USC-UCLA square off in poker college bowl

Dec 3, 2007 5:42 AM

The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS) continued its schedule of inter-collegiate matches with a team poker competition between USC and UCLA as part of the run up to a national inter-school poker tournament in March 2008.

The USC-UCLA match was scheduled to take place last weekend, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, coinciding with the weekend’s annual football game between the two southern California rival schools on Saturday.

Annie Duke, one of the top female poker players in world, was scheduled to speak on the Psychology of Poker and Gender Roles in Poker at prior to the match.

Team Poker is a competitive and fun spin on Texas Hold’em, in which five players from each team play their counterparts from the opposing school in separate one-on-one, best-of-three matches.

Players receive seeded rankings 1- 5 prior to the match and play their counterpart seed from the opposing school. Individual players start each set with 2000 chips and play until one player has all of the chips.

Once he has won two of three sets, the winner of the match receives one point for his team, and the team accumulating three points first wins the whole best-of-five tournament.

This ongoing series began in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 16, in a match between rivals Harvard and Yale, which coincided with the annual Harvard-Yale football game that weekend. Harvard took home the trophy, besting the Yale poker squad by 3 games to 2.

GPSTS plans to hold several inter-school poker matches leading up to the launch of a National Collegiate Poker Tournament in March. GPSTS Executive Director and third year Harvard Law School student Andrew Woods said, "There’s tremendous enthusiasm on campus for GPSTS and for poker matches. We hope to capture the same spirit of the March Madness basketball tournament when we hold our national competition in the spring."

GPSTS believes that poker teaches and sharpens important life skills, making poker more than merely a fun game. GPSTS is dedicated to forming chapters on college and university campuses that share the poker strategic thinking philosophy, staging strategic poker matches between chapters and schools, hosting conferences and seminars that explore the strategic thinking inherent in poker, and exploring new ways to use poker as an educational tool that teaches life skills.

Since GPSTS’ August 2007 launch at the State of Play international gaming conference in Singapore, GPSTS has organized student poker societies at several major universities, held workshops, and presented a series of academic conferences, lectures, and seminars. Past participants in GPSTS seminars have included poker celebrities Jim McManus, and World Champion Mike Sexton.

More information on the tournament series can be found at

Founded by Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson, the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society views pokers as a game of skill that can be used as a teaching tool at all levels of academia and in secondary education.

The concept is to use poker to teach basic life skills, strategic thinking, geopolitical analysis, risk assessment, and money management. The goal is to create an open online curriculum centered on poker that will draw the brightest minds together, both within and outside of the conventional university setting, to promote open education and Internet democracy.