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Poker News | World Poker News

WPT Invitational to Benefit Mekhi Phifer Educational Charity

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The WPT Invitational has been one of the most entertaining stops on each season of the World Poker Tour since its inception. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to various charities at the hands of the players who make the money, but now there will be an added opportunity at the upcoming 7th annual WPT Invitational. With the addition of rebuys and partnership with Mekhi Phifer, there will be more action and more attention paid to a worthy cause.

Beginning on February 28 at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the three-day WPT Invitational offers a $200,000 freeroll to celebrity poker players, well-known pros, and other invited players, all of which will be filmed for a later broadcast on Fox Sports Net. While the event starts on the first night with red carpet arrivals and a cocktail reception for participants, there is also the availability of WPT Boot Camp instructors - Jules and Crispin Leyser - for those who need a poker refresher course prior to taking their seats at the tables. The tournament kicks off several hours later with much chatter, excitement, and friendly poker.

But the 2009 event will add something new. For the first two hours of play in the tournament, rebuys will be allowed for $200 each, the full amount of which will be donated to The Vine Group USA. Rebuys are new to the World Poker Tour, as is the coordination to create awareness of and raise funds for one particular charity.

Since Mekhi Phifer is a regular at the WPT Invitational events, the World Poker Tour partnered with him and The Vine Group USA, an organization to which Phifer donates time and volunteers as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. One hundred percent of the rebuys in the tournament will go directly to The Vine Group USA, which is a non-profit organization that provides educational resources to various English-speaking countries in Africa. Established in 2000, educational institutions in Africa have benefited from the donated scholarships, textbooks, and technological tools, as it helps the poverty-ridden nations grow and create a population that can work toward economic development.

Phifer said, “The Vine Group USA is very pleased to partner with the World Poker Tour and Commerce Casino for the Invitational; this is an event that everyone loves to be a part of. Attendees will be able to have fun at the tables while learning about our organization and the important cause it supports.”

WPT Founder, President, and CEO Steve Lipscomb added, “The Invitational is always one of the most exciting and entertaining events on our schedule - it’s where celebrities gawk at poker players who gawk at celebrities. The rebuy factor will certainly add a whole new flavor to the WPT Invitational experience, and we couldn’t be happier that it also supports a great organization like The Vine Group.”

The WPT Invitational is not open to the public
, as all players and guests are allowed by invitation only. A complete list of players has not yet been released, though past events have boasted of such names as Paris Hilton, Vince Vaughn, Jason Alexander, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle, Ray Romano, and Camryn Manheim. Phifer is the only confirmed celebrity to have been announced for the 2008 festivities.

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