PokerStars Charity Events
Charitable Poker Events
PokerStars is committed to social and corporate responsibility, and giving back to the community. We are constantly looking for ways in which we can make a difference, not only to our players but society in general, across the globe. To that end, PokerStars and its players are active in supporting numerous worthy causes. To read more about PokerStars charitable activities, see below.
Play to Cure: Genes in Space
The Play to Cure: Genes in Space mobile game was launched by Cancer Research UK. It’s a world first: a mobile game that analyses genetic data for scientists on your phone while you play. Rational Group funded the development.
Philippines Typhoon Emergency Appeal
Rational Group players and staff donated more than $260k for CARE International after Hurricane Haiyan took its toll in the Philippines. Rational Group doubled the funds to raise more than $580k for food and shelter.
Pretoma Shark Appeal
Everybody knows that Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes is passionate about sharks. That’s why PokerStars have helped him raise money and awareness for shark charity Pretoma via a range of activities in recent years. The organization aims to implement effective ways of protecting the shark population of Costa Rica, by lobbying the government and environmental agencies to introduce better policy based on scientific research.
Humberto was able to help raise funds by asking players at various Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) events to donate a portion of their winnings to the cause. He then doubled any amount given, which PokerStars also then doubled, helping to generate thousands of dollars that have helped fund various research projects. Randall Arauz, President and founder of Pretoma, was recognized for his efforts when he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010.
PCA amfAR Charity Tournament
PokerStars helped raise thousands of dollars for AIDS charity amfAR by hosting a star-studded charity poker tournament in The Bahamas in January 2010, held as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Among those donating their time and money were Team PokerStars Pros like Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer and Alex Gomes, plus the biggest names from the world of sport and entertainment. The line-up included Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Slash, Boris Becker, Montel Williams, Carlos Bernard, Mats Sundin and many more - all helping to raise over $97,000.
amfAR was founded in 1985 and helps fund research into trying to end the global AIDS epidemic. The organization has so far invested almost $290,000,000 to the cause, awarding research grants to more than 2,000 teams across the world.
Ante Up For Africa
The Monte Carlo Grand Final of European Poker Tour (EPT) Season 5 included an exclusive charity tournament held by PokerStars to raise money for Ante Up for Africa and their work in worn-torn Darfur. A host of big name celebrities from around the world showed their support by giving their time and money. Those taking part included rap superstar Nelly, F1 driver Nico Rosberg, rugby player Sebastien Chabal, R&B star Christina Millian, Zara Phillips and many more, plus Team PokerStars Pros like Daniel Negreanu and Dario Minieri. All players donated their winnings, helping to raise a final total of more that €160,000.
Backed by celebrities such as Don Cheadle, Ante Up for Africa provides aid and support to assist with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. In addition to direct action on the ground, they also work with policy makers to try and create long-lasting solutions to this terrible situation.
Million Dollar Men Freerolls
To celebrate the success of the PokerStars Million Dollar Men - the six PokerStars players that made it to the Final Table of the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event - PokerStars ran a series of freerolls that gave our players the chance to compete against the Million Dollar Men, for huge cash prizes. Three qualifiers made it to the final, with sirhindle1 winning the tournament for a payday of $100,000.
All the money won by the Million Dollar Men in the tournament was donated to the charity of each player’s choice. Dennis Phillips finished 2nd, earning $50,000, which he donated to the Pujols Family Foundation - an organization that helps raise awareness of Down Syndrome. Darus Suharto came 3rd, and donated his $25,000 to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and the Habitat for Humanity project, which offers housing for low-income families.
The rest of the Million Dollar Men picked up $10,000 each. Peter Eastgate and David Rheem donated their winnings to Children, Incorporated, a charity that helps support the educational needs of children around the world. Meanwhile, Ylon Schwartz gave his prize money to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which raises awareness of the disease, and provides funding for research into a possible cure. In total, the players raised a sum of $115,000 for charity!
Dennis Phillips also donated a portion of his Main Event Final Table winnings to the Put a Bad Beat on Cancer campaign. PokerStars then matched the amount, meaning that a sum of $90,355 was given to the charity.
China Earthquake Appeal
In the wake of the devastating Western China earthquake in May 2008, PokerStars players helped to raise HKD $2,226,146 (approximately USD $285,236) for the Red Cross. Live charity tournaments were held at the new PokerStars Macau poker room, as part of the first ever Macau Cup festival. The entry fee in other Macau Cup events was also donated to the fund, bringing the total money raised at PokerStars Macau to HKD $166,670 (USD $21,357).
PokerStars players were also able to make donations via their online accounts. This helped to generate a further HKD $946,403 (USD $121,268), a figure that was then matched by PokerStars. The generosity of all our players helped to raise HKD $2,226,146 in total. The money will be used by the Red Cross to assist with search and rescue, and to distribute vital aid resources in communities worst hit by the disaster.
Life Ball is Europe's most prestigious charity event and has raised millions of dollars for the fight against AIDS. This year's event took place May 17 at the historic Vienna City Hall. More than 40,000 people gathered to watch the opening ceremony, which included a fashion show by Agent Provocateur and an appearance by Hollywood movie star Sharon Stone.
As one of the sponsors of the event, PokerStars hosted an exclusive poker lounge inside City Hall, where guests and local celebrities took part in a charity poker tournament. Those playing included the winners of our Life Ball 2008 freeroll tournaments. Over 190,000 players entered our online qualifiers, helping us to raise $150,000 for the charities that Life Ball supports.
PokerStars was also one of Life Ball's main sponsors in 2007 and ran a series of daily charity freerolls, with tickets to the celebrity-packed fundraiser up for grabs. There was also a charity tournament held at Life Ball itself, with a top prize of $100,000 provided by PokerStars and donated by the winner to the fight against AIDS.
A total of 49,000 PokerStars players took part in the 2007 freerolls, with PokerStars donating $1 for each participant, helping to raise a further $49,000. In addition, PokerStars ran a $5+$10 buy-in tournament, with 239 players each donating their $10 tournament fee to Life Ball. PokerStars matched that donation, generating another $4,780.
Ocean's Thirteen -- PokerStars
PokerStars teamed up with the cast and producer of Hollywood blockbuster “Ocean’s Thirteen” to help relieve the suffering in the war-torn region of Darfur. PokerStars donated $1 MILLION to the charity Not On Our Watch, and ran three tournaments, donating all the proceeds to the Darfur cause. We also opened an account to which players could send funds direct to the charity.
The three tournaments were $10 re-buy events, with the entire prize pool going to NOOW and being matched by PokerStars, raising more than $40,000. An additional $3,700 was donated direct by PokerStars’ players to NOOW.
EPT Season 3 Grand Final - Gavin Griffin
In April 2007, Gavin Griffin became the winner of the EPT Season 3 Monte Carlo Grand Final. But his charitable actions were as notable as his win. Griffin came both to win the event and to support a breast cancer charity walk by dying his hair pink for the event. PokerStars donated $15,000 to his charity and matched all donations from our players.
PokerStars players donated a sum of $6,435, and in total we sent a check for $27,870 to the Avon Foundation on behalf of Gavin Griffin.
Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund
In April 2007, 33 people were killed at Virginia Tech when a gunman went on the rampage. PokerStars hosted a tournament to raise money for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which was set up to cover the grief counselling, memorials and all other needs of those affected by the tragedy.
Some 281 players took part in the $20 tournament, with only $0.01 from each buy-in going to the prize pool. The rest of the buy-in went directly to the Fund, with PokerStars players generating a total of $5,618, which PokerStars then matched. A check for $11,285 was donated to the Fund.
Hurricane Katrina Relief Tournaments
In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico, and the southern states of the USA. The hurricane caused severe destruction across the entire Mississippi coast and into Alabama, as far as 100 miles from the storm's center.
To assist with the Katrina Relief effort, PokerStars hosted tournaments at four levels ($5, $20, $50, $100) with only $0.01 of the buy-in going to the prize pool. The rest went to the relief fund, with PokerStars players donating a total of $56,536. PokerStars matched that amount and sent it to the American Red Cross.
Meanwhile, Team PokerStars’ Barry Greenstein – a pro player renowned for his charitable activities – also donated his WCOOP 2005 Event 7 winnings. Barry finished 16th, winning $10,665 which PokerStars matched and also sent to the Red Cross.
Tsunami Relief Effort
The day after Christmas Day in 2004, the world was shocked as a giant tsunami devastated the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. More than 200,000 people were listed as dead or missing. To help in the relief effort, PokerStars ran a special ‘Donation Tournament’, with our players giving up to $100 dollars each to play.
Our players raised a total of $187,769, which PokerStars matched, and then upped to $400,000 when it came to writing the check. All funds were donated to the International Federation of the Red Cross.