It’s not uncommon for successful poker players to donate a portion of their winnings to charity. But Scott Wellenbach has taken things to a new level after donating his entire $671,240 payout from the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA).
Wellenbach, a devout Buddhist from Nova Scotia, scooped this payout after finishing third in the 2019 PCA Main Event. This is quite an act of kindness when considering that the $671k prize represents over 85% of his career winnings.
Why Did Wellenbach Donate All of His Poker Winnings?
Poker is sometimes looked down upon for its predatory nature. Skilled players hunt fish in hopes of making profits. Wellenbach discussed this subject with CBC News last year.
“A significant amount of your money is won from people who are too addicted, too drunk, too unstudied or too masochistic to play well – and we all have those features within us.
“In any case, I feel there’s a tension about winning money under those circumstances and I guess I rationalize my addiction by giving away the winnings, saying, ‘Well, at least I’m doing good things with it.'”
The amateur poker player added that he hopes the money will make a difference.
“I hope that somehow a wise decision happens and the money goes to good purposes and certain human beings or other sentient beings, animals or whatever, beings with feelings, [so] that their lives are eased in some way.”
Wellenbach Is a Big Practitioner of Buddhism
As mentioned before, Wellenbach is very in tune with the Buddhist religion. He translates the religion’s teachings from Tibetan and Sanskrit when he’s not playing poker.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the 67-year-old’s poker donations go towards Buddhist nuns in Tibet and Nepal. They also go to Doctors Without Borders.
Wellenbach spends an hour per day meditating. He ramps up his meditation habit during tournaments, so that he can maintain discipline during each event.