PokerStars Haiti appeal tops out near $1.5 million

ps_news_thn.jpgOn Tuesday January 12, most PokerStars staffers were sitting in the Imperial Ballroom of the Atlantis Resort and Casino. We heard about a tsunami warning and were told to stay inside and away from the water. We shrugged it off and went back to work. A few minutes later, we heard about an earthquake in Haiti. We had no idea how big it was and went back to work.

Within a couple hours, it was clear that what happened just a few hundred miles from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure was disaster like few we'll see in our lifetimes.

As of this writing, it is estimated that three million people have been affected by the earthquake. Haiti's President Rene Preval has said that nearly 170,000 bodies have been accounted for. Other reports say nearly a quarter million homes had been destroyed.

Within a few hours of the quake, PokerStars had a plan to start raising money. It offered its players several ways to donate and promised to match every dollar sent in to the Haiti earthquake relief fund.

The official relief effort ended 12 hours ago. When all was said and done, PokerStars players had donated $746,390.26, a figure that PokerStars will match for a total donation of $1,492,780.52 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


Members of the Haiti Red Cross are assisting the wounded. -- Photo: American Red Cross/Talia Frenke

Players donated in a so many different ways. Some folks donated $1. Others donated $1,000. Other folks sent money by way of the PokerStars VIP Store.

Then there were players like Bryan 'PrimordialAA' Pellegrino and Robert 'Croixdawg' Ford. These guys raised $6,330 through the 2+2 Heads Up NL forum. Instead of just fundraising, Pellegrino and Ford offered charity tournaments with study group sessions for all the players. The study groups provided free coaching to the participants. With the money PokerStars matched, the two men and their charity tournament players will be sending $12,660 to help the Haiti relief effort.

Poker is a solitary pursuit, one that some players construct around the idea that greed is good and the selfish means to the profitable end can be forgiven. In times like these, it is refreshing to see that the poker community can set aside profit motives and give away hard-earned money for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.

Many thanks to all who gave and organized fundraising efforts.. You are a credit to our community.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news