Earlier this year, the poker community was rocked amid news about the passing of Canadian poker icon Gavin Smith. The World Poker Tour (WPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion who had accumulated more than $6.3 million in live career earnings was known for his big personality, authenticity, and generosity. He died at the tender age of 50 and left behind two sons.
Shortly after the news that Gavin Smith had passed on became known, fellow poker pro Josh Arieh participated in the promotion of a GoFundMe page that was created for the benefit of Kingston and Keegan, the late poker pros two sons. The GoFundMe page’s goal was set at $100,000 but thanks to overwhelming support from the poker community, it managed to collect more than $72,000 in just eight days. This comes as no surprise as the poker world or community is known for its mind-boggling levels of generosity and support.
WSOP Puts Together Memorial Tournament
The GoFundMe page aside, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) also thought ahead and decided to put together a charity tournament in honor of the late poker star. This charity tournament kicked off the 50th annual event series of the popular poker tournament series and it allowed fans and friends of Gavin Smith to share some laughs while playing for just $200 and no rake. Half of the participants’ buy-ins were donated to support the poker pro’s sons.
Unsurprisingly, the memorial tournament attracted a total of 194 entries with $19,400 in the prize pool and $19,400 going directly towards the Gavin Smith Memorial Trust. Also, while only 30 players made the money, the final table action was by far the most head-turning part of the tournament. In essence, it was much more than a fitting ending that involved some of the most prominent figures in the world of poker – they interacted with their fans and other poker players whilst supporting and honoring the life of the late poker star.
A day after the WSOP charity tournament, comedian and poker commentator Joe Stapleton put together a comedy night at The Stage in Las Vegas. The event was hosted by Mark Shunock, the Charity Series of Poker and Vegas Golden Knights announcer, and was attended by an overwhelming number of people who came to enjoy a night of laughs while honoring Gavin Smith. By the end of the event, a total of $15,970 was raised through a silent auction in addition to $5,230 in cash donations as well as $3,040 in ticket sales. It goes without saying that the late poker pro would definitely be proud of the poker community that he left behind.