Saturday, January 15, 2005


I just logged onto to Pokerstars and was confronted by this message:

"Tsunami Relief Donations Presented on NBC

"On behalf of everyone at PokerStars we would like to extend a heart felt "thank you" to the 11,900 PokerStars players who came together to raise nearly $200,000 for the victims of the Asian Earthquake and tsunami. PokerStars has rounded your donations up to an even $200,000 and matched it 100%, bringing our total contribution to $400,000!

"Our donation to the American Red Cross will be presented during the NBC Tsunami Aid television special on Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 8.00pm ET."

I have no idea how much an advertising spot on NBC costs on a primetime slot during Saturday evening, but I doubt $200,000 is far away.

Would it not have been better and more classy just to give the Red Cross the money and move on? Is this move just publicity seeking? Or am I just being over sensitive?

I'm starting to think my original thought about the real motives of PokerStars in running the tsunami funds might not have been too far off the mark after all...


Blogger Richard Gryko said...

I doubt that a starving orphan handed a bottle of purified water will pause before drinking to question the motives of the people who provided it. For two hundred grand, they deserve some favourable publicity.
You might as well say that the players who contributed to the fund by registering for a "tournament" had ulterior motives in doing so because their names would be visible as having donated. Hell, if they had tried to keep their donation lowkey, someone would probably have started a rumour that they were fiddling the figures behind the scenes. Give them a break.


1:12 PM  
Blogger The Camel said...


You're probably right of course.

I am an idealist I guess.

Just seems a bit cynical that's all.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Pokerstars is trying to make an end run around US regulations by making this donation public on NBC and promote themselves. Saturday night television usually is full of filler these days, which is probably why they're airing the telethon Saturday night to begin with.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Mr. Intellectual said...

I completely agree with you. A Tsunami should not be used to further a group's own interest.

In general, I think that the amount of good will that has been brought forth by this disaster has been amazing. Everywhere you turn someone else is collecting money, holding a charity concert, flying a flag at half-mast or sharing a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims. But why? Why does it take some disaster for people to realize that maybe they should help the needy? Tsunami or no Tsunami, hundreds of thousands of people are still being tortured by the pain of starvation and disease every day. Yet, no one does anything about them. Perhaps it would require too much of a long-term commitment. It is so much easier to respond with a little bit of short-term compassionate generosity immediately following some disaster and ignore the far greater, far further reaching ongoing catastrophe that plagues most of humanity.

In short, good job everyone in helping out the Tsunami victims, but what about everyone else that has been in need long before the Tsunami and will remain in need long after. Let's not forget them.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget who again?

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

although i agree pokerstars is getting cheap promo for there site at 200k

its no difference than the premier league stating that all the teams had put in £1mil (£50k each) and getting the media responce for that

every year at children in need or comic relief you see big firms pledging small amounts of money with an oversized cheque to get them a reputation as a caring firm

if you watch these speicals including the one nbc is running you have to be prepared for the fact they can only exist for all these adverts you are watching for caring sharing firms


4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... was mentioned at about 9:20 eastern time, mentioning that it had donated 400k, took about 5-10 seconds total. Roy Halbritter (leader of the Oneida Nation, owners of Turning Stone) got about 45 seconds of time with Jay Leno as it was mentioned the donated. What I'd consider tackier is that Annie Lennox decides to wear a "Drop the Debt" shirt during her performance of "Why", you shouldn't use a special for tsunami aid to promote that cause, however noble that is.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Oneida Nation donation was $1 million btw.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said at THM forum I tend to agree with you. A very shrewd but cyncial on PS's part.

I doubt whether the victims of the disaster care much though, which is the important thing.


4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. I thought the public donation was a great idea. Offshore gaming is still regarded as a 'shady' business. By donating through a public venue, they help to remove any doubts of whether the money really went to the cause or into someone's pocket instead.

7:18 PM  

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