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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it should be said again that many poker players are incredibly generous people. Some give time and money to charity poker tournaments and events, while many more donate portions of their tournament winnings or simply donate in private.

Dan Smith is no strangers to charitable endeavors. He is a professional poker player who not only gives to various organizations but does the research to find out where the money is most needed and best used. One of the best resources for that process is Raising for Effective Giving (REG), which helps many poker players donate through the process of effective giving.

Smith teamed up with Dan Colman last year to match donations during the holidays, and they raised more than $210K for four organizations. This year, Smith is doing it alone and excited about the prospect of possibly raising as much as $350K to distribute to the nine charities he has chosen.

Donation Details

dan smith


Poker players and enthusiasts – or anyone, really – are invited to give to any of the nine charities Smith listed on his website. Upon receiving a receipt of the donation, simply send to [email protected], and Smith will match it. For the most part, he will match the donation to the exact charity, but he does mention the option of taking some creative liberties. He wants to ensure that every organization receives a fair amount of money from the endeavor because “each charity has been great about responding to my calls/emails/questions in a timely manner and each one will receive at least a few thousand dollars.”

Smith isn’t asking people to donate blindly, as anyone with a question about a charity or the tax deduction for the donation need only ask. He has offered to do the research on their behalf. He is also researching being able to match cryptocurrency donations for those interested. And he is also willing to accept transfers to his Danny98765 PokerStars account, or cash or chips in Las Vegas, all of which will be donated on the person’s behalf and a receipt provided for tax purposes.

Charity Options

Smith separated the nine charities into three groups for the benefit of participants in the funds drive.

The first group offers two options ranked highly by GiveWell, an organization that researches nonprofits for the most effective giving opportunities.

  • GiveWell: Donations are used where they are needed the most, recently focusing on village improvements in countries like Kenya and Uganda.
  • Against Malaria Foundation: They try to prevent malaria infections and protect people who are most susceptible to it, as more than one million people die from it each year.

The second group is focused on the prison system in the United States and those who are disproportionately and negatively affected by it.

  • Massachusetts Bail Fund: Funds are used to post bail of $500 or less per person so small offenses don’t keep people in jail until their court dates.
  • Just City: The Memphis-based organization operates similarly to the Massachusetts Bail Fund.
  • Liberation Prison Yoga: Meditation and yoga classes are organized for prisoners to improve their mental health and reduce suffering.

And the third group offers charity options that seek to fix the fundamental heart of certain problems instead of funding the results of it.

  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS): Government-sanctioned research looks at the effects of certain psychedelics as treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
  • Zendo Project: This is a project by MAPS (listed above) to train professionals to deal with those on the psychedelic drugs.
  • Open Philanthropy: Similar to GiveWell and working with them, this group researches to find the organizations that need help the most.
  • org: Donations go to help fight global warming and other environmental dangers.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.