Hundreds of famous faces and poker aces will head to the world’s largest poker casino next month for the 6th annual World Poker Tour® (WPT) Invitational. Kicking off the event on March 1, Hollywood celebrities and poker’s elite will walk the red carpet and then converge on the green felt to go head-to-head in a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament for charity, cash and the chance to become a WPT Champion.
Held each year at Los Angeles’ Commerce Casino, the exclusive invitation-only event has become one of the most anticipated stops on the poker circuit. Vince Vaughn, Ben Affleck, Paris Hilton, Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines, James Woods, Don Cheadle, Camryn Manheim, Pete Sampras, Hank Azaria, Laura Prepon, Jon Favreau, Shanna Moakler, Mekhi Phifer and Morgan Fairchild are among the many stars who have put on their game face and played against WPT champions and top poker luminaries like Antonio Esfandiari, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth in the three-day tournament.
“Being the world’s largest poker casino and so close to Hollywood, Commerce sees many pros and celebrities come through its doors each week, but WPT’s Invitational tournament is by far and away the most exciting event of the year,” said John Griffo, Director of Poker Operations, Commerce Casino. “What’s great about the Invitational is you see them all come together for one night where they aren’t just playing for cash, but for charity, respect, and overall — fun.”
The last 10 celebrities in play will receive a cash donation to the charity of their choice, courtesy of event sponsor Harbor Private Funds, LLC. WPT Ladies charity partner Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Harbor Private Funds’ Harbor Foundation, and Crocs, Inc.’s Soles United, will each receive a $2,500 donation from WPT.
The event, produced in part by GBK Productions, begins with red carpet arrivals at 5:00 p.m. on March 1 followed by a cocktail party sponsored by Heineken — the official beer of the WPT Invitational — V2 Energy Vodka and Who’s Your Daddy. DJ Casey, one of the top female DJ’s in the US, will command the turn tables while guests have the opportunity to polish their Texas Hold ‘Em poker skills with lessons from WPT Boot Camp instructors. Representatives from WPT China will also offer instruction on Tuo La Ji, or Traktor Poker, the official card game of China.
“We’re very excited about the prominent international partners coming on board to elevate the overall event experience while allowing us to increase the impact for important charitable causes,” said Rose Odeh, WPT Chief Marketing Officer. “Texas Hold ‘Em is a worldwide phenomenon that many celebrities love to play, which makes the Invitational the perfect opportunity to bring together entertainment and philanthropy in a fun, yet competitive environment where everyone walks away a winner — and one person walks away with a World Poker Tour title.”
Players who make it through the night with chips remaining will resume play March 2. The tournament culminates in a battle on the WPT set where the final six players will fight for a portion of the $225,000 prize pool put up by Commerce Casino. The first place finisher will win $100,000 and a $25,000 seat in the WPT World Championship in April. WPT cameras will capture all the action for broadcast on WPT’s new network home, GSN, which will air July 21, 2008 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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