Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | World Poker News

Charity Is Fun – The Budding Ivey Charity Tournament

Share this
I had the opportunity to go to a WSOB hosted by Howard and Suzie Lederer and Steve Z. at the Golden Nugget pool that was followed by a charity tournament for the Budding Ivey Foundation, a charitable organization started by Phil Ivey to help kids in the Las Vegas area. I'd been to poker parties before, but this was a different kind of party and it allowed me to see many different sides that I had not seen in some of the professional poker players before. Different sides that I liked... it let me in to their world a little more and showed me the “human” side of these card sharks.

The BBQ was outside and at first it was blistering hot. Cocktail waitresses greeted you at the entrance to the party with plastic glasses of Sangria that went down like Kool Aid. I talked with some other members of the media that were there and grabbed a snack consisting of a slice of pork and some fajita meat. Some BBQ, I was thinking to myself, as I wolfed down the four bites of food they had given me. I decided to venture over to the other side of the pool area and saw people standing in line getting food. Ahhhhh, the good stuff, I thought, and it was. Tender chunks of filet mignon, lamb, and chicken awaited me. Am I making you hungry yet?

I grabbed a small plate and went back to the table being shared by the media members. Mike Matusow had joined the table and he had this pretty young thing by his side. Mike was his usual talkative self and he was going on about how if Hellmuth won the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event that they would never hear the end of it. “The thing is, everyone knows Hellmuth is a terrible mixed game player,” Matusow said.

It started to get crowded as people made their way in. It was a who's who of the poker world. Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer were obviously there and many of their good friends and poker colleages joined in on the fun. Erick Lindgren was there, drinking a beer, and having a grand time. Shannon Elizabeth sauntered in a tiny yellow summer dress. Erica Schoenberg came in with David Benyamine and her dad. She introduced me to him and said, “Dad, this is one of the guys that is always going around reporting on tournaments and taking my picture.”

Ha, nice to know that's what I am known for. Come to think of it though, that's exactly what I do. Bah.

My favorite poker couple, Dan and Beth Shak came in, and we had a long talk while they ate some of the goodies. I saw Oliver, the poker agent, corner Phil Ivey as he was walking somewhere and start talking to him. Oliver handed him a card and I could tell Phil just wanted to move on but he didn't want to be rude. Phil Gordon brought in his newborn son and everyone was excited to see and congratulate the new dad. The funny part for me was the baby had a Full Tilt patch on his hat. Can't start that promoting too young... after all he had to know the baby was going to get his photo taken 100 times that night.

One of the highlights of the evening came when Jeff Madsen decided to do his best Eminem impersonation and got up on stage and did an impromptu rap. Phil Ivey brought over a friend of his to join in on the fun and the two went at it in a rap battle that brought the house down and had Ivey and Lindgren virtually falling over in laughter.

After that raucous fun, it was on to the charity tournament. Irv Gotti, a well known rap producer, was in at a black jack table right by the tournament floor and was betting $100 a pop. “I just want to get back to even,” he kept pleading with the dealer. He was about to get up to join the tournament area but needed to win $200 to get to even. He bet $100 and lost it. He bet $200 and lost it. He threw a $500 chip out and lost it. Another $500 chip, his last $500... but this time he won it. “Just get me back to even,” he begged. By this time, a crowd had gathered around the table including Phil Ivey. Gotti won the last hand and everyone laughed as he expressed his glee at breaking even in Vegas.

The tournament got underway with people taking their seats and having a good time. It was taking place in the Golden Nugget tournament room and fans stood nearby with jaws dropped, pointing and whispering at who they saw. Don Cheadle came in and took his spot after a quick interview with a local television station. Gotti was telling everyone who would listen that Phil Ivey taught him everything he knew. Phil laughed and said, “Don't listen to him. I don't want no part of that.”

Ironically, the two would be seated at the same table.

I left before the tournament finished, but I had a great time. It was good to see people rally together for a great cause. It was even better to see people like Ivey, who always seems aloof and distant at the poker table, being the complete opposite of that. Ivey was laughing and having fun and seemed like a different person. Maybe it's because his family was there, I don't know, but it was a side of him I enjoyed seeing.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed