Ruben Pranata, Brian Horner and Juan Linares
Photography by Reed
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
by Anne Burke