October 23, 2007

C.U. Students Gamble With Rules

Print More

While many Cornell students gamble on campus as a leisure activity, the University Administration does not necessarily see gambling as a serious issue.
Although the Cornell University Campus Code of Conduct does not mention the words “gamble” or “gambling” at all. Joshua Tabak ’09, resident advisor in Bauer Hall, explained that this does not mean gambling is legal at Cornell, but simply that it is not a major issue.
“Although gambling is strictly prohibited in residential buildings, the University’s Code of Conduct does not explicitly say anything about gambling on campus,” Tabak said. “If gambling became a serious problem for the University, then the administration would be able to find a section of the Code, like ethical conduct, to support any actions taken to prohibit gambling. The University does not see gambling as a major issue on campus.”
Mary Elizabeth Grant, judicial administrator at Cornell, said “The Judiciary Administration has never had an individual referred for gambling,” furthering Tabak’s claims of the unimportance of gambling.
Gambling on campus primarily takes the form of poker. Some gambling activities that involve charitable causes are allowed on campus. The Cornell Poker Club, for instance, holds poker competitions to raise money for charity. The club is able to host such events because it sponsors charities, and the winners play for non-cash prizes.
Justin Yee ’08, president of Cornell Poker Club said, “The club has two main functions. The club’s first purpose is to establish a listserv to help all the poker players on Cornell’s campus to contact each other and learn about various events. The second function is to help charities run tournaments. At these events, each player pays a mandatory donation, and the winners receive prizes from the charities.”
Regardless of the rules on gambling, regulation of illegitimate activity is near impossible. Online gambling is especially difficult to prohibit. Corey Hilton ’11 plays online poker and claims to make $70 to $80 an hour.
When discussing his poker playing, Hilton said, “Poker is not a social event for me. I’m in it for the money. I plan on playing at Cornell, but it is much more efficient to play online. Learning the game has definitely been positive for me. I’ve learned a lot about finance, acceptable risk, the value of the dollar, and other important concepts.”
Hilton is not the only person who has recently gotten involved with poker. Over the past few years there has been a poker craze.
“A few years ago Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker,” Hilton said.
“It was a Cinderella story. Many high school kids and inexperienced adult players now believe that they should give poker a try. Poker, however, is not a game of luck, but skill,” he said. “There is a thought process behind it.”
Although there are many students who enjoy playing poker, the key obstacle is bringing these people together to share their common interest. Cornell Poker Club plans to break down these barriers.
“Poker Club’s main difficulty is getting our name out there,” said Yee. “When looking towards the future, my main goal for the spring is to have a Cornell Poker Tour. Most likely, it will be a series of six tournaments every three weeks on Sunday or Saturday afternoons. At each tournament, students would receive prizes; however, at the end of all the tournaments, the top twenty students who finish the highest would win prizes.
Even when the club’s members are not playing poker, money is their biggest concern.
“This would be a great event for Cornell poker,” Yee said, who is also a Sun Copy Editor. “I just hope that the club can get enough funding for the tour to be feasible.”