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Scottish Millionaire Revealed as WSOP Bracelet Buyer
The buyer of Peter Eastgate’s 2008 WSOP Main Event bracelet has been located at the 2012 Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Australia.
Eastgate’s bracelet sold for an astounding $147,500 on eBay to an, at the time, anonymous buyer with the username 7****I.
A year later the buyer has come forward as Scottish millionaire entrepreneur Willie Haughey.
“I was very impressed with the fact that Peter [Eastgate] was giving the money to charity,” he said. “That was the only reason I bought it.”
A recreational poker player, Haughey was in Australia for business but decided to try his luck at the country’s signature poker tournament – the Aussie Millions – which is currently taking place the Crown Casino.
Over £5 Million to Charity in 5 Years
The 56-year-old Haughey, who lives in Glasgow, built his fortune through his company City Refrigeration Holdings.
He's gone on to become known as one of Scotland’s most generous philanthropists, giving £5 million to charity over the last five years.
Haughey only heard that the bracelet was up for auction when he saw a link while playing on PokerStars.
The Scotsman never had any intention of wearing the bracelet at the poker table and keeps it locked away in a display case.
“You have to win one to wear one,” he laughed.
New Event at 2012 WSOP?
Just paying $147,500 for the bracelet to go to charity isn’t enough for Haughey and he’s now contemplating giving it back to the WSOP for charity.
“I’d like to give it back to the WSOP so they can put it in a museum even though I spent $150,000 on it,” he said.
“Maybe they could strike a new bracelet for charity and have an online or live tournament in Europe with half the money going to a charity in the U.S. and half going to a charity of my choice in the U.K.”
Poker to Tax the Brain
It might come as a surprise that a philanthropist such as Haughey would be interested in poker but he loves the game, particularly the social aspect of it.
“I’ve run my own business for 25 years and I’m always looking for hobbies that tax my brain,” he said. “I stumbled on late night poker on television one evening.”
Haughey has been playing for seven years now and travels with his wife to various poker destinations around the globe.
He’s become a huge fan of poker and gets frustrated when he sees the game portrayed in a negative light.
A Great Community That's Not All Gamblers
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a really great community and you get to meet interesting people from all over the world.”
“Poker’s been tarnished a bit in the last year with everything that happened with Full Tilt so I think it’s important to show that we’re not all gamblers by giving back to charity.”
Haughey is no slouch at the poker table either as he’s cashed in WSOP, WSOPE and GUKPT events.
He's even taken down an EPT side event for $145k.
“I’ve enjoyed a bit of success,” he said while grinning.
Haughey actually holds third place in the all-time Scottish poker earnings charts with $284k.
“I think the game is getting so fierce these days with the younger guys it’s tough for us older guys to win but I still enjoy it,” he said.