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Shane Warne & Joe Hachem Bringing Charity to WSOP APAC
Poker and charity are often contradictory to each other.
After all, the prime objective of poker is to take someone else’s money.
That won't be the case at the Shane Warne & Joe Hachem Charity Poker Tournament at WSOP APAC, however.
This is the first year that the charity tournament has been held during WSOP APAC, which might have something to do with the fact the CEO of the foundation Jonno Pittock is the former Crown Casino Director of Poker Operations.
“Hosting the tournament during WSOP APAC is just great timing,” Pittock said.
“It’s a great time of year for all the celebrities and there are so many poker players in town willing to support the event.”
Raising the Charity Stakes
The event is in its seventh year and is the largest annual occasion that supports the charity of cricket legend Shane Warne – the Shane Warne Foundation (SWF).
The night itself takes place on Friday, October 10th at one of Crown Casino’s exclusive venues and is a poker tournament that is also a gala-type dinner and all-round party.
Considering Warne is 888Poker’s star ambassador, it’s no surprise that many of the players in town likely to be supporting the event include fellow ambassadors Russell Thomas, Jesse Sylvia, Xuan Liu, Bruno Politano and Jackie Glazier.
Warne and Hachem will also be at the event, of course, along with lots of Hachem’s poker friends. Interestingly, one very prominent player who isn’t in town for WSOP APAC still wanted to support the event.
“Sam Trickett couldn’t make it over here, but he still bought a full table to support the event,” Pittock said. “But he had the proviso that the table had to be filled with models.”
“Shane, in his due diligence, has gone and done exactly that.”
The $1,000 it costs for a ticket to the event goes straight to the Shane Warne Foundation, while prizes for the tournament have been donated by corporate sponsors.
That format of the event is a shootout. There are 12 tables and the winner of each table makes it to the next round where there will be two tables of six, with Warne and Hachem taking the seventh seat at each table.
Winner Will Receive WSOP APAC Main Event Seat
The winner of the tournament will receive a WSOP APAC Main Event seat, but the night itself isn’t necessarily about poker. It’s about supporting a good cause.
“The Shane Warne Foundation raises money for seriously ill and underprivileged children,” Pittock said. “Shane has done so much work over the years, helping thousands of families and children all around the world.”
Any of the players at WSOP APAC who support the event should see it as a good opportunity to let their hair down and have some fun.
“The business and corporate players who come to the event just love poker,” Pittock said. “From my point of view, coming from a 13-year background as Director of Poker Operations at Crown, I look at it and it’s very refreshing.”
“These players who come to the event are so passionate and enthusiastic, it’s fun. It’s played in really good spirit.”
You would think that means the poker isn’t taken seriously and Pittock does say most people just play for fun. Everyone except one player that is.
“Shane plays with the same intensity at the fun events and the serious ones,” Pittock said. “Whether it’s a freeroll for a trophy or at the WSOP Main Event, Shane is just so competitive and wants to win every time.”
Of course, if Shane does win the tournament at his own charity event, he won’t be taking home the prizes. Those will go to the player who finishes second.
But Pittock says Shane will definitely take home the trophy.
Warne Helping Poker Grow in Australia
Those outside of region might not realise just how a big a household name Warne is.
It’s arguable that Warne has done as much for poker in Australia as anyone else and there’s no doubt this charity tournament is good for poker in multiple ways.
“Over the last six years Shane and the charity poker tournament have received more mainstream, positive media attention in Australia than anything else in poker,” Pittock said.
“Shane’s involvement in poker and what he is doing with this charity tournament, and how that helps poker grow in Australia and the UK, I think is underestimated.”
It’s hard to quantify the effect Warne has had on poker, but at the very least the charity tournament here at WSOP APAC is going to see a large six figures go towards helping sick and underprivileged children.
Pittock says the next step is to make the event even larger and hold multiple tournaments around the world.
“We want to hold a tournament in the UK, where Shane is arguably more famous than even in Australia,” Pittock said. “If we do that, then Sam Trickett can bring his own models!”