UCLA takes on USC in poker battle

Empire Casino, London

Usually college rivalries are settled on the football field or basketball court but this time USC and UCLA will be taking it to the felt.

The epic match will take place tomorrow and is presented by the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS). This is the second match the GPSTS has organized: Harvard took on Yale earlier this month. Harvard beat Yale three games to two and won the First Annual Harvard-Yale Poker Tournament.

The poker match between the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles will coincide with the weekend's annual football game between the two southern California rivals. Poker professional Annie Duke will speak on the psychology of poker and gender roles in poker prior to the match.

The format is team poker, in which five players from each team play their counterparts from the opposing school in separate one-on-one, best-of-three matches. Players receive seeded rankings 1-5 prior to the match and play their counterpart seed from the opposing school. Once a player wins two of three sets, they will be awarded one point that goes towards the team's overall total. The first team to accumulate five points wins the tournament.

GPSTS is planning on holding several more inter-school poker matches leading up to the launch of a National Collegiate Poker Tournament in March, meaning basketball won't be the only reason for March Madness.

"There's tremendous enthusiasm on campus for GPSTS and for poker matches," said GPSTS Executive Director and third-year Harvard Law School student Andrew Woods. "We hope to capture the same spirit for the March Madness basketball tournament when we hold our national competition in the spring."

Founded by Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson, the GPSTS views poker as a game of skill that can be used as a teaching tool at all levels of academia and in secondary education. Since launching in August GPSTS has organized student poker societies at several major universities, held workshops and presented a series of academic conferences, lectures and seminars. Poker celebrities like Jim McManus and Mike Sexton have spoken at various GPSTS events. To learn more go to www.gpsts.org.

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