Sunday November 6th was the date for the Second Annual Vince Neil Off The Strip Poker Tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The charity event again benefited the T.J. Martell Foundation.
The Texas Hold'em tournament was preceded by a cocktail party and a silent auction of various memorabilia from the music, sports and entertainment industries. Just an example, I had my eye on a Doors album and music notes with signatures of Jim and the entire band but the $1,000 suggested opening bid had been twice exceeded by the time I got to the table. A live auction just before cards were in the air was hosted by Neil and a bevy of thoughtful and well thought of beauties. The auction of one of a kind items included the table felts from each of the 15 tables for this event. The tables coverings went fast with unique emblems and logos of the days event plus fresh signatures from Motley Crue and the ladies, including Tera Patrick, Taylor Wane, and Tiffany Granath, the host of Playboy Radio's Afternoon Advice. The big item of the day, a visit for four to the Playboy Mansion, drew an opening bid of $10,000.
One hundred and forty plus players put up the $500 buy-in or were bought in my several $5,000 and $10,000 "table sponsors" who spread their guest players around the room. The tournament was a rebuy for the first four levels (two hours) and it was clear from the very beginning that many of the participants were there to "gamble for charity." The rebuy guy did a lot of running for all of the first two hours; including a frenzy of activity in the last several minutes of the final rebuy level.
Professional poker players sprinkled around the poker room included former WSOP champion Tom McEvoy, Cowboy Kenna James, Layne Flack in his very best talkative form plus Chip and Karina Jett. Robin Leach made a guest appearance, the tournament director was the ever popular Matt Savage and, of course, the ladies mentioned above as well as several other 'attractions' circulating throughout the room. A $50,000 prize pool was to be split between the 10 players who made the final table but by the time they all got there, the players were ready to party and the cocktail waitresses were exhausted. The lion's share of the player's prize pool went directly to the charities involved. There may or may not have been a declared winner, other then the charities of course.
Last year the inaugural Vince Neil's Off The Strip Tournament raised more than $170,000 to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation. This year it would appear that number was easily eclipsed. The money is donated to the foundation through the Skylar Neil Memorial, started by Vince Neil after his daughter died from stomach cancer in 1995.
The Martel foundation was formed in 1975 when Tony Martel, a music industry executive was asked by his son T.J. to try to raise $1 million to benefit the leukemia research that had helped T.J. live to reach his 21st birthday. Tony kept that promise despite his son's death later that year, and since then the foundation has raised more than $215 million to support innovative research for leukemia, cancer and AIDS at eight laboratories throughout the United States.
The T.J. Martell Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee reviews applications from research laboratories to determine which studies will receive funding. All grants are rewarded based on scientific merit, and help to fund the brightest and most promising work to support innovative research that might not otherwise receive funding.
Plans are indeed in the works for the Third Annual Vince Neil Off The Play Strip Poker Online Free Tournament at the Hard Rock.