PETA recently announced a new ad campaign featuring Daniel Negreanu heralding the advantages of a vegan lifestyle. The campaign is actually two-fold as it not only supports healthy living but also the ethical treatment of animals.
Negreanu is just one in a long list of poker pros who actively give their time to charity and do their part to change the world for the better. Today we look at some of other pros who donate their time to charity, their causes and what they do to make a difference.
Vanessa Selbst – Social Justice
Vanessa Selbst’s passion for poker allowed her to rise to #1 on the Women’s All-Time Money List. Outside of the game, her passion is for helping those who have been systematically disadvantaged. This is known as social justice.
During her time at Yale Law School, Selbst spent time working in public defense, on post 9/11 civil liberties cases and spent time working with a New Haven attorney that was working on police misconduct litigation. This helped fuel her passion for social justice and ultimately led her to establish Venture Justice, a New York-centric foundation that fights for economic equality and racial justice.
Selbst is also a board member for the Urban Justice Center of New York City. The UJC provides legal services to the poor and those on the streets. In addition, they work on reform efforts that directly impact the disenfranchised.
Selbst actively works as an activist and fundraiser for the UJC. She will host a charity poker tournament for the organization later this month. Blinds & Justice will be held on September 29 at Chelsea Piers in New York City and will bring together poker pros, Hollywood celebrities and other A-listers looking to enact social change.
Matt Stout – Charity Series of Poker
Matt Stout has a long history of charity work dating back to his teen years. In college, he was VP of his collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity. In addition, he has worked with various food banks throughout the years and has even convinced his friends to donate of their time.
Last year, Stout created the Charity Series of Poker as a way for poker players of all bankroll levels to help various worthy causes. His first event benefited Three Square, a Las Vegas food bank.
Other charities benefiting from the Charity Series of Poker include Habitat for Humanity and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. As an example of the impact of the CSOP, the inaugural event in 2014 raised $14,605 for Three Square. That donation provided 43,815 meals to the less fortunate in Southern Nevada.
Jennifer Harman – Nevada SPCA
Jennifer Harman has been associated with several charities throughout her poker career but the one that has benefited the most from her generosity is the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Since 2007, Harman has hosted the Jennifer Harman Celebrity Poker Tournament to raise funds for the Nevada SPCA. Her motivation to help stems from the fact that pets give unconditional love and she believes it is our responsibility to give back to them.
Over the years, Harman has helped to raise over a $1 million for the SPCA. According to Harman, “The best thing about having a pet is experiencing their unconditional love. The Nevada SPCA ensures these once abandoned and abused animals are cared for, adopted, or live humanely in its no-kill shelter for the rest of their lives. Everyone who participates is actually saving a life, and that means so much to me.”
Harman’s next Celebrity Poker Tournament for the SPCA will be November 13 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. All proceed go to the Nevada SPCA.
Phil Hellmuth – Seeking to Raise $100 Million Lifetime for Charity
Phil Hellmuth is known as the “Poker Brat” for his antics at the table throughout the years. However, one role that he is less know for by casual players is that of philanthropist. Hellmuth has been involved in various charities throughout the years and has generously dedicated his time and efforts to raise money for worthy causes.
Some of the charities Hellmuth has been involved with over the years include the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Starkey Hearing Foundation, TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers, the Tiger Woods Foundation and many more.
Hellmuth may be know for his big ego, but he is clever enough to realize that his celebrity can help those less fortunate. Through the years, he has raised over $20 million for charities around the world. Hellmuth’s website also states that he has a lifetime goal of raising $100 million for charity. We hope he one day reaches that goal.
Jamie Gold – Charity Could be Greater Legacy than Historic 2006 Main Event Win
Most know Jamie Gold simply as the 2006 WSOP Main Event Champion. The $12 million won that year is still the largest first place prize in Main Event history. While that achievement is truly legendary, it pales in comparison to the work he’s done for charity in his life.
The charity nearest to Gold’s heart is the ALS Division of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Gold’s father passed away from ALS in 2006 and this prompted him to raise awareness for the cause and he is an active spokesman and fundraiser for the organization.
However, the MDA is not the only organization that Gold has worked with in the past. He has used his celebrity as a former Main Event champion to host or participate in charitable events all over the world and even serves as a board member for several charitable foundations.
Overall, Gold has raised over $300 million for various causes throughout the world. Gold has been immortalized in poker due to his epic Main Event victory but his legacy will be the organizations that have benefited from his generosity.