Calling the Clock: Charity, commentary & more

TAGs: Calling the Clock, Editorial

Lee Davy brings you his usual round up of poker news including a big week on the poker charity front, criticism for the commentators working at the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table, and more.

The US Presidential Elections means erstwhile poker news has been scant this week. It’s as if the poker world ceased operations while everyone huddled around the TV screens to see the horror show unfold.

There was one theme that emerged this week and once again it was the presence of charitable giving in poker. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) and The One Drop Foundation sent out a press release confirming that the €1m buy-in One Drop Extravaganza raised $3,805,000 for those affected by a lack of a clean water supply. Added to the $1,206,478 raised in the summer, that’s a total output of $5,011,478.

Calling The Clock: Charity, Commentary & MoreThe World Poker Tour Foundation (WPTF) followed suit by announcing that their ninth “All In” For Kids Poker Tournament raised $765,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Cardiac Centre.

And, finally, PokerStars announced that they had raised $19,400 for the T.J.Martell Foundation and their work in developing treatments for people living with cancer during the third Chad Brown Memorial Poker Tournament.

A few things sprung to mind about these events that prompted a couple of opinion pieces. The first was my belief that The One Drop Foundation founder, Guy Laliberte, had taken his eye off the purpose of the event when making changes to make the tournament more amateur friendly at the detriment of money earned for charity.

During an interview with PokerNews, Gus Hansen suggested that a tweak could have been made to allow the professional poker players the opportunity to compete in the One Drop satellite events to increase numbers. I think they should return to the 2012 concept without a ceiling, and get back to raising gazillions for people in need.

You can read about my thoughts here.

I also got the opportunity to interview pro poker player and effective altruist (EA) Roman Romanovsky this week. The young Ukrainian is currently in the midst of a $66,000 – $666,000 bankroll challenge with a goal of donating $400,000 to effective charities.

During our discussion, Romanovsky talked about how his reflections on the state of the world led to his interest in EA, the influence that Scott Alexander has had in his life, and his plans for the future.

It was an interview that prompted a question to emerge in my mind.

“Are our poker charities effective?”

That lingering thought led me to suggest that it was time for the poker community to create a charity evaluator focused solely on poker projects so poker players can make more informed choices and charities can work on being more effective.

You can read all about it, right here.

Check out the Romanovsky interview, right here.

And if you are interested in donating to effective charities then now is a good time. Dan Shak is currently offering to match any donations made to Raising for Effective Giving (REG) up to a maximum of $35,000. Head over to to make your pledge.

Taxation, Commentary & Stoicism

Russ Fox of Clayton Financial & Tax, Las Vegas, penned a piece circulated the poker media this week. Fox took a look at the number of tax dollars gleaned from the WSOP Main Event Final Table.

Of the $25,445,388 that was on the table, $10,109,760 went to the coffers of the tax man. It was a ‘what’s a big deal’ moment for me, personally. People have been paying income tax for generations and poker should be no different. I live in the UK where we don’t pay taxes on poker winnings, and I think it should remain that way, unless you are playing professionally, in which case you should join the rest of the club.

It did inspire me to write about tax, though. Inspired by a chapter of The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, I wrote about five forms of non-financial taxation that poker players have to pay. Check it out right here.

The Daily Stoic-influenced my thoughts a lot this week. It’s a great book and one I highly recommend. There are 366 meditations taken from Stoic Philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca. Each meditation is a raisin like portion that begins with a great Stoic quote sprinkled with a spot of sharp clarity by the authors Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

One article that I wrote this week was called Poker And The Art of Negative Visualisation where my primary focus was a mindset change to understand all the negative events that can happen at a poker table and then preparing accordingly. Check it out right here.

Antonio Esfandiari had a bit of a hammering on social media this week for what people considered to be outdated commentary at the WSOP Main Event Final Table.

The criticism, coupled with my recent interview with Twitch Chief, Scott Ball, inspired me to pen a piece called Why Twitch Streamers Are The Future of Poker Commentary, in which I justify my belief that it’s time for a change, and the Twitch streamers need to be allowed to lead the charge. Check it out right here.

PartyPoker, PokerStars & ShareMyPair

Partypoker continued their cross-selling strategy by inking a deal that sees them become the online gambling home of choice for the Professional Darts Corporation’s (PDC) return to Las Vegas, next year.

The Tropicana hosts the 2017 US Darts Masters. The world’s greatest darts players haven’t thrown a steel arrow at an American dart board in anger since 2009. Partypoker is offering packages for the event via online satellites. I write about the wisdom of cross-selling sporting events to poker players right here.

The PDC will be hoping that they make a better fist of returning to the US market than PokerStars did this week when they returned to the US live tournament circuit for the first time in six years.

The PokerStars New Jersey Festival didn’t register on poker’s Richter Scale which is a shame given the ability that PokerStars have when it comes to hosting a live tournament festival.

Neil Johnson, Head of Everything Live for PokerStars, spoke to PokerNews where he laid the blame at the fingertips of the marketing department. I concur and wrote an opinion piece influenced by the marketing work of Bernadette Jiwa titled: PokerStars Festival New Jersey: The Five Missing Questions.

Sticking with the marketing theme and Steve Miller, CEO, Card Shark Media Inc., and the creator of the hand replayer app ShareMyPair, reached out to me this week to talk about his decision to allow companies to advertise their brands via custom-built virtual table tops on his app. If you are interested in a spot of free advertising then check out the article, right here.

Personal Praise

The big boys were in the Philippines this week competing in the Triton Super High Roller Series at Solaire Resort & Casino, Paranaque City. Wai Yong defeated 44 entrants in the HK$500,000 buy-in event to win the HK$16,135,550 first prize. If that seems like a lot of dosh, well, it is – $2,080,557, in fact. Bryn Kenney picked up $1.4m for finishing second, and these massive scores prompted me to air my opinion that there has never been a greater time to get stinking rich in poker. Check out my thoughts, right here.

Daniel “Jungleman’ Cates defeated 39 entrants to pick up the $359,229 winners check in the HK$200,000 No Limit Hold’em Sun City Cup in the same event. Spaniard Sergio Aido took third in both games for a combined score of over $1m.

In other live tournament news, Matthew Donaldson won the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Ameristar St.Charles Main Event. Donaldson defeated 407 entrants, including Ari Engel in heads-up action, to take the $132,917 first prize.

Jean-Pierre Didier picked up a win for the experienced crew when he defeated 236 entrants to capture a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring on the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten. He picked up a sun tan and $17,700 for his troubles.

Michael Pearson also took a WSOPC gold ring when he captured the WSOPC Main Event title in Lake Tahoe. Pearson beat 475 entrants to win the $153,191 first prize. Both Didier and Pearson earn seats into the season-ending Global Casino Championships where they have the opportunity to win a WSOP bracelet.

And finally, Luis Cruz defeated 522 players to capture the $352,116 first prize at the WPT UK Main Event in Dusk till Dawn (DTD). Cruz’s victory means he will feature at the end of season WPT Tournament of Champions.

Time Ladies & Gentlemen, please.

Someone has just called the clock.


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