It’s all in the cards

Sun City Mahjogg Club built on fun and friendship

Interested in playing American Mahjongg? Well, Holly Ravitz President and Carole Lange Vice President are ready to welcome you as an experienced or beginner player in Sun City’s Mahjongg Club.

“I grew up playing it” Holly Ravitz, president of the Mahjongg Club explains her rekindled passion for the game. “The game is a Chinese Tile game that came to America in the 1920s. It was very popular in New York Housewives in the beginning.”

It originated in China during the Qing dynasty. Similar to the card game rummy, Mahjongg is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and a degree of chance.

A typical Thursday morning at Sun City’s Mahjongg club is filled with laughter and fun and plenty of camaraderie. (Photo by Christine Such/Sun Day)

A typical Thursday morning at Sun City’s Mahjongg club is filled with laughter and fun and plenty of camaraderie. (Photo by Christine Such/Sun Day)

The game is played with four players. Like poker, you learn a lot about your opponents as you play Mahjongg and adjust your strategy according to their strengths and weaknesses.

Ravitz retired 12 years ago and came to the club and started playing her childhood favorite game. The club has around 70 members, depending on the season.

“We compete with the tennis and golf in the summer and lose some snowbirds in the winter,” Ravitz said.

The Mahjongg players meet once a week on Thursdays from 12:30-3:30 p.m. in the Oak room at the Meadow View Lodge.

“Lessons are available the first Thursday of the month,” Ravitz said, and she encourages new members to join.

Susan Pacione, a beginner at Mahjongg admitted I she has become a “Mahjongg addict. I love it! It is fun and challenging!”

Judy Sorensen, a long-time club member, has been playing here 17 years, and before then she rekindled her interest playing the game at a friend’s 50th birthday tournament in Las Vegas.

The Sun City group has an annual tournament that follows the National Mahjongg League rules and regulations. The original league started in 1937 when some Mahjongg enthusiasts met in New York City to standardize the game. Each year, the League changes the hands and rules to add more excitement to the game.

This year’s winner in the Sun City Mahjongg club, Michelle Schifman, has been playing the game for 38 years.

“I played with friends in my neighborhood in Massachusetts. Everyone here is very welcoming,” she said.

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