- 2010 Derby Poker Championship was a huge success raising $40,000 for our beneficiary charities!!! We look forward to another great event in 2011 and hope to see you there!
- Click here to check out pictures from the 2010 event!
What has two national basketball championships, 12 World Series of Poker bracelets, unprecedented world awareness and the drive to feed thousands of hungry children? If you guessed the third annual Derby Poker Championship presented by Jim Beam and Twinspires.com, you were right!
On April 29, legendary University of Louisville Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Denny Crum and poker professionals Phil Hellmuth Jr. and Robert Williamson III will host a pro-celebrity charity Texas Hold ’em poker tournament and VIP reception at the Palace Theatre in Louisville, Ky. The first two years of the event, each headlined by Hellmuth and Williamson, were hosted at Horseshoe Casino in Southern Indiana and collectively raised more than $60,000 for charity.
This year, the event is expected to draw many more celebrities and host a larger audience who are interested in not only seeing the stars play poker, but to compete for a $10,000 seat in the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas courtesy of UltimateBet.com.
Proceeds will benefit Blessings in a Backpack and the Health & Climate Foundation. The event is expected to draw an array of celebrities from athletes to movie stars who will be in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.
With the event held in Louisville for the first time, it is most fitting that Hellmuth and Williamson team up with Coach Crum, a local icon who will bring the city’s interest to a new level.
Professional Poker Player & 11-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner - Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Denny Crum
Professional Poker Player Robert "Mr. Omaha" Williamson III
The Event and it’s impact on the community
“This event could really turn into a huge fundraiser,” says Coach Crum. “There are so many people who play poker around the world that it just seems like a great fit. Today, churches run poker fundraisers, I run one for my scholarship foundation, and many other charities benefit from them, too. So with guys like Phil Hellmuth and Robert Williamson, and their involvement in the poker world, and some of my connections, we feel the sky is the limit on what we can do with this event.”
In addition to Crum, Hellmuth, co-host of the tournament, is considered the face of poker and holds more World Series of Poker bracelets than anyone else in the world with 11. His international success and stardom has benefited him to the tune of millions of dollars in winnings and endorsements from an array of sponsors. Hellmuth has attended the Derby for the past five out of six years and is serving as the 2010 Honorary Chairperson of The Julep Ball Celebrity Black Tie Gala. “I have so much fun at the Kentucky Derby that I keep coming back year after year,” Hellmuth says. “The festive atmosphere, the world-class horses and the spirit of Louisville make this weekend an EVENT that no one should miss!”
Robert Williamson III, known as Mr. Omaha in the poker circuits, has also played a large roll in making the event a success and has added his charisma and connections to insure a great event each year.
In addition to the Derby Poker Championship, the hosts strive to use their popularity to raise money and awareness for a variety of charities throughout the world. “Charities keep asking me to do events, so something seems to be working,” Crum says. “It isn’t always about the money but also about raising awareness for the charities. These charities both serve great causes so I am happy to be involved.”
When asked about his charitable involvement, Hellmuth also sets his goals high. “It makes me happy and gives me some extra motivation in life when I host charity poker tournaments. My goal is to raise $5 million for charities in 2010 so I hope a lot of people will show up to support these worthy causes!”
Guests can play in the tournament or watch the action and cheer on their favorite players, all in the name of charity. A portion of the tournament buy-ins and proceeds from donations, sponsorships and ticket sales will be donated to the charities. Players who finish in the top tier of the tournament will take home cash and prizes for their efforts including a $10,000 buy-in to the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas donated by UltimateBet.com. As is standard with charity-related poker tournaments and mandatory of Kentucky Charitable Gaming Laws, approximately half of the tournament buy-in will be paid out to the top finishers of the tournament, and the rest will be donated to charities.
“Some major companies have stepped up to the plate and delivered great value to the winners to make up for the cash that will be donated to the charity.” Commented G. Douglas Dreisbach of Southern Gaming Magazine, one of the organizers of the event. “UltimateBet.com donated a $10,000 seat to the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas plus $2,000 for travel expenses, Twinspires.com donated tickets to the Kentucky Derby and the World Series of Poker Academy donated a couple of seats to their instructional classes. Prizes keep getting added everyday so players will get a great value and a short field of just over 200 players.”
The event is open to the public and offers three price levels to accommodate any budget. The VIP Player Ticket costs $550 and includes the tournament buy-in and access to various VIP sections around the facility to enjoy complimentary appetizers and cocktails. The tournament will also have $200 rebuys and add-ons for the first hour of play. Even if guests don’t play poker, they can still come and rub shoulders with the stars by purchasing VIP Tickets for $150 each where they will have access to the VIP sections as well as enjoy complimentary appetizers and cocktails. In addition, a General Admission Ticket is available for just $25 and will give guests ample viewing of the tournament as well as a cash bar. Guests who buy-in to the tournament will have the option to purchase additional VIP Tickets for half-price.
There are several celebrities who have already committed to playing or attending the event while others have indicated heavy interest. In addition to the hosts, a few other celebrity participants include Ron White from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour; PGA professional and 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin; reality TV star Bob Guiney; professional poker player and model Beth Shak and actress from hit shows such as The Bernie Mac show and NYPD Blue, Kellita Smith. As more celebrities are added, they will be posted to the event’s website.
Play Poker with the Stars! Find out the latest on the stars and players at www.DerbyPokerChampionship.com
(Pictures from left: Ron White, Beth Shak, Kellita Smith, Bob Guiney, CoreyPavin)
For more information on the Derby Poker Championship, beneficiary charities, celebrity attendees and tickets, visit www.DerbyPokerChampionship.com or call 1-877-582-9478.