Jenn’s Corner #11: 2007 Season Begins

Hello everyone! It’s Jenn. I got tired of waiting for Garthe to write his column (he is currently in the US, working on some other stuff), so I will take his place and post his next column. I know you would rather read about me anyway (^.^)

So the new Mahjong year has started and there is a lot to look forward to this month! First of all, JPML’s first League session of the year took place this past weekend and I finished in the black with 7.9 points, putting me in a tie for 31st place out of 71, so just 4 more sessions to stay ahead of the game if I want to move up a league next season. Garthe had to miss the first session and take a penalty, so he is in the red right now… The first game I did horribly. I was not concentrating properly; I was playing my hands badly and worse, reading the board badly. I took a few minutes after the first game to reflect on my play and I was able to regroup and take 1st place in the next 2 games. I took a negative 2nd place in the 4th game, but it was enough to have the highest score at my table. About 20 people or so will move up from D2 to D1 this season, so if I can keep my composure for the rest of the season, I really do think that I have a chance this time!

The JPML League has 9 levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, C3, D1, and D2. Almost everyone starts at D2 and has to work their way up. You can only move up once each season for leagues B1-D2 and once a year for the A leagues. There are 2 seasons of 5 months each year. Garthe and I, starting last year, are still in D2 League. By normal routes, you can see that the quickest anyone could make it to A1 and a chance at winning the Phoenix Cup is 5 or 6 years. That’s a long time for a good player to wait and not have any bad days… But, this year JPML announced a new special league to allow young players to move up faster, making the playing field more fair and competitive based on good performance.

JPML’s Special Advancement League invites players under the age of 40 who have participated in JPML’s 4 big tournaments (Pro League, Masters, 10-Tier and OUI) to fight for a spot in a higher League if they have: moved up one league by their own ability in the previous season, made it to the final table in Champion’s League, got 1st or 2nd place in the annual Rookie Tourney, won the Pro Queen Tourney, made it to the final table in Masters, 10-Tier or OUI tournaments, or place first in a regional league. In addition, they must end in the black for the current League season and may not miss any League sessions for the current season.

It is a strict set of conditions, but for a chance to move up 5 levels or so it seems a small price to pay and many people are participating. So yes, I will also work to move up this season so that next season I might fight for a chance to up my status the “easy” way.

One of the biggest news items this month is that JPML tournaments are now all non-smoking. Or so it may seem… Actually, players currently involved in a game and spectators must refrain from smoking. Players in between games and players at tables that are finished with games are allowed to smoke to their hearts’ content, so the parlor still ends up smoky. But, if a player wants to smoke between games, they must get permission from the other players at the table. I personally ask them to go outside (nicely of course)…

Also, Mahjong Fight Club 6 is finally in arcades all over Japan! You can check out the website (in Japanese) here and see pictures of Garthe and I here. The new version has added a Competition Rules option, so now players can play a more skill-based game using JPML’s A-Rules. Just like the Pro League except for the dealer has to win a hand to continue as dealer and cannot continue if he has a Ready hand on a draw.

The Ron2 translation is coming along. Garthe and I are doing our part and are working hard with the administrator to get a game to you as soon as possible! I can’t wait to see you all there!!

Now, I have to get ready for my own trip to Vegas to teach Mahjong and also work on my poker skills. If anyone will be in the Vegas area in the next 2 weeks, send me an e-mail and Garthe and I will be happy to set up a time to play Mahjong together!!

Now, just for kicks, here is a hand that I had during the 3rd game on Sunday:

1b2b3b3b3b4b4b5b6 bam6 bam8 bamRedRedRed

The Drag (dora) is 8 of Bams. What would you discard and why? Also, after you discarded, what tiles would you be waiting for? As dealer, how many points is your hand worth on a river win? How about a self-draw? Do you think this hand is worth Reaching in a game with no First-turn win, Quad Drags or Hidden Drag bonuses?

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