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FSU student competes in the World Series of Poker

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 7:48 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Florida State University student is riding high this week, returning from fulfilling a life-long dream in Las Vegas where she played on one of poker’s biggest stages.

Sammie Gruber, a fifth-year student at FSU, competed in the World Series of Poker Ladies Tournament Thursday night.

The Viera Beach native joined hundreds of other women from across the country who travelled to Vegas to compete. Gruber made it to day 2 of the event, and came within just a few dozen contestants from winning prize money.

It was a big accomplishment, especially for a for a first time competitor. Gruber told WCTV that her dad passed along his passion for poker, teaching her at the kitchen table when she was 15.

At age 18, Gruber started playing in tournaments here in Florida, and quickly found success.

It was always a goal of Gruber’s to head to Vegas as soon as possible, but unfortunately, her 21st birthday arrived during the pandemic.

The goal delayed, but not defeated, as she eventually made her way to Sin City this week.

Gruber said she even made friends on the trip, something she didn’t expect.

“It’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me... I’ve never met a girl my age in Florida that plays poker. And there’s not many women that play. I never went to make friends because it’s a lot of people who play way way older than I was,” explained Gruber.

Another passion of hers is picking up trash along Tallahassee’s roads. She said it began during the pandemic, with just one bucket.

Soon, the online poker community donated funds to help her buy better equipment. She’s now picked up over 300 5-gallon buckets of trash in the past year.

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