If you read my last blog “Now onto figuring out this game!” you know that I am pretty serious about learning how to play the American version of Mah Jongg. I alluded to referencing “A Beginner’s Guide to American Mah Jongg How to Play the Game & Win” by Elaine Sandberg. That book, by far, helped me gain a better understanding of the game, particularly the chapter, “Cracking the Code”. In that chapter the author goes into great deal helping the reader understand by way of a wonderful narrative, great examples, and some very helpful exercises and quizzes. By way of enabling the reader to make everything logical, it really does help “crack the code”.
I found the exercises to be of real value, and I spent a couple hours a day for a week making up 13-tile mock hands, then proceeding to figure out what combination made the most sense from the possible mishmash (for me at this point!) on the Maj Jongg card (the card used is the National Mah Jongg League Card of Hands for 2013). With the knowledge I gained from doing so, I was able to attend my second meeting with the Mah Jongg group at the senior center with a renewed sense of confidence which I didn’t have the first time.
Since there were only four of us, I was able to sit down and get right to playing a live game, unlike the last time where I had to sit out a couple of games. Because I had done my homework via practice, I felt more than comfortable. It was relatively easy for me to determine which hand to play, and the correct terms to announce when discarding a tile. The ladies did remark how well I was doing. Sometime during a subsequent game, the lady that had stood over my shoulder (and made me extremely nervous) last week came in. I didn’t say anything when she stood behind me once again, but it wasn’t too long before she walked away and busied herself with something else, thank goodness. Maybe she saw that I really did know what I was doing after all.
I am very happy to announce that I actually won a game this time. I can tell you that it was very exciting waiting for that final tile to complete my set and announce, Mah Jongg! It was pretty nerve-wracking g as I kept getting closer and closer to that goal. I now have experienced and know the thrill of playing the game! I even came as close to needing one tile to win yet another game, I sure have the bug now!
We had two “wall” games during this session. That means that no one completed their chosen combination of tiles and couldn’t announce Mah Jongg. After one of them, one of the ladies asked who had the one tile that she needed to win, I told her that it was me, that I knew from what she had exposed on her rack what she needed to win and that’s why I hadn’t discarded it. This was a couple games after my win. I think that these ladies know now that I am a force to be reckoned with, lol!
During one of our last games, one of the ladies made an error, and removed herself from that hand. She immediately came behind me to see how I was playing. I could not believe it when she actually started rearranging one of my tiles, proclaiming, “this is going to confuse you if you put this tile here, it should go here”! As I moved it back to where I had it, I told her that it wasn’t confusing me! She didn’t hang around anymore watching my hand. I still can’t believe that she did that.
All in all, I am very glad that I decided to learn how to play Mah Jongg and really do look forward to playing it with these seasoned pros in the very near future and give them a run for their money, lol!