It is something that isn’t often thought about by poker tours – the amount of waste that is created. Venture into any tournament poker arena and you will find a plethora of refuse that, in certain cases, could be recycled. In the United Kingdom, two poker tours have banded together in announcing environmental actions against plastics at their events.
Irish Poker Tour, Grovenor Poker Tour Leading the Way
One of the leaders in reducing plastics pollution in the United Kingdom is ECOSEC. The group manufactures environmentally-friendly security bags that are used by banks for deposits. As a part of their efforts, ECOSEC has pushed for poker rooms and tournament circuits to reduce their plastics waste and two of the biggest in the region have signed on.
Both the Grosvenor Poker Tour and the Irish Poker Tour, along with the French poker room Fivebet, have joined in on the “Poker Against Plastic Pollution” campaign. One of the leading online poker sites in Europe, 888Poker, has also stepped up to join the party. 888Poker was the first from the poker world to take part in the “Poker Against Plastic Pollution” drive, using biodegradable chip bags in their live tournaments since May of this year.
“Poker Against Plastic Pollution” has four tenets that they promote:
1. Reduce plastic pollution
2. Reduce energy usage in the manufacturing of plastic
3. Promote environmental awareness
4. Plant trees to help the environment
Considering that ECOSEC has only been in action for the past six months, their activism has been quite noticeable. The organization has recycled 400 kg of plastics from live poker events and 640 trees have been planted. The Grosvenor Poker Tour has been using ECOSEC’s biodegradable bags at their Goliath tournament series.
Poker Community Continues to Show its Altruism
The work by the Grosvenor Poker Tour, the Irish Poker Tour, and other entities around Europe only continues to show the dedication of the poker community and its activism towards helping people and the planet.
One of the most popular tournament circuits around is the Charity Series of Poker. Started by poker professional Matt Stout in 2014, the CSOP has looked to use the game of poker to help support many charitable causes over the years. The Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, Habitat for Humanity, and St. Jude’s Research Hospital have all benefitted from the work that Stout has done using poker as the main cog.
Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, also has used poker for one of his pet projects. Laliberte was the founder of the One Drop Foundation, whose goal is to ensure safe water for millions around the world, and the original “Big One for One Drop” tournament at the World Series of Poker was a charitable event. Since 2007, the One Drop Foundation has ensured that safe water, to be used for everything from cooking to sanitation and hygiene, is available in areas that may not have such access. The organization has raised over $156 million since 2007 in pursuing these efforts.
Poker pros also step up their activism for other causes. Jennifer Harman has done some incredible work with the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, raising funds for the shelter and saving many animals from potential death. Phil Hellmuth is quite active in lending his name to several charitable causes that use poker tournaments to raise funds, something that isn’t known about the legendary “Poker Brat.” In Europe, several top poker professionals banded together years ago to found Raising for Effective Giving (REG), which is quite popular in the poker world today for its activism.
The world of poker reaches deep when it comes to helping their fellow man or trying to improve the world. The work of the tours in the United Kingdom, along with their online and live poker partners, should be feted. It should also be followed by other poker tours, rooms, and casinos to make the world a better place.