Australian poker company Poker Deluxe has announced that it has raised more than $500,000 for a number of local sporting clubs as a result of poker fundraising initiatives.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Poker Deluxe hosts poker events in all major Australian cities for a number of purposes, including fundraising. Poker Deluxe founder and Managing Director Paul Walvisch said the company was delighted that the milestone had been reached and was adamant that it was only the beginning of a major fundraising drive.
“Our goal is to raise over one million dollars for sporting clubs around Australia by the end of 2014 and we’re proud to reach the halfway point,” he said. “Local sporting clubs are already struggling to stay afloat and the odds are against them in many cases. The recent cuts to State Government funding in South Australia, and the potential for other states to follow, means that many sporting clubs will need to rely on member support and fundraising opportunities to survive.”
The funds raised by the services of Poker Deluxe have gone to numerous local clubs and has been used to buy new sporting equipment and upgrade aging facilities. The successful initiative is a signal of the continuing popularity of the game of poker in Australia and its prevalence as a hobby among many Australians around the country.
Poker began to grow in popularity in ‘the land down under’ in late-2003 as it came under the Moneymaker Effect, the name given to the sudden surge of poker popularity following Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 WSOP Main Event win. The game received a further popularity boost following the 2005 WSOP Main Event, which was won by Australian player Joe Hachem and subsequently made headlines in Australia.
Since then, Australia has played co-host to the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) and has a leg of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) in the city of Melbourne. Perhaps the strongest sign of poker’s prominence in Australia was seen earlier this year, when Melbourne played host to the first ever World Series of Poker Asia Pacific.
That event featured world renowned professionals such as Bryan Piccioli, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey and Main Event winner Daniel Negreanu, and put the poker world’s focus squarely on Australia during that time.
With Australians’ love of poker continuing to grow, it would be no surprise if Poker Deluxe hits its $1 million fundraising target well before the end of 2014.