In Garthe’s Hands #17 – Instant Gratification

Almost done! The plan for the next two columns is to cover the rest of the hands I haven’t covered so far. Don’t worry, these won’t be my last hand columns ever, but I do want to give every hand at least some representation out there before going back to review more common hands. Because I’ve generally been progressing from the common to the rare, one would be correct to assume that there won’t be many opportunities to see these hands. And the fact that limit hands are left in this group shouldn’t be too surprising either. Even their little brothers are quite unusual too. Today let’s take a look at Double Reach (seen it, done it, it’s possible), Instant Win (I’ve heard it’s possible), and next time we’ll do 3 Kongs (theoretically possible), and 4 Kongs (just not possible).

Instant Win:
Starting with Instant Win, there are two kinds of them actually, let it/them not be confused with the 1 point First Turn Win(ippatsu) associated with Reach when the winning tile is drawn or discarded immediately after declaring Reach. This is a limit hand and there won’t even be a chance to Reach on it. All you have to do is not throw anything away because you managed to draw a complete hand right off the bat. It’s Mahjong’s hole-in-one. If the dealer does it, it’s a Heavenly Win, “Tenho” in Japanese. If a non-dealer does it, it’s called an Earthly Win, or “Chiho” and the one extra requirement here is that nobody can have stolen any tiles in that first round before the player draws his winning tile. Not that it’s ever happened to me, but I can’t imagine my complete and utter disappointment if I started with a ready hand looking forward to my first draw only to have some nimrod bump something before I could draw my winner. That would also preclude me from being able to use today’s other hand, Double Reach.

Double Reach:
Double Reach is just one iota short of the Instant Win, dropping it all the way down to a two point hand. A bit harsh I guess, but that’s the price you pay for only getting dumb luck rather than idiotic luck with Instant Win. Double Reach is the same as normal Reach except that you declare reach on the first draw of the hand. Also, for players other than the dealer, there can have been no stealing of tiles before the declaration. If tiles are stolen, then even though it may be your first draw and discard, it’s still just normal Reach. It is fairly unusual but not so rare that I don’t see it at least say once every month or so. It’s just drawing a “ready” hand or drawing it on your first draw. Going that one step further does seem to make all the difference as I have yet to ever actually witness either of the Instant Wins. The closest I ever came was having it happen at a table behind me and then hearing about it afterward. Not my most exciting story ever.

Double Reach is the same as Reach really, and the Instant Wins are good for any shape of hand so examples won’t really show much. How about a couple situations to see what people would do?

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