Catching Up With PML
Last spring, the Pacific Mahjong League (PML) opened its new dojo location on Telegraph Avenue in Berkley, California. Outfitted with six Rexx II auto-tables (and room for more) the PML can play host to many different styles of play. But their first love is riichi.
PML is currently run by Bichen Wang with the help of a couple co-organizers. It has been operating in the area for 7+ years, and is counted among the most active enclaves of players in North America, with players frequently appearing at tournaments throughout the country.
PML has been keeping up regular attendance to several west coast conventions to recruit new players to riichi, and consistently run regular events for players. There are currently three active leagues (a Sunday league, a Monday league, and a less formal casual league) with a playoff among that league’s top four players to close each season. There is also a monthly tournament as well as an annual open tournament which has consistently drawn large numbers, partly due to having been the only all auto-table tournament venue in North America. (Philadelphia has booked an auto-table cafe for their tournament this weekend.) Nearly all of these events are streamed live on PML’s Twitch channel.
Their next target is the World Riichi Championship. One player from PML, Haolun Wu, has already earned himself a seat at the Vienna 2020 tournament after winning the Salt Lake qualifier last summer. There are several more hopefuls that have submitted their names to the World Riichi Championship selection, but with only 5 seats allocated to the United States by the WRC, the chances of more than one or two of them making it is slim, as it is for ALL players in this part of the world.
With the flexibility of their equipment, the PML has attracted the business of a nearby American style mah-jongg group, playing host to a monthly American auto-table night.
Edit 2020/2/10: Updated to include Philadelphia’s all-auto table tournament, and correct a statement in error regarding WRC player submissions from the U.S.