(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

“Gamblers are no longer gangsters with guns,” said Justin Vingelis, 22, a poker player who graduated in May from James Madison University. “They are nerds with calculators.”

A 2010 survey finds that 16 percent of college-age males are poker players, and so companies are catering to a specific demographic. In some cases, Web sites like College Poker equate poker playing with taking an exam.

Addictions specialists worry that the growing popularity could lead to problems such as credit card debt, drug use, bad grades and theft. For its part, the federal government is shutting down sites allegedly for bank fraud and money laundering.

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