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PokerStars made news in the past few weeks when it launched online poker and casino games in New Jersey. And just after that launch, PokerStars announced that it was partnering with that state’s chapter of Autism Speaks for the month of April and going forward.

Many might be unfamiliar with the charitable ways of online poker companies, but players have known for years that PokerStars and other operators are quick to step up and help when an opportunity presents itself. Poker players are known for their generosity when charities are involved.

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Autism Advocacy and a Blue Spade

PokerStars Autism Awareness DayPokerStars chose Autism Speaks for a partnership in New Jersey because of its notoriety as a premier organization promoting research and advocacy for autism and those dealing with it.

PokerStars’ corporate charitable program, Helping Hands, is now a premier sponsor of Autism Speaks to promote awareness. To kick off the campaign, PokerStars changed its red spade logo to a blue one, the color indicating support of autism.

One of the reasons it came to the attention of PokerStars is because Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker is open about his family being touched by autism. “Our family has been and is currently affected by this disorder, and as a dedicated member of the PokerStars family, I am personally touched by the brand’s decision to support a cause near to my heart.”

Moneymaker Family

Autism Speaks and PokerStars are already planning a black tie gala as a fundraiser in 2017 and numerous other initiatives this year. The fundraising will likely start before the 2016 summer in an effort to help local communities in New Jersey affected by autism, as well as to promote awareness to others.

Online Poker No Stranger to Causes

PokerStars’ Helping Hands has been involved in charities for the better part of the past decade. From raising money to help victims of natural disasters like hurricanes and typhoons to supporting its players when issues affect their lives, PokerStars and Full Tilt have raised millions of dollars for those in need.

Just last year, PokerStars partnered with Prostate Cancer UK to host “Lads Night In,” which was a series of home games to raise funds for prostate cancer research and awareness led up by Team Pro Jake Cody. PokerStars’ parent, Amaya, joined with Right to Play, a global organization that uses sports and games to help impoverished children learn and overcome the effects of poverty, disease, and war. Cody and Fatima Moreira de Melo led those efforts to raise funds.

right to play

PartyPoker also stepped up when it got comfortable in New Jersey, playing host to the annual fundraiser tournament to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The same site also launched a 2013 campaign to “Restore the Shore” to help raise funds for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the Jersey Shore. There were live and online tournaments held to benefit the cause throughout 2014.

restore the shore

Microgaming, parent company of Microgaming Poker Network, launched a holiday campaign this past December to raise money for 12 charities in four regions of the globe, with donations going to the foundations that garnered the most votes.

Other companies have participated in fundraising campaigns, both local and global, in the past decade as well. The partnerships are positive for all players who participate, as they help others and learn about how diseases, poverty, and natural disasters hurt people in all areas of the world.

Of course, charitable outreach is a great way to build positive relationships in new communities, as online poker companies have done in New Jersey, but the reasons are not nearly as relevant as the good that comes from those partnerships.

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.