Poker, Anyone?

Students rack ‘em and stack ‘em to win $50 Kirkland Grille tab in College-wide tournament

Late Tuesday night, chips were served without burgers at the Kirkland Grille. They were being passed around in a game of poker.

Tuesday night’s game was part of Kirkland Grille’s No Limit Texas Hold ’em poker tournament—an event planned by three Kirkland seniors.

Inspired by ESPN poker tournaments, blockmates Patrick T. Salyer ’04, Daniel S. Hong ’04 and G. Reid Carolin ’04 organized their own “tourney” at their House’s grille.

“The reason why we started [the poker tournament] is that there aren’t enough activities to bring people to hang out,” said Salyer, also a grille manager.

The event kicked off last Thursday with the tournament’s first preliminary round of three tables. The seven winners from this week’s and last Thursday’s preliminary rounds will compete again tonight in the final contest.

Hong—the self-declared biggest poker aficionado of the three planners—said that 60 people signed up for the first round.

“There’s a little community of die-hard poker players here at Harvard,” Hong said.

He said last Thursday, people kept playing until 2:30 a.m.

“[The players] were intense in a fun way,” he said.

Kirkland resident Andrew R. Bordeaux ’05 won his first night and came to watch others play last Tuesday night. He said the competition was “male bonding at its finest.”

“Somehow in the past two months, poker has taken over my life and the life of my blockmates,” he said.

Bordeaux said he was excited about tonight’s final round.

“Oh yeah—$50 is heaven here,” Bordeaux said, referring to the grand prize of a $50 tab at the Kirkland Grille.

According to Salyer, despite the delicious menu offerings of burgers, pizza bagels and Mount Kirkland—a house speciality that consists of a waffle with Nutella, peanut butter and ice-cream—the Kirkland Grille mostly attracts House residents.

“I don’t think a lot of people know Kirkland Grille exists because it’s hiding in the basement,” said Salyer.

Salyer, who plans on holding future poker tournaments, said the poker event has drawn students from other Houses. Even some Mather residents took part in the first round, in spite of their on-going inter-house war with Kirkland, said Salyer. The audience and players seem to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere—some even brought their own alcoholic beverages.

“It goes along with the poker,” Hong said.