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The Poker World Increases ALS Awareness by the Bucketful

Almost two weeks since its inception, the ice bucket campaign to increase ALS awareness has gone beyond viral.

Millions upon millions of dollars have been raised thus far to further research towards treatments, and hopefully a cure, for the illness also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. The campaign’s virality has been spurred on most impressively via social media, where by searching for the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, you’ll undoubtedly come across some of the biggest celebrities in the world taking part. Thus, countless millions of people have witnessed well-known athletes, movie stars, and notables pouring ice cold buckets of water over their heads.

Make no mistake though; as much as this might be considered a publicity stunt, the motives of every person taking part in the campaign are genuinely noble – to get the word out about ALS and get monies donated toward the cause. The trend has certainly not bypassed the poker world either, with many of poker’s biggest names taking part and doing what they can to spur others towards making a difference. This is great on many fronts, as it also de facto helps to improve poker’s image in the mainstream media.

Some of the bigger names in the poker industry to have taken part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge thus far include World Poker Tour President Adam Pliska, World Series of Poker Media Director Nolan Dalla, and Poker Night in America’s Todd Anderson. Player-wise, as one might expect, Phil Hellmuth [pictured] was among the first of the big-name poker players to also douse himself for the cause after Dalla issued a direct challenge to the 13-time WSOP champ. Check out the video at the bottom of this page.

Strictly speaking, the rules of the challenge stipulate that one must either accept and pour a bucket of ice over one’s head or, alternatively donate to the ALS Association. In the event that one accepts the challenge, they are then to pass the challenge on to others. That said, many of those public figures who we’ve witnessed dousing themselves with buckets of ice water have ALSO taken it upon themselves to donate towards the very worthy cause.

It stands to reason that the more the Ice Bucket Challenge takes hold in the poker world, the more poker celebrities we’ll see taking part. One would reasonably expect other extrovert big name poker pros like Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari to accept the challenge, so those videos would probably pop up in the near future.

To all those poker players and fans who’ve made donations, good on you. Here’s hoping countless others follow in your footsteps and support the ALS Association. …and if we’re selfishly wishing to see any couple poker players take up the challenge, here’s hoping Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson see this article.


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Robbie Strazynski

Robbie Strazynski is the founder of the poker blog, co-host of the Top Pair Home Game Poker Podcast, and co-creator of the Poker Notes Live mobile app. He has written for numerous gambling publications and has been part of the industry since 2009.