Despite being a game based on manipulation, deception and, ultimately, taking other people’s money, poker and its inner circle have always had a strong tradition of generosity towards worthy causes. From charity tournaments such as the WSOP’s $1 million Big One for One Drop, to personal donations from high-profile players such as Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, benevolence and poker are never far apart.
With this in mind, a group of high stakes pros recently joined forces to form a new poker charity called REG. An acronym for Raising for Effective Giving, the idea of the project is to make the process of donating to charity more effective.
The brainchild of Germany’s Philipp Gruissem and Russia’s Igor Kurganov, REG also features Liv Boeree, Stefan Huber and Renae Garcia, as well as charitable entrepreneur Adriano Mannino.
While the premise of the project is essentially the same as other similar organizations (namely, giving money to worthwhile causes), the group wants to apply the same principles that have helped its members achieve success at the poker table.
Using the ideas of effective altruism, which strives to use reason to ascertain the most effective ways to help the world, REG is based on three main principles: Effective Giving, Rationality and Movement Building, and each principle has the overall aim of creating the most effective giving process possible.
Helping organize the efforts of REG is Giordano Bruno Foundation Schweiz, a Swiss-based company that acts as a think tank for “enlightenment” and “evolutionary humanism”.
So far the project has managed to raise its profile during the WSOP with a special dinner that saw a slew of famous players show their support for the cause. Indeed, along with some early sign-ups, the PR event saw Gruissem and Kurganov give three lucky supporters a two-hour private coaching seminar, as well as backing for the WSOP Main Event.
In order to help REG maximize its EV and give the best support possible, the group is asking players to sign-up and pledge 2 percent of their quarterly poker profit to the cause. The only other stipulation for would-be patrons is that you must be either a professional or recreational poker player.
Everyone that signs up will be able to choose to donate to a specific charity from a list of organizations or have their money split across a selection of projects agreed upon by the REG board of consultants.
Commenting on the project, Kurganov recently told Lee Davy of Calvin Ayre: “You can do more than just donate money. The question is where the money is going. REG is about ensuring the money is giving direct help in places where it’s needed.”
REG: Â The Charitable Concept Explained
To better understand the core principles upon which REG is founded, here is a breakdown of the three main concepts:
Effective Giving: Because some charities are more effective than others, REG is looking to reduce the “suffering in the world” by seeking out the best organizations through discussion and analysis.
Rationality: Using a combination of researchers, think tanks and industry experts, the players behind REG want to overcome their “own biases” in an effort donate money in an “undistorted way”.
Movement Building: By leveraging the power of poker players across the community REG hopes to create a more powerful and impactful charitable movement.