Mahjong master wins $72,000 at world championship
A golden mahjong tile-shaped necklace, a cash prize of HK$400,000 (S$72,000) and a lifetime entry to all future events.
That's what the winner of the World Series of Mahjong competition walked away with on Sunday (Dec 6).
Mr Zhao Jian beat more than 200 players by accumulating the most points during the two-day event at Macau’s Venetian Hotel.
The 36-year-old from China's Jiangsu province was crowned champion at the end of 20 hours of gaming.
He hugged his wife and said: "Sweetheart, we got money."
The lawyer later told reporters: "I just feel I am lucky. I don’t think I’m much better... It’s just my hobby."
He celebrated the victory by waving a tiny Chinese red flag that he had brought to the venue.
According to the tournament's website, money was paid out to the top 32 players.
Despite defeat, other participants said they were going home happy.
A Japan-based player told AFP: "I play almost every day. I feel really at home at the mahjong table. It’s my favourite place to be. So I love being a pro."
Mr Sun Yuexian, an 80-year-old player from China, said he thought playing the game could help stimulate his brain.
"I think playing mahjong could prevent my brain from deregulating," he said.