Recently I attended a mahjong session with the USPML in New York City. For those of you that don’t know, the USPML stands for the United States Professional Mahjong League. USPML is a somewhat recent association dedicated riichi mahjong. I don’t get to play mahjong in real life often, so I decided to head to NYC to check it out. I had seen on the WRC (World Riichi Championship) site that most of the North American players hailed from the USPML. I assumed that there were some good players there and I was about half right.
USPML welcomes all levels of play. So there were good players mixed with novices. Some people didn’t know how to play or what suji were. Others elegantly integrated yaku into their hands and defended well. I played almost 2 hanchans (the second one ended in South 2). The first hanchan I did not do well. I think I dealt in about 4 times. I was dealer in orasu but my damaten haneman failed to bear fruit since my last winning tile was in the dead wall.
Overall my experience was pretty good. They have mahjong tables with ridges and tenbou holders. Also the tiles were slightly larger than standard Japanese sets which made handling the tiles a little easier. After talking with some of the regulars, it seemed that they played in real life a lot more than I did. I guess they know more people that play riichi mahjong. I hope to return in the future but until then it’s back to the Tenhou main lobby for me!
For more information on the USPML see