Stack the chips

By Sara Adams

To junior communication major Danny Follman, poker is a game that is easy to learn, but hard to master.

“It’s a thrill you can’t get from a lot of other things,” Follman said.

His favorite thing about playing is the rush of outwitting somebody else.

“Taking out one of your good buddies is one of the funnest things about poker,” Follman said. “You’re sitting around having fun and joking, but you’re actually competing against them too.”

Follman is just one of the many students on campus who have jumped on the poker bandwagon. Robert Andrews, a freshman business finance major, has been playing the game for five years.

“It’s a strategy game and it makes you think, weigh odds and take chances,” Andrews said. “It’s like a roller coaster when you win that big hand, and it’s like a stab in the heart when you lose it.”

Students should know gambling with money in the residence halls is illegal for students by law and by university regulations, said David Dunlap, coordinator of marketing and public relations for Student Housing and Dining.

The poker craze started around 2001, though the World Series of Poker has been televised for over a decade, Andrews said.

“No names started winning,” Andrews said. “For the years before 2001, all the pros and people you knew were winning. In the past three years, there have been amateurs and online players that have been winning.”

The Internet has made it possible for people to play without ever meeting their opponents face to face.

Follman, however, discourages anyone from playing online. It takes out the human aspect of the game and is only good for people who are very easy to read, he said.

“The play is a lot faster, you go through your money a lot faster,” he said. “But at the same time, you can win a lot of money because there are a lot of really bad players online.”

Some players find themselves addicted, no matter how the game is played.

“It’s very addicting; you have to watch yourself,” Follman said. “It seems like it’s such an easy game, so you think you can beat anyone.”

Andrews also said poker can lead to addiction.

“Once you lose money, you always feel like you can win it back,” he said. “That’s the addicted mind-set.”