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Topic: National Tournament

National Tournament
Posted 15 May 2012, 3:11 PM
#985 (In Topic #223)
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While I know the USPML isn't as big of an organization as say the EMA, is there any thought of holding an annual national tournament?
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Posted 24 May 2012, 5:05 PM
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Mahjong in America isn't big enough for this… yet.
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Posted 21 July 2012, 4:51 PM
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i think the biggest we could probably go as in tournament wise would be like the regions (Midwest region, East region, ETC)
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Posted 23 July 2012, 7:44 PM
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Currently USPML operates more as a regional group in the NYC region, from what I have experienced.  There would need to be a degree of reform in the USPML operations in order to accomplish a national tournament.

For example, I believe I heard of a group at our last mahjong event in Seattle that plays Riichii mahjong officially.  In order to create a national event, the region in Seattle and dozens under like it would have to be sanctioned by USPML to run a game.  That means we would need a volunteer from each region to be a designated USPML organizer/coordinator to enforce the rules of the format and run the event smoothly and within a four hour period.  All of these games would need to occur within the same month, and be posted and promoted by the regional coordinators and on the main page.  Naturally, we would have to do this in areas where there are at least 12 people interested in playing.  

From there, and this is the big jump, financially and otherwise, the winners from each region would have to come together to play.  To make our example easy, lets say we had four regions - Seattle/West(WA,CA), Mid-Atlantic(NY-NJ-CA), South West(GA,TX), Central (IL,KA) play.  The top player from each region would need to travel to say, NYC, to play in the final event to decide the top player.  

Essentially a national tournament requires a setup of these regional qualifiers, all with a regional coordinator at each event, in areas with riichi mahjong interest of atleast 12 people (Three games in four hours).  

Financially, the USPML director would need to host the regional event (similar to our monthlies), and each regional director would be responsible for setting up the regional qualifiers.  We want to obtain some degree of professionalism, so it would be recommended to rent out an office room (easily 200$ for the afternoon) and have at-least three play tables (three junk-mats and sets in worst case scenario) at each location.

This is very possible to organize, it would just take strong regional directors to step forward (these guys are hard to find).  It would also take a national tournament coordinator to work between our main people here in NYC with Dave (I volunteer for this), to schedule and organize the event.

To help supplement these costs, we could have an official entry fee to play in the tournament (say to an online pay-pal account to not deal with state-specific laws on gambling).  There would be a separate venue fee (say 10$) and entry fee (15$).  

In the final mahjong tournament, which should be atleast 2 han-chans, Winner gets 70%, 2nd gets 20%, 3rd gets 10%, and 4th gets nothing.  We would need it to be recorded, announced, and have our regional players come out to spectate.  We would need someone who could do video and online promotion in addition to the work of the regional coordinators in each area.  It could be extremely hype.  

 :thumbs: Ultimately to set this up, you need the following volunteers:

USPML Director (Posts to the main site the event results, decided tournament format, creates the brackets)
USPML National Tournament Coordinator (Reports to the Director and obtains all the data from the Regional Staff)
4 USPML-certified Regional Staff with interest of atleast 12 people per region (free to have assistants to help promote the game and organize interest)
USPML Video/Advertisement Promotion  
Financial Organizer

Financially you would need:

(Per Region) (x4 in our example)
3 Junk Mats or Tables
3 Mahjong Sets
One professional area to meet for at least four hours.

+ The National Event would need the same thing.  

For players they would need to pay:
Venue Fee (Payed onsite to the regional directors)
Tournament Entry Fee (For the final winner payout, sent to them via paypal after the tournament.)
The players would need to pay their travel cost to and from the national event.
The Regional Directors, if they had 12 people, would probably still have to put to 80$ or so of their own money to pay for a place to play.

As far as legal money concerns, the regional directors should NEVER pocket any sort of money.  If the venue costs 120$, and you receive 160$, then the remaining money should go to the pot or the national venue cost (the winners from each region would not need to pay to enter the national tournament).  The regional directors send the costs/receipts of the event to the financial organizer, who re-imbursts them from the venue payed into the USPML paypal.  Then they pay out the winners after the tournament is over.

Everything would be tracked, secured, and would take at least 48 players and 8 staff members to complete.  That's my idea.  


Edit: I thought of an easier business model for this as well.  If you were extremely worried about the possibility that players could not fly out or show up, you could hold a single weekend-event for the USPML.  This would basically work like this, you rent out a large room in a hotel for a weekend.  You post this tournament is happening 6-8 months in advance.  players who want to attend have that half of year to gather up travel expenses to the decided region (preferably Las Vegas, Philadelphia, or New York City - a larger area people might want to attend *besides* just the event, would make people more interested in travelling out).  

Basically players register up to a month in advanced, and travel out (hopefully 64+), and book the hotel for the weekend (usually directors of these events can organize a discount for people coming to stay at the hotel for the event).  Rooms can normally house 6-8 people, so you would want strong regional leaders to buy the room and split it between people (usually 120$/night).  Basically you start the event on say, 2PM Saturday (so people can fly in as late as noon), and create and play a whole bracket until midnight.  People stay the night and the next morning you run the top 8 for the event, and everyone spectates.  After that you basically pack up out of the place by 6 so we can all be at work Monday morning, or sometimes players stay another night for casual games.  This is how the fighting game community usually runs regional and national events, anywhere from once to four times a year.  It works very well and requires a huge financial forward from the main organizer, some meetings with the hotel people, and a dedicated volunteer staff to run the brackets and games.  This way no rankings are necessary and you just have a solid tournament (Saki style, top two players advance is fine).  You could also run a team tournament on Sunday, if you wanted.  The big thing here is to give players time to organize and come out to this, and you take the risk.  Video and online promotion is still necessary.  This method requires less work and reliance on trustworthy regional managers and making sure players can come out (because they will all be there for the weekend), but a bigger financial forward for the director.  It is probably slightly less time consuming to set up and requires a slightly smaller staff (this could be done by 4-6 people, as opposed to 8).

Basically man power wise its just:

Tournament Director
2-4 Tournament Staff
64+ Players
1 Video/Online Promotion Person

Financially its:
Reserving a hotel room for two days in a major city for atleast 16 hours, 8 mahjong sets, 8 tables provided by the Tournament Director and staff.
Venue Fee (To help supplement massive costs of the hotel reservation), reserve a hotel room 120$/night (this can be split between up to 6 other people or so 20$/person) and Tournament  entry fee for the winner's payout (70% for 1st, 20% for 2nd, 10% for third, 0% for last).

The advantage to this method is obviously it's a one-shot event people won't soon forget, commands less time commitment for the actual event, there are no money organization issues, and people can save up for it once every year (and if it becomes popular, say every 4 months).  

That's how I would set it up.  The first method is cheaper/requires more man power (they would need to travel to a regional and national event, and there would need to be strong trustworthy regional representatives).  The second method requires more player support and is more expensive, but more stream-line and solid for our small group and reaching out to players around the country.

I believe the first method is better because it could be adopted not just for a single tournament, but its closer to the actual ranking system USPML operates right now and could expand us to an actual league around the country.  Rather than have a one-shot regional tournament to see who gets into a national tournament, we could assign and sanction regional groups to the ranking system (to be updated year round by USPML staff) and then at the end of the year the best players from around the country and play in NYC or somewhere for the national event similar to the list above.

If you want a single national tournament open, you go with the second method.  If we can afford the potential loss, it will probably be an easier option as far as starting up a scene across the nation and then moving to the first method nationally.  


Last edit: 23 July 2012, 11:17 PM by Komidol

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Posted 10 August 2012, 6:24 PM
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For now.  We're better off relying on Anime Conventions to garnish numbers, as people there are already interested in things Japanese.

While it is nice that you have already thought out the prospect of running the national tournament, we're most certainly not even close.  Gotta get to the point of American Mahjong first, who are able to hold their own tournaments.

For now, if you happen to know the game, best to go around teaching first.  The good news: there are clusters of mahjong everywhere.
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Posted 11 August 2012, 7:50 PM
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I honestly believe the opposite.  You said it yourself - "there are clusters of mahjong everywhere".  The point of the national tournament, with proper advertisement, would be to bring out one or two people from those clusters and meet them in person.  Those people who travel out are the really dedicated/capable ones of running events.  From the first tournament, you build up a network of contacts of people who play across the country.

It's those people who can become regional coordinators and later we can make "sanctioned leaders" for events.  Then those events can be recorded as official events towards the ranking.  This is why the second option is more feasible first - than we implement the first plan to run a league and hold a national tournament based on ranking over open entry.

We also need to tap into the huge pool of riichi mahjong players out there - both people with families of Japanese immigrants who want to play, and our older group of players who learned mahjong on things like SNES or off chance when they were younger.  These are the people financially more capable and likely older, so they will run events more efficiently.  While of course advertising for people to any degree is good for our numbers - sticking to anime conventions for advertisement is only going to appeal to a very specific fanbase.  To stereotype just a little - This fanbase is normally younger, living with their parents, and/or not well organized.  You need to balance this out with a degree of riichi mahjong players who are very serious or older, so our events to not become an "extension" of the anime community.  You need to really reach out, and can't stick advertisments to one place in order to accomplish that.

I'm sure you can believe other major mahjong groups did not get where they are today by exclusively advertising at anime conventions, surely?  Nothing wrong with a little initiative, as long as the investors understand it will take 1-2 years from a national event to get things moving in the direction we want.

Consider the first national tournament a real meeting for those who want to kickstart the league.  Those 32-128 players will be the ones running regional events, directing rankings, and be senior members when the league has 4000+ participants.

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Posted 11 August 2012, 11:45 PM
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What about to reduce costs, limit the regional qualifiers to online matches through applications such as joyjan, ron2, or tenhou, sites that have been known to have tutorials or an english friendly registering system?
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Posted 12 August 2012, 1:53 AM
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I strongly disagree with ever making a national or regional tournament based on online Mahjong. I have nothing against it, but as a regional/national tournament, you should be able to play real life mahjong (being able to score and stuff), plus their is more you can do with table mahjong, such as make new friends, enjoy some tea and talk to someone else about how you or they play mahjong, AND you can get pointers from other people that see YOU playing in action.

If it was made online, you would be missing out on actually talking to the other people at the table (not that you would really talk anyways in a competition game) and you wouldn't be able to feel the mahjong. When I play table mahjong with my friends, I enjoy it a lot better and I play better because their are actual people their. Online mahjong gets frustrating and clicking your mouse is not as fun as actually drawing the tiles, and discarding and getting that joyful feeling when you call "Ron" or "Tsumo" on a high scoring hand.

Enough with the wall of text (if I think of anything more I will post it here, off to watch anime).
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Posted 14 August 2012, 2:43 PM
USPML President

dbresnick in the usergroup ‘Website Administrators’
I'd like to jump in here and comment on a few of the ideas that are being kicked around.  Firstly, I'd like to thank Komidol for his enthusiasm and all the effort he put forth in assembling this information.  I think it's a great groundwork for running a national event, and that's definitely something we'd like to do soon.

Online-based tournaments and play are a great way to add to what we can do in person and to allow people who are otherwise unable to participate a way to get involved.  However as far as official events and tournaments are concerned, at the  moment we're focused on in-person play.  This isn't meant to limit what we could do in the future, but establishing strong local play communities is the USPML's priority right now.

In order to get a national tournament going, however, there's a lot of work to be done on all fronts.  Most notably we're going to need to have a solid core group of players attending.  So the more people who can register interest here and commit to attending (although, obviously, that will be somewhat contingent on scheduling) the bigger our plans will be able to be!
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Posted 16 August 2012, 7:47 PM
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That is fair. I do not disagree with any of the counter-arguments made. I would much rather play mah-jong in person, however i felt that if circumstances required, online play could be plausibe to get something rolling. However if your focused on in person match-ups only, i cannot object to that! :)
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Posted 20 August 2012, 11:54 PM
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If only Japanese style can get as large as American style…

With a prize package of $2500 to $5000 for the winner… and a tournament hosted at some big hotel, where people would actually travel to it.  Yea, we're nowhere near that.

dbresnick said

In order to get a national tournament going, however, there's a lot of work to be done on all fronts.  Most notably we're going to need to have a solid core group of players attending.
For now, I'm focusing on spreading the game and some knowledge of it around.  As for a tournament, I'm looking to arrange one at Anime Central next year.  Though, nothing is done at this front just yet.

And I notice Boardgamer doing some sort of similar deal down in Texas.  So, that's cool.  By the way, do you have any hand outs to give to learners?
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Posted 22 August 2012, 6:05 AM
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Same here. I just submitted panel request to Fandom con at Pensacola, FL and Destination Anime in Destin, FL. Hopefully, I will be accepted and get the game out there. 
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Posted 22 August 2012, 1:00 PM
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I'm going to make a handout. I don't know exactly what i'm going to put on it yet, depends on what the people want, but i know Riichi will definetly be on it.
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Posted 22 August 2012, 4:51 PM
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I've never panel'd before until the most recent Anime Central.  And it was fun.  To my surprise, 45 people were in attendance.  Yet, being my first panel experience, I look back hoping to do a lot better next time.  When it comes to handout material, I only had about 20 sheets of paper with basic info.

Had done mahjong workshops at two conventions since, but the most recent: I was not the least bit prepared, as I viewed it as a small convention.  But, I prepared this little hand out this past weekend.  As for this handout, I tried to make it as basic as possible.  The fewer the words, the better.

Mahjong handout for Beginners
» Download: Mahjong Handout 01.pdf (418 Kb, 434 downloads so far)
 (updated 9/2)

I make the presumption: who ever I come across, knows almost nothing about mahjong, let along riichi mahjong.

I'm already looking ahead to Anime Central next year.

If you happen to have a mahjong group, advertise it.  Get people to join, if possible.

Last edit: 02 September 2012, 5:39 AM by KyuuAL
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Posted 01 October 2013, 12:14 AM
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to KyuuAL,

If you need help in 2014 with the con I would love to help you out.

Also to those that live here in NYC I would love to help get the idea of a nat. tourney going like what they did in Saki, also how about seeing if we can also take this game to schools and teach the kids how to play Riichi.

to talk more reach me on skype: amiboshi0078
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Posted 23 November 2013, 7:25 AM
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Interesting.  That's good to know.

Given that ACEN panel applications are open, I am already in the process of planning out for ACEN 2014.  For now, I am looking to layout plans for 3 panels and 2 mahjong play sessions (Friday night freeplay – so that I get to play and Saturday' tournament - which I do nothing but host).  As for the tournament, if there's one area where we have trouble – it's having prizes to give out.  Hopefully, the tournament numbers may include 16 or even 20 people.

By the way, I was able to play in the other Chicago area tournament last weekend.  Unfortunately, only 11 people showed up (3 tables), where the host hand to do the role of a fill-in.  At least, I got the chance to play in that kind of environment (where things matter slightly more).

Anyways, I'll have to set up Skype to get some discussion going.

Last edit: 23 November 2013, 7:30 AM by KyuuAL
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Posted 25 November 2013, 11:45 AM
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that's good to here, I would love to help out in anyway I can.

I think that Riichi is more fun then American and since the anime Saki and Akagi are out there more anime fans are finding this game.

My Skype Screen name is Amiboshi0078
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Posted 25 November 2013, 12:17 PM
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Boy has it been a long time since I posted on here. I am going to try and get a club started here in Milwaukee. As I have also gotten a new job (that pays a lot more). I will be able to make it to some mahjong meetups down in Chicago every once in awhile! Also add me on skype too. I don't want to be completely left out!

Skype Screen is: Raymynn (if you want to use my email to search,

I would love to get back into mahjong, having finished up highschool last july, Our small mahjong club kind of dwindled away (the seniors in the club went off to college, while the few Sophmores we had didn't want to continue playing without one of us their :/). Also, I think a National or Regional tournament is still possible, even if we do not have prizes. I would still travel to go to a national or reginal (if I have the money at the time) to play, even if their are not prizes. but that is just me.
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