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The world is being ripped apart by the unprecedented spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As of April 6, the total number of confirmed cases worldwide stands at 1,284,780, while the death toll has reached 70,328. India, too, is steadily inching towards the 5,000-mark, with 4,314 positive cases already being registered and the number of casualties touching 118.
The humanitarian crisis has adversely affected the world economy, with almost half of the global population currently under lockdown. There are millions of people struggling to make ends meet at this time. In such devastating times, the need of the hour is for all of us to come together (metaphorically speaking).
Several companies and industrialists have already come forward to offer their assistance and contribute to the relief efforts. India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has contributed ₹500 Crores to PM’s fund along with ₹5 Crores for the CM Relief Fund of Maharashtra. The Ambanis have also set up a 100-bed COVID-19 unit in Mumbai and are providing free meals across multiple cities. Ratan Tata has decided to contribute ₹500 Crores that will help cover the costs of protective gear, ventilators, testing kits, etc. Tata Group Chairman, N. Chandrasekaran has pledged an additional ₹1,000 Crores to support activities in collaboration with Tata Trusts. He said that the Tata Group is getting ready to manufacture ventilators soon.
Azim Premji has committed ₹1,000 Crores through the Azim Premji Foundation. Meanwhile, Wipro Limited (₹100 Crores) and Wipro Enterprises Limited (₹25 Crores) have also made significant contributions.
Showing exemplary efforts, the Indian poker community has also stood up to support the cause. From gaming giants like Delta Corp. and the Pride Casino Group, online poker sites like Spartan Poker, PokerBaazi, Adda52, PokerStars India, and 9stacks, to numerous poker players, have all contributed generously towards the multiple relief efforts being carried out to fight the pandemic.
Gaming Companies Donate Generously
Gaming behemoths Delta Corp (Deltin Group) and Pride Casino Group recently reached out to Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and contributed ₹51 Lakhs each to the CM’s Relief Fund. Delta Corp’s President-Operation Anil Malani and Pride Group’s Managing Director Shrinivas Nayak also committed to necessary commodities such as medications, medical devices, food, and ration supplies for about 7,000 employees belonging to the casino industry in the coastal state, as well as police personnel and other stranded persons in the state.
Commenting on the initiative, Chairman of Deltin Group Jaydev Mody said, “We, at Deltin, have pledged our support in Goa’s fight against the coronavirus disease. These are challenging times for all, and many remain vulnerable to the COVID-19. Deltin Group believes in creating awareness amongst the general public about the pandemic and providing humanitarian aid to the needy. We are all in this together, and the need of the hour is to watch each other’s back.”
Online Poker Sites Join the Relief Efforts
One of the industry leaders, Spartan Poker, was one of the first Indian poker sites to start relief efforts to fight the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The site has pledged to contribute a minimum amount of ₹3 Lakhs every month, a small step, to help control the spread of the virus and help those in need. The Spartan Poker team has generously decided to donate all the rake collected from Windfall tournaments on the platform towards the cause.
Joining in the effort, PokerBaazi, Adda52, PokerStars India, and 9stacks have also made similar commitments.
India’s most trusted poker site, PokerBaazi, stepped forward to donate a minimum of ₹10 Lakhs to support India’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic by associating with the Delhi Youth Welfare Association (DYWA). The platform has organized a special tournament series on its app to support the cause. The brand will be donating the entire tournament fee raised from the main event as well as an equivalent amount from the company’s side towards supporting daily wage workers with ration and money.
One of India’s leading online poker sites, Adda52, added a special tournament named Falcon and its total rake to date amounting to ₹2.5 Lakhs will be donated towards the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Moreover, the site will be giving the entire rake collected in all AOPS Warm-Up events towards the COVID-19 help care in the PM Relief Fund.
Speaking to us on this topic, 9stacks co-founder Sudhir Kamath said that the site has encouraged all its employees to contribute to charities. “We’ve only encouraged our employees to give to a couple of charities that are working on feeding poor/migrants. We’ve been thinking of holding a Charitable tournament but haven’t done that yet.”
Even PokerStars India has donated ₹10 Lakhs to the PM’s Relief Fund.
Poker Players Come Together
For the past few weeks, we have been bringing you tidbits of what players located across the country have been doing during the 21-day nation-wide lockdown. Besides connecting with family, working to stay fit both mentally and physically, and grinding online, a lot of the players have also been doing their fair share towards relief efforts at these dire times.
The original ‘Poker Guru of India’ Aditya Agarwal has donated ₹50,000, while his wife Shuchi Chamaria has also contributed the same amount to Aneka Goel’s COVID-19 Campaign in Mumbai.
Bollywood actor and poker player Siddhanth Kapoor has set up a COVID-19 relief fundraiser to help the people who have been affected by the outbreak and require financial aid. The money collected will be used to provide people with free sanitizers and masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Former WPT champion Dhaval Mudgal urged players and others to donate to the relief efforts including Kapoor’s campaign, saying, “Today try and think of us as privileged that we are complaining of lack of groceries and things of the sort while people don’t have basic sanitation and are stranded without any food at all! Our very own bullzeye (Siddhanth Kapoor) has started a relief fund to help. If not here, then go donate in any other known organisation that is helping ppl. Even ₹500 will help feed a family.” He also stated that he will be donating 5 percent of his buy-ins.
Raag Fernandes held a fun contest on Facebook to try and help others in the community in need of help.
“To potentially assist anyone on this group who might be in a tough spot due to the current circumstances, giving ₹10K each to the first 3 peeps who correctly guess which football club I support. ₹20K if you guess the club and my favourite player to have ever played for the club (only the first guess). Only 1 guess per human.”
Taking inspiration from Fernandes’ post and defending the former when he received criticism for trying to raise money unconventionally, Sriharsha Doddapaneni, made a unique contribution of his own.
“Inspired by Raag’s post (and also little mad that he is getting flak for donating in a fun way): I will be taking a group 3-hour hand history review session for all the people who donate ₹5K or more to charity of their choice (previous donations won’t be applicable). Please post a screenshot in the comments that has amount and time of donation visible. I will also match total donation amount in comments up to ₹1 Lakh. HH review will not be too technical or theory-heavy for people of all skill levels to understand. Open to doing more of these at higher/lower charity amount if response is good. Cheers guys, stay safe.”
The contributions have been pouring in from all corners and many other poker players like PokerGuru Ambassadors Madhav Gupta and Kartik Ved, along with Amit Gupta, Anmol Mehta, Deepak Bothra, Kunal Patni, Anant Purohit, Aditya Pareek, Guneet Kwatra, Shagun Jain, Phanindra Akkina, Vivek Rughani, Nish Mathija, Kaushik Tibrewal, Aniket Waghmare, Shardul Parthasarathi, Ram Kakkar, Saurabh Arora, and Alankar Choudhary have made contributions.
So, in these trying times, let’s put our best foot forward and contribute to the relief efforts being carried out. Together we will WIN this fight!