College Poker Life: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
The fall semester is well underway at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While midterms and exams are on the horizon as the fall break comes to an end, students have yet to find a reason to slow down when it comes to the game of poker. With a month and a half left before the last day of classes, there are plenty of poker variations, tournaments, and events students can look forward to enjoying.
Students interested in pursuing on-campus poker options will certainly not want to miss being involved with the Cornell Poker Club. Meetings consist of playing poker, watching televised poker, and even the occasional poker tournament. The group boasts over 100 members and sees regular attendance for tournaments at 30 or more participants. Any student interested in becoming a member of CPC should contact TJ Miles, the clubs event coordinator, for more information.
In 2006 the Cornell Poker club also hosted the 2006 Cornell Poker Championship, which was a free NL Texas Hold'em tournament available to any student as well as any member of the Cornell community. Although the tournament may have been free to entrants, prizes were donated via the university and outside poker resources, including a flat-screen television as part of the prize pool.
Nightly poker games are also quite the norm around campus, where students can easily find friendly and inexpensive NL Hold'em games. The ranges may be small, all the way down to pocket change, but the experience is more about having a good time with fellow students and friends than it is about making the big bucks. Although that's not to say that a weekly, high-stakes game is too hard to find.
For students interested in trying their skills at poker in a casino, look no further than the Turning Stone casino and hotel located in Syracuse, NY. While just a short, hour's drive from the Ithaca campus, the Turning Stone is ideal for students interested in getting away from the campus environment and putting their skills, and bankroll, on the line. The poker room in the Turning Stone houses 32 poker tables. The house runs several poker variants, including Texas Hold'em, 7-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud H/L, and Omaha. The limits vary from small stakes to high with each game, so make sure to check first that they'll be holding the game you want to play at the stakes you feel comfortable with before you make the drive. The Turning Stone also holds daily tournaments, with the average buy in at $50, while Sunday afternoons see a regular $100 event.
The weekend of October 11th-14th was the Turning Stone's 'Poker Weekend' event. A total of four tourneys were held, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,000. All of the events were NL Hold'em events, including one deep-stack tournament which ran on Sunday. The hotel offers rooms at discounted rates during the events, a great deal for students interested in attending multiple events that weekend. Players could even compete in satellite events to gain entry into some of the tournaments that weekend. Students interested in the Poker Weekend event should keep their eyes out for future events, possibly in November.
And while there aren't many freeroll tournaments to be found around the city of Ithaca, no column about Ithaca poker could be complete without mentioning John Thomas Steakhouse Poker. The John Thomas Steakhouse entertains its guests by allowing them to draw a card from a four-deck shoe upon arrival. Each member in the party receives one card and then proceeds to make the best five card poker hand among the group. Each poker hand wins something, ranging from a pair (receiving a free salad) or dessert to a royal flush (receiving entrees for four). While there might not be too much skill or poker knowledge used to win at this game, there is nothing better than the chance at free food for a college student.
For years, students at Cornell University have found many ways to strengthen their poker skills and these options continue to grow. Whether it is through the CPC or enjoying a local small stakes ring game, Cornell students look forward each semester to enjoying poker as best as they know how.