Playboy Mansion a hotbed for charity poker

Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle won the first Celebrity Poker Tournament and Casino Night at the Playboy Mansion in 2006.

Hollywood and the poker world are getting together again this year for the third annual Celebrity Poker Tournament and Casino Night at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, Calif.

Hugh Hefner and his Girls Next Door are set to open the Mansion grounds up for the tournament Saturday, May 18, with the event running from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.

General admission for the night is $500, complete with access to hors d'oeuvres, an open bar, casino night table games and the "infamous Grotto." (The tournament Web site suggests you bring your own swimwear.) There will also be a silent auction on the grounds throughout the night.

For those who want to have a little poker with their Playboy Mansion experience, a seat in the tournament will cost $1,500. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Urban Health Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization "founded to provide direct care, medicine and medical equipment in response to natural and man-made disasters."

Early registration is available until March 31. To register, or to get more information about the Celebrity Poker Tournament, contact Yvette McNally at or visit the .

As has been the case in the past, first prize for the tournament is a $10,000 seat in the WSOP Main Event. Second prize this year is a Bermuda vacation for two with travel and four-star hotel accommodation, while third prize is a set of Giovanna Wheels and a Koko Kuture Bezel System.

The past two years have both seen celebrity poker players crowned champion at the charity event. Long before his involvement with Ante Up For Africa at the WSOP, actor Don Cheadle won the UHI Playboy Mansion tournament in 2006.

Last year it was actress and 2007 National Heads-Up Poker Championship semifinalist Shannon Elizabeth who took down the title while helping UHI raise money for its charity programs.

Confirmed to attend so far are Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson, Pam Brunson, and Hoyt Corkins. If the past two years are any indication, the list of confirmations will blossom as the event grows nearer.

According to the UHI Web site,"the organization enlists pro-bono participation from local health care professionals to provide public health education and information about the availability of health-related and specialty care resources within disadvantaged communities around the globe."

Some of UHI's past activities have included administering medical relief to victims of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, tending to New Orleans residents evacuated from their homes to the Astrodome in Houston, participating in local health fairs and sponsoring youth sports programs, and providing medical exams, medications, and supplies to communities in Nigeria and Belize.

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