Charitable initiatives in poker have been gaining steam over the past few years, with more and more players publicly pledging money to charity and wearing charity patches for awareness. Matt Stout’s journey from poker pro to founding of the Charity Series of Poker is an unlikely story, but anyone who knows Stout could tell you it makes perfect sense.

Stout earned a reputation as one of the friendliest guys in poker with an unmistakable laugh that boomed over all the noise of a busy poker room. Stout held his tenth CSOP tournament at the MGM Grand Sunday night and raised over $28,000 for benefit Three Square – a Las Vegas food bank.

“This was the first time we’ve ran a Charity Series of Poker event at the MGM Grand instead of Planet Hollywood and they did a really good job,” Stout said. “Three Square already has a really good relationship with MGM – they actually built Three Square’s facility. So, I figured it would be good to create some synergy between the venue and the food bank.”

The event featured a $225 buy-in with $100 rebuys, there was a silent auction to go along with Lake Las Vegas Water Sport and All American Dave as sponsors. “We broke our record with 90 entrants at this event and I was really pleased with that,” said Stout. “Our previous record was 80 entrants.”

Jamie Kerstetter, Jessica Dawley, Cathy Dever and Chad Holloway all made the final table but Paul Wasicka won the event for over $10,000. Richard Seymour, Richard Roeper, James Woods and NHL great Ken Daneyko all played the event.

“Three Square is a great organization. It’s really nice to be able to help an organization that works so effectively with their funds,” Stout said. “They produce three meals for every dollar and 94 cents of every dollar goes directly to food and services.”

“I’ve personally been involved with them since I moved to Vegas,” he added. “I volunteered with them and know a lot of people at the organization. I’m really impressed at the quality of people they have running the show and how financially responsible they are.”

“It’s really nice to take a break from the World Series of Poker and relax a little and remind ourselves why we play the game in the first place,” said Stout. “It’s fun to not take it so seriously and it became a ten-table home game.”

“It’s a really great vibe and taken on a life of its own the past few years,” he added. “I’m so grateful that so many people got behind CSOP the past couple years in such a big way and they’re helping us make the events success and raise a significant amount of money for some great causes.”