Hi everybody. I'm sorry we didn't get a larger room. We really didn't know that we'd have such a great crowd. But, thank you very much for coming.
I'm Peter Allen and I'm the director of Google University and I'm honored to invite today--introduce Charles Nesson, a professor at Harvard Law School, the founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which focuses on the legal study of cyberspace, has many great legal credentials which I'm going to skip over. I will mention that he's a graduate of both Harvard College and a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he's been a member of the faculty since 1966. He is also a founder of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society which focuses on developing an academic curriculum that uses poker as a teaching tool. Charlie has been an active player in some of the most high stakes episodes in recent legal history.
Among his many accomplishments, he hit the jackpot litigating the case White v. Crook which made race and gender-based jury selection in Alabama unconstitutional, and defending Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case. I'm as happy to welcome him here as if I drew an ace high flush on the river, Charles Nesson, Andrew Woods, Poker Teaches. >> NESSON: Thank you very much Peter. So, I'm a child of the 60s who smoked too much grass back then and really never stopped and--I got into this poker stuff on a sabbatical at one point, in 1980, when I ordered an IBM PC and waited for it to be delivered and I had learned Pascal thinking that I would do some programming. And when it came, of course, it didn't have Pascal. That turned out to be vaporware https://casinoslots-sa.co.za/eco-payz.
But, it did come with Basic and I wound up programming five-card draw jacks or better poker in basic. And found myself fascinated with the bluffing algorithm. It's like my major in math in college was mathematics and I'd had the experience of programming on UNIVAC I when I was an undergraduate, and then to be able to actually write a program that played reasonable five-card draw jacks or better was just an amazing thing to me. I get into the internet really 1994 in my law class, I teach a class called Evidence, which is like an amphitheater, Harvard Law School class about how you proved the truth in court, and was blessed with a small grant that let me get a bunch of computers into the classroom.
I rented 20 Quadra machines and formed my students into groups of eight and had them work on these machines to do projects and--then we brought them into the classroom and actually networked them all together and it was--it was our first learning network experience. And the idea of combining an interest in poker which to me is like a fascination as game theory, a strategic game, Poker is the quintessential strategic game. And if you--if you're into thinking of games as languages for, perhaps, more complicated things, that is simplifies forms that allow you to think about more complicated subjects, Poker as a strategic game is just surpassingly eloquent.
I want to introduce you to Andrew. I met Andrew at a poker tournament held at Harvard Law School. It was a charity tournament done for the benefit of our public service auction in which hundred plus students and faculty all put up 20 bucks, played the tournament through to a conclusion one winner no financial prize, all money going to charity. And Andrew was the son of a bitch who put me out of the tournament. And we got started on this Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, which I'm going to ask him to tell you about, the next year when we weren't allow to do that tournament because our general council told us it was illegal.
And I got pissed. And the result of that is we have in a sense started an enterprise, one of the objectives--one of the objectives of which is to legitimate poker as a genuine educational enterprise. For me, I see it as the basis of the distance, the scalable distance education environment that I in the Berkman Center hope to lead Harvard into.
Poker to me is just the most wonderful way to engage young minds and expands people's thoughts. So, here I want to ask Andrew, Andrew come forward and tell us about GPSTS. >> WOODS: Well... >> NESSON: Oh, you got a mic, good. >> WOODS: The first thing I have to say is it--it's just as well that they cancelled the poker tournament. I think it's ashamed they told us it was illegal. But, in the tournament where I met Professor Nesson, I had no idea he was a professor, I thought he was just some crazy old guy sitting across from me at a poker table.
And there came a place where he had pushed all in and I had a better hand. And I asked him, I said, you know, and he said, "I'm a professor." And I said, "What do you teach?" He said, "I teach Evidence." So, I said, "Well, I'm going to teach--I'm going to take Evidence next year."
And I said, "If I put you out of this tournament, if I beat you, will you give me an A in your class?" And he said sure. [INDISTINCT] >> NESSON: Oh, I did? >> WOODS: Oh believe me, because I made sure to take your class. He gave me a B+, so, I was a little frustrated by that.
Yes, unbelievable, right? >> Oral contract. >> WOODS: So, after that, I took the opportunity to have dinner with Professor Nesson with a couple of other students and we started talking poker, mostly because I was upset that I hadn't gotten my A.