STORY BY ETHAN FICKAU
Among the more than 160 clubs and organizations at Drake University, there are many that go unnoticed and are relatively unknown to students.
One of these clubs is the Drake Poker Club.
The club meets once a week with about 25 members that regularly attend. Except for a $5 participation charge each semester, it does not cost players anything to play.
While the club primarily meets to play cards, most members also come to socialize with friends and to relax after a long day of classes.
First-year student Sarah Mondello said her friend is one of the reasons she joined the club in the first place.
“I was recruited by one of my friends, and initially I had no interest,” Mondello said.
“I wasn’t any good and I didn’t care for it, but when my friend started to teach me, I realized that it was kind of cool. So I kept going and after a couple weeks, I realized that I really liked it and all the people that I met. I’ve made a lot of friends there through poker club.”
At any random meeting, one will observe multiple games going on at once with each player casually chatting with a neighbor as bets are made and cards are shown.
Some club members bring food to munch on during the game while a couple just come to watch their friends play. The club is open to any and all students who want to join, regardless if they are expert players or complete novices.
Junior Brien Behling is another club member and he said the fact that everyone is welcome to participate is what makes the club so attractive to the student body.
“I’d say it’s a great opportunity for anyone, players with experience or someone who wants to learn, because it provides a fun, risk-free environment to learn in,” Behling said. “You can have fun and learn without worrying you’ll lose money.”
First year student Connor McCarthy said what he loves as a member is that people rarely get competitive at the meetings since there are so many new players.
“Joining Poker Club is an excellent way to learn more about the game while having a good time,” McCarthy said.
“You can take the game as seriously as you want, and other club members are more than willing to help you learn how to play. At the beginning of the year, I joined knowing nothing about poker. Now, I am second place in the club rankings.”
McCarthy said that, simply put, the Drake Poker Club is a great group of people that enjoys playing a game that they love.
“Poker Club has something for everyone. For some, it is how they relieve the stress of the week,” McCarthy said.
“For others, it is a place to hang out with their friends while playing a fun game for a few hours.”
The Drake Poker Club is not the only under-the-radar club at Drake.
There are many more and a complete list of every club officially recognized by Drake University can be found at http://www.drake.edu/life/clubsorganizations/.