In Garthe’s Hands #7 – 3 Color Run & 3 Color Triples

Last week I got to tell you about my absolute favorite hand so I guess this week I have to go to the other extreme and tell you my most hated. It’s strange because many pros consider it their favorite. I don’t know if it’s just because I want to be different or because I’m bitter or what, but this hand bites me more than it feeds me and I just can’t forgive it. I HATE Sanshoku. I hate it so much I don’t even want it to have an English name. How about 3 Color Runs. That sounds poopy enough doesn’t it?

3 Colors (3 Color Run): 1-2 Hand Points
Does the name say it all (Sanshoku dou-jun in Japanese)? You qualify for this hand when you have the same run in all three suits, for example 234 in grands, 234 in dots, and 234 in bamboos. Concealed, it counts as two hand points but stealing tiles will knock it down to one point. I can’t stand this hand because when I aim for it, invariably the wrong side of my wait comes and I am disappointed; for example, in the above situation I would perhaps already have the 234 in grands and dots and a 23 in bamboos waiting for 1 or 4 and what comes but the 1. I hate that. Another favorite trick the mahjong gods play on me is giving me, say, 345 grands, 235 dots and 45 bamboos. I have the possibility of the triple run but I have that lame wait in the dots. I generally take the good wait in that situation and after discarding the 5 of dots, of course the 4 always comes and if I go out on the hand someone always points to my discards and mentions what a shame it was that I didn’t go for the big hand. God I hate that.

But I suppose rather than try to poison your minds on the folly that is 3 Color Runs, I should try to show how it might be useful and let you discover its orneriness yourself. This is another hand that will often combine well with other hands, mostly Reach, Peace, and Concealed Self Draw. All Simples will sometimes also work itself in there too. It’s a little dangerous to steal tiles for this hand because like I pointed out above, what if the other side of the wait comes?!!? If one does decide to bump or chow aiming for this hand it’s a good idea not to until it’s a sure thing. i.e., either bumping the 3rd run, or the final wait is only one tile and not open-ended. There might be other reasons to try to steal tiles without it being certain yet, but they’d better be good. There’s nothing worse than going for it, then drawing the wrong side of the wait, and having to wait for the winner as a “Missed Win.

3 Colors (3 Color Triples/Quads): 2 Hand Points
Having covered 3-Colors in the first half, let’s now cover 3 Colors. Lest you think I’m hitting the bottle again, let me explain, there are actually two kinds of these 3 color hands. The second one is “3 Color Triples”, the first one was Runs. In Japanese, their names both start out with the word Sanshoku but the second word is different. In fact, the triples version is so rare, that the name Sanshoku has generally just come to mean the runs version, and if someone wants to talk about the triples version he’ll use the full name, Sanshoku Doukou. I’ve probably only seen this hand 2 or 3 times in my Mahjong life so it’s not likely to play large role in anyone else’s life either. Its one advantage over the other version of 3 colors is that it is still worth 2 points even when tiles are stolen. This hand really only occurs by accident. The only time I might ever really decide to go for it actively would be if I happened to have at least 2 of the same number in each suit; I’d probably start bumping as soon as any of them came out. The times I’ve seen someone steal 2 suits of the same number, I’ve actually seen people throw number in the last suit a lot. I think some people really want to see someone win with this hand and are actually willing to help sometimes.

Let’s look at some examples.

3 Color Runs ex.1

Winning Tile:
Just 1000/1500 points. Useful perhaps at the end of the game if one just needed to win a hand to end the game.

3 Color Runs ex.2

Winning Tile:
Let’s say the player here Reached and drew his own winning tile; he would have Reach, Simples, Peace, Concealed Self Draw, and 3 Color Runs for 12,000/18,000 points!! Way to go!!

3 Color Runs ex.3

Winning Tile:
Let’s say West was the Lucky Dragon, this would (usually) be worth 8,000/12,000 points. It’s a nice pay off but it was a big risk hoping that the 1 would come and not the 4.

3 Color Triples/Quads ex.1

Winning Tile:
In this example, ⑤was the lucky dragon. The only hand points are the 2 from 3 Color Triples but because the triples were 1’s this gets up to 5,200/7,700 points

3 Color Triples/Quads ex. 2

Winning Tile:
This hand has “4 Triples” and “3 Color Triples”, 2 2-pointers; it scores 8,000/12,000 points

To post comments to this column, click here.

RM on Social

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *