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Poker News | World Poker News

Harvard Examines Poker Skills and WTO Dispute

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As part of Harvard University's newly formed Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS), a series of lectures is planned beginning with an intellectual discussion about the similarities between poker and life, specifically how both require risk-taking, management skills, and strategic thinking. The first in the series took place on Monday, October 15 at the Harvard Law School, and featured poker professionals Crandell Addington and Howard Lederer.

The GPSTS is headed up by Harvard law professor Charles Nesson and his students. Nesson has been a member of the Harvard Law School faculty since 1966 and tenured since 1969. He described the lecture series as follows: "The conflict between the U.S. government and the growing online gambling industry is a timely issue for law students interested in the impact of international treaties on domestic U.S. law, and Internet freedom and regulation."

In elaborating on the purpose behind the group, the website describes poker as "an exceptional game of skill that can be used as a powerful teaching tool at all levels of academia and in secondary education. We use poker to teach strategic thinking, geopolitical analysis, risk assessment, and money management. We see poker as a metaphor for skills of life, business, politics, and international relations. Our goal is to create an open online curriculum centered on poker that will draw the brightest minds together, both from within and outside of the conventional university setting, to promote open education and Internet democracy."

The specific goals of the GPSTS are threefold. First, it will offer poker-related strategic thinking workshops to schools and community centers, specifically aimed at students in underprivileged neighborhoods. Second, it will sponsor team poker matches between law, business, and other professional schools. Third, it will conduct seminars, panel discussions, and conferences that explore poker as a means to teach strategic thinking and related public policy issues.

The formation of the group and establishment of its purposes has already led to interest from students at other universities. In the United States, chapters of the GPSTS are being formed at Penn State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Brown, Tufts, and Boston University. And worldwide, interest has been shown in schools as far away as Singapore, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

The first lecture on October 15 invited Crandell Addington, co-founder of the World Series of Poker, and Howard Lederer, professional poker player. Speeches will center around the similarities between poker and life, and how skills learned at the tables can benefit anyone if applied correctly to other areas of life.

The second event on October 16 will be a discussion about the case of Antigua v. USA in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The international trade dispute will be on the table for debate, specifically the recent ruling by the WTO that violated its international treaty commitments by prohibiting overseas gaming operators from competing in the U.S. market. Several lawyers and law experts will be on hand for perspective and conversation.

The next in the series, to be held on November 10, will focus on the educational value of poker and be hosted by writer and poker player Jim McManus, TV commentator and long-time pro Mike Sexton, and writer and player Dr. Alan Schoonmaker.

Steering a bit from the lecture part of the group and delving into the practical applications of the lessons learned, the Harvard chapter of the GPSTS will host a poker tournament that pits Harvard students against Yale students on November 16. Following that, November 30 will see a similar match-up between students at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

For more information about the organization, visit www.GPSTS.org . General information, a schedule of events, a discussion forum, and an upcoming blog will keep students and interested parties involved and up-to-date.

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