In Garthe’s Hands:

I won my first game of the study session last night. And then lost the last 3. It was perfectly representative of why my results have been so haphazard lately.

In the first game I played pretty tight, giving up many hands early because they just didn’t seem likely to win, and not reaching with my semi-expensive tenpai hands. For example, the last hand of the East round, Setokuma was dealer and I was in the East seat with this Ready hand (tenpai):


Dora was 6b, making this hand at least 5200 points. There were lots if possibilities fir changing to an open-ended wait. Indeed, few players would reach here. Setokuma eventually threw my 8d and I was suddenly only 1800 points behind Hisato in first place.

The next hand, Kojima-Sensei was dealer. After 10 draws, I got 3c to be Ready with this hand:


Dora was 6d so I’d obviously like to change at least that and/or the extra 3b for 9b to give me a full straight. Again, an obvious choice for not reaching, and this time I drew my 8d winner. Almost as the tiles were still falling over when I showed my hand, Kojima was already reaching over to take the 3b from my hand to say missed win reach!! Indeed that is his style and it has often paid off huge for him in many situations but Setokuma agreed that for me in this situation it was better to book the cheap win. We’ll come back to this in a second.

Two hands later, Setokuma had already reached when I got to ready with this hand:


Dora was 1b and he had just discarded the last green when he reached. It was going to be hard to change this to a better wait and I was still right behind Hisato. Maybe I could draw my 2b and just give up with the green‘s if I drew something dangerous. Again, a no brainer non-reach…until he threw 5b. Then I start thinking he probably doesn’t need 2b either so now it IS a good reach!


But not necessarily wrong in that it would always be a bad play for all players. The exact point that Setokuma wanted to make was that given the way I’d played conservatively to get that far, it just didn’t make sense there to suddenly go on the offensive. If that were my game plan, then indeed I should have reached with the Missed Win earlier instead of taking the cheap win.

As it happened, I was lucky despite my mistake. The hand ended in a draw. The next and final hand Hisato ponned 1d and then Dora west, prompting me to give up immediately and Kojima to preserve his third place position with a chow and cheap 1300 points from Hisato!

That actually put Hisato the necessary 100 points behind me giving me the win! True to form, in the end I won by playing tight, despite my effort to throw the game away with a reckless reach toward the end.

The first hand of the next game, I was still some distance from my own half flush when I threw an obviously dangerous 8d to Nakata’s full flush. It wasn’t just a 12,000 point hit. It was a torpedo that left me a ship without a rudder for the whole rest of the night.

I’m not saying tight play is always best or that loose play is always bad. I’m also certainly not saying that because I’d gotten lucky playing tight so far, that I would continue to get lucky that way. Heaven knows my feelings on the whole “tsuki” (rush of luck/bad luck) issue. But if I want to win playing several different styles of play, not only am I l going to have to be good at all those different styles, my timing is going to have to be perfect every time too.

I’m probably better off sticking to what has worked so far. Surely we’ve all heard, “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

RM on Social