Sometimes you lose. And you were destined to. Like somehow every branch on the decision tree grew back together at the top to create one giant losing leaf. (Yeah sure, I draw my decision trees from the bottom of the page)

I had one of those days in my first session of WRC league last week. Actually I won the first game but from there I went straight off a cliff. I felt good after that game. I’d played pretty tight, only pushing the 2 times I got to tenpai first with manganable hands which I then drew myself. So far so good.

The second game seemed to start off positively too. Opening hand my starting tiles were already 2 away from a winning hand with a possibility of pinfu and ittsu. My mistake was not immediately discarding a difficult to use ⑧ when I drew it. Dealer to my right reached a couple turns later which would have been fine because it was in his discards (which is why I felt less danger in holding on to it) but the player to my left immediately followed up with her own tsumo-giri (discarding the tile drawn) reach. Of course I also got to tenpai that turn and reached but I threw her Dora and ippatsu and thus began my descent to -70 for the session. (I remember her previous draw had also been tsumo-giri but am unsure about the draw before that)

There were other soul crushing hands throughout the evening but the one that really stuck in my poor little head was the second hand of the south round still that game when I got to the 7th draw with this hand:



I actually began the hand with 1m and 9s aiming for Kokushi but after drawing white and red dragons on draws 3 and 4 it seemed time to change my yakuman strategy. By the 7th draw, however, only one letter tile had been discarded so far, a solitary North and I was starting to wonder how available any of them were. With a chance to chi 4p and still a minimum of baiman, I took the bait. WRONG! The next draw my earlier ippatsu nemesis drew her 300/500 point winner, yakuman dreams shattered.

We’ll never know if no chi would have changed the world. We won’t even know if it would have changed for one draw as the next player kept that tile so it could have been treasure or garbage. All we do know is that I lost that hand along with almost all the rest of them the whole rest of the night.

I mixed it up too. I got looser in the 3rd game pushing with cheapies while they just drew monsters. I tightened up again only to be drawn out on there too. It was a night of unmitigated disappointment.

Nagare believers might say I sealed my fate in the moment I threw mangan in the second game. I still choose not to accept astrology. Sometimes it rains for 6 days straight and it has nothing to do with whether I remembered or forgot to take out the garbage. Or stepped on a frog. Or lost my umbrella.

Of course it’s more fun to write about winning. But in our game, losing is (hopefully only) nearly as much a part of it as winning. What I learned from losing: maybe consider discarding Dora earlier, the jury’s still out on maybe yakuman versus maybe baiman. Here’s to learning from losses when we can, and ignoring the noise. Cheers!

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