As the General Manager of the Lucky Lady and Hustler Casinos in Gardena, California, Rob Reid doesn’t get many chances to put his poker skills to the test these days. But the Veterans Day holiday this weekend afforded him the rare opportunity to take part in a poker tournament, and the beneficiaries of his rungood were the first responders fighting deadly California fires.
Reid donated every penny of his $2,000 first-place prize money from the tournament to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which goes towards supporting firefighters and the victims of the deadly wildfires currently raging acrpss California.
“I watched the devastation on television,” Reid told The Daily Breeze. “The firefighters put their lives on the line. It’s a tragic thing. I was just trying to help.”
The 52-year old wasn’t even planning to play in the tournament, but decided to jump in at the last minute, also encouraging others to do so in a bid to hit the $10,000 guarantee.
Like Riding a Bike
Reid has been the GM at the two Gardena casinos for about a year, and as a result he says he hasn’t played in a poker tournament since 2015.
But who needs practice and experience when you have luck on your side?
On his very first hand of the tournament, which featured 111 players on 12 tables, Red was dealt a pair of queens.
“It’s a good hand to sit down on,” he noted.
His tournament almost came to an end about four hours in when he got his ace-jack all in preflop against ace-king. The flop delivered a jack, putting Reid in the lead, but the turn brought a King, leaving him with just a 4 percent chance of winning. He spiked the two-outer on the river, however, and never looked back.
“You saw a shift in his motivation when he realized he could win,” fellow tournament participant Jason Brennan told The Breeze. “Rob became very focused on doing something positive. He’s a class act.”
By the time they were down to the final three players, Reid was dominating the chip count, but he agreed to a chop, as long as he got to be named winner.
He says he never expected to win, but he never hesitated in donating his prize to the Red Cross.
How You Can Help
The other players were not as generous, as Reid noted with a chuckle that they “donated to themselves.”
He’s hoping others will follow his lead and contribute towards helping with the wildfire devastation.
The death toll from the Camp Fire in northern California has hit 50, while destroying an estimated 7,600 buildings. Meanwhile, thousands have been left homeless as the town of Paradise has been almost completely burned to the ground.
Even James Woods recently decided to cross political party lines to help fire victims be reunited with their loved ones.
From donating to the Red Cross, the United Way, or the International Association of firefighters, there are plenty of ways you can help, including volunteering your home to host displaced victims of the fires.