College Rounder: Finding a Game
By Derek Carson
Poker is quickly becoming a popular activity at universities across the nation. I am also aware that some students study to pass the time. Crazy kids. The question is...How does a college player figure out where the action is? Not to worry. A table with an open seat is always very close by. Once you find a table, making friends will be easy.
One of the easiest methods of finding a game is by talking to others in your classes. Strike up a conversation and mention your interest in poker. Chances are that they or someone they know shares your interest. Your chances are even more likely if you talk to a member of a fraternity. Since I am in a fraternity myself, it's safe to say that most of these guys like to gamble and they have very deep pockets. When you do find someone, be sincere and tell him (or her; sorry ladies) you're a new student looking for a regular game. Then exchange phone numbers. Repeat this process a couple of times and you are guaranteed to be sitting down and shuffling within a week. I know my friends and I are always looking for extra players regardless of their ability.
There are many other means to finding live games. Cigar shops are becoming a growing trend in college towns. Many of these shops host card nights. It's an enjoyable time where you can sample a variety of fine stogies and also sample a variety of 7-stud games. Obviously in most shops you are using play chips, but it's a great chance to meet students who do play for real wampum. Look in your phone directory and give these places a call. If they don't advertise special card nights, then suggest that it would be great for business.
Fraternity houses also host entertaining casino functions. These are usually open events for those interested in becoming new members. If it's a closed party ask a member to put you on the list. I can't stress this point enough...frat guys love to gamble. Finding a game here is easier than finding a cocktail waitress in Vegas.
Living in a dorm is also a big advantage. You are almost forced into meeting new people. On slow nights during the week people are always looking for something to amuse them. What better way to spend the evening then to introduce them to the game of poker. You have to start somewhere, why not in college? Usually the general rule is not to take all their money before they fully understand the game. If they don't already know, teach them the necessary rules and also provide a little strategy and tips. This way you don't have to travel far to have a good time.
My best advice is to keep your eyes and ears open. Skim through the school's newspaper. Pay attention if you overhear a conversation about poker. Maybe your college even has a poker club. After reading one of Jim McManus' stunning articles I assume that now some schools even offer credited poker courses. Go research and you might get lucky.
Now once you do find a game, there is a proper procedure you must follow if you want to be invited back. I shouldn't have to tell you that no matter where you go there might be subtle differences in the rules, styles of betting, and the type of games that are commonly played. Becoming familiar with these differences will save you some trouble and some money.
Try making a good impression and always be courteous. Remember, you're the newbie. Be cautious and recognize if others are cheating or possibly trying to run a collusion scam on you. If this is the case, politely excuse yourself from the table, leave, and never come back. If you know that your skills are far superior to that of everyone else's at the table, try to restrain from winning all of their money on the first night. This way you can be sure to increase your bankroll on consecutive nights after you have made friends with everyone at the table. Securing a seat at this initial table is a great way of networking to find other live games. And that, my friends, is how you become a college rounder. Good luck!
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