No bluff — Poker players compete in tournament

Tanika Snyder

Senior History major Brian Crescenzo, left, and physical education major Mike McMahon watch the dealer turn over the final card in their hand of Texas Hold’em. The tournament was sponsored through the intramural department at the Student Recreation and W

Credit: Tanika Snyder

For a while it was tense — chips clinking, feet twitching, hands shuffling and knees bouncing — but it’s all part of the game.

Yesterday, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center’s Intramural Department hosted it’s first ever Texas Hold’em Poker tournament. Although the stakes were low, 10 people spent the afternoon playing Texas Hold’em for fun, skill and competition.

With a set of 10s and an ace high, sophomore communications major Dan Brant took the pot.

Because of university and state policies, the rec center could not allow the tournament to be based on a money prize, so for Brant’s victory, he was awarded an intramural championship T-shirt and a spot on the rec center’s Web site.

“Texas Hold’em is a growing past time,” said Dustin Lent, Intramural Graduate Assistant. “Hold’em has become very popular, and we’re hosting this tournament to allow university students the chance to play.”

Sophomore pharmaceutical major Matt Westfall said he normally plays Texas Hold’em 20 to 30 hours a week. He says most of the time he plays online at different poker Web sites, but two to three times a week he plays poker with friends in person.

Although Westfall has only been playing Texas Hold’em for nine months, he says he really enjoys it and in one online tournament won just more than $6,000. However, for this tournament Westfall wasn’t playing for money, but for fun and competition.

“It (Texas Hold’em) involves a lot of skill,” Westfall said. “It’s a good mix between skill and meeting new players. You have more control over the outcome of the game because you can force people out of pots by how you bet.”

Lent admitted that because this is the first year for the tournament, it was trial and error. If a second tournament is held, the stakes will be higher and prizes will be better.

Westfall suggested interested students should check out some of the following Texas Hold’em Web sites:,, and

“It’s fun, but be very careful about how you play,” Westfall said. “You can lose a lot of money if you don’t watch out.”

Contact fitness reporter Tanika Snyder at [email protected].