Stars heading to WPT Invitational

James Woods
James Woods' celebrity extends from the TV to the felt.

Once again the World Poker Tour will be rolling out the red carpet for a star-studded event, the WPT Invitational.

Taking place March 1 for the sixth year in a row, the WPT Invitational will see some of Hollywood's biggest stars take to the felt against some of poker's biggest stars to play for charity, cash and the chance to become a WPT champion.

Held each year at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the WPT Invitational has become one of the most anticipated stops on the poker circuit.

In the past, stars such as Vince Vaughn, Ben Affleck, Paris Hilton, Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines, James Woods, Don Cheadle, Camryn Manheim, Pete Sampras, Hank Azaria, Laura Prepon, Jon Favreau, Shanna Moakler, Mekhi Phifer and Morgan Fairchild have accepted the challenge to take on a WPT event.

They've had to face off against the likes of Antonio Esfandiari, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth in the three-day tournament.

"Being the world's largest poker casino and so close to Hollywood, Commerce sees many pros and celebrities come through its doors each week, but the WPT's Invitational tournament is by far and away the most exciting event of the year," said John Griffo, Commerce Casino director of poker operations.

"What's great about the Invitational is you see them all come together for one night where they aren't just playing for cash, but for charity, respect and overall - fun."

The event begins with red carpet arrivals at 5 p.m. March 1, followed by a cocktail party and the opportunity for guests to polish their poker skills with lessons from the WPT Boot Camp instructors. They'll also have the chance to learn to play Tuo La Ji, or Traktor Poker, from WPT China representatives.

"Texas Hold'em is a worldwide phenomenon that many celebrities love to play, which makes the Invitational the perfect opportunity to bring together entertainment and philanthropy in a fun, yet competitive environment where everyone walks away a winner, and one person walks away with a World Poker Tour Title," said Rose Odeh, WPT chief marketing officer.

Play begins March 1, with the remaining players returning March 2 to play down to the final six players. Those players will return March 3 to battle for a portion of a $225,000 prize pool put up by the Commerce Casino.

The first place finisher will win $100,000 and a $35,000 seat in the WPT World Championship in April.

The last 10 celebrities in play won't walk away emptied handed either. They will receive a cash donation to the charity of their choice, courtesy of Harbor Private Funds LLC.

WPT Ladies charity partner Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Harbor Private Funds' Harbor Foundation, and Crocs Inc.'s Soles United will also each receive a $2,500 donation from the WPT.

The event will be filmed for broadcast on GSN. The episode will air July 21 at 9 p.m. (EST).

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