Chicken Hand is not for chickens

If your hand has exactly zero points, you qualify for the Chicken Hand (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Ready with a Chicken Hand

pung chow

Winning discard

It is a difficult hand to say the least, since you must have knowledge of all the possible hands in order to build it. As a result, many beginning and intermediate players are not confident enough to build this hand. However, if you master a few pointers, you will find that the Chicken Hand is not so difficult after all.

First, remember that your pair, and only your pair, must be built with honors. This eliminates No Honors, All Simples, All Chows, and all honor pungs. Next, you must have at least one set each of characters, dots, and bamboos. This eliminates Voided Suit. Next, you must avoid building Mixed Double Chow, Pure Double Chow, and Two Terminal Chows. You must wait on at least a two-chance hand, you cannot self-draw your last tile, and your hand cannot be concealed.

This may seem like a long list, and the Chicken Hand is indeed difficult. And after all this trouble, it only scores 8 points, and you cannot self-draw the hand, so that it adds only 32 points to your score (excluding points scored for flower tiles). But the master of the Chicken Hand has an extra weapon at his disposal. For example, take Figure 2.

Figure 2

You have come this far, and have made ready without having a chance to get rid of the pair of . But with this hand, you cannot even go out even if you draw your tile and score for Fully Concealed Hand. And yet, the master of the Chicken Hand knows that he is one step away from a proper ready hand. By melding chows with any of the following tiles, you can make ready on the Chicken Hand: .

Figure 3


Would you imagine that there are hands that go well with the Chicken Hand? It may seem like an oxymoron, but it isn't: both All Types and Mixed Straight are often very close in nature to the Chicken Hand.

Figure 4


Take Figure 4. You can go for All Types, but what if you cannot manage to draw another ? With the Chicken Hand option at your disposal, you can also draw , discard the , and make ready.