Sign up for one of our email newsletters. Larry Pileggi finished in the top 3 percent of players at this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, walked with about $37,700 and went toe-to-toe with some of the top pro players and didn’t blink.

But Pileggi doesn’t consider himself a gambler. Pileggi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, doesn’t play poker for the thrill of winning money.

He plays it for the math, the game theory, the psychology of trying to decipher what his opponents are thinking about him. “For me, it’s the competition,” Pileggi said.

“Physically, I can’t play racquetball or golf, so this is my sport.” Pileggi suffers from neuromuscular condition that causes weakness in his arms and legs. He’s been in a wheelchair for 35 years.

Even playing poker can be a challenge for him. Tables are sometimes too high or too low. Read more from…

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