Last night's Derby Poker Championship was a charity event to benefit Blessings in a Backpack. It wasn't uncommon to hear celebrities and pros alike shouting "Re-up! It's all for the kids!"
Among the first to go out were Real Housewives of Orange County's Vicki Gunvalson and Blue Collar Comedy's Ron White. Still going strong toward the latter part of the evening were Coach Denny Crum and Melissa Biggs from Baywatch.
When Phil Helmuth arrived on the red carpet I made sure to ask him whether or not he'd be on good behavior for the night. He said he hadn't decided quite yet. He was an entertaining emcee and frequently interviewed other poker pros and celebrities during the event. He was quick to give Ron White a hard time for going out so early, and even handed off the mic to Robert Williamson III so he could play a hand or two himself.
Everyone was in great spirits and took advantage of the bars on both levels serving Jim Beam and other drinks that helped party-goers get loose on the dance floor.
Surprising celebrity encounter of the evening was an impromptu chat with Ron White at the pizza place next to the Palace, where he told me I had cute boots and I told him I liked his Prada carryall (i.e. purse.) He was quick to respond, "Indiana Jones carried one just like it." He's funny even when he's not getting paid.
Robert Williamson III (and his "good" side)
UofL former basketball coach Denny Crum
Baywatch star Melissa Biggs
Blue Collar Comedy's Ron White
Borat's Ken Davitian
Southern Gaming Commission's Doug Dreisbach and fellow poker player and dealer at last year's Championship Ryan
Real Housewives of Orange County's Vicki Gunvalson
Photos: Elise Jenkins