4 Minutes Read
It’s not disheartening; it’s heartbreaking how the second wave of COVID-19 has stung India hard, forcing our healthcare structure to a near-collapse.
Why were we not better prepared? How do we deal with the fact that we are losing our loved ones – friends, family, and acquaintances – to the pandemic for want of essential medical facilities?
As hospitals across the country fill up with patients and more are being turned back each day without treatment, the Indian poker community has once stood up to the challenge with many poker players trying to contribute in any way they can in these dire times.
Shaken by the plight of hospitals, the Delhi-based Anmol Mehta and Akshay Kapoor have planned a hand history session on May 4, open to anyone who makes a minimal contribution of ₹2,000 to charity. Taking a cue from a similar initiative by Sriharsha Doddapaneni last year.
Another COVID-19 warrior is actor, DJ, and passionate poker player Siddhanth Kapoor. A COVID-19 survivor, Kapoor is a strong advocate for plasma donation. The multi-talented Kapoor recently donated his plasma while urging all his friends, followers, and fans to do the same as well.
High-stakes cash game regs Rajnish Kumar and Shashank Siddharth form another determined team that’s hell-bent on defeating the COVID-19 menace. Through their initiative Akkaara, the duo aims to raise ₹70 Lakhs towards COVID relief. Their plan? To raise enough money to buy 10 ambulances for the transportation of COVID-19 patients to healthcare facilities.
While the rising death toll these past few weeks is a grim reminder of the grave situation the country is dealing with, speaking to these brave and determined COVID warriors made my day. I request all our readers to give these efforts due consideration and, if possible, do contribute to the causes generously!
Anmol Mehta & Akshay Kapoor: Seeking Donations For Hand History Review
Young Gun Anmol Mehta and Akshay Kapoor have joined hands for a fundraiser for COVID relief. The duo will be doing a paid tournament hand history review on May 4, which incidentally falls a day after Akshay Kapoor’s birthday and a day before Anmol Mehta’s birthday.
The review session starts at 4 PM. All interested in joining can do so by making a minimum donation of ₹2,000 to a charity of their choice. The players will need to message Akshay Kapoor (on social media) with proof of their donation to get access to the session.
Anmol Mehta reiterated that the glaring lack of health infrastructure and resources pushed them to the idea. “Hospitals are falling short of oxygen, and even getting a bed is so difficult. Seeing so much suffering around us, near and dear ones getting sick, including my maternal grandfather who passed away due to COVID this January,” Mehta said.
He underlined – “I felt that people really want to help out this cause, however sometimes they can’t due to lack the incentive. So, we decided that however little we know about the game, we could spread some basic strategies through a Hand History review session. Also, due to the lockdown, there has really been a lack of human interaction, so just to spread a little joy while we do the HH review session in a fun and interactive way, we thought it could add more value.
Akshay Kapoor added, “Anmol and myself do talk a fair bit about the game here and there, and since we both are from Delhi, we have been discussing the impact of Covid-19 since the cases around us, and in fact, the whole country increased drastically. We both saw how the whole nation was suffering because of a shortage of health equipment and proper care for the people in need. I was organizing a normal hand review, and I get a ping by Anmol that why don’t we do a community review to help raise some funds for COVID-19 and that’s how it started, and within a day, we posted on our socials.”
He added – “A lot of my friends’ relatives have lost their lives, and some are fighting with it, so it is very hard for us that we cannot help them in these circumstances.”
Akshay Kapoor pointed out that he got the idea from Sriharsha Doddapaneni, who ran a similar initiative last year. Both Mehta and Kapoor have been actively promoting their donation campaign across social media platforms. According to Mehta, the response has been great so far. “We have received messages even from the top guns of the game who want to join in for the session, so it should be a fun one!
I am looking forward to learning from each other. People can join in and out as they please, as everyone has their own schedule as well!
Mehta is counting on a good number of poker players signing up so that they can muster up enough funds to make a difference. “People always perceive this game to be an individual and sort of a self-serving mind sport, so hopefully this time around, instead of just taking maybe we can give back even if it’s a little bit and show our generous side as well!”
Kapoor threw in more details on the session – “We intend to start at 4 PM and go for long so people can join in at whatever time convenient to them.” You can join the HH session at https://discord.com/invite/BdqZpC49Fn
Siddhanth Kapoor: Donate Plasma & Save Lives
Bollywood actor (and passionate poker player) Siddhanth Kapoor was in Goa when he tested positive for COVID-19 in February. While anyone who has gone through the trauma of being infected will be shaken, to say the least. For Kapoor, he is making the most of the opportunity. The actor cum poker player recently donated his plasma at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre.
Kapoor shared a picture of him in the hospital and urged others who have healed from the infection to do the same. “Donated Plasma today! Please come ahead and donate it if you are eligible!”
It may seem like a small move, but plasma transfusion can save critical patients. Kapoor’s effort was applauded by his friends and family, including sister Shraddha Kapoor.
We asked him about the move, and he responded, “My motivation was simple. if you get the choice to go ahead and save someone, it’s an effortless way, not at all painful, so must explore it.”
Kapoor recalled, “When I had COVID-19, it was quite something since I had lost my sense of taste and smell completely. Post that, also I had to take care since post-COVID care is critical, so just keep that in mind, guys. If you have the opportunity or you’re eligible to go and donate plasma please do that, don’t stop yourself.”
Rajnish Kumar & Shashank Siddharth: Raising ₹70 Lakhs For 10 Ambulances
High-stakes cash game regulars and former Young Gun`s Rajnish Kumar and Shashank Siddharth seem to have gone all-in to fight the ongoing pandemic. Through their socially sensitive lifestyle brand, Akkaara, the two players plan to raise funds for 10 ambulances to ferry patients to medical facilities in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
Sharing more details, Rajnish Kumar said, “Akkaara is fundraising for a cause that is affecting all, and the one that can bring in some relief to the COVID patients and their families. The last few weeks have been very stressful for most of us, and from where we stand, the future looks grimmer…Now that the world has stepped up to help India with medical equipment and oxygen, we decided to raise funds for the next important thing, ambulances.”
The initiative has been able to muster a good response in a short span. In less than 24 hours after making the fundraising call, they was able to raise ₹4.5 Lakhs, and have raised ₹6.3 Lakhs so far. The goal is still far, though – to make the vision of 10 ambulances happen, they need at least ₹70 Lakhs. And the duo has set the project deadline as May 11.
“We will review our project on May 11, 2021,” Kumar told us. In his message to players, Kumar emphasized, “It’s a testing time for all of us as a community. Let’s help each other in this hour of need.”
The cause has already found many takers with Awnish Kumar Singh, Abhishek Mazumder, Irshad Chaudhary, Kanishk Upreti, Harsh Raj, Ankit Jajodia, Rishab Jain, Jaldeep Vadera, Shashank Singh, Manish Jain, Naveen Kumar, and Aneeeh Deshmukh being some poker players to have made contributions.
You can also lend a helping hand to Akkaara’s novel initiative by making a donation. Check out the fundraising call by Akkaara and donate to the cause here.
If you are a poker player or operator planning or running an initiative towards COVID-19 relief, write to us at [email protected]. We will try and help you reach a wider audience. Let`s stand together in this fight!