Over the years, venture capitalist Bill Perkins has found philanthropic inspiration in many places, but this may be the first time Florida Man has moved Perkins to part with some of his riches.
Upon reading about the Seminole Hard Rock Casino’s Ladies NLH Event outcome and the resulting controversy, Perkins decided he could flip the script and offer a $50,000 bonus for an upcoming ladies event May 15 at the Lodge Poker Club in Texas.
Florida man David Hughes’ takedown of the Seminole ladies event’s $5,555 payday galvanized Perkins to create the $50K overlay for the Lodge event. The 70-year-old Hughes won the ladies’ event April 30th and kicked off a contentious Poker Twitter debate and more than a little incorrect reporting that the ladies event was part of the WPT tour.
“While this was not a WPT event, it was a Hard Rock event,” said Executive Tour Director of the World Poker Tour Matt Savage. “The WPT supports ladies events, as much of our management are women. We also ask our partner casinos to support ladies events, but it’s their choice whether they run them or not. If properties cannot restrict men from playing, we can do nothing besides discourage their participation.”
Savage offered his personal feelings about Hughes winning the ladies event.
“I didn’t like that he won but disliked his attitude about it even less,” Savage said. “He was very proud of the fact that he won the event. I myself would never consider joining a ladies event and don’t have much respect for others that chose to do so.”
Bill Perkins: Philanthropy medicine for the trolls
“I think it was a troll thing to do–to deny a group that has historically been harassed and underappreciated that title,” Perkins said. “There’s been a rash of posts about female poker players being harassed for their sexuality, looks, or other issues. I have daughters. So, I just thought: 1) The Lodge event would really be good for poker, and ladies need a break in this game. 2) A no-punk-ass men harassment-free space would be great. 3) Most of all, it will be fun.”
In addition to the $50K prize pool overlay, Perkins padded the deal. The author of 2020’s Die with Zero bestseller added a $25,000 NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) prize to the mix for the eventual champion. But it came with a few stipulations and a pop quiz as defined within his May 5th Twitter post.
“With all the hoopla I thought I’d sweeten the pot and promote #DieWithZero,” said Perkins. “You write a book to get the concept out, not to make money, so I actively find ways to spread the message. This also sweetens the pot for the final table and creates more tension and drama. The Lodge and I aim to make this a very positive event for women’s poker. I can’t wait.”
The contribution of $50,000 to the eventual prize pool instantly set ablaze a wildfire of support from men and women. Former WPT Player of the Year and renowned coach, Jonathan Little, took to Twitter to announce his own contribution.
“I am always happy to support anything that makes poker more inclusive,” Little said. “As a man, I certainly don’t think I have all the answers as to how to get more women in poker. But we need to spread awareness and help educate people and let them know how women would like to be treated, both at and away from the table. This awareness can ensure everyone has a positive experience playing poker.”
The philanthropic buck didn’t stop with Little. Support for the impromptu tournament continued to roll in. Twitter’s charitable enigma, @TBensbenz, has offered ten entries up for grabs.
Warning: no men allowed
Women across the Twitterverse and the poker community are primed and excited for this upcoming Lodge event.
Best-selling author of ‘A Girl’s Guide to Poker,’ Amanda Botfeld, sang high praises both for Perkin’s generosity and the Lodge. Botfeld is a lead instructor for PokerPower.com, a platform with the ongoing mission to empower a million women to learn and play poker.
“I think the Ladies Event at the Lodge sounds like a great opportunity,” said Botfeld. “Bill Perkins’ $50K added to the prize pool both makes it more enticing to experienced players and makes the likelihood of someone newer to the game to bink a meaningful score.”
Long-time poker professional and Vegas resident, Tracey Nguyen Hill, plans to drag along a few BFFs with her to the event.
“The Lodge Ladies Event is a great way to meet and network with other women in the poker community, as it’s scarce to find lady grinders here in Vegas. I am super humbled and grateful for people like Bill Perkins, Jonathan Little, and @TheBensBenz that support women and provide us the opportunity to participate in a high guarantee event specifically for us,” Nguyen said.
The Lodge Poker Club is co-owned by three of poker’s biggest names, Doug Polk, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme. They all are extremely excited to be the hosts of the event.
“The Lodge team held a group chat to plan the ladies event within 30 minutes of Bill’s tweet,” shared Lodge partner, Mike Brady. “The entire thing got hammered out in less than a day. We’re looking forward to it.”
Still, the main question on everyone’s mind remains – Will it be a women-only event? The answer was a resounding – Yes! “We are a private club,” said Brady. “We can control the entries however we like.”
The event will be a $500 buy-in, and women can register in person at the Lodge Poker Club. They must first sign up as members and then register for the event at the club’s cage. The Lodge will also be offering a chance to satellite into the event this Saturday.
The Lodge Poker Club began a Championship Series of tournaments on April 26th and they culminate May 16th with the $2 Million GTD Main Event.
Follow the Lodge on Twitter for updates: @LodgePokerClub. For more info visit: The Lodge Poker Club. Follow poker philanthropist Bill Perkins on Twitter @bp22.
Feature photo by PokerPhotoArchive.com