Hellmuth rises to Knockout tourney challenge

Phil Hellmuth

There's a new poker tour about to hit the Las Vegas Strip, and Phil Hellmuth has taken on the challenge of being its first pro bounty.

The Knockout Poker Tour will start its inaugural season April 24-27 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Just the first of five events scheduled for 2009, this one will be hosted by April Scott, of Deal or No Deal fame, plus many other celebrities and models. But Phil Hellmuth will be the only star with a $5,000 Knockout bounty on his head during the tournament.

"I'm excited to play in the Knockout Poker Tournament, and I look forward to the challenge of the Knockout Bounty on myself," Phil Hellmuth said.

"I always have fun competing, and believe me, I always bring my best game with me. I'll be playing to win."

Gray Knight, president of Knockout Magazine and the Knockout Poker Tour, said they are very excited to have a player of Phil's stature associated with the tournament.

"This is a rare opportunity to sit at the same table as a legend," he said.

Plenty of people will get the opportunity as well. Hellmuth will rotate from table to table as long as he's still in the tournament to give players a fair chance at winning the Knockout bounty prize.

Players may have some trouble setting their sights on Hellmuth, though. Billed as the "Sexiest Poker Tournament on the Planet," the Knockout Tournament will feature well-known models and celebrities as well.

April Scott may just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of models hanging out with players during the long weekend, and the tournament is only one facet of that weekend as well.

The Knockout Tournament weekend is meant to be a three-day poker experience.

"Often players go to a tournament, play, and leave," Knight said. "We're giving them three days of a Vegas experience."

The $10,000 All-Inclusive weekend includes being flown in on a private Knockout 737 jet, VIP hotel accommodations, the poker tournament, a VIP party at Body English nightclub at the Hard Rock and a cabana pool party.

Knight also mentioned the participants will walk the red carpet on the way to the poker room for the tournament, plus there will be a losers lounge set up for players to continue to mingle with the models and celebrities even after they're knocked out of the tournament.

"We are thrilled to partner with Knockout Poker," said Brian Stedeford, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino senior director of casino operations.

"The magazine's combination of poker and beautiful women is a perfect fit for the Hard Rock. This is a chance to make the pages of the magazine reality and showcase the lifestyle. I'm expecting a fantastic event."

Knight said that poker has the same demographics that Knockout Magazine has, so it was a natural fit to combine the two. They are also hoping to be able to put some more sex appeal on the game by offering not just a tournament, but the full Vegas experience.

"When people leave after our tournament weekend, they're going to say 'That was an awesome experience,'" Knight said.

Future tournament weekends are scheduled for June 12-15, July 24-27, Sept. 11-4 and Nov. 13-16. For more information on the Knockout Poker Tour visit www.knockoutpokertour.com.


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