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College Poker Life: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

College Poker Life: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 0001

Another semester has nearly passed at the University of Minnesota, which would typically mean yet another cold front is on the horizon for students looking for poker action around the Twin Cities. But this year seems to go against the norm, as poker games have become abundant on and off campus, not to mention the addition of a new campus-sponsored poker club. With midterms and finals just around the corner, students at the University of Minnesota are seeing an end to an impressive semester of poker.

Though the close of the fall semester brings about an end to many semester-long campus poker events across the country, the students at the University of Minnesota have just witnessed the creation of Campus Poker Night, the first campus poker organization for the university. The CPN will begin hosting weekly meetings in the form of tournaments on Friday nights starting in November which will be held in the Electrical Engineering/CSI building. The tournaments are free and are open to any students wishing to participate. Each tournament will run for two hours or more with prizes being poker-related items such as poker chip sets, decks of cards, and poker books. The CPN hopes that the tournaments will focus more on learning strategy and helping students develop a better understanding for the game, rather than being a competitive, intimidating setting.

Prior to the CPN, the only school-sponsored poker action University of Minnesota students could take part in was the Gopher After Dark program, a casino night for students which focused more on the beginner's side of things. The CPN hopes that students will find their meetings as an alternative most suited to their poker tastes. For now the majority of the Campus Poker Night meetings will be NL Hold'em tournaments, but Kristian Lovato, president of the CPN, looks forward to branching out and including some mixed events in the future, ranging from H.O.R.S.E. all the way to Deuce-to-Seven Lowball and 5-Card Draw. While these events may be a ways off, Lovato wants to see the group help students build their arsenal of poker knowledge, something mixed events will certainly accomplish.

Outside of the CPN, students throughout the Twin Cities and St. Paul campuses have many poker options available to them, some of which are new this year and already seeing great success. The Sportsman Bar and Grill holds two free tournaments on Sundays and Mondays, with the first session starting at 7pm and the second at 10pm. The tournaments are free to enter, though you must be at least 21 years old to be admitted. These tournaments mostly serve as a great time for friends to get together, drink, and play poker, but they do offer up bar tabs as prizes for the top finishers.

Students should also make sure to check out for regularly scheduled events and tournaments. The site features schedules for weekly tournaments at bars located around the Twin Cities, plus forums where players can find ring games and tournaments and discuss events. The site has a massive amount of information on freerolls, so if you're a student just trying to find a fun, cheap way to play or learn, this site has an event for you.

Students wishing to stay around the campus instead of venturing further into the city will find mostly fun, light games in dorm rooms and off-campus residences. There are regular, easy-to-find $5 tournaments across campus while some students hold ring games off campus with stacks a bit steeper. But be warned, the $5 tournaments are typically short games, where students are more interested in socializing and drinking than they are at turning a good profit, so if you're looking to build up your bankroll, you may have to leave the comforts of home and head to Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

While the trip from campus may stretch over 30 minutes, Canterbury Park makes it well worth your while with regular cash games, NL Hold Em tournaments, and sit-'n'-gos. Canterbury Park houses a poker room with no less than 34 poker tables, spreading regular games of Hold'em, 7-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo, and Omaha Hi/Lo. Stakes vary from as small as $2/4 to as big as $30/60. If you're looking for ring-game action with great chances to increase your bankroll, look no further. Tournament buy-ins vary from as low as $50 for a NL Hold'em Shootout to as high as $200 for the Wednesday night tournaments. Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud all also feature bad-beat jackpots, with just $1 dropped from the first $15 of each pot. But possibly the best attraction of Canterbury Park for students is the age restriction for the card room. Players must be only 18 or older to play, making it a prime destination for students.

Students at the University of Minnesota have seen an explosion in poker throughout the area this year. With campus gatherings such as Campus Poker Night, as well as the local card room in Canterbury Park, students are never without a great poker game, whether on or off campus. Although the first semester of the year is almost over, these options certainly give poker-playing students something to look forward to upon returning next semester.

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