Garthe on the First League Session (D2)

Spring is here, and that means one thing: 2-3 weeks of the entire country being alternately smashed or hungover as they lurch from one hanami gathering to another.

Oh but wait, there’s other thing: the beginning of the year for Japan Professional Mahjong League!

On the strength of my 150 point penalty in session 4 last season I made a strong dive from D1 league into D2 while Jenn continued to play steady, holding her spot in D1. At least with D2 beginning at 4 in the afternoon, I am much less likely to miss it or even be late! Benefits aside, it did little to help my showing this month.

Actually it started out not all too bad. In the first game, three of us ganged up on the youngest guy at the table to finish positive and give him a negative 27 point start. In the final hand of the second game I won a 2000 point hand from him to steal first place rounding out a nice first half. It was pretty easy to go on the offensive as no one seemed to want to put together very big hands making throwing into them relatively inexpensive.

In the 3rd hand of the 3rd game, the same kid got to ready on his turn as dealer and reached on the 3rd discard, leaving very little obvious outs for playing defense. With my hand starting to come together and a couple ’s on the board, I dealt into this:

While some might argue that 2 straight games of el cheapo hands might justify simply going for it every time against those guys, the truth is my hand was nothing special and I did still have tiles that appeared safer than that (2). In the end it was a pretty careless mistake that could have been avoided and the lost 11600 points was the beginning of the end of good hands coming my way for the day.

The one place I do wonder if a different play would have served me better was in the South round of the last game. I was in the south seat and got to one away from ready with this:

Dora was , and I could already see 2 of them out along with one each of and around the 8th draw. When the dealer discarded the second 2, I chowed it to take tenpai and eventually won a small 2000 point hand from the current 3rd place player to take 3rd place going into my turn as dealer. The next two hands, however, all the players chowed and punged until they had practically no tiles left in their hands, and went out with cheapies to push me just back into last place by the end of the game.

Taking the cheaper option is not usually my style and I do wonder how differently things might have turned out had I waited a few more draws to see if I could have turned the hand into something more expensive.

Negative 19 points to start puts me only 7 players and 20 points away from the border for dropping into D3! Looks like it’s time to start getting tips from Jenn again as she finished the day with another solid positive finish of 18 points and is currently only 5 players away from the border for moving up to C3.

Still a long season, let’s see where it goes…

RM on Social