Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

One of the nicest trends happening in the poker world recently is the desire to give back.  Of course, there have always been charitable players, but for the most part they were individuals who donated a portion of their earnings to causes they believed in. Phil Hellmuth, to name just one, has been involved with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Peace Thru Sports Foundation of Shimon Peres and several other charities.

With the poker boom came poker organizations, like PokerStars and their players, making substantive contributions every year to various worthy causes, from  tsunami relief in 2004 to helping the victims of the devastating earthquake that ripped apart Haiti in 2010.

One Drop, a charity dedicated to providing access to safe drinking water around the world, received tremendous attention in the poker world and beyond, especially in 2012 during the Big One for One Drop heads-up match between Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett. $111,111 from each entry went to One Drop, totaling $5.3 million, the single biggest donation any poker event had ever produced. In fact, over the last five years over $10 million has been raised by the annual One Drop tournaments at the WSOP.

Adriano Mannino Since 2014, however, there has been an increase in charitable donations across the poker world. One of the primary reasons for that is REG, or Raising for Effective Giving.  Three poker superstars, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, and Philipp Gruissem, already involved with effective altruism, pitched the idea of spreading the word to the poker community and soon REG was born, with Adriano Mannino named REG Chairman.

REG takes donations and distributes them to groups that are the most effective in reducing suffering around the world. Briefly, REG use scientific facts and rational decision-making, collaborations with researchers, think tanks, and analysts, to find the most effective charitable opportunities, those that help the most people possible for the amount of money raised. By doing so, donations become more cost effective by increasing the number of people helped per unit of money donated. In other words, they know how to get the most bang for their bucks.

Every day, more poker players are pledging to participate in REG, and it is quickly becoming a preferred way for them to donate to charitable organizations around the world.

REG has always had the goal to establish a “culture of giving” in the poker community, one that extends beyond the occasional charity-specific poker tournament. Nevertheless, spokesperson Boeree, noting the incredible success of One Drop, says that in 2017;  “ I really think one of the most biggest, and also the most fun ways I can think of doing is having a couple of these big charity tournaments. You’ve seen the fantastic success of One Drop, some of the events PokerStars have. We have the contacts to do that, we have the locations. That’s what we want to knuckle down and do – one or two really fun, prestigious—probably more high roller-oriented charity tournaments.”

Whether it’s a few major charity tournaments or a new way of life for players, charities around the world are benefiting from the generous nature of the poker community.

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Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

These days seems like you just finish one poker tournament in time to get ready for the next one. Around the globe, the biggest tournament, of course, is the World Series of Poker; in second place comes the Aussie Millions – Australia, followed by the Latin America Poker Tour – Brazil, then the World Series of Poker Circuit event in New Orleans. There are way too many for us to give you a complete list, but we will do our very best to keep you informed with plenty of time for you to gather your $$$, your senses, and of course, giving you enough time to sit at any poker table and hone your skills.

Super High Roller BowlFor now, here’s one for you to keep your eye on; perhaps you can shoot for it next year as it has already sold out for this year. In fact, hard as it is to believe, it sold out on the very first day with a buy-in of $300,000! There are a total of 50 players which created a prize pool of $15 million with $5 million going to the winner.

The 2017 Super High Roller Bowl sold out so fast that it has been confirmed as the World Championship of High Stakes Poker. 35 seats were sold out the first day and the remaining 15 seats were held back and will be chosen by the Aria Resort and Casino.

Every player wants to play in The Super High Roller Bowl. Not everyone can get in. The following are the confirmed players for the tournament:

Christian Christner Antonio Esfandiari Igor Kurganov
Matt Berkey Connor Drinan Steffen Sontheimer
Jake Schindler Pratyush Buddiga Rainer Kempe
Sean Winter John Juanda Dominik Nitsche
Christoph Vogelsang Stefan Schillhabel Andrew Robl
Brian Rast Bryn Kenney Fedor Holz
David Peters Jason Les Ben Tollerene
Tom Marchese Erik Seidel Sam Soverel
Scott Seiver Ankush Mandavia David Einhorn
Nick Petrangelo Haralabos Voulgaris Isaac Haxton
Andrew Lichtenberger Doug Polk Ben Sulsky
Byron Kaverman Koray Aldemir

The remaining 15 players will be announced by the Aria Resort and Casino. If your name is not on the list above, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get in next year. Good luck to y’all.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Shurane VijaramGoing into the Final Table, Shurane “Shaz” Vijaram was the chip leader, with an impressive 7,470,000. Even so, he would have to beat Fedor Holz, along with five other experienced pros and most of us would not have bet on him. After all, Vijaram had never made any money in any event he played. Ever.

Ben HeathIn fact, Vijaram won his seat into the Main Event by entering a Sunday night re-buy at Crown Casino and it only cost him $130 for that coveted seat. Ultimately, once all but two of the final seven had been eliminated (Holz took fifth place for AUD $335,000 after coming in third the previous night, earning AUD$352,000 – not bad for two night’s work!) it was left to the UK’s Ben Heath and Vijaram to play heads-up poker for the final 29 hands.

And the winner, and 2017 Aussie Millions Champion, walking away with not only the coveted trophy but a very sweet payday of AUD$1.6 Million   was Shurane “Shaz” Vijaram. His reaction said it all. “Absolutely amazing; it’s like a dream.”

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Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

For a quick catch up on some of the results from 2017 Aussie Millions:

Nick PetrangeloThe 2017 Aussie Millions ANTON Jewelry $100,000 Challenge attracted a field of 18 entries, with the final day starting with just seven hopefuls. After a short five hours of play just three places would get paid. Nick Petrangelo came out on top, beating Mike Watson heads up, with Fedor Holz also cashing in third place.

George Kanan won the 2017 Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions for AUD$51,000. The Tournament of Champions was another tournament with a twist. It was open to everyone, but former Aussie Millions Main Event champions could play rake free. The final table was an international gathering of players from Canada, Finland, the United States and New Zealand.

George KananIn the end, the Tournament of Champions came down to a heads-up battle between two Aussies. George Kanan from Sydney facing David Loonstra from Melbourne for the first-place prize of AUD$51,000. Kanan would end up supreme, beating Loonstra in second who had to settle for AUD$33,300.

After six days of exciting action in the Crown Poker Room, the 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event Final Table is set. Seven of the 725-strong field remain to do battle for the AUD$1.6 million (~$1.2 million USD) first prize and coveted AUD$30,000 9ct gold, diamond-studded ANTON Jewelry Main Event Champion bracelet.

By far the biggest name player is Fedor Holz, who will be starting with the smallest stack. There are three Australians remaining, including Jeff Rossiter, with more than $6.3 million in lifetime winnings; Luke Roberts and current chip leader, Shurane Vijayaram (7,470,000).

Rounding out the Final Table is German Tobias Hausen (2,955,000), American David Olson (2,350,000) and the UK’s Ben Heath (3,270,000).

The Main Event Final Table will be streamed live by Jason Somerville’s poker channel on Twitch on Sunday.

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