August marked the return of DEF CON, the world’s largest computer hacking conference. That means it was also the return of the EFF Benefit Poker Tournament, an official DC31 Contest hosted by security expert and EFF advisory board member Tarah Wheeler.
Fifty-one EFF supporters and friends played in the charity tournament on Friday, August 11 in the Horseshoe Poker Room at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
Before the tournament, Tarah and her father, professional poker player Mike Wheeler, hosted a poker clinic to teach basic strategy to those new to the game. Rookie players learned how to raise preflop, not go all-in on a draw, and many more tips that helped them throughout the tournament.
Emcee Ohm-I kicked off this year’s tournament. The Seattle hacker and hip hop artist thanked everyone for coming, shared his experience playing poker on the N64, and announced that it was time to “Shuffle up and deal!"
Special guest, and last year’s emcee, Jen Easterly, dropped by to wish everyone good luck.
Celebrity players included not only Tarah and Mike Wheeler, but MalwareJake and Deviant Ollam. Each played with a bounty on their head – a special prize to go to the player that knocked them out of the tournament.
After the first hour of play, Brandon Perrodin knocked out Deviant, winning a Flipper Zero.
In the second hour, Kyle Chamberlin took the last of MalwareJake’s chips, winning a hat with a scrolling sign reporting “I pwned MalwareJake for charity” and Erick Hammersmark had the honor of knocking out Tarah. In hour three, Just before the final table, Matricii took down Mike Wheeler, winning a prize from Tarah–a donation from her to EFF made in his name.
After four hours of play, three players remained: Matricii, Matt Williams and Patrick Ecord. Ecord as short stack, seemed destined for third place, but “a chip and a chair” became the refrain as he doubled up twice, outlasting Williams.
After trading blinds back and forth, Matricii and Ecord both went all-in. Ecord’s pair of sixes couldn’t keep up to Matricii’s queen-ten when the flop had a 10 and the river a queen.
Every player received a bronze challenge coin crafted by Tarah herself. Matricii, the tournament champion, also took home a solid silver challenge coin as well as the now-traditional jelly bean jar trophy.
It was an exciting afternoon of competition raising over $17,000 to support civil liberties and human rights online. We hope you join us next year as we continue to grow the tournament. Follow Tarah to make sure we have a chip and a chair for you at DEF CON 32.
Thanks to the players for making this a fantastic tournament