I recently wrote an article for our monthly newsletter and explained about using a bettor. I have played in a couple groups that like to play with five and use the fifth person as a bettor. (see the article here) Personally if I had to choose, I would not play with a bettor but I am out voted so I go along with the majority. Let me explain my turmoil.
Believe it or not even though we are all playing with the same tiles and the same hands, we all play very differently. Our individual focus tends to see hands differently as well. We are after all individuals. Too often I have walked around the table looking at all four racks of tiles and seeing hands that I could very well make on each rack. But winning a hand does not just depend on these tiles. It depends on the luck of each individual and whether or not the player sees the same hand I see or do they look at the tiles and see something totally different?
Before you “place your bet” you also need to know the type of player that you are risking your wage on. What hands do they play regularly? Will they see the same hand I see? Do they know that their tiles are good for this particular hand? Are they defensive players? Do they tend to be careless players and more often throw a winning tile to someone else? I find it difficult to have to make a judgment on my fellow players before I will bet on them.
Too often I see what I perceive as an absolute winning hand but I know from experience that they will not see the hand I see and will try for a hand that falls into their own comfort zone. So if I bet on them and then they begin by discarding a tile that I feel they need for the other hand, I feel anguish and pain. So you have to know your players and then forget what you see and think like them.
As a bettor you also have to remember what hands may be forming up on the other players’ racks and are their tiles in common on multiple racks? A hand may look terrific on a rack but what if the remaining tiles are a part of someone else’s hand already and you know they will not be discarded? I am never afraid of betting on the wall if there are too many tiles shared among the other players.
I referenced luck of the individual as well. We have all had good days and those bad ones too. If someone is having a great day and seeming to make hand after hand then I am more likely to also bet on that player than the one who has been on quite the losing streak. Of course this just could be the hand that breaks that streak. I also hate being forced to bet on someone when I am having a losing streak because the bad luck seems to follow me then too and I always select the wrong person.
There are two more major things I am going to write about on the subject of betting. Stay tuned for the next blog in a few days.