Poker has been called a very dark game. Especially at the highest levels, the best professionals can prey upon weaker foes, taking millions of dollars from amateurs.
Igor Kurganov, who earned $18.7m as one of the game’s top players before before retiring last year, says: “It definitely bothered me a little bit.”
He need not feel bad. Most of his winnings came at high-stakes tournaments, played against other professionals or well-to-do business people who could afford to lose.
More importantly, Kurganov and three poker-playing friends, including his partner, Liv Boeree, started an organization called Raising for Effective Giving — “raising,” get it? — that has persuaded poker players to give nearly $15m to charities since in 2014.
Not just any charities, though — REG, as it’s known, is shaped by the principles of effective altruism. It supports only those charities that have been vetted by others aligned with effective altruism, including GiveWell, Animal Charity Evaluators, the Open Philanthropy Project and the Foundational Research Institute.
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