We now know what those UC Irvine professors are really doing late at night when they're supposedly "grading papers."
PokerSites.com, an online guide to regional poker play, examined American cities for poker search prevalence and found that the City of Irvine ranks fourth in the country, behind only (from top to bottom) Las Vegas, Nevada; Milpitas, California; and Sterling, Virginia.
To be clear, the number crunchers said nothing about the after-hour obsessions of UCI professors causing the spike.
What the analysts surmise is Irvine's close proximity to nearby casino poker tables spikes the local interest. Irvine is a diverse city, after all, and diverse peoples loves 'em some pai gow.
Gambling hotspots like Atlantic City did not even crack the top 10 which, from top to bottom after Irvine, includes Tampa, Florida; Richardson, Texas; Miami, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; and Louisville, Kentucky.
Other interesting PokerSite findings (click PokerSites.com for the full report):
* Poker interest spikes every summer, probably due to events like the World Series of Poker or summer vacations when room rates are cheaper in Sin City.
* The Mountain West Region (Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota) has lowest poker interest level in U.S.
* Worldwide, Romania is the top poker spot, while Canada is second.
* Texas Hold'em is the most searched poker variant.
* Omaha Hold'em (or Omaha poker) is next.
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"It's clear that the landscape of poker in the U.S. is evolving, predominantly due to technology," the analysts conclude. "But across the country and around the globe, poker is fun for fans and players in many venues–around the kitchen table, at the local casino, and even in front of the computer."
Don't forget the biology department chairman's garage.