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Poker News | World Poker News

Poker Community Antes Up for Haiti Earthquake Assistance

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The earthquake that occurred just under the Haiti capital city of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12, was devastating. As the hours and days progressed, it became all too clear that the devastation was widespread and almost unbelievable. The Red Cross is already estimating that the death toll could reach 45,000 to 50,000, and those numbers may rise as rescue workers begin to see the damage in person. Countries from around the world have dispatched medical personnel, rescuers, supplies, military officers, and peacekeepers. But what is needed most is money.

This happens to be the poker community’s specialty. Not only did the requests for poker players to begin donating funds begin as soon as the earthquake hit, via Twitter and Facebook links to sites like Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, but the online poker sites in the United States immediately began planning ways to raise funds.

The first to announce plans was PokerStars, and the plan was simple. The site established several “dummy” tournaments named “Haiti Earthquake Relief” that can be accessed from the tournament lobby. There are events at every buy-in level from $1 to $1,000, which allows players to donate whatever their comfort level allows. No tournaments will actually be played, as players simply enter the tournament by paying the entry fees, and 100 percent of that money will be donated to Red Cross for their Haiti efforts. Players can also transfer funds via private transfers to a player named “Haiti Fund,” which can be done through the client menu through “requests” and “transfer funds.”

As the website noted, “PokerStars players are some of the most generous people around, and already thousands have donated within hours of the appeal launch.” According to more recent updates, the amount raised has already exceeded $50,000.

PokerStars will run this campaign through January 31, and every dollar raised will be matched with an equal donation by PokerStars.

Full Tilt Poker
was also quick to announce its intentions to raise funds for Haiti. Noting that approximately one-third of the 3 million-person population of the country will need emergency relief in the wake of the country’s disaster, Full Tilt established the same system as previously mentioned. Players can go to the tournament lobby and pay the entry fee for any tournaments labeled “Aid for Haiti,” which are no-play tournaments. The entry fees will be donated in full to charities like Red Cross, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders. There are ten tournaments scheduled for Sunday, January 17, and more will be established if necessary.

In addition, players can use the player-to-player transfer process on Full Tilt to transfer funds to “Aid for Haiti,” and all of that money will be donated as well. Every dollar raised by both methods will be matched dollar-for-dollar before the final donation is tallied and distributed to relief organizations.

Other online poker sites have recently announced their intentions to raise funds as well.

Cake Poker followed the same principle and set up tournaments entitled “Haiti Donations (not an MTT)”, which allows players to register with the knowledge that the entire amount of the entry fee will be donated to Red Cross. Tournaments with entries in the amounts of $5, $25, $100, $200, and $500 will run until January 31, at which time Cake Poker will match the total and donate the entire amount to Red Cross.

And finally, Doyle’s Room announced that it will be donating proceeds from the Bounty Tournament on Wednesday, January 20, to a Haiti relief fund. The 6:30pm PT event will be a special take on the weekly bounty event that features celebrity players like Kevin Connely, Mickey Rourke, and Nicky Hilton, not to mention Doyle Brunson himself. Details on the benefit tournament and the relief fund to receive the funds will be forthcoming.

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