A survey carried out by Save the Student, a website aimed at helping students to take better care of their finances, suggested that one in five students across the United Kingdom are turning to gambling in order to make money. The survey questioned over 2,000 students on their current financial status and over 80% of respondents indicated that they had regular money worries. This will undoubtedly impact on their studies and their health and has left many students looking for alternative ways to bring in income.
It seems as though gambling and especially poker has become a popular way for many students to supplement their income but this has to be seen as a risky move. There is absolutely no thing as a guaranteed success when playing poker and a lot of players will find that even though they hit a good winning run, it will not take a lot to knock them down, which could see them being in even harsher financial situations that what they were previously in.
Poker can bring money in but it shouldn’t be the chief source of income
The Independent newspaper spoke to a Nottingham based student that has turned to poker to bring in extra income. The student, called Thomas, said;
I came to see poker as a part-time job at university. My friends gambled a bit here and there, but mainly for a laugh- their livelihoods were not dependent on it. For me, a session online would last anywhere between 18 and 36 hours and I would do at least five a month. I spent a lot of my winnings on drinks and bought myself a BMW for my 21. The main thing though is that I can now afford to take a Maths PGCE without having to apply for yet another loan. I was called anti-social once or twice but I never saw it as a risk. Swings of losses and wins happen but it’s about the bigger picture- as long as the overall trend is up its okay. I once lost close to £4,000 in 14 hours but in my best session I won close to £11,000 in 22. I am looking forward to entering the working world but this is a job that fitted into my student lifestyle at a time when I needed funds.
It is interesting that these findings have come to light at the same weekend as the Oxford Poker Cup, the annual prestigious poker tournament put together by the students of Oxford University. In that case, the tournament welcomes poker players from around the world and is a showcase for talent and skill. However, it seems that in homes and dorms up and down the country, many students are playing into the small hours to ensure that they are making enough money to pay for food and rent.
Poker is a great game but for the majority of poker players, it should not be considered as the main source of income. There are plenty of great professional poker players around the world but in comparison to the number of people that actually play poker, the professionals are hugely outnumbered by the amateurs. Times are tough for everyone in the current economy but these findings will be particularly worrying for students and their families.