July 8, 2011
I flew to Las Vegas to support the 8th year of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Bad Beat on Cancer poker initiative at the World Series of Poker. I was anxious to see our new booth in action, and catch one of the free seminars with the pros.
I was delighted to find I’d be sitting in on the “Making Better Decisions” seminar given by long time Bad Beat supporter and friend, Annie Duke. After 8 years I thought I understood how to play. Guess what, I don’t. Listening to Annie, a very engaging speaker, I realized I know absolutely nothing about poker. Nothing. Nada. Guess I won’t give up my day job.
I was a fish out of water in a room full of players who were learning from one of the best. They not only understood what Annie was saying, they were taking notes to use in future games. They were also thrilled to be able to purchase a personally autographed copy of Annie’s new book, Decide to Make Better Decisions with $5 of every book sale donated to the Foundation.
One of the attendees, Marsha Wolak, had been a student of Annie’s and heard it all before. One might say she was an “apt” pupil because this week Marsha won the 2011 WSOP Ladies Event, earning $192,300 and donating 1% to Bad Beat.
After the seminar I had the opportunity to thank Marsha for her generous support and learned she had lost both of her parents to cancer, and a sibling had battled the disease as well. “I’ve always given a little to Bad Beat over the years because it’s a great cause,” said Marcia, “but as soon as I won I went right down and filled out my 1% form. We need to stop cancer.”
So I learned I know nothing about poker, but was reminded that all of us, in one way or another, have been touched by cancer. And while Annie said; “Whether you have the best hand is rarely part of playing poker,” it’s clear playing poker is helping to put a Bad Beat on Cancer.