World Poker Tour (WPT) has shown the philanthropic side of poker by announcing the launch of the WPT Foundation, a charitable organization that will support non-profit programs on world issues such as the environment, human rights, hunger and poverty. The initiative will be in partnership with important organizations such as Conservation International, which focuses on environmental issues; Enough Project, who fights genocide and crimes against humanity; We Advance, an organization for health and well-being of women and communities in Haiti; and World Central Kitchen whose primary focus is ending world hunger.
WPT will contribute many of its resources such as its cast members, brand name, media and corporate resources, and an additional $100,000 cash donation. WPT CEO Steve Heller said in a public statement, “World Poker Tour has always been dedicated to supporting charitable causes, but by establishing WPT Foundation we are making a deep, lasting commitment to philanthropy the likes of which the poker world has not seen before.”
“With poker as a platform for an ongoing program and the support of celebrities, our poker player family and fantastic global charities, we’re confident the world will be shown how WPT and the poker community can be an engine for important change in the world, and we’re pleased to fuel that engine with an initial $100,000 donation. The launch event of WPT Playing for a Better World at the beautiful SLS Hotel will be a night to remember and the first of many such WPT Foundation events to come.”
The core of the fundraising will be done through a series of charity poker events called WPT Playing for a Better World. The launch event will take place at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. The guest list includes Hollywood celebrities like Maria Bello, Gerard Butler, Don Cheadle, Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and Eva Longoria, as well as poker pros such as Daniel Negreanu, Dan Harrington, Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Tony G., Jamie Gold, Maria Ho, Tony Dunst and Andy Frankenberger. Master chef José Andrés, winner of the James Beard Ouststanding Chef Award of 2011, will provide the menu for the evening’s entertainment.
The event will feature poker training sessions with famous professional poker players, followed by a round-robin poker event, raffle, and auction on items such as private poker lessons from poker legends, in-home session of WPT Boot Camp, a ticket to a WPT cruise, a helicopter tour of Los Angeles, and much more. Tickets for the event cost $500, and raffle tickets can be purchased for $100. To purchase tickets for the event, please visit WPTFoundation.org.