From Palm Springs to Penn State and back again

by Lou on September 25, 2005

It’s a real pain in the neck to fly from one small city to another, especially when they’re nearly a continent apart. I did that Thursday, when I flew from Palm Springs to State College, PA and the flight involved three segments: Palm Springs to Salt Lake City, SLC to Cincinnati, and Cinci to State College. With the layovers, it’s all day, a real grind. The only saving grace is that both Cincinnati and Salt Lake City have nice, clean, not-too-crowded airports with good restaurants, so hanging around is less onerous than it would be in an overcrowded airport like Washington National, or Houston.

I wound up with a three hour layover in Cincinnati on my flight home, so I sat at the bar in the airport’s Outback Steakhouse, had a grilled salmon and watched an exciting Minnesota-Purdue football game with a bunch of other travelers who were waiting for connecting flights, just as I was.

I went all that way in my capacity as volunteer host of the College Poker Championship to present a trophy to the Penn State’s Gaming Club, which topped the 2005, and although Chad Flood from the University of Minnesota was the overall winner, Penn State beat out 2,400 schools from 55 countries to take the Campus Rivalry Championship.

Lotus Public Relations had set up an interview for me with State College Magazine, as well as a few radio interviews and an interview with a reporter from the Penn State University newspaper. State College is a nice small town, dominated by the college, with a few streets filled with restaurants, bars, trendy shops, and a gazillion students and a nice place to walk around.

The trophy presentation was set for 10:00 PM in the Student Activities Building. A poker tournament was scheduled for that evening, and I presented the trophy to the Gaming Club immediately before the tournament began while folks from Lotus were handing out T-shirts and ball caps.

If I were handicapping the 2006 event, I’d make Penn State even money to repeat as champion. They have all the attributes to do it: a large student body population, an active gaming club with scads of poker players, and they are in the right time and weather zones too. Qualifying tournaments are played every Sunday at 4:00 EST. At Penn State, it’s already dark when the event begins and it’s cold outside too. For students at schools like USC and UCLA, it’s 1:00 on Sunday afternoon when the tournament begins and the weather is a lot more conducive to being outdoors than it is back East and in the Midwest. Sunday night is fast becoming poker night on college campuses, and playing poker is a lot more desirable than the other traditional Sunday evening campus activity: doing laundry.

If you’re a college student and are interested in playing, there’s never a cost to play and this year more than $200,000 in scholarship money will be given away, as well as money to be given to winners’ designated charities, and four new cars will be given away – one at every eight week interval. To find out more, just go to

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