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RafeFurst Rafe Furst – The Pope of Full Tilt Pros (or the Guy Standing Next to Him)   #1057   2010 WSOP #38

There used to be a joke about an unassuming guy (let’s call him Joe) who was somehow known to everyone in the world. (I blame Forrest Gump for driving this joke out of fashion.) I won’t tell the entire joke, because part of the humor comes from the set-up being interminably long: the buddy takes Joe into one situation after another, increasingly shocked that everybody knows Joe.

After 30 minutes of joke narrative, the pair are in Rome, where Joe, incapable of lying, sheepishly admits he knows the Pope. His friend drags him to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, which is packed with hundreds of thousands of people, and they become separated. Suddenly, the entire crowd goes quiet. Curtains part on a Vatican balcony and the Pope, completely unexpected, walks out, followed by Joe. The cheers are deafening and go on for several minutes.

Joe’s friend can’t believe it: that’s his friend, standing with the Pope. He has to tell someone, so he grabs the person next to him and points, “You know who that guy is up there?”

The stranger says, “I don’t know the fellow in the pointy hat, but if he’s got Joe behind him, he’s alright by me.”

Rafe Furst might be the real-life Joe.

Remember how I told you in the blog that Rafe Furst (along with Phil Gordon) was backing Daniel Horowitz in his charitable efforts during the World Series of Poker? I knew that Rafe was involved in a lot of charitable and socially responsible causes but I felt a little funny describing him in the blog as such a rampant do-gooder. Like that he and his friends have that “war-room” at the Rio with the whiteboard listing all their projects? I was certain that was for real, but I was a afraid readers might think I was exaggerating or overly-glorifying his good deeds – or, worse, that you would mistakenly think Rafe was doing it.

Based on Shauna’s undercover work at a New Mexico wedding last weekend, I have at least anecdotal evidence that Rafe Furst is everywhere, known by everybody, doing good things along the way.

Shauna’s good friend Natalie was getting married and she met another friend of Natalie’s named Britta for the first time. Britta saw Shauna excuse herself to write the Daily Tilt and asked her what she was doing. Shauna described her work at the World Series and when she mentioned, “Full Tilt Poker,” Britta exclaimed, “Full Tilt? One of my investors plays on Full Tilt!”

Shauna asked, “What’s your business?”

She explained that she operates a business called Window Farms , helping people to learn to grow vegetables and herbs vertically in their homes using reusable and recyclable materials and hydroponics.

Shauna asked the investor’s name, figuring maybe it was someone I recognized played against online.

“Ray-fee.” Britta seemed uncertain about the pronunciation.

“Rafe? Are you talking about Rafe Furst?”

“Yes, that’s him.”

How could she be uncertain of the name of an investor in her business? Britta explained. “We’ve never met. We only talked once on Skype.” A friend of Britta’s had told her she should get in touch with this man who invested in socially responsible businesses. Rafe Furst.

During their one Skype conversation, Furst instantly grasped the specifics of her business and offered to pay for her to get a patent.” When she asked what paperwork he needed for the investment, he said, “We’re doing this pay-it-forward style. Someday you’ll pay for somebody else to get a patent.”

Because that was her only contact with Rafe, the rest of the details were handled by one of his colleagues.

Who do you think? Daniel Horowitz.

That room at the Rio isn’t imaginary, or metaphorical or some ego-fueled fantasy about pretending to make a difference. That’s just how guys like Rafe Furst and Daniel Horowitz go about their days.

If you want to keep your own tabs on Rafe, or want to participate in some of his activities, you can learn more at, Prevent Cancer, and the World Series of Good.

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2 Responses to “Rafe Furst – The Pope of Full Tilt Pros (or the Guy Standing Next to Him) – #1057 – 2010 WSOP #38”

  1. rspk65 Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Sometimes we do make mistakes and repent in future. Friendship is worth doing, but that should not be with a cost. However the better our interaction with people, the more will be our results to success.

  2. Aaron D Says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Rafe is a person the poker community needs to celebrate. The good he does reflects on the entire community and indeed our entire species.

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