Following the great response to the initiative organized last November to help the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, PokerStars decided to add a new section to their VIP Store entirely dedicated to charity.
"We want you to be able to give back when you want, not just when we ask you to help," wrote Rational Group's Head of Corporate Giving Sue Hammett in a post published on the PokerStars Blog to announce the initiative.
"You now have the option to turn your Frequent Player Points (FPPs) into charitable donations for CARE International (our international disaster relief partner) and Cancer Research UK (the world leading cancer research charity)," Hammett continued.
Thanks to this initiative, PokerStars players can now use their FPPs to help those in need by turning them into charity donations through the poker room's client or from this newly-created charity donations page, now part of PokerStars' VIP Store.
At the moment, those who are interested to join the initiative can do so by exchanging 1,200 FPPs into a $20 donation to either CARE International or Cancer Research UK, even if more options should be made available in the nearest future.
"We hope to expand the list, but these are our partners for this pilot," Hammett explained. "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."
A Great Moment for Poker and Charity
Even if the relationship between poker and charity has always been a very tight one thanks to the commitment of many poker players and the large number of charity events organized over the years, 2014 has seen this bond possibly growing even stronger than ever.
Besides the headline-grabbing $5,273,047 in charitable contributions raised during the 2014 World Series of Poker thanks to events such as The Little One for ONE DROP, The Big One for ONE DROP and the donations provided by WSOP players through the All in for ONE DROP campaign, this season has seen many prominent personalities from the poker world stepping up and doing their best to support different causes.
Back in February, Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu helped to raise $158,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, convincing also other players as Kara Scott, Phil Laak, and Dan Shak to join and give their own contribution.
Then, the 9th Annual Charity Poker Championship held in Chicago helped to raise more than $100,000 to help the Children’s Oncology Services’ One Step programs that help children affected by cancer. Only few months later, Las Vegas has seen the debut of Matt Stout's Charity Series of Poker, an event that involved players as Matt Salsberg, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Merson, and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow and raised money for a good cause.
Also, right during the WSOP, players gathered at the tables of the first-ever Chad Brown Memorial and Charity Poker Tournament, a tournament organized to celebrate the memory of Chad Brown — who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 52 — and at the same time help the work of the T.J. Martell Foundation, an organization that support research to fight against AIDS, leukemia, and cancer.
Among others, 2014 has also been the year when a new online marketplace named IfOnly was launched, with poker personalities as Phil Hellmuth, Liv Boeree and Antonio Esfandiari who decided to put themselves on sale for charity "to enable rare experiences and connections benefiting worthy causes."
Last, but only in chronological order, the entire poker community has joined with a great enthusiasm the for the Ice Bucket Challenge, an initiative created to raise awareness (and funds) for ALS, the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.