On Wednesday night, an eBay auction for a 2017 World Series of Poker bracelet associated with poker pro Liv Boeree brought in $10,200 for charitable causes. The bracelet was listed by Raising for Effective Giving (REG), a charitable organization founded by Boeree, her boyfriend and fellow poker player Igor Kurganov, and poker pros Stefan Huber and Philipp Gruissem.
The interesting thing about this auction sale is that the bracelet was not actually Boeree’s. If you will remember, in the opening week of the WSOP, she and Kurganov won the $10,000 Tag Team Event and the first prize of $273,964. Teams in this unique event could consist of two, three, or four players. Because Boeree and Kurganov were only a team of two, there were a couple extra bracelets that were not awarded to anyone. The World Series of Poker donated one of them to be used for this auction, so Boeree and Kurganov were able to use their position in the poker world to benefit their charity.
The two also donated half of their winnings to REG; Kurganov called the organization “basically our third and fourth player.”
The auction began on July 9th at 7:00pm PDT with a starting price of $2,000. There was fairly consistent bidding activity through July 14th and then nothing until the final bid of $10,200 on July 19th. The auction ended at 7:00pm PDT on July 19th with 37 total bid spread among 15 unique bidders.
On the eBay listing, a one-sentence description of the charitable organization says, “REG empowers people to make better giving choices by promoting the idea of effective giving, providing donation advice to individuals and organizations, and supporting fundraising campaigns and events.”
REG is not a charity specifically, but rather allocates its donations to a number of different charities. REG focuses on “effective giving,” or essentially getting the most bang from one’s buck. It looks for charities that use money most effectively, to help the most people per dollar, in areas it considers high priority. REG targets three areas right now: poverty alleviation, animal welfare, and risks from emerging technologies.
The charities REG is currently supporting are:
– Against Malaria Foundation
– Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
– Animal Charity Evaluators
– Animal Ethics
– Humane Slaughter Association
– Foundational Research Institute
– Machine Intelligence Research Institute
As was mentioned, REG was founded by poker players and thus it is no coincidence that it is also targeting poker players. It encourages poker players to donate two percent of “gross poker cashes,” though this obviously could vary depending on the winning and losing cycles of a poker player. The point is to donate regularly and in amounts that tend to be larger than we might otherwise consider.
REG does not take any fees; it donates 100 percent of its contributions to charity (minus fees leveed by payment processors like PayPal). People can give money directly to REG in order to fund the organization, if they choose.