In Garthe’s Hands #9 – Full Straight & 3 Concealed Triples

Long time no hands!! I bet you all thought with the lack of new hands columns that I must have finally run out of new hands to throw at you. Not the case! Though it should be encouraging to know that we are at least half way through them all at this point. In fact, it should be even more encouraging to note that the 16 hands I’ve given you so far plus the two I’m going to give you today make up 3396 of the 3428 hands I’ve completed in 1544 games of Fight Club so far this year. That’s more than 99%! So pay attention for at least this column too, and then you can ignore me in earnest for a few weeks. Without further ado, I introduce to you: One Suit Straight, and 3 Concealed Triples.

One Suit Straight (Full Straight): 1-2 Hand Points
One Suit Straight is called Ikkitsuukan in Japanese but it usually gets shortened to just “Ittsu”. It is three consecutive runs all in the same suit, plus another group which can be a triple or run, and a head, of any suit or Honor tile. Put another away, this hand must have a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 all in the same suit. Concealed it’s worth two points, but stealing tiles will knock it down to one point. Like 3 Colored Runs or the Outside hands, this hand will generally be more useful when worked in with other hands, in this case, especially Peace, Reach, Concealed Self Draw and Full or Half Flush. Also like those hands, though unusual, there will be times when stealing tiles is advantageous, most likely when there are some lucky dragons in the hand but no hand point to be able to win with them. Also like 3 Colored Runs, it is often a bit of a crapshoot achieving the hand as usually, the wait will be for the final tile to finish the straight, and after reaching, one may have to win on the tile that does not complete the straight. Another thing that I find strange about this hand is the number of times I come to a crossroads where I must decide whether I’m going to go for this or 3 Colored Runs. An oddity I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed?

Three Concealed Triples: 2 Hand Points
Our other hand for today is 3 concealed triples. It’s called Sananko in Japanese and if you remember the limit hand I introduced you to a few weeks ago, 4 Concealed Triples, the concept behind this hand shouldn’t be too difficult; it’s just one less triple. Just remember, like its big brother, the tiles that make up the triples must all be self drawn. That’s the only limitation regarding stealing, so if a tile for the other group or the head (pair) come from another player, the hand is still worth the same 2 hand points, concealed or not. It’s an unusual hand, but seems to come up in some interesting situations. First of all, it’s one of the saving graces when going for 4 Concealed Triples but another player throws the winning tile before it can self drawn. In such a situation, the hand will at least contain All Triples and 3 Concealed Triples for 4 points making it still a hand worth going out on even though it wasn’t the coveted Limit Hand. Another situation I find it useful is when I don’t have any hand points in my hand but I do already have 2 triples and my wait is two pairs waiting for one to become a triple. If I Reach on this hand and someone throws my winner, I’ll only have the Reach Hand point. If however, I manage to draw my own tile, suddenly I have Reach, Self Concealed Draw, and 3 Concealed Triples for a total of 4 points and another nice hand. These are the two major situations this hand will be useful, the others often being a bit of a boondoggle I find. One final point, when there are already 3 triples in the hand and the final group is a going to be a run, there are those who might reach and there might be a good argument for it, like it’s the final hand and one only needs that number of points to win the game. However, in most situations, most players (well, us dreamers anyway) would prefer to wait for one of the tiles in the incomplete run to pair up so that the hand would be ready for 4 Concealed Triples. Dream dream dream.

So how about a few examples:

One Suit Straight ex.1

Winning Tile:

West was the lucky dragon so with the unconcealed One Suit Straight this would be 3900/5800 points

One Suit Straight ex.2

Winning Tile:

Let’s say the player Reached and drew his tile himself and ① was the Lucky Dragon. Then the hand would be Reach, Peace, Concealed Self Draw, Full Straight and one Lucky Dragon for 12000/18000 points! As an aside, can anyone take a stab at what the winning tiles would be for this hand?

3 Concealed Triples ex.1

Winning Tile:
Let’s say the player reached and somebody threw his winner (remember, if he had drawn it, he’d have hit 4 concealed triples, a limit hand!!) He gets Reach, Red Dragon, 4 triples, and 3 Concealed triples for 12000/18000 points.

3 Concealed Triples ex.2

Winning Tile:

Assume he reached and drew the 8 himself. He’d have Reach, Concealed Self Draw, and 3 concealed triples for 8000/12000 points.
So now that I’ve basically told you there’s hardly any reason to read my column for the next few hands I bet you’re wondering how I’m going to entice you to keep coming back? Great writing!! It goes without saying! Also, I too am interested in your comments, laments, and random stories regarding bad beats or people being catapulted over swimming pools into the adjoining neighbor’s yard. Send any of the above to my e-mail.

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