This blog post was originally published on rotogrinders.com.
Hello Rotogrinders Community,
My Name is Tom Crowley and I play as ChipotleAddict on most sites. As some of you may know I had the unbelievable fortune of winning the Millionaire Maker on Draftkings this past weekend. I am incredibly humbled by this whole experience and still haven’t fully comprehended the situation.
I have not been active in the DFS community up until this point but I would like to make an effort to change that going forward. I am extremely grateful for all that I have learned from this site and its members. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for those who have generously chosen to share their extensive knowledge with all of us. I have always been a private person and have never been comfortable having attention on me. However, I believe that I have been granted a window of opportunity that I feel I must take advantage of. My hope is that I can exploit the recency bias we all have to bring your attention to a cause I strongly believe in.
Over the past couple years there has been a growing effective giving movement in the poker industry. The idea behind effective giving is to rely on science and rational decision-making in order to help as many people in need as possible. It’s easy to be lazy in our thinking about charity because giving to almost any cause is better than not giving at all. However, health economics research has shown different interventions’ impact may differ by a factor of up to 1000. As a former poker pro I made a pledge to donate a percentage of my winnings to a charity called Raising for Effective Giving (REG), which you can check out here This charity takes pledges from professional poker players and directs this money to some of the charities that have been proven to be the most effective at saving lives and reducing suffering. I believe this cause appeals to poker players because the rationality skills used for maximizing expected monetary value in poker transfer well to the area of charitable giving. I always thought this could translate perfectly to the DFS world since there are so many similarities between poker and DFS.
After winning the Millionaire Maker I realized I just might have an opportunity to help this idea transition to the DFS community. The following morning I decided to reach out to REG to see if this was something they had considered. I was happy to learn they had already been working on a site focused on DFS that was near completion. You can check it out here I spoke with a couple of the board members from REG, and we brainstormed some ideas to help promote this to the DFSCommunity.
1. I will be sponsoring a freeroll in the near future to anyone that takes the DFS Charity pledge (pledging 5% of net winnings), more details to come.
2. I will be matching donations of anyone that takes the pledge or decides to make a one-off contribution, up to a total amount of $75,000.
In this industry the term “life-changing money” is thrown around a lot. What people think of as life-changing money varies drastically from person to person. I’ve sat around debating this topic with friends from the poker world before. Not one of us came up with a number under $100,000. At one time or another I’m sure all of you have seen the ads stating that a life can be saved for a couple dollars a month. I’m not going to make this pitch to you. It’s simply not true. Sure a $10 mosquito net in Africa could save a life, but will it every time? Of course not. Sometimes they are misused, or the recipient wouldn’t have been infected anyway. Needless to say this calculation becomes quite messy and many judgment calls must be made to arrive at any kind of an estimate. Nevertheless, it is possible to get an evidence-based idea about how much money it takes on average to save a life from malaria – by comparing how the infection rates develop in poor communities that are sleeping under bednets vs. ones that are not. Givewell.org, a leader in this research, considers anything under $5,000 per life saved to be excellent cost-effectiveness. (More specifically, the current best buys in poor countries are estimated to save a life for $3,400, while it usually takes roughly 100 times as much money to save a life in a rich country.) Sure, this isn’t as exciting as the idea of saving a life for $10, but it does have the benefit of being based on facts. REG focuses on charities that have gone through rigorous cost benefit analysis and have hand-selected those that have proven to be the most effective. These charities tend to have immediate, life-saving medical benefits as well as positive flow-on effects: Children that get deworming medicine or sleep under anti-malaria bednets demonstrably miss fewer days at school and have higher earnings later on.
I won’t try to convince you why you should get involved in something like this. I cannot make that argument as effectively as many of the resources already out there. Instead I will simply explain why I want to be involved. Daily Fantasy Sports has given me an incredible opportunity to secure my financial future playing a game I love. It’s easy to forget this fact during the day to day grind but it really is unfathomable how lucky I am. I personally believe that it would be morally indefensible for me not to help others when granted such an opportunity. I am able to live in luxury while much of the world suffers through no fault of their own. Clearly something is wrong here and I want to be doing my small part to alleviate some of this suffering.
If you’re interested in further information about effective charity and fundamental arguments for why it’s rational to care, check out this talk byREG co-founder Adriano Mannino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBmKUkIGYw4, or this Ted talk by Peter Singerhttps://www.ted.com/talks/peter_singer