The First-ever WSOM Reach Event

By Shintaro Konno, September 19, 2008

Hello and nice to meet you. I am Shintaro Konno from the Japan Professional Mahjong League. I’m writing this on September 18th and I’m going to tell you about today’s 2008 World Series of Mahjong Reach Event that took place at the Wynn today.

I served as the Rules Director at this event and was responsible for the Reach Mahjong rules. We’ve had a number of meetings and preparations leading up to this and today we finally got to hold the real thing.

Only 12 people played, which was disappointing, but because of the small number everyone had a shot at the prize and everyone turned on the concentration.

I’d like to take a few minutes to explain the rules. The WSOM Reach Event rules are based on the “Riichi Mahjong” rules played in Japan, but one game is 4 hands in the East Round, with no continuances for dealers. First-turn wins after Reach and Hidden Lucky Tiles (ura-dora) are in play and another Lucky Tile (dora) is added for each Quad declared. Placing bonuses are awarded for each player with 6 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd, -2 points for 3rd and -6 points for 4th place. The key in this game is the first-turn wins and the Hidden Lucky Tile (dora) rules, which proved to cause drama later in the tournament. We’ll get back to that.

wsom-konnoRound 1 was 4 sets, with 2 games in each set. After Round 1, 4 people were eliminated. This is where the players from Japan had trouble. Shimizu, who won a satellite in Japan, and the Japan Professional Mahjong Association’s Ogura-pro couldn’t get the points and bowed out here.

Round 2 was 2 sets and each player carried 25% of their score from the previous round. Keep that 25% in mind, this keeps the players that barely advanced in reaching distance of the point leader. This is where Garthe (who accompanied me to Macau) and Jenn (who arrived much earlier than us) were eliminated.

On a side note, this was my first trip abroad and there were a lot of things I didn’t understand. With their support I was able to have a great trip and I want to say thank you to them for all their help.

So that brings us to Round 3 with 4 players remaining. After 2 sets the long day would be over.

The score (after carrying over 25% from Round 2) at this point of the 4 players that advanced to the final table was:

1. Marc Lim +11.81

2. Yagura +8.4

3. Akaza +6.18

4. Otsubo +3.04

wsom-konno02The final table was held on the main stage and all eyes were on the final four.

After the first set the leader was the former 4th place player, Mr. Otsubo, who had barely advanced to the final. But, he proved his worth in the next game.

On the next hand after winning the 3rd hand of the game when 3 players had Reached, Otsubo quadded 8-craks and declared Reach after drawing the supplementary tile. He drew his winner, opened the Hidden Lucky Tiles and the indicator was 7c. This won him 6000 points from each player and put him in for the championship.

Otsubo’s Hand: Reach and Self-Drawn Active Image

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Lucky Tiles: Active ImageActive Image

Hidden Lucky Tiles: Active ImageActive Image

With only one game left everyone was desperate for points, but no one could catch up to Otsubo and he took the crown. He won the cash and the entry into the WSOM Main Event.


This closed the book on our first event but as the rules director I was very pleased with the event. We are planning on running this event again in the future so be sure to join us. If you’re nervous about travelling abroad, have no fear, we’ll take care of you.

See you soon.

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