Meld pungs early to build a Triple Pung

Triple Pung (16 pts.) requires very specific tiles to be completed, and is thus a rare combination.

Figure 1

What would you meld with this hand?

But what if you had the hand shown in Figure 1, and a player discarded ? You may opt to let the , and discard the to build a Fully Concealed Hand + All Chows + All Simples combo. But the truth is, melding the pung is not a bad choice. You can shoot for for All Pungs and try hitting a back door Triple Pung. It is an option you should consider. Triple Pung is the type of combination that you should meld aggressively while building another combination simultaneously.

Let's say that you were fortunate enough to meld two pungs. Now you have the ready hand shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

You've made ready, but do you have enough points?

pung pung

But you cannot finish with this hand, even if you pick your last tile. There are, however, three ways that you can complete it.

First, let's consider the rare case of Last Tile. Last Tile will give you an extra 4 points, which will be just enough: you already have 4 points with All Simples (2 pts.) + Double Pung (2 pts.).

Next, you can meld a pung of to make ready on a viable hand by completing Triple Pung. You could then discard or to add All Pungs and create a single wait, but you should consider the other option. You already have 16 points from Triple Pung, and 2 points from All Simples. The superior choice is to break up the pung of and give yourself the maximum number of chances to finish your hand with the open-ended chow.

Figure 3

pung pung

And thirdly, if you draw a or , you will make ready on All Pungs with the possibility of completing Triple Pung as well. This is shown in Figure 3. You are guaranteed at minimum All Pung (6 pts.) + All Simples (2 pts.) + Double Pung (2 pts.).

Like with other combinations, you should keep your options open while building Triple Pung. At the same time, you must be assertive about melding needed elements. A proper balance these factors, keeping your options open and melding to speed up your hand, is a key to the game.

Figure 4

With the hand shown in Figure 4, meld the pung of , since you can go for All Pungs. At the same time, keep for as long possible. If you can pick another , the door will open to Triple Pung.

Triple Pung is a difficult hand, but it is often more within reach than you might think. You will be surprised at how often you will see the Double Pung + All Simples (or Double Pung + Terminal Pung + Terminal Pung) combine with Last Tile to make a completed hand. Keep these surprise developments in hand when making early melding decisions.