Charity & chips: More than another Poker Club

With this semester marking its second year, Queen’s University Poker Club (QPC) is relatively new but offers more than a chance at luck, but also at charity. QPC, which is comprised of a six-member executive team, organizes monthly tournaments, where they donate their proceeds to select on-campus charity groups.

I sat down with one of the co-presidents of QPC, Ian Attema, ArtSci ’15, to learn more about ways in which poker is more than a game, but also a place of community:

Q: Why did you choose to start QPC?
A: I went to [Herstmonceux Castle] in first year, and a group of us guys coming back from the castle in second year decided we wanted to get involved in some way and one of my friends who actually no longer goes to Queen’s University came up with the idea of a Poker Club … I love Poker and a couple of my friends did as well, so we decided to apply for a grant and we got started.

Q: Do you play competitively or online?
A: I used to play online, not so much anymore, but I play house games a lot, just friendly competitions with my friends.

Q: Why poker, out of all games?
A: I think it’s a great game … I was honestly surprised that we didn’t already have a club for poker. You have to be smart to do well at poker; it’s a very challenging game, a lot of skills involved, a lot of luck also.

I have also found there’s been a stigma associated with poker – you know, [with] gambling. Another reason why I [chose] poker was because I wanted to show people that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be a great way for friends to hang out and also support good causes like charities.

Q: How do you think past players have heard about QPC?
A: We did heavy advertising at first. Social media we’ve been doing a lot of … We also when we do registration periods, we’re in the ARC; [we] tell everyone about us, ask them if they’re interested.

Q: How many members are there in QPC? What’s attendance like at the tournaments?
A: We don’t have full-time members. We have people who register for our tournaments every month and a lot of them are the same people. Sometimes we have new faces … usually we have about 60-100 people.

Q: How would you describe the charity-aspect of the tournaments?
A: For every tournament, they have to pay $10 to register and four dollars for the registration goes towards a charity organization [at] Queen’s University, which changes every month. We raise between $250-400 for the given charity organization.

Q: What past student-run charity groups have you worked with?
A: The last was Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO). Our January tournament was Best Buddies. Last year we raised money for QPID. We like to stick within the Queen’s community and help out student organizations. Another goal of our club is to raise awareness for these organizations as well.

Q: Do the winners of the tournament get a grand prize?
A: We did a PlayStation 3 last year. We like to give away stereos because people like those kinds of things. So we try to make things unique, but get people excited by those things and change it up every time.

Q: How would you describe the level of experience people have with poker who come out to your tournaments?
A: There’s all different kinds of people who join our tournaments. Some people play online seriously … [and some have] barely played and just want to get to know the game and practice.

Q: How would you describe the sense of community developed at QPC?
A: People do meet at our tournaments; I know some people have organized house games that happen on weekends. That’s what we want to build on and continue on with our club. We want to be an outlet for people not just to have these massive tournaments, but for also to meet people with similar interests.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

QPC will be hosting their last monthly charity tournament of the semester Friday, March 28 at 4:30 pm.

For more information about the Queen’s Poker Club please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/queensupoker

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