The long time sports rivals – University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) – had the opportunity to compete on a new playing field. It was on the felt of a poker table, and the two schools competed on November 30th with the UCLA players emerging as champions in the end.
UCLA and USC have linked up with the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS) to participate in a series of inter-school poker matches between various universities around the country. Winners, which thus far include Harvard (defeating Yale in the first set of matches) and UCLA, will compete in the National Collegiate Poker Tournament in March of 2008. The exact date and location have yet to be announced.
Before the matches began, a special discussion forum was scheduled. Annie Duke arrived at UCLA to speak about her career in poker as a female professional who has competed at the highest levels of the game.
Matt Dodge, President of the Poker Club at UCLA, remarked, “The Annie Duke discussion was well-attended. We had about 40 people show up, and she talked about betting strategies and why you should raise/bet at certain times. Also, after the discussion, we started the games, and Annie stuck around and had a Q&A where people could come up to her and ask questions. It sort of turned into this discussion on online poker/gambling laws since Annie had just recently appeared in Congress to testify… Overall, it was very informative, and I think everyone enjoyed talking to Annie and finding out she actually had a life outside of poker.”
It was then time to get down to poker. Matt reported that the tournament was set up well, with professional dealers and custom poker chips and cards. Five heads-up matches were played with the winning team having to win three of them.
“The event went very well,” Matt said. “UCLA ended up winning 3-2. Our winners, with their seeds in parentheses, were Igor Gampel (1), John Kennelly (4), and Mike Shinzaki (5). The people from UCLA that lost were Kevin Hiraki (2) and Kevin Nguyen (3).”
Contact information for the USC team could not be found, so names of their competing players are not available at this time.
The UCLA football team couldn’t meet the same standards of the poker club members – USC won the college football game the following day – but UCLA is excited to be representing Southern California at the GPSTS national championship poker game in the spring of 2008.
For more information about the GPSTS, visit http://gpsts.org.