(November 24, 2009 – San José, Costa Rica)
Veronica Dabul of Argentina has won the innagural “Shark Hunt” charity poker tournament held at the Paradisus Resort in Playa Conchal Costa Rica. The tournament raised over $38,000 towards shark conservation efforts in Costa Rica, as well as opened the eyes of its 161 registered players to the threats that sharks face and the various ways they can help protect these magnificent animals.

Poker2009_1Dabul, a professional poker with Team PokerStar.net, was not involved in shark conservation initiatives before the tournament. Neither were most of the players, who didn’t understand the global plight that sharks face, nor that they could somehow make a difference. This was soon to change.

The players, in town for the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) tournament, the first event of its 3rd season, were invited by Humberto “the Shark” Brenes, a Costa Rican professional poker player, to enter the charity tournament prior to the LAPT’s main event. Randall Arauz, President of Pretoma, the Costa Rican shark conservation NGO to be benefited by the charity tournament, spoke during the opening ceremony, thanked the players for their kind support, and explained where the funds go. While at the tables, the players learned about shark finning, and how some fishermen catch sharks and brutally severe their fins to fuel the billion dollar a year shark fin soup market. Because shark meat is for the most part inedible, finned sharks are thrown back into the ocean and left to die.

“The tournament was really well organized and a lot of fun”, said Dabul. “Apart from it always being special to win, I want to contribute more to this incredible cause in my own country, and I’m already thinking about how to do it.”

Poker2009_2This year’s charity tournament featured players who donated 50 dollars to enter the tournament and included an option for them to donate more and re-enter the game if they lost. As the winner of the tournament, Dabul received an all expense paid package to Viña del Mar, Chile, the site of another LAPT event in 2011. The amount raised was then matched by Brenes and in turn matched by the LAPT’s organizer PokerStars.net.

Two years ago Brenes threw his support behind Pretoma’s mission to protect shark populations. Today, his stature as the leading shark philanthropist in the poker community is undeniable. Humberto Brenes and PokerStars.net are part of Pretoma’s corporate membership program, an initiative that brings together local businesses from different sectors in the hope that they will become more aware of the growing need to protect Costa Rica’s and ultimately the planet’s natural resources.

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    (November 24, 2009 - San José, Costa Rica) Veronica Dabul of Argentina has won the innagural 'Shark Hunt' charity poker tournament held at the Paradisus Resort in Playa Conchal Costa Rica. The tournament raised over $38,000 towards shark conservation efforts in Costa Rica, as well as opened the eyes...