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  • Will Zhou

Bobby's Room: Inside Claremont's Largest Poker Game

Adam Koszut's felt poker table in Crown B317.

If you've ever walked by the third floor of Crown Hall at 4 a.m. on a Friday morning, you have probably heard the sound of poker chips shuffling and playing cards riffling with 80's rock music playing in the background. Residents and visitors of Crown Hall are fascinated by it, and poker geeks can't get enough of it.

Crown B317, also known as Bobby's Room (a reference to a famous poker room at the Bellagio), is home to the biggest poker game at the Claremont Colleges. The room is decked out with flashing neon lights, a 4-foot "Welcome to Bobby's Room" sign, a wall plastered with pictures from previous games, and (of course) a poker table. Instead of partying the night away, students from across the Claremont Colleges flock over to Bobby's Room to play no-limit Texas hold 'em games with wagers of up to $1,000 per hand.

Adam Koszut (CMC '23), the mastermind behind the operation, was introduced to poker his freshman year, playing in low-stakes games with buy-ins as low as $2. “I was seeking alternatives to parties. I was never a big partier, and neither were my friends,” he said. “Poker not only solved this problem, but it also helped improve my ability to analyze people and their behavior to a high degree, which is a great skill to have as an aspiring trader.”

According to a Federal Reserve study, the time Adam and other regulars at Bobby's Room have dedicated to poker has been well spent. The paper, titled “Strategic Sophistication and Trading Profits: An Experiment with Professional Traders,” suggested that “if you are not a trader but want to be one … you should play poker rather than [attend] class.”

During the fall semester of his senior year, Adam took his passion to the next level. He bought a poker felt along with a table and eight chairs from Craigslist and dedicated his dorm room to a single purpose: poker. “I wanted to make my dorm the premier destination for any 5C student who plays poker. Rather than associate my room with my own name, I wanted to give it a name that only poker nerds would understand. Bobby's Room came to mind because it is arguably the most iconic poker room in the country.”

Rumors of lengthy overnight poker games at Bobby's Room have spread across the 5Cs. One Bobby's Room Regular said he overheard someone in Frary say, “There's a guy in my triathlon training class that says he regularly plays poker for like 12 hours straight from seven to seven. That's insane.”

According to Koszut, “Hosting games takes up about 30 to 50 hours per week. We run five to seven games every week that last anywhere from four to fourteen hours straight.” Bobby's Room has garnered insatiable demand from poker enthusiasts at the 5Cs. Oftentimes, multiple players will be waiting for their spot on the table at 3 a.m.

To some, playing poker at Bobby's Room is a safe haven for the misfits who have a difficult time enjoying the social scene on campus. “College parties are boring,” said a regular at Bobby's Room. “The music is always way too loud and no one is sober enough to hold an actual conversation. Bobby's Room is where it's at. It's the perfect combination of strategizing and socializing. There's some cold-hearted decision-making that goes on, but we also have a lot of wholesome moments.”

Coraline flops quad aces in a $100 pot.

While the big game at Crown may seem intimidating to outsiders, anyone is allowed to spectate, and if you get there before the table fills up, you're allowed to play. Guests of Bobby's Room include students from across all 5Cs and class years with experience levels that range from beginners to high-stakes veterans (one regular at Bobby's Room said he has bought in for $20,000 at a $100-$200 no-limit game at Hustler Casino).

In an effort to increase publicity, Bobby's Room even ran a $125 giveaway raffle on Instagram. Jaimie Yu (CMC '26), the winner of the raffle, was staked 125 big blinds at a $0.50-$1 game and ran it up to $158 after scooping two out of three runs in a preflop two-way all-in with pocket queens against ace king offsuit. “If it weren't for the giveaway, I would have never played poker, especially at these stakes,” Jaimie said. “I had a great time though, and everyone was very friendly.”

Despite all of its success, the future of Bobby's Room looks bleak. With Adam graduating in May and no clear successor in place, the game may not continue next semester. “So, who will continue the legacy? Not sure. Will it survive? Probably not – the effort required to run Bobby's Room is simply too much for almost anyone. But I hope I'm proven wrong,” Adam said. “If anything, Bobby's Room will be remembered as a 5C poker club that was formed in my final year of college and grew into a group of more than 50 close-knit friends. Even if the club dies, the memories will not.”


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