Poker in Boston University

"Boston University is a great school," says Steve Kennedy. Kennedy is an underclassman majoring in Chemistry at the prestigious school. Referring to some people's reservations about the school's size, Kennedy says, "Believe me, bigger is better!"

Bigger is indeed better for most things, and it certainly proves true for those lucky Boston University students who love to play poker. They've got quite a lot of action to chose from, both on campus and off.

For the student who wants to get in a few hands of cards, or for those diehard players who pick up the cards every night, there's always a game going. You don't have to travel far to find a game at BU. In fact, you might not even have to leave your dorm. The 411 on the "special" games, tournaments, club events, and so on, is posted on BU's Internet network, the facebook, and in the dozens of flyers that decorate every hallway, door, and any other available wall space. Check out any bulletin board on campus and you'll see flyers promoting the next fraternity poker tournament.

Interfrat tourneys capitalize on the spirit of friendly competition between the Greeks and draw in dozens of participants, including some very enthusiastic alumni. The tournaments, the majority of which are hold'em, are all charitable fund-raising events, which keeps them safely in bounds as far as Massachusetts law and BU policy are concerned.

"I started playing poker with my family," Kennedy said. "But none of my friends was into it." Kennedy was playing cards online, but then, "Poker got real big on TV. Suddenly I could find games everywhere." Kennedy wasn't limited to the sanctioned events. Behind dorm room doors, BU students by the dozen were playing seven-card stud, hold'em, and Omaha.

"Last year, there was a regular game going right in my dorm," Kennedy laughed. "We played every night. I mean, every single night. Our RA actually played with us a few times." Games are predominately male but not exclusively, allowing a mutli-tasking student to mix socializing with his cards. "There's a good number of girls who play, actually," Kennedy said. "If you've got like 10 guys, there'll be four or five girls there."

While Kennedy's previous poker experience might have given him a slight advantage in the beginning, that quickly changed. "When you play every day like that, everyone gets pretty good. At a school like this, you get a lot better because you get to play against a lot of different types of people."

What do students do when they're ready for a little more advanced competition? It's a short jaunt to the world-famous Foxwoods, although another option is as close as the nearest computer. Kennedy and most of the other college players play online poker regularly, though they say there's nothing like a live game. "Online you get everyone on there, and not everyone is a skilled player but real-life games are just more fun.

Boston is a fun town. It's a huge college town, and a large percentage of the players on the board are in college. You'll find a lot of home games on there, and they're great, especially for the newbies and amateurs who aren't comfortable playing for higher stakes yet. There are 40/80 games on there for those who want them."

Few students admit to having any aspirations of becoming professional poker players, but if they decide to take the plunge, their time at Boston University will have served them well. And if they don't. They'll have a lot of fun playing good poker while they're at the school.