PPA Sponsoring Derby Poker Championship Featuring Phil Hellmuth
We’re one month away from the annual Kentucky Derby, which takes place on the first Saturday in May every year. Two days prior to the 2010 running, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) will sponsor the Derby Poker Championship.
Blessing in a Backpack and the Health and Climate Foundation serve as the two beneficiary charities for this year’s Derby Poker Championship, which features UB.com pro Phil Hellmuth as its host. “The Poker Brat” is an 11-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, the most of any player, and is widely regarded as one of the top No Limit Hold’em tournament minds in the game.
Flanking Hellmuth and serving as co-host of the event will be fellow poker pro Robert Williamson III, who won a bracelet during the 2002 WSOP in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament. More recently, Williamson final tabled preliminary events held during the Southern Poker Championship and PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Long thought to be the main behind the infamous “Tuff Fish” moniker, Williamson is one of the game’s most entertaining characters.
The Derby Poker Championship festivities kick off on April 29th at 6:30pm with registration and cocktails at the Palace Theater in Downtown Louisville. The “Shuffle Up and Deal” command will be given one hour later and late registration will be taken during the first hour. The Derby Poker Championship has a maximum field size of 220 players and comes with a price tag of $550. Moreover, $200 rebuys and add-ons will be allowed and 51% of the prize pool will be donated to charity.
In addition to the cash, the charity poker tournament’s winner will earn a $12,000 WSOP Main Event prize package that consists of the prestigious contest’s $10,000 buy-in plus $2,000 to use for travel and expenses. Poker fans that don’t want to test their wits at the table can purchase General Admission and VIP tickets for $25 and $150, respectively. UB.com, TwinSpires.com, Jim Beam, and the PPA serve as the primary sponsors of the 2010 Derby Poker Championship.
The primary celebrity on-hand in Louisville will be Denny Crum, who was the men’s college basketball coach at the University of Louisville for 30 years. Crum is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and owns the nickname “Cool Hand Luke.” Crum guided the University of Louisville to national championships in 1980 and 1986 and reached the Final Four six times. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1994.
Other celebrities scheduled to partake in the Derby Poker Championship include comedian Ron White, “Austin Powers” actress Heather Graham, 2010 Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, stud jockey Robby Albarado, “House” actor Jesse Spencer, “Bernie Mac Show” personality Kellita Smith, and “The Bachelor” contestant Bob Guiney. In addition, Beth Shak and Jennifer Tilly will represent the world of poker, with more names to be announced.
The tournament being hosted in Kentucky carries a special significance given the ongoing legal squabble in the southern state. In September 2008, the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet seized 141 internet gambling domain names, including those belonging to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. The case reached the Kentucky Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments last October and ruled in March that two industry trade organizations did not have standing. The owners of TruePoker.com, one of the sites affected, came forward and admitted to being members of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), prompting a potential return of the litigation to the state’s Supreme Court. On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Commonwealth of Kentucky had filed a new lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker.
Commonwealth officials seized the domain names on the grounds that they constituted “gambling devices,” a term that traditionally refers to tangible objects like slot machines and roulette wheels that you’d find in an underground casino.
Interestingly, the Derby Poker Championship’s website lists the WSOP Main Event prize package as being courtesy of UltimateBet.com, one of the 141 domain names at risk and a site mentioned in the new Commonwealth lawsuit. Last year, the Derby Poker Championship was held across the Ohio River at the Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana.
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