After an initial turn-down from PokerStars, feel-good poker sensation Jared Huggins has received an invite to the television taping of The Big Game.
This change of heart was largely prompted by the overwhelming support the formerly homeless Huggins has received from the gaming community. Spearheading his campaign are pro’s like Justin “BoostedJ” Smith and Daniel Negreanu.
Noted spokesman “PokerStars Steve” posted the following message on his TwoPlusTwo account just a few days ago:
“The seven Loose Cannons scheduled for the February, 2011 taping of The PokerStars.net Big Game are:
Gonzales Cannon II – Sacramento, CA
Courtney Gee – Vancouver BC
Jared Huggins – Los Angeles, CA
Massimiliano Martinez – Rome, Italy
Cari Bershell – Las Vegas, NV
Kenneth Hrankowski – Vancouver BC
Anton Dunyushkin – Moscow, Russia
Not all of the above will necessarily appear. Fewer than 7 LC’s may get to play if another LC wins and decides to come back for a second day.
The list above is not necessarily in order of appearance or schedule.”
So, the thrust of things here is that, while he’s not absolutely guaranteed a spot, it’s a safe bet that Huggins has a television appearance in his near future. The folks at PokerStars have a nose for publicity, and a show featuring such a heartwarming story would certainly make for increased traffic and television ratings.
For those who may not know his story, Huggins first emerged on the TwoPlusTwo forums under the user name “Relaxed Precision.” After moving to Los Angeles and being plagued by illness, he lost his apartment, bankroll, and each of his three jobs in February 2010. Living out of his car, the young man earned spare money by making videos in which he offered “Free Hugs” to passersby. Support swelled around Huggins who, at several points throughout the ordeal, seriously considered ending his own life.
But now, thanks to his own strength and courage, it appears that Huggins has his life back on track. And who knows? Maybe a career as a full-time poker professional could be somewhere down the road.