The £94,000 ($147,500) that went to UNICEF from the sale of Peter Eastgate’s 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event bracelet was paid by Scottish philanthropist William Haughey.
The ebay auction of Eastgate’s WSOP bracelet began in the week beginning Monday 15 November 2010 and was evetually bought on 25 November. Eastgate had already retired from poker by this point, not turning up to play at all at the 2010 WSOP. In July, Eastgate had stated: “When I started playing poker for a living, it was never my goal to spend the rest of my life as a professional poker player. My goal was to become financially independent. I achieved that by winning the WSOP Main Event in 2008.”
From a starting price of $16,000 and after a total of 116 bids, the bracelet sold for £94,000 ($147,500)to then-unnamed bidder whose identity was preserved according to ebay privacy rules. During the auction, it was rumoured that poker professional Tony G had been one of the strongest bidders.
This weekend, the Danish newspaper, Ekstrabladet.dk, has revealed the identity of the buyer as Scottish philanthropist William Haughey, a multi-millionaire and known poker aficionado. Haughey, who owns a large refrigeration company that services one of Great Britain’s largest supermarket chains, is reported to have donated $5,000,000 to charitable causes over the past five years. His company is worth over $150 million.
Haughey is well known on the poker circuit, having won a side tournament on the European Poker Tour (EPT) in 2008. He has over $248,000 in total winnings, including cashes in WSOP, Grosvenor UK Poker Tour, WSOPE, World Poker Tour (WPT) and Irish Open.
Eastgate did not attend the recent check-presentation ceremony, instead Haughey was joined by friend and UNICEF ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United. A check for £100,000 was presented to UNICEF representative Joanne Andrews.
“Willie told me that when he saw that Peter donated money to charity, he decided that he definitely would be the highest bidder. He was touched by Peter’s generosity,” said Claus Nielsen, a lawyer for Peter Eastgate.