Halifax-based Buddhist Translator Giving Away $92K He Won in Poker

Publish: 04.09.2017

A wonderfully generous story is coming from Halifax.

Scott Wellenbach is a 66-year-old man who lives a simple and peaceful life translating Buddhist teachings from Sanskrit and Tibetan.

Unassuming Poker Player

An unassuming man is good at what he does, but he is also very good at poker which he demonstrated earlier this month when he won $92,000 at an international tournament in Spain.

Wellenbach travelled to Barcelona for the six-day PokerStars Championship Tournament and ended the event as 17th out of the total of 1,700 competitors which is considered a remarkable result by any standards. He was one of 50 people to qualify for the Barcelona event online and his trip to Europe was paid for in full, whereas it only cost him $50 to enter.

The 66-year-old Buddhist translator won the equivalent of $92,000, but it’s not the first time he won money from poker and it most definitely is not the first time he chooses to give the winnings away.

Being financially secured with a job and a place to live, Scott Wellenbach does what many struggles to comprehend with helping others who haven’t been as fortunate in life. The translator with a 30-year experience claims he does not give his money away because of his religious beliefs.


While he enjoys playing poker, Wellenbach is not too keen on the idea of taking money from people who may be in crisis.

“A significant amount of your money is won from people who are too addicted, too drunk, too unstudied or too masochistic to play well — and we all have those features within us,” he said.

In order to rationalize his own addiction Scott gives the winnings away to ‘at least do something good with them’ as he says.

“I typically give to very traditional charities: Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, people who feed and clothe and house those who are in need,” he said.