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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Ace of Spades Club provides community, risk-free poker

Students from across campus flocked to the second floor of Duncan Student Center Thursday evening for a night of chance and excitement at the Notre Dame Ace of Spades Poker Club. The club was founded in 2021. Club president Carson Goldrick and vice president Connor McIlvain, both sophomores, now lead the club.

Goldrick explained that the club gives students the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of playing poker without any of the downsides.

“Notre Dame doesn’t allow us to host at-stakes poker night, so the way we do it is we have no stakes and the winner of every table just gets an Amazon gift card that they can spend,” Goldrick said.

Club members aren’t allowed to bet real money. However, they can win a $5 Amazon gift card for their first win and a $10 gift card for every subsequent victory.

“The reason we do $5 for the first time is we don’t want people coming in just one night. We want people to come back after. If they were to just come in and win ten bucks on their first night it wouldn’t be as fun just because the club wouldn’t have as many people,” Goldrick said.

McIlvain said that club members aren’t allowed to pay dues as it is prohibited by the University, but the lack of a financial barrier makes it easier to attend a poker night.

The club hosted its second meeting of the year Thursday for a game of Texas hold ‘em which had a turnout of over 25 people. Goldrick said he was generally encouraged by the attendance numbers.

“Last year, the first couple of nights we had 40 [people], we couldn’t allow more than 40 in so we actually had to kick people out the first couple of nights,” Goldrick noted. “We’re hoping to have the same amount throughout the semester.”

McIlvain said that one of the club’s goals this year is to maintain consistent attendance levels.

The club held four games with tables for both beginners and more advanced players at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Some students were eager to ride a lucky streak and try their hand at both games, while others found themselves out of the game early and turned in early.

Despite this, McIlvain emphasized the many opportunities for students to win.

“We have two games a night and multiple tables, so there are a lot of winners. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.

Freshman Taylor Weeks said that he found out about Ace of Spades at the club fair and decided to try it out even though he had never played poker before. Weeks said despite this fact, he enjoyed the sense of camaraderie in the club.

“I didn’t win anything, but I liked it, I had fun,” he explained.

Goldrick stressed that while he always enjoys playing poker, the reason he is invested in the club is the community that exists there.

“The reason I volunteered to take over as president is just because I love the environment here. There’s no stakes, so no one’s invested in the game to the point where they’re not cordial or nice,” Goldrick said.

McIlvain urged new players to give the club a try. 

“It’s a great environment, no stakes, and you can win a little bit of spending cash, so there’s literally no downside to coming to poker club,” he said.