For the second consecutive year, The Louisville Palace will be transformed into the hottest poker room and celebrity welcome party in the city to kick off the weekend of Derby festivities.
Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum and poker professionals Phil Hellmuth, Jr. and Robert Williamson III will once again team up for their annual Derby Poker Championship, a pro-celebrity charity event held Thursday, May 5th at The Louisville Palace Theatre.
The star-studded evening will be a combination of high-stakes poker and celebrity hob-knobbing at the historic entertainment facility all in the name of charity. Proceeds from the event directly benefit Louisville-based, Blessings in a Backpack and The Health & Climate Foundation.
The evening will feature a celebrity Texas Hold ‘em Tournament that will be emceed by Hellmuth who is considered to be the best poker player in the world with 11 World Series of Poker victories.
In addition, Denny Crum, Robert Williamson III, also a World Series of poker champion, and an array of other poker pros and celebrities will play in the tournament and mingle with the crowd. “The chances of playing football with Peyton Manning, or basketball with Michael Jordan are pretty slim.” Commented event producer, G. Douglas Dreisbach. “However, at the Derby Poker Championship, you might find yourself playing cards with some of the best poker players in the world as well as some big time celebrities.”
In addition to the poker tournament, the event will also feature themed food and drink stations, music, live performance artists showcasing their skills and other Derby-esque entertainment. “We cater to everyone, poker players, party goers and companies entertaining clients all while raising funds and awareness for our beneficiary charities.” Added Dreisbach. “We will have drink stations set up representing Kentucky bourbon, tequila and other spirits as well as wine tasting from some premier wine producers. In addition, each station will be accompanied by food that reflects each theme. Add to the mix some music and world-class artists, and you have a great party to kick off Derby!”
The 2010 event drew 110 players in the tournament and approximately 200 spectators raising almost $50,000 that was split between the two beneficiary charities.
It was a star-studded evening with limousines lining the street in front of the Palace Theatre as onlookers took pictures and tried to get a glimpse of the celebrities on the red carpet.
In addition to the all-star hosts of the event, other celebrities and poker pros who played in the tournament or attended the event included comedian Ron White, best-selling author Nora Roberts, poker pros Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Tiffany Michelle and Beth Shak, actors Oscar Nunez (The Office), Jesse Spencer (House) and Ken Davitian (Borat), actress Jennifer Elise Cox (The Brady Bunch) and athletes including U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin, Paul Hornung, Warren Moon, Robby Albarado and more.
The top ten players won money including the first place prize of $14,000 plus a $12,000 World Series of Poker Package donated by UltiamteBet.net. In addition to cash, the top ten also walked away with a pair of Oakley sunglasses and the top two finishers also received a poker chip set that was donated by FullTilt.net. The grand champion of the 2010 tournament was Rich Muny who is also the Kentucky State Director for the Poker Player’s Alliance.
“We expect an even bigger turnout this year since last year was such a success” Added Dreisbach. “We have received several calls from celebrity managers who are interested in attending as well as companies looking to entertain their clients. This year, we hope to raise the bar in fund raising as well as building awareness for these great charities. Plus, we look forward to hosting a great party that guests will talk about all weekend long.”
The event is open to the public and doors will open at 6:00 pm with the tournament starting at 7:00 pm.
Ticket prices range from $75 - $225 based on different packages and the buy-in for the Texas Hold ‘em Tournament is $500 +$50 with $200 re-buys and add-ons for the first hour of play.
Discounts are offered for groups of six or more. For more information, to purchase tickets and to get up-to-date event information, visit www.derbypokerchampionship.com or call 1-877-582-9478.
Tickets may also be purchased at the event based on availability.
There are also opportunities to win free tournaments buy-ins and tickets at HogwildPoker.com and other partnering web-sites.
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