Mah Jongg Tournament Report

Yesterday I went with my friend Deanna to my first ever Mah Jongg Tournament. It was a fundraiser for the Cary Area Hadassah so I was certain to be playing with some people that had Mah Jongg in their bloodlines.  
We arrived and found our assigned seats for the first round. The woman who was in charge of my table told me this was her 13th tournament and she was yet to win. With eighty people playing I did not want to tell her that the odds were against her. I would have thought that as a Mah Jongg player she would understand that probability. Wearing her Mah Jongg tiara she told me all about the weekly games she runs and how much she wins. I was not about to be intimidated.
For the most part it was a very nice group of people. My play was fairly good, but not good enough to be in the top 10% at the lunch break. My score was just under the scores they read out before we were sent to the buffet.
A kosher lunch of bagels, lox and kugel was exactly what I would have expected from a Hadassah event and it was fabulous. During lunch I was invited by some of my table mates to come and play Mah Jongg at their homes. It was a very cordial and inclusive group.
We played five rounds of four games during the whole day. The only disappointment was that they never let us know who won the whole tournament. Not that it mattered, there were no prizes. 
Although it was fun to compete with the sisterhood of Mah Jongg players I like playing for money so much better. I can tell right way if I have had a good day or not by the pile of quarters.  
For the tournament they scored somewhat differently than we do in regular play. There were serious penalties for being the person who gave Mah Jongg to the winner. This changed the game from an offensive game to more defensive. I watched woman give up their chance at winning a game, just to make sure they did not give Mah Jongg to someone else. If I were to run a tournament I would have to think twice about this scoring. If you always play defense you never win. I guess my life philosophy is like my Mah Jongg, always play to win and you will come out ahead, even if that means you help someone else along the way.

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