ID181-Hot Tile Strategy

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ID181-Hot Tile Strategy

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Question: What is a “hot” tile?

Answer: A “hot” tile is one that is obviously needed by another player. The risk of throwing a “hot” tile occurs as the game gets closer to the end. However, a player may be sitting with a great hand and evident by their exposures, you might be holding a “hot” tile, earlier in the game.

Deciding whether to throw a “hot” tile or hold a “hot” tile is a more challenging decision. Following are some things to consider before discarding someone’s obvious winning tile:

  • Is your opponent’s hand obvious by their exposures?
  • How many of those tiles are already discarded?
  • How well set is your own hand?
  • If your opponent has 3 exposures and you play with the table rule that you pay for the table if you throw the winning tile, you might want to consider switching to defense.
  • How many picks to you have left? If you have 4 picks left and are set to Mah Jongg, you are entitled to go for the win, however, if your chances are winning are slim based on the number of picks left and the number of tiles you need are already discarded, then it’s time to play defensively. At this time you would break up your hand and discard “safe” tiles. (See ID

Identifying a “hot” tile is recognizing a tile that is obviously needed by another player. The challenge arises when deciding whether to discard or hold onto such a crucial tile, particularly as the game progresses.

Sometimes, even in the early stages, a player might be holding a “hot” tile if another player has a strong hand, indicated by their exposures.

The decision to discard or hold onto a “hot” tile can be complex. Here are key considerations before discarding a potentially winning tile for your opponent:

  1. Assess the potential strength of your opponent’s hand based on their exposures.
  2. Take note of the number of these needed tiles already discarded.
  3. Evaluate the strength of your own hand in comparison.

For instance, if your opponent has revealed three exposed sets and your group follows the rule that you pay for the table, if you discard the winning tile, it might be prudent to switch to a defensive strategy.

Additionally, consider your remaining picks, If you have four picks left and are close to achieving Mah Jongg, pursuing a win might be viable. However, if your chances seem slim due to the number of remaining picks and needed tiles already discarded, a shift to a defensive approach might be more prudent. In such cases, breaking your hand and discarding safer tiles becomes a strategic move.

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