We’ve been talking about how to play mahjong. But sometimes, these techniques won’t finish the hand for you. And the other three players might have trouble finishing it too. And so, what happens if none of the players can finish their hand by the time the live wall is done?
Well, it’s pretty obvious to everyone what the answer is: it’s a draw.
Whenever the live wall is finished, players call out if they’re in tenpai or no-ten (ノー聴), meaning their hands are not one tile away from winning. If they are in tenpai, they show the tiles to everyone; no-ten players flip their tiles downwards.
Draws can give you points via the no-ten bappu rule (ノー聴罰符) if you’re in tenpai. The following scenarios could happen in a draw:
- Player A gets tenpai. Everyone else (B, C, D) doesn’t. A gets 1,000 points from each player and this totals to 3,000 points.
- Player A and B get tenpai. C and D loses 1,500 points each. A and B gets 1,500 points each.
- Player A, B, C get tenpai. The three of them earn 1,000 points each because C paid them 3,000 points.
- Everyone is in tenpai or no-ten. No payment is made.
If a riichi is placed, it will stay in a riichi pool until someone wins a hand in the next round.
There are special draws known as abortive draws that can end a round quickly. These conditions are rare but are worth noting:
- When 4 kans are made not by one player.
- If all 4 players draw riichi.
- If all 4 players discard the same wind tile without a pon, chi, or kan in the first round.
- Whenever a player has 9 or more tiles that are both terminals and honors in the first round, he or she can give up on it and abort the hand.
Draws will go to the next round unless the dealer is in tenpai or if any of the abortive draw condition is accomplished. When that happens, it’s called a dealer extension. Instead of the usual 8 round mahjong game (4 East rounds, 4 South rounds), dealer extensions can make a game longer. If a dealer is effective at retaining his or her streak, it would not be surprising for a game to end at 15 rounds and above.
When this happens, the round will be named as “<Wind> Round, Dealer Extension: 1” in English. In Japanese, we call dealer extensions, honba (本場). So if we want to say East 4, Dealer Extension 2, this is the kanji, “東4局2本場.” The dealer places point sticks into a counter to indicate how many times the round is extended. It’s like a smack into the face for how many times you keep losing to the dealer.
If a draw happens and the dealer is no-ten, a point stick is added to the pool but the dealer changes. It will also go to the next round, though extensions/honba in the counter remain the same.
But whenever someone other than the dealer wins a hand, the counter is reseted to 0.
Why are the stuff in the counters important? Because you multiply 300 points by the number of honbas and with that value, you add it into your scored hand. Scoring is a largely complicated matter that I won’t talk about much, but all you need to know is that it adds a good deal of bonus points.
That’s why the Sakiverse nickname for it is “Teru Time” due to Miyanagi Teru’s notoriety as dealer in Achiga-hen‘s vanguard match at the quarterfinals. She keeps raking up those bonus points and she might get a paarenchan too!
So if you’re the dealer, it is best to win by quick and cheap hands. And if you’re not but the dealer is winning a tad too much, do a cheap hand too.
Cheap hands are cool~