The National Football League does not allow their players in any activities involved in gambling while under contract in the NFL. This is due to the understandable fear that players might get influenced by book makers, that can potentially impact the games they play. However, assome news sites like this one have reported, in the recent years the league has seemed to relax on this policy and has allowed players to play in poker events that are for charity.
Although the game of poker is largely considered to be gambling, charity poker events are usually held in tournament fashion with the participants not playing for cash prizes. The money is donated to charity, while some of the top players in the tournament will receive aprize, but not in cash form.
Charlie Batch, a quarterback for the Steelers, holds an annual poker event. The event is called "In the Pocket" and it benefits his Best of the Batch Foundation that provides literacy programs for both youth and adults. The event is a mix other games like poker, ping-pong, and even billiards. NFL players and other celebrities pay a fee to play in the games or simply attend the event with Batch.
Tyler's Team Charity Poker Classic is another charity event that NFL players participate in. Tampa Bay Buccaneers James Lee and Errict Rhett played with various other players to help raise money for Tyler's organization, the Tyler McLellan Foundation, that supports youth sports in southern Florida. The event is quite inexpensive as the event opens with a $50 buy-in and allows rebuys at $20.
Contrary to popular belief, the game of poker is not a form of gambling with the likes of blackjack and roulette. This is because the players are playing against each other and not against the house. Well of course, the game is still widely considered as gambling and the NFL shares that opinion, but thanks to charity events NFL players are able to play the game without being a risk to the NFL's image. With all the money going to charities, it makes everyone, especially the beneficiaries, winners in the end.