The Power of Upper Tiles and Lower Tiles

In section 4-01, we discussed Upper Four and Lower Four, two 12-point combinations which can be easily constructed provided decent starting tiles. Upper Tiles and Lower Tiles are more powerful versions of the same combinations. Upper Tiles must be constructed with tiles 7 through 9, while Lower Tiles is constructed with tiles 1 through 3. Both score 24 points.

Figure 1


In Figure 1, gives you Lower Four, but gives you Lower Tiles + Mixed Triple Chow.

Figure 2

pung pung

In Figure 2, Upper Tiles is guaranteed, while will give you Mixed Shifted Pungs (8 pts.) and will give you Triple Pung (16 pts.).

Upper Tiles and Lower Tiles are powerful combinations due to this ability to combine with other high-scoring combinations. But do not allow yourself to make the mistake of aiming for these combinations excessively. Take Figure 3.

Figure 3


Figure 4

The final gives you Lower Tiles + Mixed Shifted Pungs

pung pung

Picking will give you Lower Tiles, and will give you Lower Four. If a player discards or , would you pung it to guarantee Lower Tiles? We advise against it. Yes, melding would give you Figure 4, guaranteeing Lower Tiles and gaining the possibility of Mixed Shifted Pungs if you can catch a . But with only three tiles remaining to complete your hand, you may be waiting for a long time. When playing International Rules, your priority should be to finish your hand quickly. It is vital to make ready on a hand that has multiple chances. This has the all-important bonus of making it easier to self-draw your last tile and gain a large point reward.

Another combination is built with suit tiles 4 through 6.

Figure 5

A ready hand of Middle Tiles

pung chow

It is called Middle Tiles and also scores 24 points, although it is more difficult to complete than Upper or Lower Tiles, since players are less likely to throw middle tiles (the most useful tiles in the game). But all of these hands have one thing in common: they can be easily missed if you don't make a conscious effort to look out for them. Be sure to arrange your tiles properly so that you will notice if your suit tiles are clustered in one of the high-scoring regions.