Puyo’s Guide to Calling Tiles – Part 2

Continuing our translations of Puyo’s blog posts, we have part 2 of his series about calling tiles.

To recap the impact of calling tiles:
Positives: Speed to tenpai increases
Negatives: Hand value decreased, ability to defend is decreased

What about in practice?

Example 1

The opposite player plays

In this situation, should we pon? Using the points above:

Speed increases: There are only two , and we have three other pairs. If we don’t pon, these four pairs will slow down the hand a lot. If we do pon, it also allows us to then call pon for the other pairs later. This is a big difference in potential hand speed.

Value decreases: Keeping a closed hand will give us a minimum 2600 points, and with a chun ankou the hand could easily be a mangan. However, after calling pon our hand would only have 2000 points.

Defense decreases: 2 fewer honor tiles, so defense ability will decrease

Considering these aspects, although our points will drop a lot, the speed increase is also substantial, and it’s enough to compensate for the downsides. In this situation, calling is the correct decision.

Example 2

Opposite player plays

Speed increases: After calling pon, other tiles are isolated, and it will be difficult to get to tenpai.

Value decreases: After calling pon, the hand value will only be 1000 points. That said, we have no dora, so even a closed hand will struggle for value.

Defense decreases: 2 fewer honor tiles, so defense ability will decrease

In this situation, the benefit is low, so we shouldn’t pon. There is a very high chance that we will throw the pair of as safe tiles later.

Example 3

Upper plays


Speed increases: The dora indicator is clearly the critical tile in this hand. After chii it will be a ryanmen wait, giving us a very high chance of winning. If we don’t chii, there is a low chance anyone else will play 6s or that we draw it.

Value decreases: After calling we have 3900, compared to a closed hand being minimum 5200, and probably mangan.

Defense decreases: Calling will leave us with fewer tiles, but the entire hand consists of middle tiles, so our defense power is low anyway. Losing a few tiles won’t make a big difference.

This is very clearly a call, especially if we are dealer.

The above were typical situations that we will encounter. Of course, during a real match there may not be enough time to analyze the situation in such detail. The next article will provide some rules of thumb that can help us make faster decisions.

In part 3 we’ll look further at some of the situational trade-offs with calling tiles.

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