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Online Satellite Winner Takes WPT Invitational Title
An amateur player who won his seat through the World Poker Tour’s subscription based online poker room took down the WPT’s Celebrity Invitational Wednesday.
LeRon "Dream187" Washington, a 34-year-old West Virginia boxer and part-time poker player walked away with $75,000 in cash and a seat in the $25,000 WPT World Championship coming up this April.
"It's a dream come true," he said. "I've been waiting for this day a long time."
Washington beat 1,683 players in a tournament on ClubWPT Jan. 3 to secure the last seat available in the invite-only Celebrity Invitational at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles
On February 20, he joined Hollywood A-listers including Teri Hatcher, Jenny McCarthy, Hank Azaria, Jerry Ferrara, and poker pros like Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Matusow and Phil Laak on the first day of the Invitational.
After two days of tournament play, Washington was one of six finalists who outlasted a record-setting field of 567 players to secure his place at the televised final table. He returned to Commerce March 3 to book the win.
"I've been trying to get out there to show what I can do, but you have to earn it," he said. "ClubWPT gave me the opportunity to make it happen, and here I am. The $20 a month subscription is definitely the best investment I've ever made."
Washington was joined at the final table by Commerce Casino qualifier Steve Elliott, poker pro Thor Hansen, fellow amateur player Neev Baram, Reality TV star Trishelle Cannatella and Bellagio satellite winner Sean Urban.
"One of the great highlights of the WPT Invitational for Commerce Casino is the opportunity to reward people who love poker, but may not be full time established professionals, whether they are Hollywood stars or people who earned their way through Commerce satellites or partners like ClubWPT.com," said John Griffo, Commerce Casino Director of Poker Operations.
"We applaud LeRon for the 'fight' he showed in getting through the field of more than 500 and becoming our new WPT Invitational champion."
This year's event was also an opportunity to raise money for charity and the Invitational pulled in $109,700 for Chrysalis, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.