Organizers of the 5th annual Poker in the Park disclose the presence of a Mahjong Dome at Europe’s biggest poker fair.
Opening September 2nd 2011 in the new venue of Hanover Square in London (United Kingdom), 5th Annual Poker in the Park is to incorporate the ancient Chinese skill game. Mahjong, “sparrow” in Chinese, is an ancient Chinese tile game with strong similarities to western games like rummy, in which a player must look to build sets of tiles to score points.
Poker in the Park organiser Michael Caselli said, “The addition of Mahjong is not only a way to involve the large Chinese community from nearby China Town in our festival, but we also hope it will introduce a large number of poker players to what is one of the most widely played skill games in the world.”
Caselli's ambitious goal is to establish a new record for the biggest Mahjong tournament outside China.
In 1998 Mahjong was officially named China's 255th sport and in 2002 the first World Mahjong Championship was held in Tokyo.
Playing Mahjong requires strong skills. Each of the four players at the table receives a number of these tiles at the start, randomly drawn, and during the game tries to exchange some of them so as to eventually organize all the tiles in his or her hand into specific combinations. Whoever can achieve this goal first "goes out" (declares a mahjong), and is rewarded by collecting points from the others.
Mahjong is a game of judgment and skill, much like poker, backgammon and bridge, repaying concentration, an ability to figure out odds and memorizing which tiles have already been discarded out of play. The game also offers the challenge of balancing your play between aiming to move out soon but with not particularly useful tiles in hand and shooting for more high-paying but harder-to-achieve combinations. It can also be played both in single-table and in tournament format.