Daniel Moreno: PML Organizer and Online Researcher

We’re here today with Daniel “Dasuke” Moreno, head judge and organizer of the PML 2016 open, and known by many as one of the world’s most exhaustive resources of “great Mahjong websites”.

Daniel! Talk about the PML!
The Pacific Mahjong League is a Bay Area California mahjong league that was founded in mid-2013. Since then PML has expanded to host mahjong events every weekend with both teaching and league play. In addition PML has supported the growth of other PML chapters, most noticeably in the Los Angeles area.
PML Site: http://pacificml.com/
NoCal PML Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/pacificml/
SoCal PML Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Pacific-Mahjong-League-SoCal/

.. and the tourney!
The tournament overall went good~ During the tournament itself we used a hand recording system that has been developed by Kira, who had been working on the software every day after work for the past several weeks, so trying that out in a large tournament setting for the first time proved to be especially interesting. The atmosphere of the tournament seemed to be pretty good as well. Especially in the Finals, which was schedule after the final games for the other players. What came from this was a really cool atmosphere formed from 30+ people standing silently and attentively around the final table/recording screen, scrutinizing the final game play out. Even at the finals of the previous WRC I don’t believe there was such a level of intense concentration on the part of the crowd, so that was really cool. Also Auto tables are REALLY fun to play on, and we’re glad our participants enjoyed them… though the tables themselves are seriously a pain to move around, but it was worth the effort!

..and the autotables!
The auto tables were the result of a lot people. First off we got in contact with a company called Alban to buy the Japanese Amos Rexx auto tables via David B. (who had previous dealings before and got the contact from Benjamin Boas) and Gemma, in which Gemma did a LOT of work to facilitate the trade. The actual shipping was done via a friend of PML’s founder, Kira, who happens to work in an exporting company. The tables themselves were funded by Kira and a few other PML members, of which Kira bought the most. The Chinese Tables were bought from the Texas company Where the Winds Blow, all via Kira. The hardest part of using auto tables is transporting them around and setting them up in new locations. Consequently after shipping the Japanese auto tables, the shipping company decided to get in contact with the main manufacturer of the Amos tables, Taiyo Chemical Industry Co, for potentially selling/shipping more out in the future.

..and the future!
Yes! One of our main goal with buying auto tables is to have hardware to support a wide number of future tournaments and events. The next step will be trying to find a place to open up a more permanent venue for our meet ups and events. Look forward to our future event!

Awesome! Okay, now, brain dump – what’s good to read, online and off?
In regards to good books and sites, there’re a pretty good number of various resources out there, though unfortunately most of which is currently only in Japanese. The Maru-Jan Test is a really nice Mahjong Exam that has 25 different randomly generated questions over complex waits, defense, scoring, number of tiles needed to advance a hand, and tile effiency. To take the exam you need to have an account. you can get this by clicking the Login link (ログイン) on the top right of the page, and then the register button on that page (Maru-Jan登録). Once registered and logged in, all you have to do now is click the 試験開始 big yellow button whenever you go to the link from now on! You can take that exam twice a day and your scores get compared against other people who take it that day, plus it keeps a record of your scores so you can see how you progress over time.
Tenhou’s Tile Efficiency Module is a really useful tool for finding out the the different discord choices and their resulting uke-ire (number of tiles that can be drawn to move the hand forward). It’s also a very good module for grinding tile efficiency drills, by discarding a tile by clicking on it which prompts a new draw. Once a hand is completed you can click Create a new hand (新しい手牌を作成) or click on 新規 at any time to start a new hand, after which just hit the OK button up top an you’re good to go for another round!
As far as books are concerned, there’re a LOT of options, some even good for people who can’t speak any Japanese. For instance, What Would You Cut books can be a pretty interesting eye opener even without being able to read the explanation on the back. Though if you do want to read some, Mahjong books tend to use a lot of mahjong terminology in the same way over and over, so as long as you know the terminology it can be easier to read a mahjong book compared to other Japanese books. A good terminology reference: Mahjong-NY’s Terminology Page (ed: hey, that’s us!) .
For a good WWYC book, one of Fukuchi’s latest collaborations with G Uzaku is really good: Link here.
Aside from that if you can read Japanese, generally speaking most Fukuchi books are really good. For those who don’t know, Fukuchi is very well known best selling mahjong author. There are a wide range of mahjong books out there cover a number of different topics for different skill levels. If you’re looking for a good fundamental book and can read some Japanese, Nemata’s books (also done with Fukuchi) are a really good thing to have (ones with the girl on the covers, the black one is a book that covers Tenhou strategy): List here.
Another good mention is Horiuchi’s book. Horiuchi is an ex JPML pro who is insanely good at this game. His book contains a large number of different graphs and figures regarding estimated return, various averages, different win rates for different types of waits in various situations… A lot of really interesting stuff: Link here
Finally for a website, Mahjong.org is a really interesting site that has a number of tools for point calculation for even limitless/aotenjou games, tile efficiency/point calculation drills, and other various tools. The creator is a Tenhoui (one of the 10 people with the highest Tenhou rank) and is Really excited for the western mahjong scene. As such, starting earlier this week, he has begun to translate his tools into English as well: Link here
Currently he has a Score Calculator and Aotenjou score calculator somewhat translated. You can follow him at: https://twitter.com/nyankosan

Shout outs to all the players and staff of the tournament! This is the first time we’ve tried to do anything like the individual scoring of hands throughout a large tournament situation, and we couldn’t come any where near that without the cooperation of all the players attending and all the people willing to help us run the tournament. We look forward to developing this system and style even more in the future so that we can give our participants not only the best experiences at the tournament itself, but also provide them resources and records to relive and reflect on their games after the tournament as well!

Head Bump or Double Ron?
Personally, Double Ron. Head bump seems to be better for a newer player base I think because player’s can’t get too heavily penalized for dealing into multiple hands. That being said, I like Double Ron because the potential risk encourages players against overly risky plays, for instance dropping a dangerous 4-6 late game to multiple players pushing which can more often than not lead to a double ron.