Although the poker world will have to wait until November to crown a champion one player is already setting himself apart from the field. Dennis Phillips, chip-leader of the Main Event, has pledged to donate 1% of his earnings to putting “a Bad Beat on Cancer”. While 1% may not sound like a huge amount, if all goes to plan it could represent over $90,000 in donations to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “I am thrilled to contribute a portion of my WSOP earnings to the Prevent Cancer Foundation,” said Phillips. “Charity involvement has always been an important part of my life, and hopefully more poker players and final table participants with follow suit in upcoming poker circuits like the European Poker Tour and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.” Poker players donating winnings to charity is beginning to become more and more commonplace. Barry Greenstein, often deemed the “robin hood of poker”, has been donating tournament winnings for decades. His charity, “Children, incorporated” has been a beneficiary of the majority of his tournament earnings throughout the years. 2007 main event champion, Jerry Chang, donated 10% of his $8.25 million prize money to the Make a Wish Foundation; Feed the Children, and the Ronald McDonald House.
Poker sites have started to catch on as well. Recently PokerStars donated over $50,000 to the Kentucky Hemophilia Foundation. PokerStars spokesman Chris Moneymaker had many kinds things to say about Phillips “[He] is a stand-up guy who brings a positive feeling to the WSOP final table,” said Chris Moneymaker, 2003 WSOP Champion and Team PokerStars Pro. Most guys get to the final table and just see a big pile of money and a new life. Dennis is just happy to be playing poker and sees an opportunity to help others. His efforts are inspiring to the poker community and I’m excited to see how it all turns out in November.” Moneymaker, who turned the poker world upside down with his 2003 WSOP ME Championship, also donated a portion of his winnings to selected charities.
The apt-named “Bad Beat on Cancer” Fundraiser has been in full effect since 2003 and asks poker players to pledge to donate 1% of their winnings from their WSOP Main Event earnings. For more information on how to donate visit www.preventcancer.org.