Murphy James - Play Poker: Win College Tuition
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Play Poker: Win College Tuition

Posted in Poker Lifestyle
Murphy James

University of Florida law student, Derek Dilberian, did it in June of 2005, playing under the “handle” of “DILBERMAN.”

So did Jeremy Olisar from Carnegie Mellon University, in October, 2005, playing as “OLYSPORTS.”

What did they do?

They entered an online Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament and won a semester’s tuition., the sponsoring site, placed no limitations on the amount of the grant: if it was at Harvard Medical School rates, so be it. If it was at state college rates, so be it.

These guys were not neglecting their studies for poker, either. Dilberian ranks in the top 5% of his class and Olisar is an honor student with a 4.0 average.

For the October competition, students from 300 colleges competed for the grand prize of tuition paid for one semester. Second place winner Adam Grapperhaus, a student at Kaskaskia Community College from Patoka, Illinois, won a laptop and third through ninth place winners took home Apple iPod NANO’s.

To be eligible for the competition, students only needed proof of enrollment, be in good standing with their school, and have access to a computer.

Why engage college students in the poker phenomenen and offer this great prize? In an interview with Murphy James, Michael Edwards, the Marketing Director of, which is headquartered in Costa Rica, talked about the company’s motivation to do this:

“Absolute Poker is a company which was originally founded by college students. It is a poker company by poker players, for poker players. Our owners remember a time when they couldn’t scrape together enough money to go out and have fun. They would play poker in the only card room in town until they had the winnings to go out sometimes. We have a young corporate culture and we are not that far removed from remembering the student days of budgeting every penny to scrape by in school. With constantly rising tuitions, ever-increasing cost of living expenses and the simple inability to afford to participate in certain leisurely pursuits, we saw an opportunity to create a great and meaningful value event for students.”

Edwards goes on to say, “We applaud Jeremy for taking the most recent title and are pleased to have the opportunity to play an important part in his educational pursuits.”

The next free “Win Your Tuition” tournament begins May 27, 2006 and registration is now open at

How big is poker on campuses? Very big. has a casino and Google sidebar ads for Texas Hold ‘em on its site.

Penn State used to be known for quarterbacks, linebackers, and its annual march to the top rankings in the NCAA standings.

It has a new Numero Uno as the top poker playing campus in the United States.

The State College, Pa., university received this honor at the conclusion of the 2005 College Poker Championship. This free online tournament at, drew 25,000 competitors worldwide with 612 coming from Penn State and the school earned the Number One poker-playing campus honor by advancing 10 players to the final round. distributes more than $200,000 in scholarships to poker-playing students, $10,000 to charities, and awards four cars, as well. has a new competition going as of September, 2005. Check in at their website for more information.

So, head for the casino . . . sorry, I meant, head for class, of course, and shuffle . . . sorry, I meant study, of course . . . as hearts as you can . . . sorry, I meant as hard as you can, of course.

© 2005 Murphy James