Poker gets political in Georgia senate run-off

Jon Pill
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Posted on: December 7, 2020 10:01 pm EST

The Georgia election has triggered enormous fundraising efforts, including a charity poker game with Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer, and Jamie Gold.

Election day just keeps on trucking. A full month after a huge chunk of the U.S. citizenry went to the polls (apart from those living in Puerto Rico and the other organized, unincorporated territories), we still don’t know who will control the Senate under Biden-Harris.

The key to the upper house now is Georgia. Unusually, both of Georgia’s seats are up for grabs this year. And their senate election didn’t have a clear winner on election night. So a run-off vote is to be held on January 5th, 2021.

Poker players are a political bunch. Politics is as eminently bettable a domain as sports in many ways. Besides, the amount of time the poker world spends on Twitter more or less guarantees an intensity of political feeling. So there’s plenty of feeling in the community about this one.

And unlike most other Georgian elections, this year its not looking like a foregone conclusion. In 1964 Barry Goldwater flipped the state from blue to red. They haven’t voted blue since, with the exception of their own Jimmy Carter in the post-Watergate elections of ’72 and ’80. And a whisker thin margin in favour of Clinton in ’92.

After an unbroken 28 years of voting red, after both Rudi and Donald called foul, and after a recount and an audit… Georgia went blue for Biden.

Going down to Georgia

The Dems have the White House and over half of the House. If Georgia goes blue again it means they’ll have the Senate too. It’s a tight race and both parties have turned on the money hose.

$283 million dollars has been spent on the campaign so far and the polls won’t close for another four weeks. Some estimates are putting the likely spend at over half-a-billion.

That money has to come from somewhere. On top of celebrities, philanthropists, and shady super PACs, that money’s coming from poker players.

The Dems have run celebrity poker tournaments with the cash going to fund various campaigns. Players included Nolan Dalla (Stu Ungar’s biographer) who tweeted about the event saying, “Glad to help promote a great cause, http://ALLINFORGA.COM an online poker tournament and fundraiser to flip the Senate in the upcoming Georgia runoff election.”

For $75 dollars players could join the online tournament. For $125 players got to join stars like Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer, and Jamie Gold on a Zoom call as they played. Also on the call were the actor Kevin Pollack and David Willis, the creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Proceeds were split between Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock’s campaign, The New Georgia Project Action Fund, and Fair Fight.

The event was a true case of charity. As their website put it, “Some swag will be given to players who make the final table and a trophy will be given to the winner.  Due to campaign finance laws, items of actual monetary value cannot be given away.”

If you want to donate, you still can here.

Featured image source: Flickr