Mountain Lion Poker Club educates students on game, competes in tournaments

September 26, 2017

Quinita Thomas

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    This semester, some students are putting on their best poker face. But it’s not metaphorical; these students are gathering to compete in poker tournaments.

    Two students and one faculty member have convened to created the Mountain Lion Poker Club this semester.

    Justin Cole, an adjunct faculty member at UCCS, freshman business major Kyle Collins and freshman undeclared major Gabe Romero are the main founders of the poker club, which meets Wednesdays in Columbine Hall 303 from 6 -8 p.m. and gathers on Sundays to compete in online tournaments.

    Cole, who was a student last year at UCCS, wanted the opportunity to learn how to play poker. The club also teaches its members about how online tournaments work.    

    “There was nothing like that on campus, so I tried to put the club together by gathering students through word of mouth,” he says. “Poker is not just about playing; it is about learning how to play the game, about game theory and management.”

    One of the reasons that the poker club formed was to serve as an educational tool for students, according to Collins.

    “The Mountain Lion Poker Club is here to educate optimal positions, create positive outcomes and minimize risks,” he says.

    Students will not receive credit for being a part of the club, but Cole says that poker will be offered as a Game Theory course in the future.

    “Students who are interested in playing poker will learn skills that they can take with them far beyond UCCS,” he says.

    Cole believes that poker can teach students not only game theory, but also risk aversion, money management, expectant value, time management, investment practices, patience and discipline.

    “These are all important life skills. This club also provides advanced strategies and the opportunity to compete in playing a skill based game that we have an affinity for,” he says.

    According to Romero, the club is more laid back. When Romero first joined the club, the only game that he knew how to play was Texas Hold’Em. Four weeks later, he learned how to play other types of poker.

    Cole explains that one of the main goals of their club is to prepare students ages 21 and older to compete in the World Series of Poker, a series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas.

    When it comes to playing poker on campus, the club must consider certain legal restrictions. UCCS has to abide by state and university policies concerning gambling on campus.

    Sabrina Wienholtz, director of Student clubs, Organizations and Leadership, explains that in the state of Colorado, students are not permitted to engage in illegal activities outside of licensed establishments. On campus, students are allowed to practice playing as long as they do not exchange money.

    Cole said that the minimum age to gamble in Colorado is 21. Gambling can include friendly bets or sports wagers.

    The club also wants to support other organizations on campus. Cole says that if there are any fundraisers that clubs are doing that include a poker night, his club could attend to ensure that the rules and game play go smoothly.

    For more information on the Mountain Lion Poker Club, contact Justin Cole at [email protected].