When a tornado barreled into Joplin, Missouri on May 22, many members of the Quapaw Tribe were left homeless and with lost or damaged houses, cars and belongings. Hundreds remain without power.
The tribe’s Downstream Casino Resort hosted a charity poker tournament on May 27 to benefit those affected. Half of the prize pool was donated to the Downstream Tornado Relief Fund and the other half was awarded to the tournament winners. The special event was added to the casino’s annual Four States Poker Championship schedule, reported Poker Player Newspaper. Additionally, now players in every tournament on the Four States Poker Championship schedule can choose to add-on $5 for 500 tournament chips toward the relief fund.
“So far, 55 of our team members and their families lost everything—houses, cars, possessions, and some of them lost family members. That’s what we know after four days of tracking them down. Some of our team members are among the 1,500 in Joplin still unaccounted for,” said Sean Harrison, the casino’s spokesman.
The Quapaw, Oklahoma-based casino also runs Eagle Creek Golf Club a half-hour drive away in Joplin, where the bulk of Downstream’s 1,100 employees reside.
The casino’s team members have also created volunteer crews to clear debris, provide bottle water, deliver care packages, and offer computer lab access to apply for FEMA assistance or Facebook updating for family.