Mahjong Strategy: M league / Asakura: Asapin’s astonishing choice.

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This article is on Asakura: Asapin’s astonishing choice in M league, and is a summary and translation of zeRo and Kihara’s video on Youtube. As some of you may know both of them are famous Tenhou players and Kihara is also a popular pro in NPM. To write this article, I got approval from zeRo. Thank you, zeRo san ! You can watch his video from the link below.


As some of you may know, Asakura’s style is unique. He sometimes disregards simple tile efficiency and relies on hand and wall reading. Actually, from my view point, he rely too much on reading and that may not be optimal, but he is 2 times Tenhou-i, and clearly one of the strongest players in Japan. The video start from the hand below. What to discard ?

I can’t choose any tile other than North wind. But he discarded 6s !

According to Kihara’s comment, he may think few of 47s are left in the wall because 1. he can see 3 of 47s, 2. Player on the right: Hinata seems to have many Souzu, and 3. Player on the left : Setokuma discarded 2s from his hand and may have upper Souzu. 4. 8m seems to be in the wall because Hinata and Setokuma doesn’t seem to have uppper Manzu: 6m-9m.

So he may draw 58s later, but 47s will still be a bottle neck. But who can discard 6s from this hand ? This hand is quite valuable with 2 Red 5 and possible Tanyao. Usually people want to “defend” this value, and their choice tend to be conservative. And more, this is M league and many people are watching this game. If this choice was unsuccessful, he would be criticized severely at twitter or other SNS. Discarding North wind here will be much “safer” choice, because this is quite normal choice and no one will deny that.

But he discarded 6s probably because he simply thought this is EV maximizing choice. I can’t judge if this is really the best choice, but I really respect his sincerity and braveness.

After that, 1 of 8m was discarded (but was in the wall, as he read). But he riichi-ed.

And finally he drew 8m ! As I wrote in other articles, I have to see some M leaguers from critical point of view, because they always make “safe” choice, or they don’t seem to learn modern theory. But I was really moved when I see this, and felt this kind of choice is really “professional”.