Poker may be an individual game, yet pockets of talented poker players crop up from the same places all of the time.
The poker society at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada helped develop such luminaries as Mike “SirWatts” Watson, Xuan Liu and Mike “Timex” McDonald, while a little close to home, Christopher Brammer, Toby Lewis, Craig McCorkell, Rhys Jones and Martin Malone all cut their teeth terrorising folk at the local casinos in Hampshire.
It makes perfect sense that university’s poker societies thrive; the players are intelligent people after all, but one British university seems to have a knack of producing poker talent that is among the best in the world – the University of Warwick in Coventry.
It can’t be a coincidence that Warwick University – to give it is informal name – was the place of study for three of poker’s most talented players. In recent years, the poker society has seen high stakes cash guru Alex Millar – now a member of the PokerStars Team Online stable – comes through the ranks along with two European Poker Tour champions in the shape of Rupert Elder (EPT San Remo) and Zimnan Ziyard (EPT Loutraki) and online star Andrew "stato_1" Hulme.
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What makes Warwick University the birthplace of champions? We don’t know and to be bluntly honest I doubt they know either. PokerNews reached out to the Warwick Poker Society and expected the reply to come back with reports of £1,000 buy-in HUSNG tournaments, but nothing could be further from the truth. According the James Jose, the President of the society, the majority of the tournaments that take place cost between £5 and £10 and take place every Wednesday during term time. There is the Warwick Series of Poker (WaSOP) that run in March and sees a £30 Pot Limit Omaha and a £55 No Limit Hold’em event run, but still nothing massive.
In the coming weeks, PokerNews will attempt to uncover why the poker society at Warwick University has a knack of producing prodigious poker talent, interview its players, society members and founders and find out what makes the place tick. Stay tuned.
Rupert Elder contacted me and informed me that Zimnan Ziyard did not attend Warwick, but the likes of Nicolas Cardyn, Ashley Mason and Jamie Brown did. Elder played against Ziyard at the Imperial University.