Poker becomes a sport for young American males (from Washington Post)

By Daniel de Vise, Published: October 10

Eric Froehlich was the son of a chemical engineer and smart enough to win admission to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County and then the University of Virginia.

And then he discovered online poker.

 Long identified with saloons, cigars and Mississippi riverboats, poker in recent years has found an unlikely home: in dormitory rooms, on the computer screens of clever young men. Froehlich won a major World Series of Poker tournament in 2005 at 21, making him the youngest winner of a coveted poker “bracelet,” until he was eclipsed by three players who were younger still.

“Gamblers are no longer gangsters with guns,” said Justin Vingelis, 22, a poker player who graduated in May from James Madison University. “They are nerds with calculators.”

At many colleges, the campus culture largely embraces poker. Last November, engineering students at the University of Maryland hosted their fourth annual Casino Night, an evening of card-playing and networking. A student charity at U-Va. holds annual “Hold ’em for Hunger” tournaments.

But the federal government has been less indulgent. In April, the Justice Department shut down three leading poker sites and charged their owners with bank fraud and money-laundering. In a civil lawsuit filed last month, federal prosecutors alleged the owners of one site, Full Tilt Poker, pocketed more than $300 million in player deposits.

Full Tilt insiders “lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement.

Among the losers is Vingelis, an online poker player from the Fairfax suburb of Burke. Vingelis joined Full Tilt at 18, when he got his first debit card. He bet a dollar or two at a time and reckons he made about $2,000 playing poker on the site before it shut down.

“From my conversations with some friends, we are all resigned to the fact that our money is gone,” he said.

Poker has become a game of the young. The last three winners of the annual World Series of Poker “Main Event,” poker’s top tournament, were 22, 21 and 23 years old, respectively, and males.

A 2010 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found 16 percent of college-age males — 1.7 million young men — gambled on the Internet at least once a month, primarily by playing poker. A 2008 Florida study found college students twice as given to gamble as older adults.

Poker sites cater to college students. One promises: “$30,000 guaranteed! You’ve been studying, this is the exam!” Another asks, “How would you like to have $10,000 shaved off of this year’s tuition?”

To those who study gambling as an addiction, this predilection for poker puts thousands of college students in peril. Students with gambling problems are more likely to run up credit card debt, take drugs, get bad grades and steal, studies have found.

“It doesn’t just mean money,” said Jeffrey Derevensky, a youth gambling researcher at McGill University in Canada. “It can mean time. It can mean theft. It can mean kids dropping out of school.”

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77timmy1986 Silver 2
3698d ago

Thanks for the post I really enjoyed reading this. Well done Daniel.

zzbigstackzz Silver 2
3698d ago

 “They are nerds with calculators.” So true!


Just a thought for my US friends...when you see the WP or other MAJOR DAILY NEWSPAPERS carry a story about legalizing online poker, Re-post it everywhere, go to the paper's site & post a comment of your support of it, get your friends to do it, post it on FB & ask all your friends to support the cause!!!
 Because all the "Movers & Shakers" read these papers, their support people read these papers & if they see this becoming an issue with enough voters, YOU WILL SEE "CHANGE!!!"

 Look at OWS, make noise @their front door & you'll get a response!