Tags: US | Poker | Playing | Priest

SC Priest Wins $100,000 for Church in Poker Game

Tuesday, 22 Dec 2009 03:39 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A South Carolina priest missed the $1 million top prize in a poker tournament to be televised this weekend but he won $100,000 for his church and he hopes his participation gives viewers a "fun twist" on their perceptions of the priesthood.

The Rev. Andrew Trapp said he entered the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge in hopes of putting St. Michael Catholic Church "super close" to its $5.5 million fundraising goal to build a new facility. He also wanted to strike a public relations blow for priests.

"At the very least, even if I didn't win any prize money, I was hoping it would help people to see that priests can have fun and be normal people and hopefully get a little bit of a fun twist on the image of the priesthood," the assistant pastor said Tuesday.

The top prize went to retired New York Police detective Mike Kosowski. But Trapp won $100,000, untaxed, in a semifinal round in October for the coastal church's building fund, which has amassed $4 million after four years of fundraising.

For the final episode, a camera crew filmed a Sunday mass at the church, about 10 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, and taped Trapp talking about the need for a new building.

"It's really old. It's too small for our needs, and it's really vulnerable if a hurricane comes," he says in a segment on PokerStars.net.

He adds, "God gave me a gift of playing cards — that interest, that hobby — and I could put it to use to help build our church. That just was really exciting for me."

Congregants will gather Sunday afternoon at the church to watch the final televised round.

The 28-year-old Aiken native said he started playing poker in middle school at family gatherings. But it was in seminary in Columbus, Ohio, that he learned Texas Hold 'Em.

"We just played for fun," he said. "It was just a way to hang out with each other and to enjoy each other's company."

Ordained in July 2007, Trapp is the youngest Catholic priest in the statewide diocese.

"A lot of young people out there, young Catholics, have never seen a young priest," he said, adding that maybe the show will lead others to consider the profession.

Before playing, Trapp got permission from his pastor, who told him to "go for it." The Charleston bishop later gave him permission to be on TV, he said.

Joseph Ohens, executive assistant to the bishop, confirmed Trapp had the bishop's permission. "He wanted to show the world that priests are human beings like every one of us. ... He wanted to demystify priesthood."

To earn a spot on the poker finals, Trapp had to place among the top 10 in a free Internet tournament involving 10,000 contestants, then submit a two-minute audition video.

Trapp said he knew he would be chosen if he could just earn the right to audition: A poker-playing priest would attract attention and viewers. He played in his priestly attire. Since that's what he's used to wearing, it would've felt weird not to, he said.

PokerStars.net notes Trapp's profession in promoting the show, calling it "a story of biblical proportions." Officials from PokerStars.net did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Trapp calls it a game show where, instead of answering trivia questions, he plays cards. "This isn't even gambling, so to speak," he said, since everything, including the trips to Los Angeles, was cost-free to him and the church.

Trapp said the Catholic church doesn't see a moral problem with playing cards or games of chance, within reason.

"It's a question of moderation — just like anything else," he said. "We believe it's fine to enjoy a beer or glass of wine, but not to abuse it to get drunk."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

RPT-Hedge Funds Raise Bullish Commodity Bets First Time in 5 Weeks

Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 17:13 PM

 . . .

Studies: Wind Potentially Could Power the World

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 15:51 PM

 . . .

Solar Storm Barreling toward Earth This Weekend

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:51 PM

 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved