$671K! Buddhist To Give His Biggest Ever Poker Win To Charity

Tyler Durden

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A Buddhist poker player who won $671,240 at a tournament in the Bahamas plans to donate his biggest ever windfall to charity. Canadian Scott Wellenbach, 67, has been playing poker at a high level since 2010 with his previous personal best win having been $72,176.

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In his nine years of buying in, having learned the rules of poker in his youth, Mr Wellenbach has been playing for peace of mind, donating all his winnings to charity along the way.

For his generosity, he earned the nickname ‘The People’s Hero’ in poker circles as his latest outing was streamed live around the world, and not even this enormous win – received after coming third in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament – is enough for him to change his ways.

Among the beneficiaries of his past winnings have been charities Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders, while he also donates to a number of Buddhist organisations.

"Poker gives you a tremendous opportunity to work with the heavens and hells of your mind," Wellenbach, who hails from from Halifax, Novia Scotia, told the BBC.

"You're winning and losing every minute-and-a-half, and so some sense of how your hopes and fears go up and down with the passing circumstance of the world is brought to fore at the poker table."

Who Will Get The Donations?
Wellenbach, who works as Tibetan language translator, is yet to reveal how his $671k will be divided up, but suggested human and animal welfare issues could be tackled with his donations.

“I hope that somehow a wise decision happens and the money goes to good purposes and certain human beings, [or] animals’ lives are eased in some way,” he told Poker News.

After coming third from an 865-player field, Wellenbach also revealed that he sees the game of poker as a means to hone his personal disciplinary skills in what can be a chaotic environment at the top level.

"My personal discipline waxes and wanes," he said.
"Down here at the poker tournament, my discipline was excellent every morning! I was so desperate for a little glimpse of sanity in the midst of all this."​
Ever the gentleman, Wellenbach even took the time to acknowledge the competition who beat him to first and second place, with American David Rheem taking home the biggest prize - $1,567,100.

"I have a lot to learn about how to play poker at this level, with these guys who are so, so good," he said.
 

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