Our special guest tonight is Daniel “Dasuke” Moreno, whom some of you may know from the Mahjong Discord channel or Mahjong Meetup!
1. How did you start playing Riichi?
I originally learned how to play Mahjong back in 2010 when I stumbled upon a mahjong club while studying at the University of Texas in Austin. The club was just a generic mahjong club, most people not playing with any type of scoring whatsoever. One day a guy that knew how to play Riichi showed up and taught me how to play. After learning, I liked the ruleset a lot more than other variants and mahjong that I played before, so I stuck with it.
2. What do you like the most about it?
The Depth. Riichi mahjong as a game is extremely interesting. On one hand it’s a deep methodical game with different aspects of play such as the probability of completing various shapes or people having certain tiles (Tile Efficiency), Risk and Return focus of play, Yaku Formation, defensive reads… On the other hand it’s a high paced game where making the connection between theoretical knowledge and in game instances becauses a challenge and a game of itself. No matter how far you go you can still get better.
3. How often do you play?
At least one hanchan every day.
4. Online or live Mahjong – which one do you prefer and why?
Both Online and Live Mahjong are really nice and have their own high points. Live Mahjong has the advantage of being a very social game, sitting at the table with three other people playing the same game. In regards to actual gameplay itself, Live Mahjong has a lot of different information sources or self tells that you have to be aware of that aren’t necessarily a factor in Online Mahjong. Throw in the social aspect which usually brings about a strong emotional attachment to the game and playing in real life can feel like a completely different game than online. Online has its advantages as well, the biggest being being able to play at Anytime against people from all around the globe. It’s pretty hard to gather enough people every day to play mahjong whenever you would like, unless you live in a big city in Japan of course. Online Mahjong makes up that gap, letting anyone play at any time during the day from wherever they are. Plus, for practice purposes, online mahjong also has the advantage of being able to view the replays of the games you play.
5. How do you practice/learn strategy & theory?
Playing every day, and playing to get better not to just “roll the dice”. Mahjong as a game is pretty random. Just looking at the individual results of X decision, one can make a very reasonable play that you would take time and time again, and have it end horribly. Like a East 1 dealer double riichi declaration… that later deals into a Yakuman. On the opposite side, one could make a pretty horrible decision, and have it turn out really good. For instance pushing a East 1 Dealer Double Riichi with dangerous discards for a 5 shanten Kokushi… and get it! If you’re just looking at the results for this game, saying “I got a first, I must be doing good!” or “I got a last, I must be doing bad…” while you wouldn’t be necessarily wrong, you’re not right either. Read and learn theory, follow it, and find your mistakes in real play. Even if you made what your theory considers a bad decision and it turns out good, that’s still a mistake! Even if you get punished for a move that was good, you should still make the same decisions again and again. Stay focused, play with all you got, and every game don’t look how to ‘win’, but instead look for even a single concrete thing that you could do better.
6. Favorite Yakuman?
7. Any tournament achievements?
So far this year at various North American tournaments I’ve participated in, I’ve managed to get 3rd place at Dallas, 2nd place at Vancouver, 2nd place at Montreal, 2nd Place at Seattle, and 1st place in Florida. Pretty good results this year but with only around 10 or so hanchan in each tournament, almost anything can happen in a tournament. Even ASAPIN got a 40th out of 40 in a recent tournament that he played in.
8. Biggest Mahjong related dream?
Spread Riichi Mahjong throughout the World and… a Secret~
9. Quick tip for Mahjong beginners
Have Fun!!! Mahjong is best when you’re having fun, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you Have to get a first to make a game fun, or that getting a fourth is going to make the game not fun. Find what you love about the game and chase after it~!
May Yakuman be with you!