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Crypto Community Puts on Poker Tournament to Take on Coronavirus

The cryptocurrency community is doing what it can to tackle the mighty beast that is COVID-19, with a number of initiatives. The purpose is to raise money to help tackle the pandemic and provide support to those charities on the front lines. Among the most recent of these initiatives was an online poker tournament, which anyone could take part in, and which featured numerous well-known faces within the crypto space.

The Giving Block joined forces with high-profile blockchain and cryptocurrency firms to promote the #CryptoCOVID19 campaign in order to raise $100k. It started with a $50k matching pledge each from Gitcoin and Vitalik Buterin for all donations made in DAI Orr ETH on the Gitcoin platform.

An online poker event to rally around


As the coronavirus lockdown continued to take hold around the world, Alex Wilson from The Giving Block pledged to do something more than just ask for donations. That led them to create an event that people could rally around in the fight against coronavirus. And what better way to do it than through online poker?

Wilson said that they had been looking for a way to validate how the community responded to their campaign, something that caused people to come together around the concept of giving. He added that there seemed to be a lot of online poker players in the crypto industry, which makes sense, seeing as both offer a means of making a lot of money. While there's plenty of online poker action available right now for those wanting to show off their poker tricks, here was an opportunity to enjoy the game while also taking a stand.

Online poker perfect for those stuck at home


Jon Lister from Satstreet said that the idea came to him after being made aware of The Giving Block at a Pioneer Club networking event. There were other games they could have chosen, of course, such as online rummy or blackjack online. But there was really only one game that could generate the kind of buzz they were looking for. They agreed that putting on an online poker tournament together while many people were stranded at home would be a fantastic way of raising money for charities taking on coronavirus. He added that it was fantastic to see all the support come in from both companies and individuals across the crypto industry.

It didn’t take long for The Giving Block to bring in a collection of notable crypto names, such as Litecoin founder Charlie Lee, Bitcoin Foundation founding member Charlie Shrem, What Bitcoin Did podcast host Peter McCormack, Pantera Capital Co-Chief Investment Officer and Augur core developer Joey Krug, Blockfolio CEO Ed Moncada, and a one-time professional online poker player with a World Series of Poker title under his belt.

Fun and charitable


Joey Krug said that he thought that gathering a bunch of poker players from the crypto world would be fun, and even better as it was for charity. OKCoin’s Jason Lau echoed that sentiment when he said that the notion of a crypto vs coronavirus matchup presented an opportunity for everyone to have an active role in the fight against the virus and to support the valuable and brave charities on the front line. Charlie Lee vowed to donate any winnings from the online poker tournament back to the charity.

A number of other partners also made matching pledges in the fight against coronavirus, including Cash developers the Electric Coin Company, with a pledge for $5k, and the Waves team, who promised to match up to donations of $10k. also pledged matched donations of $10k, while other donors included Atomic Wallet, Coinfloor, Donut App, Axiom Finance, 99Bitcoins, Ark, and Unstoppable Domains. Binance made a donation of $1 million and vowed to match donations up to a further $1 million.

The final table


The final online poker table was live-streamed on April 9. There was a $100 entry fee, and 50% of proceeds went to charities fighting coronavirus: the remainder was divided up between the players at the table.

The crypto community has been working on other projects in the aid of tackling coronavirus, such as Ripple Land, which is supporting efforts to control the spread of the virus in the U.S. There has also been a decentralised AI hackathon called #COVIDathon, with the purpose of developing solutions to fight the disease

There are still plenty of chances to play poker online while stuck at home. There are even free poker games that can help you sharpen your skills if you aren't quite ready to play for real money. You can work on your poker tactics on games like Texas Holdem, with online resources such as a poker odds calculator and a poker hands chart available.