BENGALURU: Being indoors has enhanced people’s interest in online board games, but few would have thought that it can be turned into a way to raise funds. Cashing in on this idea, an initiative titled All In-Poker For A Cause was held recently, wherein people played poker online to support local charities. The fund-raiser, which was taken up in Chennai and Bengaluru, was hosted on Poker High, a platform run by Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal. It raised over `2 lakh over the two-week contest that concluded on Sunday. Team Bengaluru was led by city-based fashion designers Aviva Bidapa and Megha Kapoor. After the successful first stint, the organisers are now coming up with the second phase this weekend.
The seed of the idea came when Lionel David Chandran, who co-runs a influencer management agency in Bengaluru, and his friends, Ryan Ashley Desouza and Supreeth Srinivas, wanted to raise funds to feed stray animals during the lockdown. “All I wanted to do was to pull in money to feed animals and I wanted a platform for it. I reached out to Arjun Rampal who is a part of Poker High – an online poker website,” says Chandran, adding that he was clear on having like-minded influencers on board for this project. “A shout-out by an influencer will have a farther reach than any of us. Aviva and Megha, who understand the game of poker, were sweet enough to be a part of this,” says Chandran.
Bidapa and Kapoor’s shout-out brought in about 45 people on board. “I have many friends who are into poker but I was surprised when I got such a great response since it’s a niche game,” say Bidapa, adding that she is still not as well-versed with the game as other players, but plans to improve her skills by the next phase. “Poker is a game of skill but also requires a slice of luck,” laughs Bidapa, whose team lost in the last moments.
Bidapa, who is the daughter of fashion stylist Prasad Bidapa, also adds that it was nice of Arjun Rampal to offer his platform for the cause. Says Rampal, “Due credit needs to be given to all our people at the frontlines in our battle against COVID-19. It goes without saying that when we put our minds together as we do in poker, we can all do our part to help our fellow brothers and sisters.” The initiative raised ` 2,11,228 out of which Rs 70,000 was won by the team from Bengaluru. All the proceeds will go to CUPA, an animal shelter organisation.