The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is currently sweeping the globe like a wave of water-fuelled benevolence and in the last 48 hours it finally infiltrated the poker world.
After targeting some of the world’s biggest stars, including Justin Bieber, Robert Downey Jr. and Charlie Sheen, the icy charity challenge struck Phil Hellmuth on Sunday and since then it has spread through the community like wildfire.
In an effort to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease as it’s more commonly known), Hellmuth dumped a bucket of ice-cold water over his head before nominating a trio of poker heroes.
Daniel Negreanu, Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari and the WSOP’s Ty Stewart were all named by Hellmuth as the next victims, but, so far, only Esfandiari appears to have accepted the challenge.
In an effort that literally took his breath away, Esfandiari called out Jeff Gross, Bill Perkins and someone who is used to getting wet on a daily basis, Michael Phelps.
Having allowed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge into the community, it now seems impossible to get rid of it and in the last 24 hours Lynn Gilmartin, WPT President Adam Pliska and Dan Bilzerian have all joined the action.
Although each participant offered a unique take on the watery feat, it was Bilzerian who literally upped the ante by pledging $10,000 to the ALS Association before nominating The Ellen DeGeneres show.
With a handful of industry figures already dripping with generosity, the question is now: which pros will be next? While we’re not in the business of calling people out, we think it would be interesting to see Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow and Tony G take one for the team in the battle against ALS.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease.
Known as a neurodegenerative disease that’s characterized by muscle spasticity, ALS essentially causes the sufferer to experience a progressive weakening of the muscles through a process of atrophy (the muscles get smaller).
Other symptoms of ALS include a difficulty in breathing, speaking and swallowing as well as a degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Overall, the disease causes a breakdown in both physical and mental functionality and, at present, the only form of relief is the drug, Riluzole.
Although not a cure, the drug helps to delay the progression of the disease and extend the life of a sufferer. Moreover, because there is no cure for ALS, the disease’s main charity, the ALS Association, has created the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Thanks to social media, the challenge has gone viral and, following the support of numerous celebrities, the charity has so far raised more than $10 million.