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Jennifer Harman Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament in Las Vegas on April 13

The fourth-annual Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament, benefiting the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) no-kill animal shelter, will take place on April 13 at the Venetian poker room in Las Vegas. The tournament will start at 5 p.m., and the event kicks off at 4 p.m. with a red carpet and silent auction. 

The $330 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament will also feature $100 rebuys for the first three 20-minute levels, and a one-time $100 add-on for double your starting stack. Matt Savage will be the tournament director. 

The grand prize of the tournament is a $10,000 World Series of Poker main-event seat, and a Curtis & Co. watch. The top-10 finishers will be awarded prizes that have a combined total value of $30,000. 

Celebrities who have been confirmed attendance for the event include Cheryl Hines from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Dennis Haskins from “Saved by the Bell,” actor Lou Diamond Phillips, modern artist Michael Godard, and ESPN commentator Lon McEachern. 

Professional poker players in attendance will include Marco Traniello, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Hoyt Corkins, Andy Bloch, Chau Gian, David Chesnoff, Lacey Jones, Jeff Madsen, Todd Brunson, Erica Schoenberg, David Greay, David Singer and Lee Watkinson. 

The three previous champions of this event: David “HEYIMDRO” Rowan (2009), Seth Dupree (2008), and Kirk Morrison (2007).

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Poker Ace Annie Duke ‘All In’ at World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

Poker ace Annie Duke plays poker like she is running a business, not letting emotions rule her play, thinking quicklyAnnieDuke and accurately, as witnessed in her latest TV show stint.  With CEO-like skills, she is one of the most successful female poker players in the world.  The 43-year-old Duke has been playing in the World Series of Poker since 1994 and has cashed in on 37 events, earning more than $1.13 million through the Rio tournament annually held in Las Vegas. 

Her best finish in the tournament’s $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em Main Event was in 2000 when she placed 10th and won $52,160.  She won her first World Series of Poker champion’s bracelet in 2004 at an Omaha High-Low event. 

“I’ll probably play in about 15 to 20 events at the World Series,” Duke said. “It’s a long haul.” 

Duke drafted a new legion of fans and followers, boosting poker’s image in the process, as a contestant in the television series “The Celebrity Apprentice.”  She was one of 16 personalities trying to raise money for charity while trying not to be fired by the host, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump.  Duke finished second ahead of a whole slew of sports stars, but it was her acrimonious verbal battles with comedienne Joan Rivers, the show’s eventual winner, that had the audience turning on in record numbers, driving ratings out the roof. 

Rivers said Duke was worse than “Hitler” and compared poker players to members of the Mafia.  Although the comments raised the ire of the poker community and officials at the World Series of Poker, the media boost couldn’t have been better for the game, Duke and Trump– it raised more than $1.5 million for various charities. 

But Duke believes that Rivers still owes poker players and Las Vegas an apology. 

“Poker is a legitimate profession,” said Duke, who is a graduate of Columbia University with degrees in psychology and English.  She also spent five years working toward a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in cognitive psychology, which she has set aside for now. 

Divorced, Duke is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 7 to 14.  

Her brother is poker standout Howard Lederer, who has two World Series of Poker titles to his credit.  On four occasions she and her bro have ended up at the same table during World Series of Poker play- each time she has knocked him out of the competition, adding “I guess I have bragging rights.” 

Duke is well known for her charitable giving efforts.  Through poker events, she has raised millions of dollars for children’s hospitals and educational foundations. 

In 2007, she and actor Don Cheadle established the Ante Up for Africa event, a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold ‘em annual Las Vegas event in July that raises funds for the survivors of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.  The event attracts the best Hollywood A-list celebrities and the poker elite, raising $500,000 last year alone for the cause. 

Duke is also an activist on Capitol Hill in trying to change the federal law outlawing the Internet wagering.  She is one of the founding members of the Poker Players Alliance, which supports making online poker once again a legal activity.

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Annie Duke Faces Rival Joan Rivers Today at Las Vegas Charity Poker Tournament

Fans of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice may need to do a double take on May 27th after seeing Annie Duke join forces with archrival Joan Rivers at a charity poker tournament today in Las Vegas.  

Online poker site www.UltimateBet.net announced the sponsorship of the “Sucking out on the Rivers” charity poker tournament in support of Refugees International. Annie Duke will be hosting the event alongside Frank Marino, a well-known Joan Rivers impersonator.  Nearly all of the top poker pros in Vegas are already on board to play in the charity tournament. 

“I think that after this poker tournament, the real Joan Rivers will quickly realize that poker players are good-naturedAnnieDuke people – professional people with respected occupations and families – who really want to change the lives of those less fortunate,” stated Annie Duke. “As poker players, we’re all banding together, not just to prove a point to Joan, but to actually change the world.” 

While the charity poker tournament will be co-hosted by a Joan Rivers impersonator, the real Joan Rivers went head-to-head with Annie Duke on the most recent season of Celebrity Apprentice. The often abrasive and brash comedienne told Annie, on camera, that all poker players were white trash and that none of them had last names, suggesting that those who love poker are automatically linked to organized crime.  Rivers’ opinion has drawn the ire of many in the poker world. 

The world’s top poker players and several Hollywood celebrities are slated to play in the charity poker event today to show that there’s a lot of good that comes from poker. Over 20 Joan Rivers impersonators will also be playing in the event and each one will have a bounty on his or her head. Poker fans can secure their spot in the tournament for $200 and the No Limit Texas Hold’em tourney features rebuys and add-ons to help the prize pool grow even higher. 

Although all the prize money will go to the winner, half of the winnings are being voluntarily directed to charity. While Nevada gaming laws prohibit money being given directly from the prize pool to charity, the winner may volunteer to donate half of their winnings to the charity in keeping with what had been done in previous charity events hosted by UltimateBet.net. 

The “Sucking out on the Rivers” Charity Event, sponsored by www.UltimateBet.net, DeepStacks University, Hard Rock Poker Lounge, and WSOP Academy, gets underway today, May 27th at 6 p.m. at the Hard Rock Casino Poker Lounge.

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