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Online Poker News Archives - February 1, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Mustang Daily via U-Wire
University Wire

February 1, 2005 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Gambling online sparks college crowd

BYLINE: By Melissa L Dorcak, Mustang Daily; SOURCE: California Poly State U.


California Poly State University computer science senior Jason Smyth enjoys playing online poker in the evenings. He logs on as SarahJane, as he said that players are more likely to bet against a female name. A year ago, he started with $20 in his online account. Today, he averages $150 a week in poker winnings.

Occasionally Smyth and his friends will drive to Chumach Casino to participate in a tournament, but it was the introduction of online poker and his desire for fame that morphed his hobby into a part-time job. Smyth, 21, started playing online poker because he was underage and could not get into casinos. Online poker also incorporates another one of his favorite pastimes: Electronic entertainment.

"Especially for this generation, online poker definitely beats brick and mortar casinos, which are slower paced and require an I.D. to get in," Smyth said.

So forget the haze of cigar smoke lingering in a dimly lit card room, guarded by a pit boss who never uncrosses his arms. The new face of poker is a computer screen and college students across the nation are logging on to try their hands at winning some money.

It started with ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker. The glamorous coverage tells the tales of nobodies who wager their way to the final table and make millions. This has sparked a new wave of popularity in gambling among both men and women.

The online gaming industry joined the bandwagon by bringing poker games to millions of computer screens worldwide. Now, players don't need to drive to the nearest card room or casino to wager a bet, it's simply a click away.

This is creating revenue for some and tremendous problems for others. Smyth bought a motorcycle and pays rent with his online poker revenues. At the same time, Eric Geffner, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in compulsive gambling, said one of his patients lost more than $8,000 in one weekend after he signed up on an online poker site.

The recent wave of increased gambling is nothing new. However, this is the first time the pastime has been so readily available to gamblers. The online gambling industry has quickly become one of the largest revenue-producing businesses on the Internet next to pornography, Geffner said.

According to, in a 24-hour period people wager an estimated $162 million in online poker games. The Web site reported that in October alone, 1,344,000 players gambled online with real money.

(C) 2005 Mustang Daily via U-WIRE

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