Poker Players Give to Charities Through "Raising for Effective Giving" Poker Players Give to Charities Through "Raising for Effective Giving"

High profile poker player Igor Kurganov recently founded a new organization to help successful poker players contribute to charitable causes.

Raising for Effective Giving (REG) provides its members with information that helps identify charitable causes that are the most effective in their charitable endeavors.

By selecting charities that are cost-effective in their approach to helping others, REG aims to maximize the impact of its member’s donations.

Members are required to donate 2% of their gross poker winnings each quarter.

Other well-known poker players who are members of REG include Liv Boree, Phillip Gruissem, and Nick Maimone, who has been doing grass-roots charity work in Honduras.

Recommended REG charities include: GiveWell, Give Directly, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR), Deworm the World, Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), the Centre for Effective Altruism, and GBS Switzerland (REG founders).

Playing Poker for the Greater Good

The poker community has a tradition of charitable giving—the most publicized of which is the one million dollar buy-in tournament held at the World Series of Poker: The Big One for One Drop.

This year’s winner Dan Colman refused to engage in post-tournament interviews and later explained that {n:2014-07-03-wsop-one-drop-winner-daniel-colman-explains-refusal-speak-media:he believes poker is a game that has a “net-negative” effect “both financially and emotionally” for those that play the game.

Kurganov thinks that with Colman’s level of skill he contribute to poker having a net-positive impact on society.

Providing an argument that it would be best Colman to continue playing at the top of his game, Kurganov told, “Right now [Colman] has developed the highest percentage of skill that can be reached in poker. For him to go into something else, where his skill set is not as optimized as it is in poker, will mean he probably won’t be able to impact the world like he can if he remains in poker.”

In a blog post on the REG website, Kurganov and fellow REG board member Adriano Mannino address Colman’s concerns about poker and provide suggestions for how he could make a difference.