The National Kidney Foundation saw its revenues boosted by $111,000 last week as a result of a charity poker tournament endorsed by Full Tilt Poker pro Jennifer Harman. A bevy of poker pros turned out for the event, which was sponsored by Curtis & Co. Watches, 2 Step Images, and Dream Team Poker.
A Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) event took place on Tuesday night and was followed by a Full Tilt Throw Down party emceed by Doug Worton. The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada played host to the festivities, with the Pearl Nightclub serving as the home of the Full Tilt party. Its attendees included ESPN poker commentator Lon McEachern, “The Professor of Poker” Howard Lederer, Doyle’s Room personalities Hoyt Corkins and Todd Brunson, tournament director Matt Savage, and former MIT Blackjack Team member Andy Bloch. Ultimate Bet Star Player Tiffany Michelle, who was also at the party at the Pearl Nightclub, told CardPlayer, “We’re going to be up all night and we’re going to go crash some low limit, like $1/$2, poker.”
The charity poker tournament saw a field of 300 players turn out. That figure included 22 ten-man teams participating in a “Full Tilt Throw Down” side competition. A team from the Atlantis Casino in Reno ultimately won this contest, taking home a trophy for their efforts. The runners up were Team Oaks Casino and Team LIPS. Among those in the field at the tournament befitting the National Kidney Foundation were Marco Traniello (Harman’s husband), Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, Poker News Daily Columnist Linda Johnson, Roy Winston, Lee Watkinson, Lee Markholt, David Plastik, Gary “Debo” DeBernardi, Jan Fisher, Jeff Madsen, and Marsha Waggoner. In addition to stars from the world of poker, baseball legends Vida Blue and Tido Fuentes, X-Games judge Jeff Brushie, and NBA veterans Michael Brown and Doug Lee could also be found in the crowd.
In the end, William Roberts, a local from Reno, grabbed first place and a luxurious crystal trophy, valued at $5,000. He’ll also be bought into the Reno World Poker Challenge. Other top finishers included Tom Galusha (second place), Jim Fisher (third place), Wei Jin (fourth place), Armas Schwartz (fifth place), Troy Wallace (sixth place), David Imburgia (seventh place), Sandy Kasinowicz (eighth place), Kim Rios (ninth place), and Yarom Limor (tenth place). After his big win, Roberts commented, “It’s always great to play poker for a good cause. I was just glad to be a part of it. Jennifer did a great job and everyone had a blast.”
In a press release distributed on Sunday, Harman expressed her elation at the fundraising effort: “This is the largest field of any charity event I’ve hosted. The outpouring of support exceeded any expectations. I can’t thank the poker community enough for its generosity.”
The tournament’s buy-in was $200 and its entrants funded over 1,000 rebuys at $50 each. Lisa Wheeler, who produced the event for GreasieWheels, told Poker News Daily, “I can’t say enough. Everything was awesome. People came out in hoards for this event. It took a lot of people to pull it all together. The National Kidney Foundation was terrific.” According to Wheeler, it was the largest event ever put on at the Reno casino. Consolation prizes given out included a buy-in to Dream Team Poker‘s Caesars Palace tournament, which takes place this weekend from Las Vegas. The event is officially sold out.
It was the first year that the Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament benefiting the National Kidney Foundation had been held. On Friday, April 17th, Harman will head to the Venetian in Las Vegas for her annual Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals fundraiser.