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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Charity Report - Tournaments Reap Benefits for Charities

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Some poker players recognize that they are able to use their celebrity status in the poker community to raise money for causes that they support. Todd Brunson and Jennifer Harman have done this, even though they are two of the most popular players who tend to stay away from the spotlight in most cases. But when it comes to fundraising, they will step right up to the plate and do what it takes to benefit worthy organizations.

Brunson hosted the Leo Brien Foundation Charity Poker Tournament in the San Francisco area in March. The event, which included a silent auction, was a great success and raised $20,000 for the Leo Brien Foundation, which operates Camp Okizu, a retreat for children with cancer-related illnesses.

A number of poker pros were on hand to support the tournament, including Hoyt Corkins, Kathy Liebert, Layne Flack, Allen Kessler, and Roy Winston. In addition, several well-known online poker sites provided gift bags for participants. In the end, it was Doug Fowler who won the poker tournament with a first-place prize of an all-expenses paid Las Vegas weekend with the Brunsons. Liebert finished in second and won a WSOP Academy prize package.

The beneficiary organization, Camp Okizu, offers an opportunity for children with cancer – and their siblings – to attend a camp that provides a safe, trusting environment in which to learn independence, develop positive self-esteem, and develop new skills. The hosting charity, the Leo Brien Foundation, was started by Brien himself, who was a cancer patient who lost his battle with the disease in 1997. More information can be found at

Harman took a different route with her tournament by hosting an online poker tournament to raise funds for the Nevada chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The Jennifer Harman Animal Lovers Poker Tournament was sponsored and played on Full Tilt Poker on March 16th and raised approximately $30,000 for the organization.

The $10 tournament – with half of that going to the SPCA and the other half generating the prize pool – drew 3,009 players. The $15,000 donation was then matched by Full Tilt to bring the grand total to $30,000.

Harman was joined on the virtual felt by husband Marco Traniello and other pros, like Erik Seidel, Clonie Gowen, and Andy Bloch. Several well-known competitors in the world of X-Games and extreme sports, including Ross Powers and Parks Bonifay, also played in the tournament. Ultimately, online player “Jzeeee” was the winner of the event.

The Nevada SPCA has found an amazing spokeswoman in Harman, who raised over $130,000 in 2007 for the organization and plans more events this year to increase the 2008 donation. Along with her husband, she seeks out homes and guardians for dozens of animals each year and avidly supports the SPCA, which is a no-kill animal shelter that saves animals from euthanasia by housing and protecting them until they find homes. To learn more, visit

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