Poker March Madness: Matt Berkey’s Heads-Up Charity Tourney Features Brackets for a Good Cause

3 min read

Matt Berkey is asking poker players to fill out their brackets. No, not those brackets. The poker pro is hosting and competing in a charity poker tournament March 12-14 in Las Vegas with 16 skilled players, and he’s asking fans to predict the winners of the four-round heads-up event.

Matt Berkey REG charity
Matt Berkey’s “Solve for Why” poker training academy is hosting a 16-player heads-up tournament to benefit the REG charity. (Image: Twitter)

The single-elimination heads-up no-limit hold’em tournament costs $1,000 to enter with half the buy-in going to charity and the other half to the prize pool.

Each player will start with 100 big blinds and, given the increasing blind structure, matches are expected to last no longer than an hour.

Poker fans can watch all the action live on Twitch with Jason Somerville and Chris Soto leading the commentary.

Putting Money in Good

Berkey’s “Solve for Why” poker training academy is hosting the event to benefit a popular poker-funded charity, Raising for Effective Giving (REG), an organization that raises money for causes such as helping the homeless and animal care.

Many poker players during the WSOP pledge to donate a percentage of their tournament winnings each summer to REG charity, which helps rate non-profits so donors can be sure their funds are not just going to a good cause, but also are being used effectively.

“Maximize the impact of your donation,” is the tagline on their website that explains bringing a poker mentality to philanthropy.

The heads-up tournament will raise at least $8,000 for REG charities, and Berkey is asking the poker community to chip in additional funds for a chance to win some exciting prizes such as an autographed Joe Montana football jersey. Those who donate to REG and send Berkey the receipt will automatically be entered in the drawing.

Dan Shak, a semipro high-stakes player, has committed to matching donations up to $10,000.

Talent on Display

The tournament features 16 skilled players that all have a shot at winning. Berkey, PokerStars Team Pro Jeff Gross, and 2012 WSOP Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia, headline the event.

Sylvia, also an occasional poker commentator, has the most career live tournament winnings ($7.1 million) in the field. Gross, a former blogger here at CardsChat, has become one of the most popular online poker live streamers.

Also in the field is Phil Galfond’s wife, Farah, a soap opera actress who is no slouch at the poker table.

First Round Matchups

Jesse Sylvia vs. Johnnie Moreno
Mike Del Vecchio vs. Farah Galfond
Matt Berkey vs. Russell Thomas
Christian Soto vs. Justin Young
Kitty Kuo vs. Katie Stone
Tyson vs. Hafu
Jen Shahade vs. Jordan Young
Nick Howard vs. Jeff Gross

Poker fans can go to to predict the winners in each match for a chance to win prizes, including a March 23 Run it Up Reno travel package.

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