Raising awareness for charitable causes such as research for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is just a day in the life of being a highly-decorated professional poker player.
Over the weekend, both 13-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and 2012 Big One for One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari poured buckets of ice-cold water over their heads to benefit those who are afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Hellmuth accepted a direct challenge to intentionally “cooler” himself by Poker Night in America’s Nolan Dalla, and then subsequently called on Esfandiari to do the same.
Not to be outdone, the second-most successful live poker tournament money winner of all time allowed himself to be inundated with multiple buckets of ice water for good measure. After having a total of three buckets of ice water poured over his beanie-topped head, Esfandiari clearly appeared to have had an eye-opening experience. The act was posted on the California resident’s Instagram account Sunday.
On Monday, World Poker Tour Alpha8 commentator Ali Nejad and presenter Lynn Gilmartin conducted their own unique versions of the gesture and posted them via social media.
With the challenges being issued at a fast and furious pace, Olympic champion Michael Phelps, and professional poker player Jeff Gross could be next in line for a cold shower on behalf of ALS research.
High profile poker players have become much more active in charitable actions in recent years as the game’s mainstream appeal has expanded.
During this year’s World Series of Poker, more than $5 million was raised in charity tournaments for the One Drop Foundation formed by billionaire Guy Laliberte.
Professional poker player Matt Stout’s Charity Series of Poker held its inaugural event at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas last month, and Igor Kurganov’s Raising for Effective Giving (REG) invites poker players to take a more systematic approach to issuing donations by pledging 2% of their overall quarterly profit to selected causes.