Lately I’ve been reading Makoto Fukuchi’s latest mahjong strategy book, 押し引きの教科書 (Oshihiki no Kyoukasho) which, as the title suggests, is a textbook on pushing forward and pulling back. As Fukuchi says in the afterword, it’s the book that he most wanted to write, and with good reason – according to the foreword, push/fold judgment makes up less than 20% of mahjong strategy, yet it decides whether you win or lose in over 80% of games. Despite being such a crucial element of the game, until now there has been very little teaching material on the subject, in both English and Japanese. With that in mind I’ve decided to pick out a few key points that I feel would be particularly helpful to English-speaking players.
1. The four components of push/fold judgment
According to Fukuchi, they are:
1. The value of your hand
2. How good your wait is
3. How close you are to tenpai
4. Your current placing
Contrary to popular belief, current placing is specifically ranked last after the other three factors to consider. Conversely, how close you are to tenpai is more important than many people expect.
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