The British Universities and Colleges Sport National Championships (BUCS) took place in Sheffield last weekend. Nationals is an annual sporting event where student athletes compete for medals in indoor athletics and swimming, along with a whole host of other events such as badminton, karate, and judo.
Don’t think of this as a Sports Day for student athletes. Some of these participants were had previously taken part in European and World Junior Championships. Some had even competed at the Olympics, and it was my job to interview some of the medallists from swimming and athletics.
As I did so I started to draw up comparisons in my head between BUCS and the UK Student Poker Championships (UKSPC). Here were two events which included young, passionate and enthusiastic participants, each with their own hopes and dreams for the future.
Whereas an athlete might want to go on to compete at the Olympics one day, a student poker player may want to play the WSOP Main Event. Whereas a swimmer might want to qualify for the World Championships, a poker player might want to qualify for a major live festival.
The similarities between BUCS and the UKSPC might only be incidental, but the professionalism and the potential of the participants is something to take note of. Previous UKSPC participants include EPT winner Rupert Elder, as well as online wizards Alex Millar and Andrew Hulme. Backdoor Quads Ambassador Adam Owen himself has also participated when he’s not off final-tabling EPTs!
There are some top players in the student community, students who have won substantial sums of money in both the live and online poker scene. Alex Spencer was studying Accounting and Finance at the University of York when he won £125,000 winning the 2014 Sky Poker UK Poker Championship.
Harry Lodge was a 21-year-old economics student at Exeter when he took down the 2015 Sky Poker 6-Max UK Poker Championship Main Event for £60,000. He recently finished third in the PokerStars Festival London High Roller for £36,000.
From past experience the enthusiasm and passion that students have for poker is unbridled. It may not have the training and dedication exhibited by some of the rising stars of British athletics and swimming, but the ability is there. It is certainly no exaggeration that future bracelet winners may be in the UKSPC Main Event field when it kicks off in April. The poker community should certainly keep tabs on the winner – who knows where they might end up?