Try to keep an eye on what other players are doing, beyond the obvious need to watch their discards. You may be able to detect what they are collecting and how close they are to a MJ. Watch their faces.
Players often leave gaps between pungs and pairs (to make it easier to see them) so this would give you an idea of how advanced their hand is.
Players sometimes move tiles around in their racks depending on what has been discarded. For example, a player may have a special place for tiles he does not want – maybe at the end of the rack.
If you see him move a tile after a discard it may indicate that:
- He has the same tile in his hand but no longer wants it – but perhaps you do!
- He is saving that suit for a clean hand
As other players acquire Flower and Season tiles, check if they have their own [d] – or yours, which will deprive you of a double.
Pay attention to other players’ discards and exposed pungs/kongs so that you know which tiles are safer for you to discard and also to make sure that your own plans are not being spoilt because some tiles are no longer available. Are any other players trying to save the same suit as you? If they are, consider saving a different suit.
If a tile you want is discarded before you can claim it (say by a pung) re-assess your chances of getting the same tile.
Try to remember what others have discarded previously. This might give you an idea of what they are collecting so that you can then be careful about what you discard later. You may even decide to discard tiles you might otherwise have kept. Try to work out if others are saving special hands.
|Player discards a Bamboo||Maybe saving Characters or Circles|
|Same player then discards a Circle||Maybe saving Characters|
|Player discards more than one honour tile||Probably going for “Knitting”/”Triple knitting”|
Later discards are more indicative of another player’s hand, than are early discards.
If someone is collecting a clean hand he may later discard stragglers from the suit – tiles that he hasn’t been able to form a set or a pair from. So beware of discarding tiles of that set, should he be fishing.
Be careful of concealed hands – experienced players, who are going for a high score, are more cautious about punging. It can mean a special hand is being collected or, nearer the end of a game, it could mean someone has a high-scoring hand. Concealed sets are worth twice as much as the exposed equivalent. A concealed hand earns another double.
Work out the score that other players have already accumulated in their exposed hand.
It’s worth carefully watching how others react to, or look at, tiles that have been discarded, punged or drawn from the wall as you may thereby be able to deduce what tiles they require or how close they are to a MJ.
If you discard a tile that is similar to one that another player is looking to pung he may reveal his ambitions. For example, you discard a 9 Circles and someone flinches, indicating that he may be looking for a 9 of another suit.
If another player is discarding tiles from the wall with little attention (or thought about retaining them) it may indicate that he is close to a MJ. If he is hesitant about discarding a tile, it is likely to be close to one he wants. But be careful of experienced players who may be trying to deceive you!
Other players often play in a particular fashion or have favourite hands that they like to collect. If you are aware of this you may be able to use it to your advantage.
Near the end of the game – if you haven’t done this before then – try to guess what each of your opponents has saved. Then see if you are right!