What is your Mahjong Super Power?

What’s your Mahjong super power?

Hello everyone, this is Jamie.  After reading Konno`s column regarding style, I started thinking about my own style, and the styles of the people I play regularly with.  When you have a group of regular players, it’s interesting because you find yourself starting to notice their habits.  What hands they like, what tiles they keep in their hands.  Pretty much what is important to them.

I titled this column “What is your Mahjong super power?”  By super power, I don’t mean like “I want xray vision” kind of super power, but more of, what do you have a tendency of getting or doing that is above normal.  Do you seem to get a 7 pairs hand at least once per game?  Are you good at hitting Hidden Doras?  Do you after attach?  Are you good at detecting when someone has a monster hand?  What do you do that puts fear in other players?

It’s always interesting to play at parlors, because you see so many different styles.  I’ve been going to a particular parlor for about 6 months or so now so I’ve started to notice many of the staffs tendencies.  For example, there is a guy that loves calling.  Almost every hand has pons or kans and he loves going for chanta.  His style reminds me a lot of net play, but his hands are always at least 3900 points or better and are always very, very fast.  There is a different guy that always seems to hit hidden dora.  Whenever he reaches, that is now the first thing that comes to my mind.  He also seems to Tsumo more than is humanly possible.  If he goes out, it’s almost always self drawn.

Recently I’ve been making a lot of tweaks to my game.  I used to have kind of a gun ho style that had proven to be too risky.  I`d either smash the table, or get totally smashed.  Like Gemma mentioned last week, I had a tendency of getting either in 4th or 1st.  I guess at that time, I’d say my “super power” was blowing a good lead.  Recently though, I’ve started adopting a much slower paced playing style: defensive and patient.  This is part due to last week’s pod cast that emphasized “picking your battles.”  If you just took a nice lead, do you really want to risk it to add another 2000 points?  That is the question I’ve been asking myself more than ever.

While I’m still adopting this new style into my game, it seems that my tendencies have changed a lot. With the slow play, I have a tendency of calling a lot less.  Every time I draw a tile I need, instead of simply asking, “What do I cut?” Now I also ask the question, “What is my escape route?”  The other big change in my game is now I find myself perfectly happy sitting in second place.  This is not to say that I’d not rather have first, and I don’t take the chance when it comes, but if it’s towards the end and taking first isn’t going to happen without something big (which probably means something risky) I find myself defending my second place position more than ever.  On the same hand, if I’m sitting in 4th or 3rd place, I find myself aiming for second place a lot more.

I owe this new way of thinking partially to Mahjong Fight Club.  Where I live at on Sado, there are no live parlors, so if I want to play more than once every two weeks, its MFC or nothing (I can’t concentrate for more than 1 session on the computer online games).  I also started playing nothing but hanchan games on MFC to try and practice my slower pace style.  In doing this I’ve really come to like the Orb system.  The orbs are how you raise in ranks on MFC.  1st and 2nd gets 2 and 1 orb from the 3rd and 4th place positions respectively.  At first, my goal was to simply not lose my orbs, but then I started to realize that when I have a bad game, if I can sneak into second, I can still make out ahead in both in orbs and points just due the Horse payments (bonus for 1st and 2nd place).  Because of this in the final 2 rounds if I’m in 3rd or 4th, I find myself building a hand that’ just good enough to pull a last second feat of awesomeness to snake a 1st or 2nd place.  This same strategy also works in live parlors.  Usually the live parlors have a 20,000 and 10,000-point bonus for the 1st and 2nd place positions, which are paid by the 4rd and 3rd place positions.  This means even if you are down big in 3rd, if you sneak into 2nd, you can still post a positive score most of the time.

While I’m sure this is common knowledge for seasoned players, for me, it’s a very new and very efficient way of thinking that has helped me evolve my game just a little bit.  This is something that can’t ever be accomplished without knowing how to score efficiently (which up until about a month ago, I couldn’t do).  Without knowing how to score, pulling a come from behind is like taking a shot in the dark.  It also helps me keep hope right until the very end.  Doing whatever I can to make a 3900-point or 5200 point hand and break someone’s heart.  So here is my current Mahjong super power: “The come-from-behind!”

What are your super powers and how do you use them to get ahead of the competition.  Do you have any special strategies or ways of thinking that set you apart from your friends or opponents?

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