It is tough making it through the day as an AAU student with enough money in your wallet. Cheap food, cheap lodging, cheap vacations and low paying jobs sometimes still leave you broke. So why not make big money the fast and easy way, by playing poker?

It goes without saying that students’ lives are clouded by financial troubles, and AAU students are no exception. Some try to find part-time jobs; some, however, turn to gambling, especially poker.

“I think it is in vogue in recent years,” said AAU student Krystof Laube. “It wasn’t so popular five years ago.” 

All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and the will to learn to play the game well. Some see it as a way to help pay their way through student life, rather than getting a time consuming part-time job.  

 “I know a few people who play professionally and they gamble their money 365 days a year. I think it is a stressful life, but who would not want to go in a casino for 2-3 hours a day and bring back home a few hundred Euro,” said Jan Vicher, Student Council treasurer.

 One AAU student anonymously shared his personal poker story: “I got involved [into poker] through my friend. I was always interested in that game, since I have watched the movie ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.’ [The game] makes you think not only about the cards, but also about people, your actions, and take a risk when it is necessary. All these are really useful in real life.” Besides of all the poker advantages mentioned above, he won big money in poker tournaments — 13,000 Kc in one. 

Online poker’s biggest attraction is that you can learn to play for free, and then only jump into the real cash games when you are confident with your ability. 

 Vicher, however, thinks that there is no point to playing poker without real money. “It is not Monopoly where you buy hotels and banks. The whole purpose of playing poker is to gamble and risk. Without risking your own money, the whole game loses the point. The more money involved, the more serious is the game.”

 “I am not playing myself, but I understand why students do it – we all struggle with managing finances, and poker can solve the problem,” said third-year AAU student Diana Shlyapnikova. “I do not know anyone who got in trouble because of it at AAU, but I can easily believe that the game can turn into an addiction. It’s fun and easy way of making money, but it’s also too risky and dangerous in my opinion.”

Laube disagreed that students easily get addicted to poker.  “I think it is really rare. I do not know anyone like this. Generally [students] get addicted to other things like alcohol, gaming, weed and porn,” Laube said. 

“Since many [AAU] students like to risk and test their ability, poker seems to be an ideal game to see how one is doing in comparison to others,” said former SC member Radovan Fafilek. 

According to students prefer to play poker for a few reasons:

Social advantages. Poker is an increasingly popular game, and there are endless opportunities to meet other characters that share the same interests as you.

Poker is flexible. In comparison to a job, where you have a little control over how much you get paid, in poker everything depends on you. No boss. No commute. Besides, you can make more and more money as you progress. 

Anyone can play. There are no qualifications to participate, neither through online poker sites nor in casinos.

It is educational. A player can learn skills that will be handy in other areas of life, like learning to read people, becoming disciplined, taking risks, and spotting patterns.

It is fun. Players know how much fun it can be to outplay your opponents by the way you bet, check, raise, call and bluff. 

 However, an exorbitant amount of groundwork is required to even try playing poker for a living and have any glimmer of hope of coming out ahead. “I found the rules, read them and started to play,” said experienced poker player Yuriy Lakatosh. “At the beginning I played badly, like every player till the moment I found my own stealth.”

A beginning poker player is terrible for a long, long time before seeing any progress and sometimes that state lasts forever. The difficulty level of poker oscillates too, and not always as a function of time.  “Some people estimate that 80 percent lose in the long run in poker,” noted According to Quora, a contributor on, “But a more accurate statistical guess is that only 5 percent win at poker in the long run.”

Some argue that it is purely a game of luck. “Poker is sometimes like a game of chess. You really have to think hard about your next move. 

Sometimes heads-up (part of game when only 2 players are involved and other players have lost their chips) can take five minutes and sometimes an hour,” said Vicher, who was also last year’s poker tournament organizer. “It depends what are the circumstances and how good are the players. Luck plays an essential role in life and it is not different in poker.”