Texas Hold ‘em, the New Social Gathering Place for Business
An interesting trend has been developing over the past few years. Where once, corporate golf outings were considered the best way to network and entertain clients, a new type of business event has emerged in the last year or two. Many corporations have found a new way to mix philanthropy, networking and fun all together — in a “Charity Poker Tournament”. So, what has really fueled all of this interest in poker?
A little research on the subject, with much thanks to Wikipedia:
“Texas Hold ‘Em is one of the most popular forms of poker. Hold ’em exploded in popularity as a spectator sport in the United States and Canada in early 2003, when the World Poker Tour adopted the lipstick cameras to show each poker hand.
A few months later, ESPN’s coverage of the 2003 World Series of Poker featured the unexpected victory of Internet player Chris Moneymaker, an amateur player who gained admission to the tournament by winning a series of online tournaments. Moneymaker’s victory initiated a sudden surge of interest in the World Series, based on the egalitarian idea that anyone—even a rank novice—can become a world champion.
In 2003, there were 839 entrants in the WSOP Main Event, and triple that number in 2004. In the 2005 Main Event, an unprecedented 5,619 entrants vied for a first prize of $7,500,000. This growth continued in 2006, with 8,773 entrants and a first place prize of $12,000,000 (won by Jamie Gold).
Beyond the World Series, other television shows—including the long running World Poker Tour—are credited with increasing the popularity of Texas hold ’em. In addition to its presence on network and general audience cable television, poker has now become a regular part of sports networks’ programming in the United States. “
It is thought that spectators of Texas Hold’em now rival that of football and stock car racing in the United States, a phenomenal prospect.
Many amateur tournaments have sprung up to allow “friends” to play poker, network with each other, and give proceeds to charity. Could there be a better combination? As an example, The Brenner Group is hosting a charity tournament next month to raise money for The American Red Cross, and two well known valley companies, Bridge Bank and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe have agreed to co-sponsor the event.
So, if you were wondering why all of the Poker Tournaments are springing up, you now have all the facts.
Rich Brenner is Founder and CEO of The Brenner Group, one of Silicon Valley’s premier professional services firms. Rich is a veteran executive, entrepreneur, investor, board member, and philanthropist.
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