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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
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Spring 2005
Bruin Walk

Ruben Pranata, Brian Horner and Juan Linares
From left:
Ruben Pranata, Brian Horner and Juan Linares

Photography by Reed Hutchinson

All in

Here’s a business-school ranking you can bet on: The Anderson School of Manage-ment is home to the new national MBA poker champs.

The Anderson aces — all aspiring M.B.A.s — bested their counterparts from 26 of the nation’s top business schools to win the second annual Susquehanna MBA Poker Championship January 12-14 at Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas.

The Anderson students won the three-day showdown based on average winnings per entry of $328.05. Second-place finisher Kellogg trailed with $233.12, followed by Wharton, $162.05, Chicago, $149.75, and Berkeley Haas, $146.43.

The dozen Bruins who competed at Binion’s are members of the Anderson Poker Club, a student organization started last year by Brian Horner, a second-year who honed his poker skills at the tables in Atlantic City in his native New Jersey.

With poker enjoying a booming comeback on college campuses, the Anderson club has seen membership surge from 60 last year to 100 this year. Members play regularly at the Santa Monica apartment of club president and first-year Ruben Pranata. Like most tournament players, the Anderson group favors Texas hold ’em, the same version of poker played in the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. But unlike these televised tourneys, the atmosphere is congenial and the stakes are low. A player who has a bad night might lose $20 to $40, says Pranata.

“If I win, I’ll usually use the money to make dinner for my girlfriend, so she’s like, OK, go ahead and play a couple of hours,” Horner says.

Horner has a job waiting for him as a Wall Street trader after he graduates. With all the poker he’s played, he figures he has a leg up on his new career. Trading and poker are both zero-sum games, require nerves of steel and involve big wins and losses. But with either one, “you just have to remember, if you keep to your strategy, you can make considerable money,” Horner says.


by Anne Burke

2005 The Regents of the University of California