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Subject: Strategy discussion on what Mahjong card to request against a Grand Tichu? rss

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Ien C.
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Imagine you have the Mahjong and the player to go next has called Grand Tichu. What card if anything do you request?

Do you generally or always request an ace, on the idea that "wasting" one of their aces is worth (probably) giving them the lead? Or do you play more "normally" and, for instance, request a 6 in the hopes of breaking up a straight? Do you just request the card you passed them? How much does what you do depend on what cards you have in your hand and what was passed?

This was the topic of a lively debate after a game last night with friends who like me and my wife are avid Tichu players. Love to hear what people think!

EDIT: Fixed typo
 
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David desJardins
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Usually an ace. But it depends on what high cards I think our side has, how likely it is that we can beat them, whether I was dealt the 1 or passed it, whether my hand has a straight and thus straights are more likely, whether we have the Phoenix or I expect the opponent to have the Phoenix, and probably other things I haven't thought of.
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Michi Hostettler
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I usually do wish for an ace as well. This could be even more effective if you've got a low straight including the Mahjong but no ace yourself.

I usually wouldn't wish for the card I passed to an opponent who called Grand Tichu, as this is quite likely to allow them to get rid of a low singleton.
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1 Lucky Texan
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I haven't played much and have only called GT once so far - I made it too.

I had a coupla special cards and was dealt a huge straight. I think I would have hated loosing a middle-high card. Seems my partner would likely pass me the highest card they had so, loosing a 9 or 10 might never get re-filled.

interesting reading the thoughts on this.
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Gillum the Stoor
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Is a person calling GT less likely to have a big straight than someone who called ordinary Tichu?

Or would the GT call be based on big cards (and not a big straight), but might be relying on getting a big straight (or some other big combo) to support the original big cards that led to the call?
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David desJardins
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The Grand Tichu caller is much more likely to have the Phoenix, which makes them more likely to have a straight. That said, they are also more likely to have a flexible enough hand that if their straight is broken they can play it differently. As I wrote above, I don't think busting a straight is likely enough and profitable enough to make it a default play, but your own hand can give you significant information to influence that decision.
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Ien C.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
The Grand Tichu caller is much more likely to have the Phoenix, which makes them more likely to have a straight. That said, they are also more likely to have a flexible enough hand that if their straight is broken they can play it differently. As I wrote above, I don't think busting a straight is likely enough and profitable enough to make it a default play, but your own hand can give you significant information to influence that decision.


This is basically what I tend to think too based on gut feel only. Curious if you can give some examples of hands/passes/situations that would push you to request something other than an ace?
 
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Ien C.
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michi4242 wrote:
I usually do wish for an ace as well. This could be even more effective if you've got a low straight including the Mahjong but no ace yourself.

I usually wouldn't wish for the card I passed from an opponent who called Grand Tichu, as this is quite likely to allow them to get rid of a low singleton.


Definitely seems like the default choice for most of us is to call for the ace. I wonder if you can think of a situation where you would make an exception?
 
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David desJardins
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ghopper21 wrote:
Curious if you can give some examples of hands/passes/situations that would push you to request something other than an ace?


As I said above, if I have a long straight and especially if the cards I was passed filled in gaps rather than creating duplicates, that makes it more likely that my opponents have long straights as well.

Also, if I think our side is very weak (e.g., we exchanged aces) then I might be more likely to try for a more aggressive play. Although the reverse argument in that situation is to go ahead and wish for an ace to at least reduce the chance the opponents go out 1-2.
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Ien C.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
ghopper21 wrote:
Curious if you can give some examples of hands/passes/situations that would push you to request something other than an ace?


As I said above, if I have a long straight and especially if the cards I was passed filled in gaps rather than creating duplicates, that makes it more likely that my opponents have long straights as well.

Also, if I think our side is very weak (e.g., we exchanged aces) then I might be more likely to try for a more aggressive play. Although the reverse argument in that situation is to go ahead and wish for an ace to at least reduce the chance the opponents go out 1-2.


Ok, how about a specific example? Let's say I have no 5s and did not pass any 5, I have two 6s, then singles from 7 to at least 10, and no ace or power cards, but I did pass an ace to partner. (Can't remember the rest.) The Grand Tichu player passed me one of my 6s, and I passed them a 4. (Not sure if this was the case, but it was something like this.)

You have the Mahjong, the Grand Tichu player goes next. What would you request?
 
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David desJardins
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ghopper21 wrote:
Ok, how about a specific example? Let's say I have no 5s and did not pass any 5, I have two 6s, then singles from 7 to at least 10, and no ace or power cards, but I did pass an ace to partner. (Can't remember the rest.) The Grand Tichu player passed me one of my 6s, and I passed them a 4. (Not sure if this was the case, but it was something like this.)

You have the Mahjong, the Grand Tichu player goes next. What would you request?


Ace. Nothing here to suggest anything else. Partner could have a good hand, I have no way to know, I should do what I think is most likely to help them. Or if partner has only a mediocre hand the ace wish will still help stop the 1-2.
 
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Ien C.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
ghopper21 wrote:
Ok, how about a specific example? Let's say I have no 5s and did not pass any 5, I have two 6s, then singles from 7 to at least 10, and no ace or power cards, but I did pass an ace to partner. (Can't remember the rest.) The Grand Tichu player passed me one of my 6s, and I passed them a 4. (Not sure if this was the case, but it was something like this.)

You have the Mahjong, the Grand Tichu player goes next. What would you request?


Ace. Nothing here to suggest anything else. Partner could have a good hand, I have no way to know, I should do what I think is most likely to help them. Or if partner has only a mediocre hand the ace wish will still help stop the 1-2.


Gotcha. Can you think of a specific situation (actual cards) where you'd not call an ace? Love to see an example of your general thinking.
 
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David desJardins
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ghopper21 wrote:
Gotcha. Can you think of a specific situation (actual cards) where you'd not call an ace? Love to see an example of your general thinking.


Say I've got K KQJT9876543 1 Dog, where the red cards came on the pass. And I gave partner an Ace, or maybe the Dragon. This suggests there are a lot of straights out. On that hand, I'd at least seriously think about wishing for a 6.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Say I've got K KQJT9876543 1 Dog, where the red cards came on the pass. And I gave partner an Ace, or maybe the Dragon. This suggests there are a lot of straights out. On that hand, I'd at least seriously think about wishing for a 6.

Would you avoid wishing for whatever rank you passed left, figuring that the GT caller might have two cards with that rank?
 
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David desJardins
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gillum wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
Say I've got K KQJT9876543 1 Dog, where the red cards came on the pass. And I gave partner an Ace, or maybe the Dragon. This suggests there are a lot of straights out. On that hand, I'd at least seriously think about wishing for a 6.

Would you avoid wishing for whatever rank you passed left, figuring that the GT caller might have two cards with that rank?


Yes.
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Aaron Fuegi
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For what its worth, in this example, especially if I passed the Dragon, I would probably play the Dog, especially if the idea is that there are a lot of straights. Partner might have a very long straight and giving him an in is very valuable. If it is beaten, I can then also hopefully overplay the straight that beats it and THEN play the 1. Another curiosity here is whether I passed a single 2 to an opponent, particularly the Grand caller. This might cause me to instead play the 1 and wish for a 2. He is pretty unlikely to have just the single 2 in this case so this probably hurts him at least somewhat and lets partner play an even lower single when there is no bomb.

The 6 idea in general I am fine with; just this particular example hand you have created generates other considerations.

Aaron
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Jeff Chunko
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Are we all assuming the dog came from our partner? I think with good play it would have to, but I no longer assume good play from people I don't know
 
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Robert
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To my mind, wishing an Ace from a grand tichu call is akin to offering control to the caller, and does not help my side nor my partner keep them down. I generally wish lower, if I open with the 1. The target will depend on my hand and the pass.

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Ien C.
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xethair wrote:
To my mind, wishing an Ace from a grand tichu call is akin to offering control to the caller, and does not help my side nor my partner keep them down. I generally wish lower, if I open with the 1. The target will depend on my hand and the pass.



So in my example above (my hand with no 5s), what would you call?

While I tend to call ace by default against GT, I totally agree that there's a big downside to calling ace, which is likely giving control to the GT caller -- so it's certainly not obviously always the right thing to do.
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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what about calling for the next rank below the card you pushed to your partner?
 
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Ien C.
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
what about calling for the next rank below the card you pushed to your partner?

Never thought of that approach -- what's your thinking behind doing that?
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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ghopper21 wrote:
1 Lucky Texan wrote:
what about calling for the next rank below the card you pushed to your partner?

Never thought of that approach -- what's your thinking behind doing that?


I dunno, was wondering what you guys thought, it 'may' increase the likelihood your partner could get control? (assuming the GT caller is to your left)

(also, kinda OT but, is there a rule or 'etiquette' about WHEN you announce you have the mah Jong?)
 
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Jeff Chunko
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
(also, kinda OT but, is there a rule or 'etiquette' about WHEN you announce you have the mah Jong?)


Technically, you never announce, you just play it. Most people end up announcing/asking who has it just to make sure the person with it is paying attention. It keeps the game moving forward, but there is no legal action you can take between that announcement and the play/wish and their possible tichu call.
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I agree.

Ideally, the player with the 1 leads (perhaps making a wish and/or calling Tichu) before anyone else has any idea who might or might not have the 1.

Once some information about who does or does not have the 1 has come out (including someone asking "who has the 1?"), no one should call Tichu until the player with the 1 has completed his first play.

There was some discussion of this in these threads:
Table talk and calling Tichu
Can You Announce You Have the Mah Jong (Sparrow) Before Leading?
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Zedd Stamant
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"To my mind, wishing an Ace from a grand tichu call is akin to offering control to the caller, and does not help my side nor my partner keep them down. I generally wish lower, if I open with the 1. The target will depend on my hand and the pass."


You need to consider how often a player calls grand...How aggressive is this player? There are some players who like to call grand with a risky starting set.

In general...Those who call grand very often are less likely to have a lot of aces. Those who call grand less often are more likely to have more aces.
 
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