I am busted out of the World Series…
- Created on Sunday, 22 August 2010 08:06
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Gemma Collinge, ReachMahjong.Com
Gemma Collinge’s Macau Diary – Day 2
It’s day 2 of the main event of the World Series of Mahjong, and the final day of the preliminary round. The top 16 players from this round will go on to play on the third and final day. Gemma Collinge of ReachMahjong.com struggled in the first day in Macau but is hoping to take some ground back before the final results are decided. ‘I managed to get over my riichi mindset.’
MACAU - Yesterday didn’t go very well for me. All my results were minuses and although they were only small minuses, they greatly affect the scoring more than larger minuses.
The reason for this is a more complicated scoring system than in riichi tournaments, which I am used to play. Each session consists of three days and each session is two games (a game is one east round and one south round). The scores from the two games are added together to give a session total. The square root of the session total is then taken to give the final points that are used in the rankings.
This diminishes the impact of larger scores both minus and plus. So if you are losing in a session, a large loss isn’t as dramatic but if you get an impressive score there are diminishing returns the higher the score.
It’s an interesting format and I suspect the reasoning behind it was to keep players interested even if they had a few big losses. However, it does mean that you are much better off going for smaller hands and getting as many positive scores as possible than risking it for that amazing limit hand. A large score just isn’t going to rescue you as I discovered…
My second day went really well. I managed to get over my riichi mindset where I rarely open my hand and defend when I don’t have anything exciting to speak of. In the World Series rules, an open hand is not penalized much and in fact is usually much more likely to win you a hand with big points. So cheap and cheerful is the way forward. I managed to pull off some really good hands and in the end my total raw score was overwhelmingly positive.
However, because my first day had been a run of small losses, my square root totals added up were negative. So I am busted out…
I guess this is the major flaw with this system. As you have to payout to a winning hand even if you did not throw the winner, you basically have to payout for other’s mistakes. This means, as I found out to my detriment, defence is not a great strategy unless the other three players at a table are defending. On my first day I defended a lot, but that meant I was losing small amounts of points through a game. As soon as you have a few too many small losses (even of -10 etc.), you can’t recover. You’re much better to be going for it and have one massive loss or two at a table to make the best of this scoring system.
Every scoring system has its flaws though and it’s working out the best strategy for each. So remember this if you decide to join us next year! As soon as you ‘get it’, it’s very easy to play. I shot up from 188th position to 100th in just three sessions when I realized the best strategy. Now I know how to work the system, watch out for me next year!
Jenn Barr and Garthe Nelson, my colleagues of ReachMahjong.Com, on the other hand did much better than myself. Garthe came in at 33rd position, just one before he would have cashed. Jenn did amazingly and came in at tenth position securing her a place on the final day and a nice cut of the prize money. I’ll be rooting for her tomorrow!
Also from the World Gaming Magazine team (www.wgm8.com) was Puyo who made it through. He writes a column with Jenn for the WGM, so check it out to know their secrets!
I’ll write another report tomorrow on how Jenn and Puyo got on so check back at MahjongNews.Com and Reachmahjong.Com to find out what happened.
Finally, I want to say a massive thank you to the World Gaming Magazine for giving me the opportunity to play on their team and also the World Series of Mahjong for holding a great event, which was even better than the last.
Perhaps next year we could see some more European players come and show Asia what we’re worth!