By Delinda Lombardo on
Last year, professional poker player Jennifer Harman held her Inaugural Charity Poker Tournament for the Nevada SPCA. Thanks to her efforts, the event raised $130,000 for the shelter in Las Vegas, affording them the opportunity to open two new wings for the no-kill shelter.
“It’s amazing what a difference even the smallest donation can make, let alone $130,000,” said Nevada SPCA Executive Director Doug Duke. “The new section will allow us to rescue and shelter about 1,000 animals.”
But Harmon didn’t fold her cards after the event – instead she doubled-up for the Second Annual Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament which was held on Friday, April 18, inside The Venetian Poker Room, and included live/silent auctions and a first place prize of a seat into the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event.
“I can’t thank The Venetian and my friends enough for the flood of support they have shown the Nevada SPCA,” said Harman. “These animals give unconditional love. This is a chance for all of us to give something back.”
Poker celebrities ‘giving back’ arrived at Venetian to walk the red carpet, but they didn’t walk alone. Each celebrity had a shelter animal with him or her. Former NFLer Shawn King walked the carpet with a cat dressed in feather boa, and poker professional Phil Ivey walked with a kitten in his arms.
“The Venetian Poker Room is honored to host the Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament benefiting the Nevada SPCA No-Kill Animal Shelter,” said Kathy Raymond, director of poker operations at The Venetian. “We are privileged to be a small part of their ongoing success.”
Over 250 poker professionals attended the event, including Johnny Chan, Howard Lederer, Freddy Deeb, Mike Sexton, Joe Hachem, Barry Greenstein, Layne “Back to Back” Flack, Chau Giang, David Chesnoff, David Williams, Huckleberry Seed, Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh, Lacy Jones, Dan “Who’s Your Daddy” Fleishman, Men “The Master” Nguyen, and many others.
One celebrity poker player really determined to help the animals was Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu was in Monte Carlo playing cards when he decided to fold ’em, jump on a private jet, and fly to Las Vegas in time to attend.
Poker legend Doyle Brunson was there making friends, when he should have been in Los Angeles filming ‘Poker After Dark.’ His assistant tried to pull Brunson from the event, but he insisted on playing alongside an 80-year-old man who wanted nothing more than to play poker with the legend. When Brunson’s new pal busted out, Brunson didn’t hesitate to donate another $500.00 to keep him in the game.
If that doesn’t convince you that poker players are some of the most generous celebrities around, think again – the event raised an astonishing $320,000, all of which went directly to the Nevada SPCA.
The recommended donation to participate in the tournament was only $300, and the first place prize was a $10,000 seat into the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event. The tournament winner? Seth Duprie. Duprie was at the SPCA in Las Vegas to adopt an animal when he learned of Harmon’s event. “It was his dream to support the animals,” one of the event organizers told me. “He found out about it from the SPCA and he was so happy, he was the perfect person to win.”
The Venetian provided an ideal setting the tournament, donating the space and an extra $5,000 to help out the Nevada SPCA. Full Tilt Poker was the primary sponsor of the event, allowing for 100% of the proceeds to benefit the SPCA.
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars