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Poker Players Rally for Good Cause.

The night before the final of the World Poker Tour saw an exceptional occasion take place when poker players opened their hearts to a very special cause. World Poker Tour cameraman, Paul Hannum dies five weeks ago, leaving behind five months pregnant fiancée, Sarah Percy.

Poker pro and WPT Player of the Year, Gavin Smith, a close friend of Hannum, approached Haig Kelegian, Managing Partner of the Bicycle Casino and WPT founder Steve Lipscomb, about staging a benefit poker tournament at the Bike on the night before the Legends of Poker Final Table.

This combined effort resulted in a tournament with a $1,000 buy-in that attracted 115 players to support the cause and compete for a seat at the $25,000 WPT Championship and a host of other phenomenal prizes. Kristin Cranford, a former WPT production staff member, donated her time by organising the event.

Actress Jennifer Tilly, the victor, declined the first prize, giving it back to the baby's fund instead. Gavin Smith won second place, a $10,000 seat in a WPT main event, and then promptly announced that he would give 50% of any winnings from that tournament to Baby Hannum. Further donations came the next night when Scotty Nguyen, soon to be a dad himself, convinced the other players at the Legends of Poker Final Table to donate a portion of their winnings to Baby Hannum—with Nguyen putting in a sizeable donation. Hoyt Corkins, Kevin O’Donnell, Randy Holland, and then winner Joe Pelton, who put in twice what the others individually contributed, followed this Nguyen.

‘I still cannot believe the outpouring of support from the poker community,’ said Sarah Percy. ‘Our little baby will know what a great dad she had by the incredibly generous show of support from his wonderful friends in poker.’

Stephen Holder.
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