Too Much Poker in Columbia?
And Santangenlio's pasttime has its benefits.
"Last semester, I won a couple big tournaments online," he recalled. "One was over 1,500 people, and I won $1,600. Another one was, I think, a $1,000 payout."
But, playing poker also affects his schoolwork.
"Sometimes tournaments run a little longer than expected, and I have to show up late for class," confessed Santangenlio. "And, a couple times, I've even missed class."
Another poker player, Shane Mahoney, explained, "I guess sometimes you get so involved with it that you end up staying up way too late. And you'll sleep past your classes the next day."
Games and tournaments are easy to find. The popularity of poker, especially Texas Hold 'Em, has increased tremendously within the past year. Players can find a free poker tournament somewhere in Columbia on any night.
So, businesses are going all in, said Shiloh Manager Ryan Tighe.
"At first it brought a lot in, like this whole back area would have been full for sure on a Tuesday night, when people that wouldn't have come in without the poker."
Frequent player Steve Brackman said, "Poker has taken off, like you said, in the past year, and you can go in any bar and find a game."