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PCA Big Stack Scott Wellenbach Vows to Give All His Winnings to Charity

Visiting and playing poker tournaments can result in meeting some of the most unique players in the world. One could sit down at the felt, for example, and meet a 66-year-old Buddhist texts translator from Hallifax, Canada. That sounds remarkably specific and it is, but it's the story PokerNews has in the 2019 PCA Main Event.

Scott Wellenbach is the man in question, and he's on an amazing run. In between the youngsters dominating the field, Wellenbach stands out. But make no mistake, he's not just your average recreational player trying just to have a good time. Wellenbach knows what he's doing.

Wellenbach has cashed for $99,358 in his life to date, with the biggest cash coming a year and a half ago when he finished 17th in the PokerStars Championship Barcelona for €61,400 (US$72,176/C$92,000.)

But what's truly remarkable is what he did with that money. Any poker winnings, he says, go to charity. His big 2017 score went to a Buddhist nunnery in Nepal.

PokerNews talked to Wellenbach back in 2017 and got the chance to catch up with him again in the Bahamas as he's playing on Day 3 of the PCA Main Event with a sizable stack of chips.

"Where it will go this time, I don't know, we'll see."

Asked if he intended to donate all of his winnings here again, possibly over $1.5 million in case he would win, Wellenbach was adamant: "Of course. Otherwise, the poker gods might cut me off and where would I be then?"

Wellenbach doesn't have any specific charity picked out quite yet for this potentially monster windfall.

"I made the decision last time actually a week after I did well in Barcelona," he said. "At the time it went to support Buddhist nuns in Nepal. [...] I'm very interested in Buddhism myself, but also women's education is what this was about. I think they're both very important factors and causes in the world.

"Where it will go this time, I don't know, we'll see. I also give to Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam. Just feeding people that are hungry and helping them with the medicine they need."

You can read more about Wellenbach's look at poker and life in the article 'Buddhist translator from Halifax wins $92K in poker — and he's giving it away' at cbc.ca. You can follow Wellenbach and his competition in PokerNews' PCA Main Event Live Updates section.

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