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Subject: Is it alright to bomb your father-in-law? rss

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Keng Leong Yeo
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My Significant Other and I have been enjoying weekly Dou Dizhu sessions with her dad. Indeed, she has written about one such session recently. Another interesting game came up during last night's session. The following is a reconstruction of that game.

Initial Hands
Father-in-law: 444555678KKKAA22 CJ
Significant Other: 45667778891010JJQ2 BJ
Me: 33338991010JJQQQKAA
(CJ=Coloured Joker, BJ=Black and White Joker)

My father-in-law had a strong hand. He was probably planning to break up his 4s and 5s to form the 45678 sequence, and pairs of 4s and 5s. These low numbered pairs were amply supported by his pairs of Aces and 2s. His trio of Ks was also the biggest in the game, since he was already holding two Aces and 2s. The icing on the cake was the coloured joker. His hand was missing 3s, 9s, 10s, Js and Qs. He had to be careful of them turning up as bombs in the game.

My Significant Other's hand was crappy. She could form a very long sequence, 45678910JQ, but that would leave her with many single cards, 6810J, and a small pair 7s. The black and white joker was probably insufficient for her to play out all her singles. Her hand was missing 3s, Ks and Aces.

My hand was better than my Significant Other's, but only slightly better. I had the 3-bomb and could form two 5 card sequences, 8910JQ and 910JQK. That would leave me with a Q and a pair of Aces. Unfortunately, the 3-bomb and Ace pair were probably insufficient for me to retain control for the entire game. My hand was also missing a whole lot of cards, namely 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 2s and both jokers. With so many missing cards, it was probable that a larger bomb or rocket was out there. My 3-bomb would then be outgunned. Remembering that bombs and the rocket doubles the score, I wasn’t planning on playing the 3-bomb unless I was very confident of winning the game. shake

My father-in-law had the first call on landlord. He called the maximum of 3 points almost immediately after looking through his cards. On hindsight and considering his cards, it wasn’t surprising that he did so.

The three cards uncovered for the landlord were 6, 9 and 2.

Drawing a 2 must have been a big shot in the arm for my father-in-law. Not only did he have three 2s, his pair of Aces also became the largest pair in the game. It was certainly looking very good for him.

Game Starting Hands
Landlord's hand (father-in-law): 44455566789KKKAA222 CJ
Peasant 1's hand (Significant Other): 45667778891010JJQ2 BJ
Peasant 2's hand (Me): 33338991010JJQQQKAA

Turn order was landlord, peasant 1, followed by peasant 2.

Landlord started the round with 4447. Peasant 1 hesitated a little, before passing. She was probably thinking about breaking up her long sequence to form 7774. I was also very reluctant to break up my sequences to play QQQ8. I passed without hesitation. Mental note: 4 and 7-bombs no longer possible.

Landlord was surprised by our passes. surprise

"So small also pass?" (Singlish for both of you are passing on such small cards?)

Landlord started the next round with 5558, expecting both peasants to pass again. Peasant 1 paused for a much longer time, then broke up her sequences and played 7774. I passed. Landlord played KKK9. Peasant 1 could only sigh and passed. I passed again. Another mental note: 5-bomb no longer possible. Just the 6s, 2s and rocket to be concerned about.

I had considered briefly in that round to throw the 3-bomb but decided against it. All the 2s and jokers were not out yet, and it was going to be difficult to retain control with the remaining small cards. It would probably result in a bigger loss (of 6 points due to the doubling by playing of bombs) for the peasants.

It is worth noting here that the landlord should have played 44475558 together as the so-called aeroplane format, instead of playing them out separately. He probably forgot about it in his excitement of seeing such a good hand.

Landlord started the next round with his pair of Aces. Peasant 1 looked a little distressed and passed. I also passed. If the previous round was not the right time to play the 3-bomb, it certainly wasn’t the right time now!

At this point in time, the landlord had only 6 cards left in hand. Peasant 1 had 13 cards and looked resigned. I had not played any cards yet!

Landlord started the next round with 22266. Peasant 1 could not help but exclaim,

"So big cards?!" (Singlish for those are such big cards!)

Afterwhich she passed meekly. gulp The landlord had one card left and was looking a little smug. cool He was already preparing to play it though I had not passed yet.

I checked him with a question,

"Is that your last card?"

"Yup."

Having played 22266 and with only one card left, it meant the 3-bomb was the only possible bomb in this game.

With that, I laid out my 3-bomb. ninja The landlord seemed quite surprised by my move. Peasant 1 looked a little skeptical and issued a warning.

"You better make sure you can win this game or we will lose double."

I gave a grin. I knew that as long as I played formats involving more than one card, I would be safe. And my hand was filled with such formats!

I started with 8910JQ. Landlord and Peasant 1 passed.

910JQK. Landlord and Peasant 1 passed.

Pair of Aces. Landlord and Peasant 1 passed.

Finished the game with my only single card, Q.

"Ai yeah..." robot (Singlish for Dang...)

Landlord showed us his last card, which was the coloured joker!

On our way home, we held a post-mortem of that game. Our conclusion was her dad had failed to keep track of the possibility of bombs in the game. If he had, he might have played the coloured joker first, before throwing the final five cards of 22266. If he had played the coloured joker first, I would have second thoughts about playing the 3-bomb. This is because he would still have 5 cards, and the 6 and 2-bombs were still possible.

My Significant Other also added that she earned 6 points for doing almost nothing in that game. It would have been "totally nothing" if her dad had remembered to play the aeroplane format instead.
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