If you think the competition in poker is fierce, then you haven't seen the competition for charity dollars. With so many causes and campaigns nowadays, charities have to get more creative and offer more to the person making the donation, or the money will simply flow elsewhere.
That is what the plan is from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that has devoted a lot of time to the battle against AIDS. They've come up with some interesting ways to raise money in the past and now poker has been added to the fray. They have put on shows like Broadway Bears, which auctioned off teddy bears that resembled Broadway stars, produced the Broadway Bares, which was a burlesque show, and they did Broadway Bets in 2015, a poker tournament open to everyone.
We saw all sorts of people join the tournament last year from celebrity players to members of the average public, with the proceeds all going to help them out in the fight against AIDS. Since the event was such a success last year, raising over $137,000, it has returned in 2016 for an encore.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is looking to draw some big names to participate in this event, including The Humans, which was nominated for six Tony Awards (Best Play). They'll be the main sponsor of the "Royal Flush" bar. There are also a few organizations that are buying full tables (referred to as "Full House" sponsors) for the event such as Presenters Network, the Road Company, the Shubery Organization, Situation Interactive and the Araca Group. Some companies bought half tables (referred to as "Two Pair" sponsors), such as Disney Theatrical Productions, Production Resource Group, Sweet Hospitality Group, Ticketmaster and producer David Stone.
Of course, there will be a few celebrity players on hand, and it is mostly actors and actresses from the world of Broadway. In 2015, we saw players like Patrick Page, Tony Yazbeck, Richard Kind, Eric Bogosian and Anthony Rapp, among others. The 2016 players have yet to be announced.
It's interesting to observe how the perception of poker and gaming has changed over the last decade. There was a period of time where this type of thing would be frowned upon. All sorts of corporations and charities used to avoid anything related to gambling. Now the tables have turned as we see a fairly big name charity relying on poker to help boost its bottom line.
At the end of the day, the tournament is an excellent way to raise money for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS organization, which does some fantastic work. Every cent counts to battle a disease that is still ravaging the world. Organizers are hoping to beat the $137,000 that was raised last year and have so far been quietly optimistic about hitting those numbers.
The 2016 tournament will be held at Sardi's restaurant at 234 West 44th Street, in Manhattan, New York, which is very close to the famous Times Square.