Wednesday, January 10, 2007

United Way holds 3rd Annual Texas Hold'em Tournament

United Way set for 'big' gamble
Texas Hold 'em event Jan. 17 helps programs
Trevis R. Badeaux
tbadeaux@theadvertiser.com

"It's a pretty big deal."

That's how Stephanie Mire, United Way of Acadiana Inc. spokeswoman, described the nonprofit agency's third-annual Texas Hold 'em tournament.

The Acadiana Series of Poker tournament is set for Jan. 17 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center. Registration begins at noon. Plate lunches will be available for $5 at 4 p.m.
Dealing begins at 6 p.m. Late entries will be accepted until 8 p.m. Tickets are $60.

The top prize is a $5,000 Visa gift card, a championship ring and a shot at a seat on the Small Town Poker Tour Pro-Am Series amateur national poker tour, the group hired to run the Jan. 17 competition.

"If you want to win the tournament, you're going to have to know what you're doing," said event chairman Larry Hartman with Chevron.

The tournament is not a showdown for professionals, Hartman said. Rather, it's a chance for enthusiasts and average people interested in the game to play poker against other enthusiasts.

"Most competitors are people like you and me who play in the basement and wonder how we would do in a tournament setting," he said. "You spend $60 to $100, play for four hours and all the money goes to charity."

Proceeds benefit the United Way of Acadiana, which helps fund 60 programs through 38 agencies providing after-school care for children, prescription assistance, counseling services and transportation.

More than 640 people turned out for the 2006 tournament. Organizers expect to at least match last year's attendance.

The Acadiana Series of Poker tournament began three years ago when Chevron employees approached the United Way of Acadiana about hosting a tournament as a fundraiser for the nonprofit agency. The group also hosts a gumbo cook-off and clay shoot to benefit United Way, according to Myrtis Ashley, campaign director.

"There's a whole sector of society we are not able to reach," said Ashley, who volunteered as a dealer at the two previous events. "These people are serious about the game. They won't drink a beer or a glass of wine. No distractions. It's all about the skill they've learned."

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