The general manager of the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California made good on some run good at the poker table: Rob Reid initially entered his own casino’s Veterans Day 10K guaranteed tournament just to add to the pot and encourage more players to join.
By the time it was over, he was one of four players who chopped the pot for $2,000 each, which he promptly donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in Southern California.
Reid donated his winnings to support relief efforts for the Woolsey Fire, which has been raging in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and has burned an area equivalent to the size of Denver, according to a CBS News report.
The firefighters put their lives on the line. It’s a tragic thing. I was just trying to help,” Reid told the Orange County Register. Three firefighters have been injured so far in their efforts.
Three people have been killed in the fire, which has destroyed some 370 structures and placed nearly 60,000 people in danger. As of Wednesday morning Pacific Time, the fire was roughly 40 percent contained.
North of the Woolsey Fire — in Butte County, California — an even larger wildfire is raging that has claimed the lives of 48 people.
The Hustler Casino and Lucky Lady Casinos are owned and operated by the notorious Larry Flynt.
Reid said it was the first poker tournament he’d played in three years and didn’t expect to win as one of a 111-person field when the tournament began.
But his run was charmed from the first hand of the tournament, when he picked up pocket queens. When the final four players chopped, Reid was the chip leader and scored his first win in a poker tournament since 2012, he said.
The $120 buy-in tournament was free to enter for veterans and first responders to the Woolsey Fire. Other players didn’t seem to mind that the boss of the place was the one shipping the tournament.
“Rob was there to have fun but you saw a shift in his motivation when he realized he could win. Rob became very focused on doing something positive,” player Jason Brennan told the Orange County Register.
“He’s a class act and there was never a hesitation to donate the money.”
The fire that has devastated land and property and displaced people and animals in Southern California has prompted an outpouring of support.
Hollywood A-lister Sandra Bullock donated $100,000 to the Humane Society of Ventura County to help the organization care for animals that need evacuation.
“This donation will help the HSVC provide 24/7 care for the scores of horses, bulls, donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and other pets evacuated from the fire,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post Sunday, adding that they would take care of the animals for as long as it was necessary.
The Woolsey Fire and Hill Fires have raged in the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu. Actor Gerard Butler posted a photo on Twitter of the burned remains of his Malibu home. Neil Young, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke also lost houses to the fire. The set of the HBO hit show Westworld was also destroyed in the fire.
“Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters,” Butler tweeted.