In Garthe’s Hands #5 – All Triples and All Pairs

What to cover, what to cover….there’s still so much. In my last episode I jumped in to the wild and crazy world of multi-point hands with the two kinds of flushes. I was debating jumping into the total absolute lunacy of “complete hands” which give more points than anything you’ve ever imagined and which would have included my absolute favoritest of hands. But I think first I’ll take a step back to some hands which are related, but which will figure more prominently in your hand repertoire. These hands are not the most most mostest of points, but will often play a part in hands which eventually add up to a lot of points.

All Triples: 2 Hand Points
First, we’ll start with “All triples”, known as “Toitoi” in Japanese. Not a lot of trickery involved in the name here, it is sort of just the opposite of Peace. If you remember, Peace is all runs plus the head. All Triples is just that, 4 triples, plus a head. Bumping is allowed and it doesn’t change the value of the hand at all.

By itself as a two pointer, it is indeed pretty cheap, and hardly worth the trouble. However, you’ll find that the times you tend to use it will be when you have pairs of value tiles which can add to your hand points as you bump them, or also when one of your pairs is the Lucky Dragons. This will turn the otherwise probably 2600 points or so, into 8000. It’s a pretty straightforward hand so there’s not a lot to explain. Just remember that to make it really worthwhile, you’ll probably want to have a couple Value Tiles groups or Lucky Dragons. Half flush also works in nicely with this hand to give you a surprisingly large number of points, if you can pull it off.

7 Pairs (All Pairs): 2 Hand Points
Our second hand for today is “7 Pairs” (the Japanese is Chiitoitsu) and represents a bit of a departure from the traditional hands that we’ve talked about so far. All of the examples I’ve given until now have had the same basic format: 4 groups of 3 tiles in triples or runs, plus a two tile head. This hand is nothing like that in that it’s 7 groups of 2 tile pairs, or 7 heads, if you will. It’s a bit of a wild card in the Mahjong group of hands, and it can often be a cool trick because it’s difficult for other players to figure out what you’re doing.

Of course, because there is no mechanism for “bumping” pairs, this hand will always be concealed. Also, because of it’s structure, your wait will always be a singleton in your hand waiting for it’s twin to complete the pair. Because you can choose any tile to be this last remaining pair to complete, you’ll want to choose something that seems likely to come out, especially if you’re going to declare Reach. For example, a good choice would be a 1 in a suit in which you’ve thrown away a 4 (players will think that because of the 4, you don’t have 2-3 waiting for the 1 or 4 so that the 4 must be safe and they throw your winner). Honor tiles are also good in this situation because they are generally useless unless someone can make a triple with them. Because of this fact, players will often save them as “safe” tiles to throw when someone declares Reach. 7 pairs can also be combined with a number of other hands including Simples, Full or Half Flush and of course, Reach and Self-concealed draw. So even though the hand by itself is only worth 2 hand points (1600 or 2400 real points), it can quickly become an 8000 or even 12000 point hand if combined with other hands.

The reason I present these hands together today, is that I often find that I’ll be shooting for one and then by accident I will get the other. For example, on the way getting all triples, you’ll have been collecting pairs as that is what triples must start out as, yes? Sometimes you might manage to get 6 completed pairs before you managed to finish your triples. Likewise, you may be collecting pairs when first one and then, oops, 2 or your pairs became triples. Now you’re only one away from all triples. So the key is to be flexible with your doubles and triples as they come and react in the way that the tiles seem most likely to keep coming.

Let’s look at some examples.

All Triples ex.1
Round: East

Seat: South
1 crack1 crack bumped1 crack2 dot2 dot2 dot5 bam5 bamWest windWest windWest windnorth windnorth wind
Winning tile: 5 bam

That’s a lot of work for maybe 2600 points

All Triples ex.2

Round: East
Seat: South

3 crack3 crack4 dot4 dot9 bam bumped9 bam9 bamEast windEast windEast windRed DragonRed DragonRed Dragon bumped

Winning tile: 4 dot
That’s more like it, East round makes this an 8000 pointer

7 Pairs ex.1
Round: East
Seat: West

1 crack1 crack5 dot5 dot9 dot3 bam3 bamEast windEast windWest windWest windWhite DragonWhite Dragon

Winning tile: 9 dot nothing special, maybe just 1600 points

7 Pairs ex. 2
Round: East
Seat: North
Lucky Dragon: 1 of Dots

9 crack9 crack1 dot2 dot2 dot6 dot6 dot3 bam3 bamSouth windSouth windGreen DragonGreen Dragon
Winning tile: 1 dot

Let’s say you declared Reach and drew your own winning tile and that it was the Lucky Dragon, that’s 6 hand points bringing you to 12,000 real points!!

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