Who are you fooling?

This is part of my continuing series on dumbing my play back down because I’ve gotten so good I can’t stop winning any more. Ok, of course the problem is that my play has gotten so smart I can’t win at all anymore. There are a lot of tricks we learn along the way to help us win games in this situation or that. But it’s easy to trick yourself right out of winning if you overuse them.

Sometimes, in fact probably even most of the times, it’s going to be best to simply go with the option that gives you the most options. Jenn pointed out this trend in my recent choices of strategy, that I’m often trying to be too tricky instead of using this obvious strategy. Let’s look at a few of my mishaps.

In the example Jenn was watching it was toward the end of the hand, I had ponned the Green Dragon and dora was the  . I had this left in my hand.

   Active ImageActive Image

I drew Active Image to get to ready so the decision was then what to wait for. There were already 2  , 1 Active Image  each、and no  on the board. I dropped the Active Imageto leave me waiting for    of which there were actually only 4 left. I reasoned that with all the  ’s being used,  would be difficult for other players to use (logic which works equally well for  , by the way), and my discard would actually help bring it out. Lo and behold what actually came out was the  . Had I thrown the  , to wait for  , of which there were still 6 tiles out, I would have won the hand. Had I taken the most tiles available option instead of trying to be tricky, I would have won the hand.

Another egregious error: last hand of the game I needed 2000 points to overtake first, dora was Active Image, I had this after 5 draws

Active ImageActive Image

When I drew another  , I dropped the  hoping that I would get something nice around the  and make Simples my hand point. What did come a couple draws later was the  , which would have made me ready with a Peace hand. I did draw a  to finally make me ready, but the  never came and the hand ended with both me and first place ready, and me remaining in second place.

My last example is one where I again made the wrong choice for what eventually came, but at least maybe the decision was more debatable this time. Let’s see what you think. In the 3rd hand of the East round, I was in the West seat, dora was East, and I had this:

Active ImageActive ImageActive Image Active ImageActive Image    Active Image

At this point, 7th draw, I drew another Active Image. There was one each of the   already out on the board and no Active Image. I dropped the Active Image thinking I could pon either of the Winds (4 tiles remaining) if someone threw them. Of course, what should come on the 10th draw but  which would have made me ready and I could have reached. I chose to wait for 4 tiles instead of 6 which were still remaining in the   wait.

What would you have done?

I think arguments could be made here for both answers but what tips me back in favor of going for the most tiles available option is a salient comment Jenn made about the first example I made. In my defense I had chirped back that someone might throw the 9 because I threw the 6. She pointed out that when I play that way, I’m depending on someone else to make a mistake for me to win.

In general that is just not going to be a winning strategy. Certainly there will be times when you can win on another player’s mistake, you may even need to depend on it sometimes. But when you have options, it’s probably best for you to choose your best option rather than hope that your opponent chooses it for you.

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