Feelgood Summer Poker

Karina Jett charity tourney at Golden Nugget

by , Jun 2, 2010 | 4:54 pm

Friday, June 4
6 pm

Golden Nugget
Las Vegas

Buy-in: $220
Rebuys: $100

First place:

As you know, I’m not really watching much poker this summer; however, I am rather excited about finally getting to play a little, tournament-style — and Friday I’ll be doing just that in Karina Jett’s All-In 4 Autism Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament. There’s just something about a tax-deductible underlay that makes ridiculously fast and luck-based blind structures appealing.

I played last year, and with just a single rebuy, I actually cashed. Got a really nice gift bag with some coupons and not one, but two Full Tilt swag t-shirts. (I think I finished something like 30th place out of maybe 150?

But the awesomeness of the Vegas charity scene became clearly apparent to me not from any “celebs” at my table, but from a very drinky maniac a few seats to my left. He was playing terribly but without fear, putting in rebuy after rebuy and playing any two cards, which sometimes got there allowing him to take down a big pot.

This guy — a real estate dude from Houston, I believe — had no idea the event was going on until he had seen something about it at the Golden Nugget, and decided to take the $1,000 he had to gamble that day and give it a shot. For him, it didn’t matter if he won or lost, he was just happy to be playing poker while pounding the rum-and-diets at the table with Chip Jett and Adam Schoenfeld, two pros he had seen several times on TV who were willing to play back at him no less! “I’m having the time of my life!” I distinctly remember him slurring,while waiting to see if his 6-7, J-2, King-spoon, whatever … held up. Eventually, after the rebuy period was up and he donked himself out of any money prize … it still didn’t matter.

Charity maniac-dude just had a unique, memorable rip-roaring-fun Vegas experience that he hadn’t even planned on. In the end it cost him less than he mighta lost anyways (or, by his own admission, spent frivolously at a strip club) while he helped make the bad beats and crazy calls all part of an even more generous and extra good time.

While certain causes are almost always near-and-dear to the host’s or hostess’s heart — as autism is here for Karina Jett — guys like charity-maniac dude, I’m pretty sure, is why the pros play these things.

Beyond getting to write off all their rebuys, it’s a chance to actually kick back a bit — doing what they already do, but without the seriousness attached to the WSOP, almost like a break without having to take a full mental vacation. Perhaps reminds them of bigger life pictures in play, too, not to mention why they play the game in the first place … because at its core, even when you leave with less money than you arrived with, it can be really, really fun.

More information at AllIn4Autism.org.


May 11, 2010

Celebrities and Poker Pros go All In 4 Autism

LAS VEGAS – The Golden Nugget will kick off its Third Annual Grand Poker Series with the inaugural All In 4 Autism Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament hosted by former Miss USA and television personality Shanna Moakler, June 4 at 6 p.m. in The Grand events center.

Celebrities, poker pros and athletes such as Jason Alexander, Dan Henderson and Erik Seidel will join All In 4 Autism to raise awareness and funding for the growth in autism services in the Las Vegas area during this star-studded charity poker event.

“We are very happy to be partnering with the Golden Nugget, its Grand Poker Series and many of Las Vegas’ finest poker pros and celebrities to host this very special and important charity event,” said Karina Jett, pro poker player and national spokesperson for the non-profit organization. “All monies raised will go to increasing awareness of the limited services for autism in Las Vegas.”

The All In 4 Autism Charity Poker Tournament will feature $220 buy-ins and $100 re-buys, with a $10,000 grand prize, with all proceeds going to autism services in Las Vegas.

Autism is a neurological disability that affects more than 1 in 150 children. It is characterized by deficiencies in communication, socialization and behavioral growth. Different types of therapies address the various needs of a person with autism, and some families with a child with autism are unaware of the therapies available to them in Las Vegas. All In 4 Autism helps the families understand what services are available to them, as well as raises money and awareness for the growth of autism services in Las Vegas.

Therapies for autism can require many, often expensive, services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, biomedical treatments, relationship based services and behavioral based services.

Services for one child with autism often cost a family upwards of $40,000-$60,000 per year, depending on their needs. In Las Vegas, while there are some options for children with autism, funding is minimal and supports a very small population of children. All In 4 Autism strives to assist these families in need.

“Many children in Las Vegas go without therapeutic support in the home due to a lack of financial support for services,” said Marija Savitt, co-founder of All In 4 Autism. “Through All In 4 Autism, we hope to break that cycle by offering these families hope and support.” Scheduled to appear at the tournament is Jason Alexander, Dan Henderson, Gina Hecht, Erik Seidel, Kristy Gazes, Chip Jett, Martin Kampmann, Heath Herring, Nicholas Gonzalez, Susie Isaacs, Adam Schoenfeld, Joe Rietman, Miss Nevada USA Julianna Erdesz, Mike Swick, Lee Watkinson plus many more.

Players can register for All In 4 Autism in person at the Golden Nugget Poker Room, by calling 800-777-4658, ext. 8164, or emailing poker@goldennugget.com.

For more information on All In 4 Autism visit www.allin4autism.org. For more information on The Grand Poker Series or for a complete schedule of events, visit www.goldennugget.com.

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