One of the best things to come out of the poker boom has been its relationship with Hollywood, as both realize the benefits of joining together to raise money for charities through poker tournaments. That’s just what happened on Sunday, August 3rd, when the likes of Montel Williams and Shannon Elizabeth mixed and mingled with Jamie Gold and Barry Greenstein to raise money for the One Step Closer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with cerebral palsy.
The first annual “All In for CP” celebrity poker tournament was held at Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles, and a total of 44 players bought in for $500 each and made a total of 89 rebuys at $100 each. Celebrities other than those mentioned above included BMX athlete Dennis McCoy, High School Musical’s Jennifer Malenke, and Meet Dave’s Miguel Nunez. All in all, more than $44,000 was raised through the combined efforts of the tournament and the silent auction.
In the end, it was television producer, writer, and one of the creators of The Simpsons, Sam Simon who won the poker tournament and the first place prize, which he immediately donated back to the One Step Closer Foundation.
Jacob Zalewski founded the One Step Closer Foundation after fighting cerebral palsy (CP) since his diagnosis as a young child. Born prematurely with only a 30% chance of survival, Zalewski beat the odds and currently attends the University of Houston as a media production major. He started his CP organization to help others with the disease and to raise money to ease the lives of those who struggle with it, while also distributing funds to researchers who specialize in treatments and advancements for the hopeful cure of CP.
After the tournament, Zalewski commented, “It was an amazing event. I still can’t believe that this day came after a year in the making. I am very humbled by the turnout – it was more than I thought it would be and I hope that each year it gets bigger and better.”