Poker Players Leading the Charity Craze
Yeah, I said it. Charity craze. As the economy continues to tank, celebrities are stepping up to donate big bucks in efforts to remind us that some of ‘em aren’t so bad. And I would say hands-down, ‘poker’ is going all-in with their players. This year alone, we’ve got Annie Duke on the Celebrity Apprentice 2; Phil Ivey and his Budding Ivey Foundation passing out books to kids; and Jennifer Harman is at it again with several charity poker events taking place. One of the most recent scores for ‘charity’ through poker comes from new Aced.com sponsored player Jamie Gold. Gold, who recently signed an insanely lucrative deal with Aced.com, is making sure we all know he’s for real…Gold recently hosted a $5k buy-in charity poker tournament at the Beverly Hilton Oscar party to support Children Uniting Nations. “I was called by Daphna Ziman, who runs Children Uniting Nations, and she said, ‘Listen, I know you’re playing in the LAPC, but I heard that you have a new sponsor that is very generous, Aced.com, and is there any way you would donate money and help us run a charity poker tournament?’ I said sure, we would do that, but I can’t be there, I have to play in the main event. And then, when I talked to Aced, they said, ‘No, screw it, you get a million chances to win a poker tournament, you have very few chances to connect.’”
One thing that’s hooked me on Gold is the fact they he’s genuinely interested in the causes he’s playing for, “This program is amazing; they’re lobbying congress successfully, and they are also donating a ton of money to foster children. I’m so proud to be a part of this, and so when the guys from Aced said they would donate all of this money, then I thought, let’s make this really special, I’ll donate a buy-in to the World Series. I’ll fly them out, I’ll put them up, and I’ll coach them. I don’t think anybody’s ever done that before; I’ll coach the winner through the World Series so they have the best shot at winning. I may not be the best player in the world, but I can definitely help them more than they can help themselves.
Something else exciting is coming from Gold…according to this interview Gold has created ‘a new TV show’ called ‘Jamie Gold’s Big Deal.’ Gold: “It’s poker, celebrities, and charity, it’s called Jamie Gold’s Big Deal. It’s going to be the new show after Real Time with Bill Maher…I hope my legacy is that I’ve raised as much money for charity as I possibly could; I hope other people do more than I can, and I hope that I really affect change in the world and help poker become more mainstream.”
Gotta also give a shout out to Freddy Deeb…Deeb just won $100k at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Celebrity Invitational and donated $37,000 of that prize money to the event’s featured charity, The Vine Group USA. “This is huge,” said Mekhi Phifer, Chairman of The Vine Group USA. “The funds raised will allow us to complete the Mekhi Phifer Research Center we are currently building in Nigeria, which will service more than 100,000 students as well as neighboring universities. Our goal is to save millions of lives by providing the tools for education and the ability to build a future full of possibilities.” The event raised over $112,000 in less than three days of poker for charity.
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com