In Garthe’s Hands #4 – Flushes

So I took a look at my Fight Club stats the other day, and as luck would have it, 5 of the 6 hands I’ve covered so far are my most used hands, by quite a large margin. Of course it’s not luck, but rather, all part of my greater plan. Let’s take a look:

  • Reach – 45%
  • Value tiles – 37%
  • Peace – 25%
  • Simples – 23%
  • Concealed Self-draw – 22%

Only 5 hands and he’s already up to 157%? What is he smoking, you ask? Remember, these hands are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The idea is to put as many of these as possible all into the same hand. I must say, I was a little surprised to see Concealed Self-draw so high up there. I really am one lucky son-of-a- Well anyway

It gets me thinking, where to next? Should I continue with the cramming-points-into-your-hand theme or should I move on to the cool-looking-hand theme. While winning is important, looking good doing it may be almost as important, if not more so. So this week, I’m going to leap from the simple boring world of 1 point hands to the wild exciting lunacy of 3 and 6 point hands. Besides, if I were to continue on the other theme, I’d have to do my most detested hand and I don’t want to give it that much credit yet. So today we’ll cover the two kinds of flushes.

Half Flush: 2-3 Hand Points
First we have the Half Flush, known in Japanese as Honitsu and worth 3 points. A half flush contains only Honor tiles and one of the suits. If a hand starts short-suited and also contains a couple of Value tile pairs, you’ll probably want to start shooting for the Half Flush. “Bumping” (pon) and “Chowing” are allowed, but taking tiles from other players will drop the hand’s value down to 2 points. However, because of the difficulty of accumulating all those tiles in the same suit, this hand tends to be unconcealed. So in order to make it worthwhile, you’ll probably want to have at least one Value tile group and maybe another or at least one Lucky Dragon. One of the problems with Half Flush is that it soon becomes clear what you’re aiming for and players will become much tighter with the suit that doesn’t appear in your discard pile. Letter tiles will also be less forthcoming.

Full Flush: 5-6 Hand Points
The biggie for today is the Full Flush, Chinitsu in Japanese, and worth 6 points! Like many of the hands that allow bumping and chowing, it loses a point in value when tiles are bumped so then it’s only worth 5. It is like the Half Flush but without any of the letter tiles; it is entirely composed of just one suit. Pretty straightforward you say? Well not so fast. Besides the fact that you’re trying to accumulate a lot of the same kind of tiles, another thing that will make this hand difficult is figuring out what you’re waiting for at the end. With the way tiles get grouped together, you may sometimes miss tiles that complete your hand.

Let’s look at some examples and I’ll give the points as if they were for the dealer to give an idea of how to make these hands really pay off:

Half Flush ex.1
Seat: East

2 bam3 bam4 bam 3 bam chowed2 bam4 bam 6 bam7 bam8 bam8 bamnorth windnorth windnorth wind

Winning tile: 5 bam

2,900 Points, not an impressive score

Half Flush ex.2
Seat: East

1 crack2 crack3 crack5 crack6 crack6 crack7 crack7 crack7 crack8 crack9 crackwest windwest wind

Winning tile: 8 crack

Concealed Half Flush AND Peace, 12,000 points, nice pay off.

Half Flush ex.3
: East
Seat: West
Lucky Dragon (Dora): 5 of Dots

2 dot2 dot2 dot 5 dot chowed4 dot6 dot 9 dot9 doteast wind bumpedeast windeast windred dragonred dragon
Winning tile: red dragon

5-Dots is the Lucky Dragon, East Round, East Seat (Dealer) so Half Flush, Double East, Red Dragon, Lucky Dragon, 18,000 points, Rock on!!

Full Flush ex. 1
Seat: East

1 crack1 crack2 crack2 crack3 crack3 crack5 crack6 crack6 crack7 crack8 crack9 crack9 crack
Winning tile: 7 crack
Concealed Full flush, 18,000 points, Yahooooooo!!!!!

Full Flush ex. 2
Seat: East

1 dot1 dot1 dot2 dot3 dot4 dot5 dot6 dot6 dot6 dot9 dot9 dot bumped9 dot
Winning tile: 7 dot

Open Full flush, 12,000 points, well, not bad

The thing to note in this last example is the huge number of tiles which could have completed the hand. It’s not just 5-6 waiting for the 4 or 7. It’s really 1-1-1-2-3-4-5-6-6-6 waiting for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, a think of beauty, if you can find it. Get out your tiles and try regrouping them by hand to see how each of those tiles finishes out the group.

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