As a member of the poker media corps, I see press releases all the time. Most often – no offense to the hardworking folks who put the press releases together – my reaction is something like “OK, nice”… and then I just move along. After all, Cardplayer Lifestyle isn’t primarily a site focusing exclusively on poker news. So when I read that the World Poker Tour would be replacing the WSOP as the new charity poker fundraising partner of the One Drop Foundation, my initial reaction was “OK, nice. Moving on…”
But then I got to thinking… perhaps there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Maybe the news is an indication that much like the World Poker Tour has upped its overall game over the last year, charitable fundraising could really be taken to the next level as part of this partnership, too.
The likelihood of this was confirmed when I reached out for comment from WPT CEO Adam Pliska, who said “We think when all is said and done, the poker community will be very excited by what this partnership leads to and ultimately that will lead to even more funds being raised for One Drop’s mission of ensuring access to safe water for people across the globe.”
The wheels in my head have been spinning for a little while and I’ve come up with a list of a few things that would really be great for the poker world to see result from this new partnership.
1. Return of the Big One for One Drop
This is a no brainer. Getting players to pony up $1 million apiece for a seat in a poker tournament is just as amazing a feat in 2023 as it was when the Big One for One Drop first debuted in 2012. The event has been staged eight times, with four of those featuring a $1 million buy-in and the other four featuring a $111,111 buy-in. It would stand to reason that the World Poker Tour would aim to bring back this special event at the higher $1 million price point.
As for what else would make this event’s return super special, the potential entry of all-time poker greats such as WPT ambassadors Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey, coupled with the reemergence of One Drop Foundation founder Guy Laliberte to the poker world alone makes such an event that much more headline-grabbing.
Top it all off with the WPT’s state-of-the-art production and storytelling flair, and you’ll have an event that won’t just be excellently staged in real time, but that will live on as a visual on-screen spectacle for ages.
2. Return of the Little One for One Drop
Another no brainer, staging a $1,111 event allows folks with more modest bankrolls to also partake in the charitable poker giving. To further enhance the event’s prestige, perhaps the WPT could consider producing a final table broadcast for this one, too.
Beyond the inherent added value of having $111 of each buy-in donated to a very worthy cause, the players could also receive some added value if all those players who’d make the (televised or live streamed) final table would also be rewarded with seats to…
3. All-New $11,111 High Roller for One Drop
Here’s an idea for the WPT and One Drop Foundation to chew on. A 5-figure buy-in level has thus far been absent as a special event in the One Drop repertoire.
Plenty of folks from poker’s high roller circuit would likely jump into this one without having the stress of risking (or putting together a staking package for) a 6-figure sum.
Collecting $1,111 for charity from each entrant naturally would add far more than just another drop in the proverbial bucket to the joint WPT-One Drop Foundation fundraising efforts.
While we’re shining the spotlighting on this partnership, let’s also be sure that the final table of this event gets TV/broadcast treatment, too.
And if it’s possible for there to be a seat added for the event’s winner to the Big One for One Drop, well then that would just be brilliant.
4. One Drop in the MUG
Much ado was rightfully made of the incredible, one-of-a-kind WPT Premier Meet Up Game (MUG) that kicked off last year’s WPT World Championship festivities.
Surely reproducing it would be awesome, but how do you top it? Maybe by adding a charity component.
I would love to see the Wynn get on board with this initiative by agreeing, just during the WPT Premier MUG, to (the admittedly tongue-in-cheek) “No Drop for the House” and having the cash game rake donated to the One Drop Foundation. This would be a beautiful gesture that’s by definition a win for all parties involved, including the players.
And for the value adds? What could be more appropriate than awarding to participants randomly drawn special prizes of a 1% piece of a WPT ambassador’s action to any One Drop tournaments they compete in?
The fact of the matter is that pretty much anything done in the poker world that would help increase charitable fundraising is by definition a good thing. The World Poker Tour has proven time and again that when it puts its full organizational weight and effort into an idea, amazing things can happen.
Further per Pliska, “The WPT Foundation has been a tremendous success for WPT charitable initiatives and by partnering with the One Drop Foundation, we think we have demonstrated a commitment to working with them to continue their great work and elevate charity poker.”
Whether it’s via any of the ideas I came up with, or something else unexpected out of left field, it will be great to see the WPT propel charitable fundraising for the One Drop Foundation to the next level in the coming years.