Poker Celebrities Launch #GetTheMasksBack CoronaVirus Campaign

1 year ago
Poker Celebrities Launch #GetTheMasksBack CoronaVirus Campaign
08:25
01 Apr

A group of poker-loving celebrities in New York have launched a campaign to get respirator masks to the frontline health workers battling against the COVID-19 coronavirus.


The #GetTheMasksBack campaign is aimed at those who have hoarded the crucial N95 masks, their gofundme page also ‘trying to recoup the masks lost to price gougers and black-market profiteers’.

The movement is being led by screenwriter Andy Bellin, who is currently working on the script for The Baccarat Machine movie inspired by the Phil Ivey/KellySun edge-sorting scandal.

Along with home game buddies such as poker pro Andy Frankenberger and actors Hank Azaria, Billy Crudup, David Schwimmer, and Aaron Tveit, Bellin is trying to raise $35,000 to supply masks to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Bellin explained to PokerNews this week that his friend who works in virus research there on the COVID-19 respiratory disease feared the lab might have to close down due to a mask shortage.

“The general idea is that we’re asking people with spare N95 masks to call their local hospitals and find out how to donate them back,” said Bellin and added: “And if they won’t donate them, we’ll buy them back and get them to the healthcare workers and researchers who are in desperate need.”

The shortage has been caused by hoarders and black-marketeers who have no real need for the specific N95 masks, rather than as Bellin explains:

“…the healthcare workers for whom they are absolutely essential.”

Prices are reported to have risen from $3 to $35 per mask on the black market, and the poker buddies are hoping to buy back 1000 of them with the money raised, and donate them to frontline health workers at Mount Sinai.

Both Tveit and Frankenberger have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, although thankfully both seem to be over the worst.


As we reported earlier this week, to get around the quarantine and social distancing problems of running their home game, the celebs poker players have been using a combination of free play poker software, Venmo and Zoom (the video call app, not the poker format).

The #GetTheMasksBack campaign is currently sitting just short of $10,000 and if you’d like to contribute to the efforts of Bellin and his friends, check out their gofundme page.


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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