Inspired Adam Owen Raises Money for Charitable Cause
Life's all right for Adam Owen.
A poker pro with results both live and online — he's got about $4.5 million in cashes between the two — Owen has career success and the means to travel the world and continue to play some of the biggest events in poker.
However, a few weeks back, he got to see how the other side lives and it opened his eyes in a big way to their needs, spurring him into action.
Owen in Mexico
Owen, a native of Folkestone, U.K., frequently grinds online poker from a residence in Mexico. Of his $1.37 million in online winnings, many in recent years have come from that locale, the area in which he's even ranked on PocketFives nowadays.
He told PokerNews he first checked out the country after deciding to grind PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker there almost three years ago, when he stayed in coastal resort town and tourist paradise Playa Del Carmen.
"I didn't come in with very high expectations but my friend insisted I came," Owen said. "I instantly fell in love with the food, the climate and the attitudes of the people. I now spend a lot of time here and know my way around reasonably well."
"I instantly fell in love with the food, the climate and the attitudes of the people."
Owen doesn't just stick to the beach resorts, though. He isn't afraid to venture into Mexico City, despite its reputation as a dangerous haven of criminal activity.
"People are always shocked when I say I've been hanging out in Mexico City," Owen said. "It doesn't appear to have the best of reputations.
"Like any large city, I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find trouble if you were looking for it of course. But I've always had a great time here and have never felt unsafe."
In Mexico, Owen has become a part of the community of relocated poker players, and one of the friends he's made is Kami Hudson. An occasional World Series of Poker participant and Texas native, Hudson travels to Honduras once a year to help deprived communities there, Owen said. She's been doing so for over a decade, fostering relationships with numerous people in need, people Owen called her "Honduran family."
A Need for Help
It was through Owen's friendship with Hudson that he was exposed to an international crisis.
Over the past several months, thousands of individuals fleeing violence and unrest in Central American countries like Honduras have formed "migrant caravans" journeying north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
"They were so happy to see such a basic necessity and that gave me an insight into the level of need."
It has created a tense situation on a number of levels. There isn't always asylum granted in the U.S. as the Trump administration works to strengthen border control. Plus, locals haven't always welcome them with open arms in some areas.
According to a BBC story from November, the predicted total of migrants reaching the border was expected to be around 10,000.
One of those was member of Hudson's Honduran family, Junior. His home country overrun by gang violence and corruption, Junior apparently found himself in one of the caravans.
Knowing Junior was passing through Mexico City, Hudson reached out to Owen to see if he could offer any help.
Poker Community Contributes
Owen agreed to lend a hand, and along with his girlfriend, he headed to a migrant camp located in a sports stadium. It housed around 1,500 people and offered basic shelter and sanitation to the people stopping on their way to the border.
Wanting to help more than just Junior, Owen and his girlfriend packed a bag of essentials and as many provisions as they could stuff in some trash bags.
"When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by a lot of hungry people," Owen said. "We were quickly encircled — in a respectful manner — and handed out what we had piece by piece.
"The saddest thing I saw was the reactions of the mothers when we opened a 24-pack of toilet paper. They were so happy to see such a basic necessity and that gave me an insight into the level of need."
Seeing the level of need in the migrant camps, Owen was spurred into more action. While he said Mexico City has "beautiful weather" this time of year, it does get cold at night, and Owen saw a desperate need in the camp for warm clothing.
Owen decided he could do more than just bring the migrants his own contributions. He put out the call on Twitter with the goal of rounding up as much as he could by Feb. 15.
He managed to raise $11,963.40 from about 30 donors over the course of about five days. He called the response "amazing."
"I'm very grateful for [the donations] as I'm sure the migrants will be, and also humbled to be entrusted to carry out the work."
"I'm very happy that the reaction was overwhelmingly positive," he said. "In my posts, I tried to make it clear that this was a humanitarian issue and not a political one and I think that was respected by all corners."
Unfortunately for Owen, he did run into a snag as what he believes to be political pressure has made it a bit dangerous to deliver the goods on which he plans to use the money. So, he's waiting it out and partnering with local charity Sin Fronteras IAP to deliver the supplies after a poker trip to Las Vegas is finished.
In the meantime, he plans to get to work on gathering as much clothing as he can and using the money donated in an efficient manner to raise as many useful supplies as possible.
"I'm very grateful for [the donations] as I'm sure the migrants will be, and also humbled to be entrusted to carry out the work," Owen said.
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