win on the shanpon wait, then I do get 1300 (20 + 2 + 8 + 2 = 32 > 40) but the point here is I want to switch to ryanmen if I get the chance. With 4 different types of tiles to give me ryanmen, it's best to anticipate it. The thing is, if I switch to ryanmen with the concealed ankou, when I win off someone else's discard, I will get 1000 points, and there's about a 50% chance that it will come off someone else than my target or my tsumo. Sure, I could pass on the win, but in oorasu first place is securing first, second securing second, third securing third (in theory), things are looking like I won't have enough time. By making a daiminkan, I secure myself the necessary fu to win with any shape/wait/tile and from any person. Sure, I can deal in, I can add dora, but it's the last round and I'm last, so I would say I have more to win than to lose, really. I would also like the dealer to absorb a dora packed tsumo/ron if I get the chance. Just to avoid fourth place.

In real mahjong you would aim for first. In Tenhou it's important to aim for "not fourth."

Funny thing is, some guy dealt into a direct hit baiman, and the others kept dealing into each other's mangan and so, and I was last with 20k without dealing in once. Such sloppy mahjong. Tenhou's lower rank lobbies suck, I'll probably go back to playing in higher dan if I don't see any improvement soon on that tenhou account. Anyway, next one.

This guy riichi'd, the other made a pursuit riichi, and he suddenly drew the 4th instance of his honor tile. Kan? Discard a safe?
I don't have the theory or statistical records, but most times I see this, kan is a clear disadvantage as you lose one turn of dealing a safe tile against the other riichi, and you add him dora. During that one discard, you're at an increased risk. Sure, if it passes, then you're both on equal ground, but assuming your hand was good before you even riichi'd, I see no need to risk it.

Anyway, this guy dealt in directly after kan'ing. Mangan.

Image

If he was dealer, it was not a bad move as his point increases on a 1.5 basis, but as no-dealer you stand on equal ground as the other riichi. But oh well. I can't blame him, same thing happened to me yesterday.

Still, if you have no one else pushing against you, ankan during riichi is great. If you have someone else following you, considere the win-loss rate of declaring that kan and reaching to the dead wall tiles.


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