CHARLOTTE, N.C. — March 15, 2010 — Renowned Limit Hold’em poker player Paul “GiantBuddha” Hoppe is staging a one-man, 28-day “Grindathon” to raise money for a variety of charities. The fundraiser, which began today, was announced on the online poker training website Drag The Bar (www.dragthebar.com)
, where Hoppe is an instructor. The event will run through April 12.
Hoppe, who lives in New York City, likened the event to a “walk-a-thon or dance-a-thon, except I’ll be seated for most of it.” Hoppe, 31, has vowed to not leave his apartment complex during the 28-day period, and is asking individuals to pledge a particular amount based on hours played, hands played or PokerStars VIP Points Accumulated (VPP). Pledges can be sent to Hoppe via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or via private message at DragTheBar.com. Hoppe will post daily updates of these three totals on DragTheBar.com in the form of a video blog.
Pledges will be capped at 400 hours, 160,000 hands and 250,000 PokerStars VPPs. Hoppe said that that if he so much as leaves his building, or plays fewer than 200 hours, 80,000 hands or 125,000 PokerStars VPPs, he will pay individuals 100 times their original pledge. If he both leaves his building and falls short of those minimum levels, he’ll pay 200 times the pledge.
In addition, DragTheBar.com will give the biggest contributor a free 1-year membership to the site. The second biggest donor will receive a free 6-month membership, and third place will receive a 3-month membership.
Donors can select from what Hoppe calls a “grab bag” of four charities:
• Autism Research
• Cancer Research
• The Poker Players’ Alliance
• A private charity to benefit family friends of Hoppe’s who are raising four children while the father endures treatment for kidney cancer
Hoppe’s father died from cancer 23 years ago. One of the children in the aforementioned family is autistic. In addition to the pledges, Hoppe will donate a portion of his profit from the online poker tables to the charities.
“Poker is not necessarily a job where on the surface you create a lot of value for society,” said Hoppe, who has been a professional player since 2006. “I was thinking around Christmas, that I should be doing more to give back. Then ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ came on TV … well, the ideas started flowing from there.”
Hoppe said he was inspired by Dusty Schmidt, another instructor on DragTheBar.com, who played online poker outdoors in Portland, Ore., this winter to raise awareness and funds for the homeless. Schmidt’s House of Cards charity ultimately generated $21,000 — enough to house and feed three homeless people in their own apartments for six months.
“I’m proud that our instructors are so active in their communities and find time to give back,” said Drag The Bar CEO Hunter Bick, who started the company nine months ago. "I'm happy that our coaches are very well-rounded. There aren't too many professions out there that allow for charitable fundraising while working."
“For the majority of my waking hours, I’ll be playing poker, playing a little guitar, running on my building’s plaza, and watching the occasional movie,” Hoppe said. “I won’t exactly be pushing the limits of human endurance, but I’ll certainly be pushing the limits of my personal endurance.”
Hoppe will be playing mid-stakes Limit Hold’em exclusively at limits $5/$10 through $30/$60. He will play primarily at PokerStars.com
under the screen name “Giantbuddha.”