PokerStars (and other poker sites) have had great success in getting their players to donate to charities in times of need, particularly after some of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. And in general, poker players are known for being a charitable lot, supporting charity tournaments around the world. But how much more would these same players give to worthy causes if the option were always available to them?
That’s what PokerStars is hoping to find out. In a recent post on the PokerStars blog, the site announced that players will now have the option of turning their Frequent Player Points (FPP) into charitable donations.
The idea, it seems, is to allow players to contribute to some of the Rational Group’s charity partners any time they’d like to, rather than only as a reaction to world events.
“We want you to be able to give back when you want, not just when we ask you to help,” stated the post, which was signed by Rational Group Head of Corporate Giving Sue Hammett.
In the PokerStars VIP store, there is now a category titled “Charity Donation.” At the moment, that area of the store includes two options for donating $20: one to CARE International, which is the site’s international disaster relief partner, and one for Cancer Research UK, described as “the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.” Both donations cost 1,200 FPPs to purchase.
It was also suggested that more charitable options may be added in the near future.
“We hope to expand the list, but these are our partners for this pilot,” the post stated.
As you might expect from a charitable initiative, the costs for these “purchases” are somewhat discounted compared to other things one can spend their FPP on. The return rate is better than the cash-back reward bonuses available to players, beating out even the top Supernova level on a per-dollar basis. It’s also a slight discount when compared to the cost of tournament tickets.
Charitable poker initiatives are nothing new. Perhaps the most famous of these have been the tournaments held at the World Series of Poker that have raised money for One Drop, the clear water charity. In 2014, these WSOP events raised more than $5.2 million for the charity, the majority of which came from the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop. $111,111 of each entry in that event went to the charity.
Around that same time, Las Vegas also played host to the Chad Brown Memorial and Charity Poker Tournament, an event held in honor of the beloved poker pro not long after he had passed away from cancer. The tournament, which supported the T.J. Martell Foundation among other charitable causes, is expected to become an annual event.
Of course, every poker player has their own reason for donating money to charity. But PokerStars says that it’s happy to take such contributions regardless of the reason.
“Whether it’s a celebratory donation after a good session or a shot at getting some karmic ‘run good’ ahead of the Sunday Million, we know that the charities and the people that they help will really appreciate it,” the post concluded.