The Gift Of Giving: Twitter Philanthropy Fills Poker Players’ Feeds

August 21, 2019

Poker players are known to be a giving group – from charitable giving and tournaments to supporting worthy causes. Some philanthropic efforts have made their way to Twitter in recent days with some players getting in the giving game.

In a couple of cases, the effort has gone beyond simply giving to a cause but instead directly to others via social media.

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Perkins ponies up a weekly grand

After seeing a Twitter campaign from philanthropist Bill Pulte, businessman and US poker player Bill Perkins decided to get in the act. Pulte offered to award a random follower a new Tesla, noting that “the world needs more generosity.”

Pulte later promised to give a private education to a Baltimore inner-city student if he received 25,000 retweets. The effort was part of the #MoreForLess hashtag.

Perkins liked the effort and announced he was giving away $1,000 to a random retweeter. That was then expanded to an even bigger idea.

“So my new marketing plan is to just give away 1k to a random follower on Monday every week for 52 weeks,” he noted in a Tweet. “Seems as if it is reasonable odds to win in exchange to gain a bit of your attention.”

The giveaway created some nice karma, Perkins explained, and also helped him add to his Twitter following.

“Its 100 percent legit,” he responded to a follower. “I like to experiment, and this is my experimental marketing plan. Instead of complete seduction with tech, I’m going with +EV and high variance seduction. Hopefully, people stay for the debates, despite the spelling and fat thumbs.”

A new formula for giving back: Follow, share, and win

While it may be on a smaller scale, Robbie Strazynski recently announced his own plan to give away a few bucks. The founder and publisher of the Cardplayer Lifestyle blog promised a cool $40 to a follower when he reached 4,000 followers.

Strazynski used the hashtag #4000pennies to help promote the effort. Followers simply had to tag him, include the hashtag, and link to their favorite article from his blog. He also hinted that more contests might be in the works.

Some of the biggest names in poker got in on the act of offering a story link.

Like Perkins, Strazynski sees the plan as a way to give back – a random act of generosity. It’s also a way to grow his audience and highlight some of his content.

“It’s an opportunity to hopefully get more people to share articles I’ve published over the years,” he told USPoker this week. “There’s a lot of good evergreen content that I imagine many people haven’t necessarily seen, especially newer fans and followers.

“So hopefully with a little potentially incentivized burst of sharing with this little random draw contest, it might boost the site a bit.”

Strazynski, a poker fan who lives in Israel, started his blog in 2009. The site began as a hobby – merely a part-time endeavor for fun. That changed in March 2017 when he started writing full-time. He admits he took a pay cut but loves his life in the poker world.

By Wednesday morning, his Twitter feed had reached 4,000 followers. Strazynski was pleased with the reception and the chance at rewarding some of his readers.

“The reaction has been pretty nice so far,” he said. “It doesn’t cost anything to enter, obviously, and it feels good to hear from longtime fans what they’ve liked most. I pick the random winner on Thursday, so I imagine whoever that is will be happy too.”

Giving for Gavin

The death of longtime poker pro Gavin Smith in January also sparked a social media effort to give back. Smith, 50, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Houston.

His humor, energy, and storytelling were welcome additions to many televised poker shows through the years. A regular tournament player since the late-1990s, his breakthrough win came at the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown in 2005 for $1.2 million.

That same year he finished third and fourth in WPT events, earning Player of the Year honors. Smith also added a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2010 and ended his career with $6.3 million in live tournament winnings.

The death shocked many in the poker community, and efforts were put in place to raise money for his children. Poker pro Josh Arieh led the effort to encourage donors to a GoFundMe account.

Many players spread the word, and almost $75,000 has been donated to the cause so far.

The efforts branched out to include a night of standup comedy in May during the WSOP in Nevada to help raise funds. The series even promoted its own memorial tournament to further the cause.

The tournament raised $19,400 with Charity Series of Poker founder Matt Stout coming out on top. The “Comedy for the Caveman” night also raised $24,240.

In total, the events raised $43,640 and showed how the poker community could rally to a cause. The social media push paid nice dividends – a final thank you to a player who meant so much to poker.

“Gavin Smith was one of the more authentic human beings I’d ever met,” Daniel Negreanu wrote on Twitter. “Rest in peace, my friend.”

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