Bad beats in poker are like opinions, everyone has one. Players will quickly lament the times they were victimized, but rarely do they brag about dishing out a bad beat.
That all changes this Thursday at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, as it teams up with Cabot Creamery Cooperative to Put a Bad Beat on Hunger, as they stage a unique tournament.
The Vermont based organization, best known for Cabot Cheese, is looking for hundreds of bad beat stories, one from every player who turns out to play in the Atlantic City event benefiting the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch.
Cabot's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Roberta MacDonald, is excited about this first time venture, "we make food and want to help others who give food away," she said.
MacDonald and a dozen Cabot Creamery representatives were at Wednesday's kickoff reception, along with food bank dignitaries and state officials. Also on hand were professional poker players Steve Dannenmann and Roy "The Oracle" Winston.
"Most people go to their refrigerator and there's food in it," said Dannnenmann the 2005 WSOP runner-up, "but some people don't have a refrigerator or even a place to call home. These are tough times and it’s nice to give something back and help others make ends meet.”
The Southern Branch of the New Jersey Food Bank is the lifeline for thousands of impoverished families in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland and Burlington Counties. Last year the branch gave out 5.1 million pounds of food, a 29% increase from the previous fiscal year. It's great the bank is helping those in need, but it's alarming that the numbers continue to climb.
"We're very thankful of Cabot," said Margie Barham, Executive Director of the Southern Branch, "they're a valuable resource in our fight against hunger." Barham added that this time of year is when food bank supplies are at their lowest and the current economy is making things worse than usual.
In addition to hosting the Put a Bad Beat on Hunger tournament, Cabot donated $20,000 to the Food Bank. "We not only want to contribute financially, but we also want to bring awareness to people in need," said MacDonald.
"You see (the charity event) Ante Up for Africa, but we have our own problems at home and right here in New Jersey." She added, "if it were up to me, we'd be doing this in every poker room across the country."
"I think it's a great event," said Winston, the 2007 Borgata Poker Open Main Event Champion. "I've had a good life as a doctor and as a poker player, and anytime I can give back I try to do it," and added, "this is a cause I believe in, I'm glad to be here."
Thursday's tournament starts at 2 pm and is a $300 entry fee ($260 + $40). Dannenmann and Winston will both be in the field competing with Borgata regulars. As an added prize pool bonus, Cabot is tacking on to first place an entry into the Main Event of Borgata's Poker Open in September, a $3,500 value.
"We're going to introduce hundreds of poker players to the world's best cheese and once they taste it they'll want to go home and buy it," boasted MacDonald.
During Wednesday’s reception Cabot honored local ShopRite stores for their contributions to the Southern Branch of the food bank. “Without them we couldn’t provide the services that we do,” said Barham.
We've all heard the story of how the villain hit a two-outer on the river, ending the hero's day. But what about the story of a single mother of two children who depends on food banks for day to day survival?
Cabot Cooperative and the New Jersey Food Banks know it all too well and Thursday they're hoping to hear a lot of bad beat stories at Borgata as they try to send hunger to the rail.