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John Phan: Another Example of Poker Giving Back

by Jeff Shulman |  Published: Sep 18, 2008


OK, the post-World Series of Poker lull is just about over. We're packing our bags for the Legends of Poker tournament to terminate the summer poker dead zone, and after that lies a busy few months.

While the WSOP has dominated the last few issues, we close out our coverage of it (well, at least until the final table commences on Nov. 9) with a look at John Phan.

Phan dominated the WSOP this summer as the only multiple bracelet winner. So far in 2008, he's won nearly a million dollars and, just as he was in 2005, is near the top of the Card Player Player of the Year leader board.

But the reason John is on this cover is only partly due to his poker results and more a result of his commitment to using poker as a conduit for charity. Charity is a big part of Phan's life, and with multiple trips a year back to his native Vietnam, he helps thousands of people by giving them food and money. In early August, Phan traveled back to Vietnam to continue his ongoing charity work, and Card Player had a chance to go along and lend a helping hand. Check out the story on Page 60.

Charity poker tournaments are now being used as a means to raise money for tons of noteworthy charities. Check around your own community to see if you can parlay your poker passion into a philanthropic cause. Here in Vegas, Phil Ivey recently hosted a charity tournament that raised more than $260,000 for the educational needs of at-risk youngsters. The major online sites also are hosting a number of charitable events from time to time. You don't have to be a millionaire to get involved in charitable causes. A case in point is Jerry Yang. When he was a struggling college student, he donated $30 here and there to the Feed the Children charity. Then, after becoming a WSOP champ, he gave the charity $250,000.

All in all, Phan, Ivey, Yang, and others are shining examples of poker giving something back.