Master the 6 point combinations: Half Flush and All Pungs

Completion of Half Flush and All Pungs requires aggressive melding of sets. When building these combinations, you should be melding sets early (not waiting for developments, as is often advisable). But what kinds of starting tiles do you need to make such a commitment?

Figure 1

To go for a Half Flush, you'll want at least 8 tiles in a suit, as in Figure 1. This is an appropriate time to build Half Flush or Full Flush. When you build these combinations, your discard pile will be recognizably biased. If you go for a Half Flush in characters, your discard pile will be full of dots and bamboos. This will be immediately apparent to your opponents.

But do not worry. Even if your opponents know what type of Half Flush you're building, they are not likely to block your tiles. The reason is simple: they, too, are trying to finish as fast as they can. You can assume that players won't be blocking tiles that they can't use. There's no need to be concerned about hiding your intentions. Don't hold back; just meld as many sets as needed.

Figure 2

Should you go for All Pungs?

All Pungs is a bit more difficult to handle. In Figure 2, you have 4 pairs, and are 2 tiles away from Seven Pairs. You have a difficult decision of whether to meld pungs or to wait it out. In Japanese mahjong, there is a saying that goes "Never go for All Pungs without a pung." Does this apply to International Tournament Rules?

The authors (Hatsune and Kajimoto) would not claim pungs with the hand shown in Figure 2, because it does not include enough honor pairs. If you did claim one of these pungs, you would likely have trouble claiming many more. When deciding whether to build All Pungs, remember that "players toss honors, players keep suits." Let's say you meld a pung of . You're likely to have trouble melding the remaining . If that happens, you need to be able to shift to Half Flush or All Types, but these options are unlikely to materialize with the hand shown in Figure 2. Conclusion: do not meld pungs with this hand.

Figure 3

But in Figure 3, you have two backup plans: All Types and Outside Hand. As a result, you may claim pungs and shoot for All Pungs even without any pungs in your hand.

Finally, don't forget that Half Flush and All Pungs score just 6 points. The hands shown in Figure 4 do not score the minimum 8 points.

Figure 4

Hands that may not meet the 8-point minimum In both cases, finishing with does not give you 8 points

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pung pung

The easiest way to guarantee a 6-point combination is to be sure to meld a pung of dragons, your seat wind, or the prevalent wind.