Lower East Side high school students in the fancy-sounding Mathematic Operations, Psychology & Philosophy Through Tournament Card Play club, otherwise known as the poker club, have beaten a Harvard Law School team at the card game and have been invited to represent the United States in a tournament at Oxford University, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Henry Street School for International Studies has had a poker club since 2007, embracing the game as a healthy “mind sport” for students, the Journal reports. This approach is in line with the The United States Poker Federation, which is “trying to strip the game of its seedier associations and reposition it as one of the world’s official mind sports.”
“Poker has been lumped in with some nefarious behavior because of the way it’s been played. But if you take money out of it and look at it on a skill level, what makes somebody a good poker player we think can translate to other areas of cognitive learning,” Amy Handelsman, executive director of the federation and the United States Mind Sports Association, tells the paper.