Don’t forget Three-Suited Terminal Chows

Three-Suited Terminal Chows is built with Two Terminal Chows in two different suits and a pair of fives in a third (Figure 1).

Figure 1


This is a combination that even intermediate players tend to miss. The main reason is simple: they first tend to see the more common combinations that bear similarities: Outside Hand, Pure Straight, and Mixed Triple Chow.

Figure 2

chow chow

Take Figure 2. Many players would discard in order to build either a 789 Mixed Triple Chow or a Pure Straight in characters. But in both cases, you cannot make ready in 1 tile.

Your best choice is to trash either Mixed Triple Chow by discarding or trash the Pure Straight by discarding . This way you will be 2 tiles away from one combination, and 1 tile away from Three-Suited Terminal Chows. Claim for a 123 chow, or pick a and you’ll make ready on the hand.

Figure 3

picked chow chow

How about Figure 3? You were one away from making ready on Three-Suited Terminal Chows, but then you pick . You’d like to complete Three-Suited Terminal Chows, because it scores more points. But if you take that route, you will be dependent on catching two specific tiles: and . Your play is to discard the . The superiority of this choice is demonstrated by the number of tiles that will make you ready: .

Figure 4

chow chow

Three-Suited Terminal Chows is an easier and more common combination than players tend to think. With the hand in Figure 4, you need a to finish, and if you feel the need to change your wait, you only need to draw an honor to change to an Outside Hand.

Figure 5

chow chow

In Figure 5, if you think your opponents are blocking your outs, you can recover by building a Pure Straight in characters. The magic of Three-Suited Terminal Chows is not its score (the same 16 points as the Pure Straight), but its convenience.