Two top pros host successful fundraisers

Todd Brunson

Last weekend, two top professionals from the poker world showed how the game can be a positive force by holding benefit tournaments for two different causes.

On March 13 in San Francisco, Todd Brunson hosted a charity poker tournament that benefited the Leo Brien Foundation. The organization's main cause is Camp Okizu, which is a retreat for children who have cancer. Both professional poker players and online sites came out in force to support the Leo Brien Foundation.

World Poker Tour champions Roy "The Oracle" Winston and Hoyt Corkins were part of the proceedings, and they were joined by Kathy Liebert, Layne Flack and Allen Kessler. Online poker rooms such as Doyle's Room, Full Tilt and Ultimate Bet provided gift bags for all the participants, who enjoyed not only the poker tournament but also a silent auction that raised a good deal of funds for the organization.

As much as to benefit an excellent organization, what attendees were eager for was the chance to play poker against some of the best in the game. The final table came down to Kathy Liebert and amateur Doug Fowler.

Liebert took the second-place prize, a WSOP Academy package and a 1,500-piece Full Tilt Poker chip set, and joked about how the Academy will help her game. Fowler, for winning the tournament, will fly to Las Vegas to spend a weekend with Todd Brunson, complete with travel and accommodation.

Overall, the tournament and the silent auction raised nearly $20,000 for the Leo Brien Foundation. For more information on the work of the Foundation or to make a contribution, visit

Last Sunday night (March 16) saw thousands come together online to support another charitable organization and one of its strongest voices, Jennifer Harman.


Jennifer Harman
Jennifer Harman

The Jennifer Harman Animal Lovers Poker Tournament was an online event sponsored by Full Tilt for the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The $10 tournament, with half of the entry fee going to the organization, was expected to draw around 1,000 to 1,500 players for the event. By the time registration had ended on Sunday, an astounding 3,009 people showed up to support a cause that Harman holds in high regard.

Perhaps the star power of the tournament is what drew the large crowd. Professionals such as Harman, her husband Marco Traniello, Erik Seidel, Clonie Gowen, Andy Bloch and many other professionals on the Full Tilt roster were at the tables and they were joined by several stars from the extreme sports world, including two-time X Games champion Ross Powers and wakeboarder Parks Bonifay.

While online player "Jzeeee" was the eventual champion of the tournament, taking a nice payday of $2,235, the real winner was the animals at the no-kill shelter of the Nevada SPCA. The 3,009 players provided a $15,000 donation to the group and Full Tilt matched that amount, making the total haul for the Nevada SPCA over $30,000.

Harman will be hosting another poker tournament to benefit the Nevada SPCA on April 18, following the inaugural tournament she sponsored last year. Last year's live tournament raised $130,000 for the Nevada SPCA and it is expected to have many of the same players donating their time and funds for a worthy cause. Visit to learn more about the group or to make a private donation.

These two events demonstrate that poker can be a force for the good. Top professionals in the world of poker will no doubt continue the positive trend.

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