Reno, NV - (March 14, 2009) – Professional poker player Jennifer Harman hosted two days of fundraising activities in Reno, Nevada last week, raising more than $111,000 for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) . Events started on Tuesday with a Masters Forum Poker Academy coordinated by LIPS founder Lupe Soto, followed that evening by a " FullTilt Throw Down " party hosted by Doug Worton and sponsored by Silver State Wine & Liquor at Pearl Nightclub. On Wednesday, a celebrity red carpet walk preceded Harman's first annual charity poker tournament benefiting the NKF sponsored by Curtis & Co. Watches , 2 Step Images , and Dream Team Poker . Additional fundraising activities on Wednesday included a NKF silent auction and a LIPS Vendor Faire.
Notable attendees included professional poker players Marco Traniello, Andy Bloch, Howard Lederer, Tiffany Michelle, Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, Linda Johnson, Todd Brunson, Roy Winston, Lee Watkinson, Lee Markholt, David Plastik, Gary "Debo" DeBernardi, Shawn Van Asdale, Jan Fisher, Jeff Madsen, and Marsha Waggoner, and ESPN commentator Lon McEachern, baseball legends Vida Blue and Tido Fuentes, World Champion snowboarder and X-Games judge Jeff Brushie, and NBA veterans Michael Brown and Doug Lee.
"This is the largest field of any charity event I've hosted," said Harman. "The outpouring of support exceeded any expectations. I can't thank the poker community enough for its generosity."
The charity poker tournament attracted more than 300 participants, including 22 ten-player teams participating in a "FullTilt Throw Down" side competition. Though Peppermill Casino donated $8,000 to sponsor four ten-player teams, they were no match for Atlantis Casino's "Team 2," accumulating the most points to receive a "FullTilt Throw Down" team trophy and ten team member prize packages. Team Oaks Casino and Team LIPS tied for second place. A "Ro! Cham! Beau!" tiebreaker determined Oaks Casino as the "FullTilt Throw Down" team silver medal winners. LIPS team members each received third place bronze medals.
"We couldn't be happier with the turnout," stated National Kidney Foundation CEO Christopher Kelley. "This event raised an enormous amount of awareness around our cause."
William Roberts of Reno, Nevada was the overall individual winner of the Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament and received a Legacy Alliance custom crystal trophy, a $5,000 World Poker Challenge entry, and a Curtis & Co. Watch. Tom Galusha, Jim fisher, Wei Jin, Armas Schwartz, Troy Wallace, David Imburgia, Sandy Kasinowicz, Kim Rios, and Yarom Limor placed second through tenth, consecutively.
"It's always great to play poker for a good cause," exclaimed Roberts after his win. "I was just glad to be a part of it. Jennifer did a great job and everyone had a blast."
The charity poker tournament was managed by Jimmy Sommerfeld of Poker Tournament Consultants (PTC) , hosted by Grand Sierra Resort, and emceed by celebrity tournament director Matt Savage. Celebrity transportation was provided by Dream Team Poker . Northern California resident Kelli Griggs coordinated more than 20 ten-player teams, raising $40,000 for charity. Reno Public Relations representative Gina Trampush coordinated much of the northern Nevada sponsorship and vendors. Additional sponsors and supporters included LIPS founder Lupe Soto, Grand Sierra Resort, GSR dealers who donated much of their own gratuity back to the NKF, Curtis & Co. Watches, CardPlayer.tv , Silver State Wine & Liquor, Whole Foods, Hal Hitchcock of 2-Step Images, CardPlayer Cruises , FullTilt Poker, WSOP Academy, Stimudent, and libertydialysis.com . The two-day fundraiser was a GreasieWheels production.
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