MMA + Poker = Always a Good Fight

by , Jan 12, 2012 | 9:18 pm

Some familiar faces and players worth looking up in the charity NLH mix … er … mixed martial arts.

One of my favorite charity tourneys of the year is this Saturday — Operation All In … Randy Couture’s  poker tournament and charity auction benefitting his Xtreme Couture GI Foundation. Karina Jett hosts the event, so you can expect her usual brand of fun and merry band of Full Tilt Red Pros in exile. And because OAI is more MMAish than pokery … well, let’s just say you can be sure to see some rather douchetastic! unique table interaction. And with a reasonable buy-in ($220 w $100 rebuys), you stand to get a fair share of genuine downtown tourists, too — excited by their chance to play with the fighters more so than the poker pros.

The winner gets $10k in cold American cash this year, too … no fancy qualifiers for some future maybe-cool new event in some other country. And though I haven’t personally looked into how legit Randy Couture’s foundation is, I do get a sense he takes the effort kinda personally and isn’t going to let the funds raised here get squandered en route to the beneficiaries. For many soldiers, the war isn’t over just because they are starting to come home.

It’s been an interesting relationship in Vegas between mixed martial arts and poker over the past 12 or so years … the state of which will be on display in the form of tax-deductible feelgood poker … this weekend at the Golden Nugget.

Read below for official deets on what’s going down.

MMA Star Randy “The Natural” Couture Hosts 
Charity Poker Tournament at the Golden Nugget
“Operation All In” to raise money for Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation

LAS VEGAS – Mixed Martial Arts legend Randy “The Natural” Couture will host his fourth annual “Operation All In” poker tournament and charity auction benefiting the Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, Saturday, Jan. 14 starting at 2 p.m.

This event, held in The Grand events center, is open to the public and will feature a celebrity charity poker tournament, live and silent auctions, autograph sessions with photo opportunities and raffle prizes while giving back to injured troops.

“Operation All In” will welcome professional celebrity poker players and stars from the MMA world and Hollywood to play alongside the public in its charity poker tournament, where several great prizes will be awarded along with the grand prize of $10,000 cash. The buy-in for “Operation All In” at the Golden Nugget is $220 with $100 multi re-buys.

MMA fighters confirmed to attend include Randy Couture, Clay Guida, Cung Le, John Alessio, Martin Kampmann, Jay Hieron, John Gunderson, Brad Tavares, Tyson Griffin, Ryan Couture and Frank Trigg. Celebrities will also partake in the action, and those confirmed to attend include David Zayas, Shanna Moakler, JJ Lui, TJ Lavin and Lon Maccaren from ESPN. Other fighters and poker pros are expected to confirm attendance as the event nears.

Ultimate Fighting Champion Couture, a veteran himself of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, started the Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation to raise money and awareness for troops wounded in action and their families. After visiting with amputees at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Couture was brought to tears seeing the young men and women who had given their all for freedom, young heroes who now have to go through life’s challenges with devastating physical and emotional injuries. The Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation goal is to help these brave men and women fulfill any of their unmet needs as they return back to civilian life.

A highlight of the event will be both the silent auction, with an amazing array of MMA memorabilia up for grabs, and the live auction which includes some items donated personally by Couture, such as dinner with the fighter and a one-hour personal MMA lesson. In addition to Couture, other MMA fighters will be on hand throughout the evening for photos and autographs with tournament players and fans.

“Operation All In” is sponsored by the contributions of its great supporters including Microtech, Oakley, Xtreme Couture MMA, Deepstacks, Lord Griffon, Clear Channel & Golden Nugget.

Seats are limited, so reserve your spot today by stopping by or calling the Golden Nugget Poker Room at (800) 777-4658, ext. 8164 or locally (702) 386-8383, or emailing to pre-register. Players will also be able to register for the tournament at the event. For more information visit  or

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Winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award consecutively since 1977, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas is the most luxurious resort on the Fremont Street Experience, and consistently receives critical acclaim for exceeding customer expectations. The Golden Nugget now offers more than 2,400 deluxe guestrooms and suites; a high-energy casino featuring the most popular slot and video poker machines, table games, race and sports book, and poker room; nightly entertainment with master impressionist and comedian Gordie Brown; world-class restaurants such as Grotto Italian Ristorante and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse; a luxury spa and salon; and The Tank, a year-round outdoor swimming pool complete with a 200,000-gallon, live shark aquarium and the new H20 poolside lounge. Since 2005, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas has made more than $180 million in upgrades, renovations and expansions under Landry’s Inc, introducing first-class accommodations, exquisite dining options and fun-filled entertainment venues. In late 2009, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas unveiled its newest addition, Rush Tower. This $150-million hotel tower added nearly 500 new guestrooms and suites to the property, brought Las Vegas it’s first Chart House Restaurant and introduced a beautiful new pool, the Hideout, as well as expanded the gaming. Hotel reservations and additional information are available by calling 800-634-3454 or by visiting online at

The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, was founded by Randy Couture to honor the veterans of America’s armed forces. The foundation was especially formed to raise money and awareness for those wounded in action and their families. To date, more than 24,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in the war against terrorism, which doesn’t include the many more suffering the mental effects. The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation goal is to help these brave men and women fulfill any of their unmet needs as they return back to civilian life. Visit for more information.

One Comment to “MMA + Poker = Always a Good Fight”

  1. Michele

    Are you sure that’s a picture from a charity event?