Right To Play in Tanzania
Staring over the pot at one of the greatest strikers in the history of football, and praying your ace-high hand will hold, can be distracting. So can trying to count your chips in the substantial shadow of former-England International Rugby captain Mike Tindall. Or keeping your cool when you suspect Sergio Garcia, one of the greatest golfers of all time, is quietly representing a flush draw - and you think you have him beat.
All of this has happened to me at a PokerStars charity tournament. And all of it had been quite distracting. When you factor in the Team PokerStars Pros, your friends, and the unlimited re-buys (the record so far is 21!), it's easy to forget the real reason we sit down to hold these events.
Over the years, players at our most popular live stops have taken the time to sit down at charity tournaments at all our popular live stops to raise thousands for causes that make a real difference to people's lives. For the past three years, our long-term charity partner has been Right To Play.
Every week, this global charity helps more than one million children in some of the poorest parts of the world by using the power of sport and play to help educate and empower them to overcome the impact of poverty, conflict, and disease.
Our players' generosity has meant that together with Helping Hands, the corporate giving programme for The Stars Group, we have been able to donate more than $1.5 million to the charity - providing education, sanctuary and some stability for thousands of vulnerable children.
In March, we announced an extension of that partnership for another two years. And so, earlier this year we took a team of staff to visit Right To Play projects in Tanzania to take a closer look at the difference your generosity makes. These staff are PokerStars' Community Stars: people who have volunteered their time to help others with no expectation of thanks or even recognition.
We hope their insight in the video below provides you with inspiration to help us raise more funds in the years to come.
The next charity event, and the last of 2017, is event #18, the NL Holdem - Charity Event Unlimited Re-Buy, which takes places at PokerStars Championship Prague on December 12. The buy-in is $150, anyone can join in, and all funds raised go to Right To Play and the children who rely on it.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has donated, whether that's through StarsCoin donations, by donating your time, or playing at our live events. Together, you have all made a difference.
And yes. My ace high-held and I did knock Ronaldo out at Monte Carlo. Sick brag, I know. But it was for a good cause.
To find out more about Right To Play's work, visit http://www.righttoplay.org.uk