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Found 2 results

  1. Each of the last five years, Dan Smith has organized a charity drive that pledges to match a portion of what is donated. This year, Smith, along with a group of poker and daily fantasy sports (DFS) pros, pledged to match up to $1.29 million. The drive is officially called the Double Up Drive and benefits 10 different charities, with eight focused on near-term causes and two focused on the long-term. "Poker is an inherently selfish game," Smith said about using his platform in poker to raise awareness and give back. "For me to win, that means somebody else directly has to lose. After a lot of years of it, I thought there was more to life than just playing cards, and I think it's cool that I was able to use my favorite thing to make a difference in the world." Every year, the drive receives a large amount of support from the gambling world, with both the poker and DFS communities heavily participating. Smith works with Tom and Martin Crowley on the drive, and this year Tom pledged half of his winnings from the DraftKings World Championship Final to the Double Up Drive. Known as 'ChipotleAddict' in the DFS world, Tom incredibly went on to win the event for a haul of $2 million and between that event and the FanDuel $2M WFFC Finals, Tom pulled in $2.254 million. That means $1.127 million is being donated to the Double Up Fund. "It's pretty surreal," Smith said of Crowley winning after pledging 50 percent. "When you're playing super high roller (poker tournaments), sometimes you just go completely numb to the value of a dollar. Like, we're playing a $300K tournament, that’s thousands of lives that are going to be literally saved. It's really hard to comprehend. It's a very cool thing, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s been so successful." One of the biggest elements leading to the success of Smith's drive has been the involvement of the poker and DFS communities, and Smith spoke to how much that’s meant to the drive. "Motivating people to do good I think is an unbelievable achievement," Smith said. "Fedor (Holz) last year, Stephen Chidwick this year made very large donations to the drive. It’s just really wonderful to get support. The charity drive is one of the big parts of my life now, and having people whom I respect - I'm great friends with Stevie - getting supported like that means a lot." The seven-figure charity drive is, as he admits, a big part of Smith's life, and with lots of moving parts, people involved, and tons of donations to be handled, both big and small, Smith said he and the group started putting everything together in October, but overall it might not take as much time as one might believe. "It takes a lot less time than you might think," Smith said. "We started brainstorming some charities in October, discussing numbers. We did a handful of one-hour calls. The most challenging thing, I suppose, was getting people to agree on which charities to include, but it makes sense if you’re divvying up what started as $1.3 million. It should take some time. There were a fair bit of logistics, but fortunately, the people at REG Charity were very helpful. They created the website, they’re entering the emails this year. As far as a multi-million dollar fundraiser would go, it takes a lot less time than you might think." Whereas Tom Crowley won more than $2 million from DFS and will be donating more than $1 million of it to the Double Up Drive, Smith hopes he can also make a large contribution from winning an event. Smith is currently in Las Vegas competing in the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl. With nearly 40 entries in the field, the prize pool is well north of $10 million. First place is more than $3.6 million. Smith is playing in the event with five percent of his winnings pledged, and he’s not the only one. "Myself and Nick Petrangelo are playing five percent for charity," Smith said. "So that's $15,000, plus hopefully some skill edge, and I am hopeful that it spreads awareness and if people see it on the stream or television then they are encouraged to do good. Even though we talk a lot about the big numbers, I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference. People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all." If you're interested in donating to the Double Up Drive, or simply would like to learn more, you can do so at DoubleUpDrive.com. The Super High Roller Bowl Smith is competing in is being aired on PokerGO, and you can get $10 off an annual subscription through using the code "Pocket5s" when signing up.
  2. Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. There is a lot on the line in this week’s Movers & Shakers. For the first time in a long time, Sweden’s ‘lena900’ is faced with a serious threat to his worldwide #1 ranking. Along with a pair of tournament crushers cruising up the ranks of the top 10, some notable names have made double-digit jumps up the rankings, plus a Bulgarian pro broke into the top 100 for the first time. Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky (#2) and ‘Girafganger7’ (#3) The column is called Movers & Shakers for a reason, it’s not simply the players who have made the biggest moves inside the top 100, it’s also about those are looking to shake up the rankings. Regular readers of PocketFives will know the names of Ukranian crusher Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky and UK, by way of Belgium, superstar ‘Girafganger7’. But if you haven’t been paying close attention you have missed the major strides the pair have been making, almost in tandem, up the ranks of the top 10. Romanovsky is spending his second week in a row in the #2 position, and now he’s closer than ever to achieving his primary goal of taking over the #1 spot in the world. He trails ‘lena900’ by 357 points, putting him closer to the top spot than any player has been for months. Romanovsky put together some serious PLB points including a runner-up finish in the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $28,616 and 314.65 PLB points, followed by a victory in the PokerStars Big $215 for another $5,700 and 166.73 PLB points. This week he had already recorded a third-place finish in the 888poker $50,000 Whale for $8,850 and he’s been grinding nearly every day to hit that new career high. Right behind Romanovsky is ‘Girafganger7’ who displaced ‘C Darwin2’ for the worldwide #3 spot. ‘Giraf’ has been the #1 player in the world once, back in 2017, but in a recent interview with PocketFives, he acknowledged that returning to the top of the PocketFives Rankings was, once again, on his mind. He made major strides in getting back to the top by winning the March 3 edition of the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $42,351 and 447.21 PLB points. The very next day he had another top-three finish when he picked up the silver in the partypoker High Roller Bounty Hunter for another $10,446 and 166.99 PLB points. ‘Giraf’ still trails ‘lena900’ by roughly 1000 PLB points, which is a sizable margin, but with the amount of volume ‘Giraf’ has been putting in lately, a couple more large Sunday scores could really close the distance. DeathbyQuads (#30) 'DeathbyQuads' is Sweden's #5-ranked player and this week he’s jumped up 11 spots to break back into the worldwide top 30. It has been a good few months for ’DeathbyQuads’ as has he recently surpassed more than $5 million in lifetime earnings and he continues to add to that by picking up four four-figure cashes just last week. He saw a spike in the rankings thanks to three solid PLB scores including a final table finish in the March 3 edition of the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $4,774 and 138.93 PLB points. He followed that up the very next day with an outright victory in the PokerStars Hot $82 for another $3,958 and 148.74. ‘DeathbyQuads’ is a perennial presence in the top 100 and a consistent grinder that has the ability to go on a heater and soar back into top 10 contention. Diego ‘MrBittar’ Valadares Bittar (#35) Another well-known name jumping up double-digits in the rankings is Brazilian grinder Diego ‘MrBittar’ Bittar who broke back into the top 50 by moving up 17 spots. It was a momentous week for Bittar as he, also, just surpassed the $5 million lifetime earnings. On March 10 when he finished in the money in the partypoker Sunday Bounty Hunter where he picked up $1,171 for a 33rd place finish. That was the cash that put him over the top of the major milestone. In the meantime, he’s been moving in the right direction on the rankings mostly due to a major victory in the March 7 edition of the PokerStars $530 High Roller Club Bounty Builder where he picked up $19,224 and 326.73 PLB points. Bittar is nearly halfway to his career high ranking of #16 in the world and he sits less than 300 PLB points behind the next nearest Brazilian, that being one of online poker’s all-time greats Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao, who currently sits at #29. Boris ‘olelemaiko’ Koley (#72) The largest leap in the rankings this week belongs to Bulgaria’s Boris ‘olelemaiko’ Koley who shot up the rankings 107 spots. The move puts him into the top 100 for the first time and landing him at a career-high ranking of #72. That kind of shift is usually indicative of a massive score and this is no different for Koley who took down the ACR OSS $1M GTD for a career-high score of $196,741 and 1,098.64 PLB points. It didn't hurt that on the same day, on the same site, he booked a runner-up finish in the $250,000 Sunday Special adding $36,000 and 354.06 PLB points to his one day total. The rise in the rankings puts his as the #2-ranked player in his home country and has sent his lifetime total scores north of $1.5 million.
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