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Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tournaments created to help victims in Haiti


Poker players and online sites are stepping up in major ways to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Led by Full Tilt and PokerStars, poker players are able to donate any amount of money by simply transferring funds in the game client or playing in a charity tournament.

"Anyone watching the news knows how important it is to get help to the Haitians as quickly as possible," said professional poker player and host of the Poker Edge podcast Phil Gordon. "Poker players can effectively double their donations through the mechanisms set up by Full Tilt and the generous matching program. This is a great chance to show the world how poker players can step up and help in a true humanitarian crisis."

Full Tilt is offering three different ways to donate. The first option is starting on Thursday and running through Sunday, there will be a number of "Aid For Haiti" tournaments at a range of buyins for players to participate in. Second, players can register to play for a "fake" tournament that won't run. Basically you can enter any of these 10 different tournaments at different buy-in levels and the tournament won't run, but the money will be donated. The third option is for anyone who wants to donate their own specific amount of money at any time. Full Tilt has created an "Aid for Haiti" account and can accept any amount over $5 as a donation.

Full Tilt will have more on their Web site about this on Friday including the charities that will receive the money. The site has encouraged their pros to play along and host these tournaments. Gordon's initial $5,000 donation to this account has already been matched by the site and that is hopefully just the start of what will be sent to relief funds over the next two weeks.

PokerStars has taken a similar approach by offering charity "dummy" tournaments that range from $1 to $1,000. They plan to match the donations and all money generated will be donated to the Red Cross. On PokerStars, players can either donate to the account "Haiti Fund" or enter the "Haiti Earthquake Relief" mentioned above. PokerStars has said that thousands have already donated, but hopes to do all it can to help to the people of Haiti.

Both sites are offering these dummy/fake tournaments as a way for users to share with the public that they have donated and both sites are matching user donations 100 percent.

Also making their voices heard were professional poker players Joe Sebok, Annie Duke and Maria Ho who used their widely-followed Twitter accounts to promote donations. The Twitter Poker Tour is also holding numerous charity tournaments of its own. One of them will be held Thursday night where $1 from every player will be donated to the Red Cross.

If there ever was a time for the poker community to truly show its passion for charity, these next few days would be the perfect opportunity.