As poker professionals, we are blessed. We have a great job with flexible hours. We are clear thinkers with open minds who are able to use those skills to our advantage. Unfortunately, not all people are in this position. Some people are more likely to get sick. Some are stricken with poverty from the moment they're born. Some can't get a job no matter how hard they try. The older I get, the more I realize how incredibly fortunate and blessed I am to be able to live the life I do. And this year I'm more committed than ever to give back.
A Polish poker player who goes by the nickname "Banisher666" told me about a charity here in Poland called Szlachetna Paczka. In English, it means "Noble Package." This organization identifies families in need throughout Poland and assigns volunteers to meet with them and learn about their situation. The families tell the volunteers what they need, be it food, clothing, blankets or supplies for school. Then, people can help them by "adopting" different families.
Banisher told me and other Polish players about this action, in the end a total of around 150 poker players from Poland participated. Some donated money and a few of us actually went out and put together the packages ourselves. As we were getting everything together, I thought about PokerStars. One of the things I love the most about PokerStars is their commitment to charitable causes. On the very same day I asked them for help, they sent in a donation. At many other companies, it could take weeks or months to get through the red tape, but PokerStars didn't hesitate for a minute. With PokerStars' help, instead of making packages for about thirty families, we were able to help over forty families.
The day we made the packages, I spent about five hours shopping with my wife. We picked up food, shoes, winter jackets, pencils and paper for children to use in school, and packed it all in boxes. The package we made for our adopted family actually had 14 boxes, plus we got 1.5 tons of coal so they would be have sufficient heat through the freezing Polish winter.
The action was very successful and the families were so happy someone reached out to help them in such a difficult time. Anytime professional poker players can donate some of our winnings, it has such a huge impact, not only on the people in need, but as an example to our peers. We are blessed to live the lives we do and it's time we showed the world that we not only can play a game, but we can do great things with the money we earn from it.
Marcin Horecki is a member of Team PokerStars Pro