Getting my Mah Jongg Face On

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It’s usually fairly easy to tell my mood by my facial expressions. I admit it; I’ve never had a “poker face”. In fact, when I used to play poker many years ago, the other players could tell immediately by my eyes widening when I had a good hand, and would often fold.

I’ve had to learn to hide my feelings when playing Mah Jongg. Any Mah Jongg player knows how difficult that can be. Deciding on a hand is tough enough sometimes. But to sit and watch the needed tiles being discarded, and unable to pick them up because I don’t have enough for an exposure, or because I need the discarded tile for a single or pair, can be painful.

I’ve developed the ability to hide my emotions when I desperately want the tile that was just thrown but can’t take it. My inner body has compensated for my facial expressions; I can feel my heart racing. Sometimes there is a mental letdown as I realize that the likelihood of making Mah Jongg is now rather low. Sometimes my brain has to work harder, because I now have to find another hand on the card to play, to make use of the tiles that are still available. At times my hand is now “dead” but no one else knows that; I have to hide that thought also.

Of course all this is done while paying attention to the game, attempting to determine what hands the others are playing, and trying to play defensively. How far I have come since my poker-playing days!

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