Everyone loves a good poker fight, and tonight’s the night many in the community have been waiting for, with Sorel Mizzi squaring off against Brian Rast for four rounds at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Locals will be able to watch the fight for $20 general admission or $80 for VIP ringside seats, with all proceeds going to charity.
The fight was widely reported when it was first announced at the beginning of the month, but until now it was unclear whether it would be available to watch online, or whether a donation would be required to do so. This morning, Rast announced on Twitter that there will be two streams broadcast via Periscope, one from each corner. Periscope doesn’t include any direct method for charging viewers, so the streams should be available free of charge, though it’s likely that viewers will be requested to make an optional donation.
It looks like we will be streaming the fight from Periscope – two streams (one from my corner and the other from @sorelmizzi corner)
— Brian Rast (@tsarrast) December 30, 2015
The charity in question is Raising for Effective Giving, or REG. Founded by Adriano Mannino and Phillip Gruissem, the charity has rapidly been gaining traction in the poker community, including such prominent supporters as 2014 WSOP Main Event winner Martin Jacobson, and this year’s HORSE champion, Andrew Barber, who I had the pleasure of interviewing about it at the time.
Once you understand a bit about it, it’s easy to see why REG is popular amidst the more progressive portion of the poker community. Poker players are constantly concerned with the so-called EV (expectation value) of plays they make, and REG, based on the philosophy of effective altruism, is the charitable equivalent. REG collects charitable donations and then redistributes them to the charities and “meta-charities” which, based on its research, end up doing the most good to global society per dollar. If you think of life as a cooperative game we’re all playing together, then it’s hard to argue with that strategy.
Mizzi and Rast are good friends, and neither stands to profit financially from a win, so the intensity level might not be quite what we expect from, say, JC Alvarado and Olivier Busquet’s high-stakes fight scheduled for this spring. Anyone who has stepped into the ring at any point knows that there’s no such thing as a casual fight. In my own days of boxing training, I attended a lot of “smokers” (unranked amateur fights) at the gym and there’s a surprising amount of drama even in fights between relatively inexperienced combatants.
As of yet, no link to the streams has been provided, but I’ll post an update here once there is. I’ll tweet it out too, so follow @parttimepoker and/or @benefactumgames if you want to be sure not to miss the action.
Edit: Links to the streams are as follows. Fight is at 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST.
Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.