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the cause

The Smart Bet tech executives poker tournament raises funds to support Chicago non-profits that are inspiring the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. Since 2004, we have raised over $1 million for our partner charities.


Funds raised from this event will benefit two organizations – Future Founders and Chicago Tech Academy – in their work building the future of the tech industry in Chicago. It's a fun evening that brings the tech community together for a common goal that benefits kids, businesses and more.


The Smart Bet events are No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments. Even if you have little to no experience playing Texas Hold’ Em, all players are welcomed and afforded the chance to learn how to play in our casual environment.


Here’s a 90-second tutorial about how to play Texas Hold ‘Em – one of the easiest poker games to learn! (see here).


For our special annual event, there’s no formal dress code, but this night is a notch above our quarterly casual games.  Wear what you want – just be sure to join us.


This special night includes plenty of great food, remarkable cocktails and plenty of laughs with new friends.


The best part of our events are the players. We are entrepreneurs and business leaders from Chicago’s tech scene. We use this event to see old friends and make new ones, connect on exciting Chicago tech developments, and to unwind and have a good time.


Only 300 players can attend, so book your ticket now. Past winners of the tournament have included Sam Yagan, Chris Gladwin, Joe Jablonski, Sean Smyth and others.


Smart Bet Charity is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization.


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Future Founders believes every youth can become an entrepreneur. We immerse youth in experiences that inspire and empower them to create their own opportunity. We believe this leads to a generation more determined, hopeful and equipped as they engage the future. Since 2005, our programs have served over 35,000 youth. Our national millennial founders generated $17.7M in revenue, secured $12.4M in capital and created 317 jobs in the last three years alone.


Future Founders was created to foster inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and to seed more diverse founders into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The organization was established in 2011 through the merger of two programs: one created by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (which now runs 1871) in 2005 and another created by Uptake Technologies Founder & CEO Brad Keywell. Today, the organization serves middle and high school students across Chicago and 18 to 30-year-olds nationally. Join us as we empower the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.

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Chicago Tech Academy's ( mission is to educate, empower and connect a diverse next generation of entrepreneurial thinkers to discover their passions, succeed in college and thrive in a digital world.  We believe in…

  • Project based learning to encourage a deeper, connected form of evidence based education.

  • An integrated college preparatory curriculum that fosters critical thinking and intellectual curiosity.

  • Creating and sustaining a collaborative teaching and learning environment that explores and refines the ways students learn best.

  • Helping students to become leaders and life-long learners, through partnerships with the Chicago tech community.

  • Encouraging students to develop meaningful relationships with peers, faculty and the business community through networking and internship opportunities.

  • Graduating entrepreneurial-minded, fearless, confident and connected learners who take responsibility for their lives and give back to the community.

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Thank you to all of our players and sponsors. We had a great night!

See our Facebook page for event pictures and future announcements. Donations are still being accepted here.

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