I was delighted to be invited to play in last night’s poker charity event held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
Each year for as long as I can remember, poker pro and legend Jennifer Harman has given something back by organizing and hosting a charity benefit for the Nevada SPCA (be warned about visiting the site — you might fall in love and end up adopting an animal). The Nevada SPCA does fabulous work rescuing needy animals, and helping to find them loving homes. I cannot write or say enough good things for this organization and the fine people who do this kind of work.
Friday night’s gala included several speeches, public and silent auctions, a red carpet extravaganza, dozens of cute and cuddly animals, and a charity poker tournament designed to raise money for the Nevada SPCA. We were informed that for each $50 raised, that would save one dog or cat. Hundreds of people showed up, and 180 players entered the tournament, with multiple re-buys. First place was a seat into next year’s WSOP Main Event Championship valued at $10,000 (which would have been ironic had I won it, since due to obvious restrictions I would not be able to play). What really mattered was coming out, supporting this great cause, and helping to raise awareness for these innocent animals who desperately need our love and care, and deserve so much more than the tough beats these creatures have been dealt in life.
With Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming at G2E 2015
Preface: This past week, I attended the 2015 Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. This was my eighth time to attend what is the world’s largest annual casino and gambling conference. I’ve had the honor of speaking and appearing on two panel discussions in past years. However, this time I attended solely as a media representative with the intent to report on much of what I learned, and speculate on the direction this sector is headed. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and do not reflect any of my past or present employers or associates.
[Gaming vs. Gambling: I do not use the terms gaming and gambling interchangeably. Gaming refers to interactive games not involving wagering. Gambling refers to games of chance which including wagering. Hence, when “gaming” is used herein any of my writings, it’s not a euphemism for “gambling.”]
Full Disclosure: From 2004 through 2006, I served as Director of Communications for PokerStars.com (Rational Gaming Enterprises). The views expressed herein do not reflect the opinions of my past or present employers or associates in any way. My views are entirely my own.
All I could think about last night, upon hearing that PokerStars.com had finally been approved to operate legally on U.S. soil for the very first time was what must have been going on in the mind of Isai Scheinberg — the founder and pioneering force behind the company that I served loyally for nearly three years.
Somewhere out there, he must be smiling.
Within just the past two weeks, I’ve been bombarded with several e-mails and even a few cold calls on my cell phone from “marketers” offering to sell me lists of active casino gamblers and poker players. I estimate the number of e-mails received at about 12-15. I’ve counted four phone calls (three left messages).
What I want to know is this: What in the hell is going on? Why is this happening? Can someone explain?
Last year, I had the honor of emceeing the induction of Jack McClelland into the Poker Hall of Fame
All poker players owe a debt of gratitude to Jack McClelland, who has dedicated much of his life to the game he loves.
Jack served as tournament director of the World Series of Poker for more than a decade (1988 through 1999). He later ran many of the biggest and most successful events on the World Poker Tour (2002 through 2012). Jack also served as Tournament Director at the Bellagio for many years, until his retirement in 2013. He’s also a devoted poker player.
Because we’ve worked together off and on and been friends for many years, Jack has shared news of his most recent health crisis with me on a regular basis. I knew that many within the poker community — players and industry professionals alike — would want to know about his condition, and be kept up to date as to how he’s dealing with a life-threatening situation. No doubt, thousands of people care about Jack and want him to pull through, while he awaits a heart transplant. He granted permission to release various updates, which culminated in his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame, last year.
JACK MCCLELLAND — A MAN WITH HEART (February 2014)
AN UPDATE FROM JACK MCCLELLAND (September 2014)
THOUGHTS ON JACK MCLELLAND’S INDUCTION INTO THE POKER HALL OF FAME (October 2014)