WPT Five Diamond, GSOP Malta, $100k royal flush and high school poker clubs

WPT-GSOP-royal-flush-high-school-pokerFriday marks the kickoff of the championship event of the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the final date on the WPT’s 2010 calendar. With last year’s winner Daniel Alaei having taken home a cool $1.428m, the $10k buy-in event is expected to draw many big names to the Bellagio in Las Vegas, all of whom will hope to be at the final table on Wed. Dec. 8.

In other tourney news, Hungarian Janos Katzenberger took top honors at the Grand Series of Poker’s stop in Malta. A total of 333 players bought in, creating a prize pool of almost €354k, of which Katzengerger took home €72.5k. Next up for the GSOP is Bucharest in the first week of February.

€72.5k for a tournament? In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (the province of Calvin’s birth), a local man won $100k on a single hand. Jeremy Kalanuk won a special Keys & Cash promotion at Casino Moose Jaw by drawing an honest-to-goodness royal flush. We’re going to go way out on a limb and assume Kalanuk won that particular hand.

Meanwhile, a high school in Virginia is causing all sorts of commotion for sponsoring a poker club on school property. To be clear, no real money changes hands in the students’ games. George Mason High School principal Tyrone Byrd says that the club, which began this September, is being used to show students “how the game relates to their education.” Part of each session is devoted to the mathematics underpinning the game, and how odds and probability should dictate the game play.

The phenomenon of using poker as a teaching tool is not new, having been enjoyed by Harvard Law School students at the urging of Professor Charles Nesson. Nesson also founded the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, a network of 20 universities across the US who enjoy deconstructing what Nesson calls the game’s “marvelous architecture.”

But of course, there are those who think the notion of involving kids in a poker game, even one in which no money is exchanged, is tantamount to sucking back an extra thick milkshake and then spitting a giant loogie on the baby Jesus. Why yes, we are talking about Focus On The Family, who never met a gambler they didn’t despise. Of course, by their rationale, it was probably youthful exposure to the play money in Monopoly that caused those risky trades that precipitated the economic meltdown of 2008. Also, the game of Risk is responsible for all the wars of the 20th century, Operation is behind the skyrocketing costs of health care, and Easy-Bake Ovens are responsible for the obesity crisis.