The 9th Annual World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational gets under way on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California. A mix of professional poker players, actors, musicians and sports stars will comprise the 500-player field and for the second year in a row, Chrysalis, a nonprofit organiztion that helps economically disadvantaged and homeless people become self-sufficient through employment opportunities, will be the official charity partner for the event.
Jennifer Tilly, Don Cheadle, Shanna Moakler, Donnie Walberg, Sarah Jean Underwood, Jose Canseco, Jerry Buss, Randy Couture, Coco Crisp, and members of Boyz II Men are among the celebrities scheduled to take part in the event, along with plenty of your favorite professional poker players. Mark Steines, host of Entertainment Tonight and his wife Leanza Cornett will be the celebrity co-hosts of the event. The red carpet gets under way at 7:00 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed live in 360 degrees at WorldPokerTour.com.
The field will be playing for a piece of the $200,000 prize pool — including a $25,000 seat to the World Poker Tour World Championship. While this is a freeroll, it's also a tournament for the Chrysalis organization, so players will be able to purchase one rebuy for $200 before the first break. All proceeds will go to Chrysalis. Play will conclude on Saturday after about six hours. The remaining players will return Sunday and play down to a final table of six who will then come back on March 2 for the televised final table to play to a winner.
Last year, 567 celebrities and poker players alike turned out for the event. Reality television star Trishelle Cannatella made it to the final table, along with Thor Hansen, and ClubWPT qualifier LeRon Washington. In the end, it was Washington who outlasted the field and took down the $100,000 first-place prize and $25,000 seat to the WPT World Poker Championship.
Be sure to follow the updates at WorldPokerTour.com.