There is something innately beautiful about card games. Perhaps it’s the mystique of the games, or the appeal of gaining an edge over the house. Regardless, card games have captivated our attention for eons and their intrinsic value is wildly appealing to our senses. From 2s to Aces, the hierarchical structure of card games allows for champions to be groomed. To the untrained eye, strategic card games like poker and blackjack are stooped in mathematical gobbledygook. But to the professional card player, there is nothing random about these statistical probabilities. Every card that is dealt decreases the probability of an equal value card appearing, and it is this aspect of card playing that is so tantalizing to players. Professional players build careers off 52-card decks, and many of them got their start in college.
Learning the ‘Art of the Draw’ at College
Student card players are among the best in the business – one only needs to consider the world’s finest poker players as a case in point. It is no secret that colleges are breeding grounds for building the card players of the future. Many top poker professionals perfected their game-playing skills while at college. One such institution of higher learning is the University of Waterloo in Canada. Several high-ranking poker professionals emerged from this Canadian university, including Mike McDonald – the winner of the European Poker Tour Major with over $1 million in poker prize money. He competed against fellow student, Steve Paul-Ambrose, a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Winner. Other highly-ranked poker professionals who emerged from this university include Mike Watson, Glen Chorny, Matt Kay, Scott Montgomery and others.
South of the border, University of California Berkeley is a hotspot for breeding top-tier poker players. Maestros like Lauren Kling, Joe Sebok, Bill Edler and Prahlad Friedman are among the high-ranking poker professionals. The critically acclaimed Harvard University has created more than its fair share of strategic thinkers on the poker circuit. These include Richard Brody, Andy Bloch and Brandon Adams to name but a few. The list of poker colleges spans far and wide and includes Trinity College Dublin, and Yale University. Student card games are a popular pastime in the dorms, in between lectures, and off-campus. The popularity of card games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Blackjack and Caribbean Stud Poker is unprecedented.
Card Games Bring People Together
Nowadays, everything is online. Poker tournaments and blackjack tournaments are particularly popular in the online format. Technological advancements have helped to make the world a close-knit community, and the Internet makes it possible to compete against players from all corners of the globe. Unfortunately, the Internet has the opposite effect on traditional relationships between people. Our friends, family and loved ones often take a back seat to our online activities.
That’s where college is unique. The social setting allows for face to face interplay between players. Card playing has quickly become the #1 most social activity on campuses around the world. It is not limited to male players either. A growing number of ladies are taking to games like blackjack and poker. The proof of the pudding is seen at the highest levels of competition at tournaments like the WSOP, EPT, WSOPE, WPT and others. Women are holding their own against men, and there is a burgeoning interest in card games across the spectrum.
No Tech Needed – Leave Your Smartphone in Your Dorm
Card games can be played at all hours, anywhere there are interested players. And since a 52-card deck is smaller than a mobile phone, it can be taken with you everywhere you go. No technology is needed to play card games, and the entertainment value of these attractions is off the charts. Card games are not limited to poker and blackjack. Gin, Rummy, War, and even 52-card pick up have proven their worth over the years. College students are often found camped out on the field with a bag of Doritos, a six-pack of ‘Red Bull’, and a deck of cards. The interactive nature of card games is a terrific vehicle for forging relationships between people. Poker is one such example where psychology, intuition, and strategic gameplay are especially important. By reading the body language of fellow players, you get to understand when they are bluffing, and how they are likely to react in given situations. When you play one-on-one against your friends and colleagues, it’s not really about who wins or loses – it’s the experience of getting together and having a good time that matters. College students typically don’t play for much money anyway – a couple of dollars here or there.
Compare a game of blackjack to a formal dinner party. Interaction is limited in the latter setting since you can only interact with the person on either side of you, without making a spectacle of yourself by shouting across the table. A modicum of decorum is expected at a formal dinner event, while a game of cards encourages creativity, free speech and a relaxed posture. The dynamics of dinner parties and official get-togethers are rather limiting. You will find yourself hard-pressed to discuss anything other than what is socially acceptable in the group dynamic. With card games, you typically have like-minded people getting together for a routine session. This automatically eliminates tension levels, and creates a mood conducive to fun and games. What’s great about card games is that the process of learning never stops. You may be holding a deck of 52 cards in your hand, but the possibilities are endless.
Legendary card players like Phil Helmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Stu Ungar never stopped learning. It is their yearning for learning that keeps them at the top of their game. And the best possible setting to learn the intricacies of card games is the University. It is here where fellow students are hungry for knowledge, success, and recognition. As a card player, it doesn’t matter what your academic acumen is – all that matters is your ability to read the cards and the people behind them. No specialist knowledge is required – barman, gym instructors, scientists and engineers are equally adept at fine-tuning their card-playing skills.
Cutting Cards with Legends of the Game
Fortunately, we can all learn from one another as card players and adopt winning methods in our game. It is even possible to exhibit leadership during card playing sessions. By taking the initiative in a game, you gain self-confidence. By risking the known for the unknown, you bring the potential of profits into play. Of course, your mathematical prowess can shine in strategy-based card games, with things like blackjack strategy charts, card counting techniques and the like. But most important of all, students who play card games are well socialized and generally affable people to be around. Next time somebody wants to deal you in, accept the offer and become part of something amazing!