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Duke Student Plays His Cards Right In Online Poker

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DURHAM, N.C. — Poker is big business, and for one Duke University student, it's apparently lucrative. Jason Strasser, 21, is making a name for himself in the world of online poker.

The Duke senior is usually at the virtual table on average about three hours a day. Strasser has been playing for three years, and he said it's about timing and a little luck.

"You get paid out depending on how long you last," he said,

Strasser is enjoying his biggest payday yet. A marathon online tournament this past weekend earned him first place and $440,000 in winnings.

"It was long, but doesn't feel long when you're playing for a lot of money. It was great," he said.

Strasser cautions that online poker shouldn't be taken lightly. He said it's taken him a while to hone his skills, and matching wits with players from around the world requires a high level of discipline.

"I try to keep it in perspective and not get carried away," said Strasser.

Strasser said his poker really took off when he left Duke for his summer break and headed to Vegas, where a company hired him to play poker all summer long. In seven weeks on the job, his earnings exceeded $200,000.

"Everyday you put on your headphones, go to work," he said. "It really improved my game."

When Strasser isn't waging money in cyberspace, he's actually a double major in electrical and bio-medical engineering. He said even with his earnings in poker, school is still his No. 1 priority.

Strasser said he plans to use his online poker skills to try his hand at landing a job in finance.

"If you're trading stocks, it's a lot of the same strengths you need in that area," he said.

Strasser may have a point. He already earned more than enough money to cover his $40,000 a year tuition At Duke.

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