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Phil Hellmuth to Host Poker Benefit for Agrace HospiceCare

Phil Hellmuth

On Saturday, Dec. 17, 11-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth will return to his native Madison, Wisconsin, for the 2nd Annual Hellmuth’s Hold’em with Agrace HospiceCare. All proceeds from the event, which will feature a tournament, silent auction, and raffle, will go to Agrace HospiceCare. Among the prizes to be won include a seat to the 2012 World Series of Poker and a two-year lease of a 2012 Zimbrick Honda CR-V LX — both of which will be a part of the raffle.

"It will be tough to top last year's jet-fueled, energy-laced event! But we aim to, when I hit Mad-town for Phil Hellmuth's Hold’em with HospiceCare 2011 on December 17," Hellmuth said. “This is going to be the night to remember in Madison, all to help Agrace HospiceCare and the good it does for the community.”

Agrace HospiceCare is a nonprofit, community-based hospice dedicated to providing expert physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients and families dealing with life-limiting conditions. Agrace HospiceCare is nationally recognized for its comprehensive in-home, inpatient, respite, and residential care, and the hospice services Agrace HospiceCare provides in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout south central Wisconsin."

At the event, a mix of poker pros and local celebrities will be in attendance and serving as Hellmuth’s guests, who will be moved from table to table during the tournament to socialize with participants. Poker pros who are slated to attend include Annette Obrestad, Dewey Weum, Tony “D1rtyR1v3r” Nardi, and Wisconsin native, Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin, who was featured on the PokerNews Podcast recently.

Hellmuth emcees the event in 2010.
Hellmuth emcees the event in 2010.

Former NFL and UW Badgers football player, Derek Engler, professional golfer, Jerry Kelly, Olympic gold medalist Casey FitzRandolph, Madison mayor, Paul Soglin, UW Badgers women’s hockey coach and member of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team, Mark Johnson, and local news anchors Carleen Wild, Charlie Shortino, and Leigh Mills are among the athletes and celebrities scheduled to attend.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, to get the guys who’re coming home for the holidays. That’s how we get Baldwin and Phil,” said tournament director and event organizer, Steve Verrett. “Actually, that’s how we started this was with Phil coming home for the holidays and having him do a charity event. We came up with this idea and it got really big last year. It’s a great time.”

In 2010, the inaugural event proved a resounding success with approximately 240 players. Not only that, nearly $140,000 was raised for patients and families of south central Wisconsin. The two major prizes that year, a two-year lease on a Zimbrick Honda Accord LX and a seat to the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event, were won by Art Luetke and Joe Anderson respectively. The tournament itself was won by a poker pro — none other than Madison native and personal friend of Hellmuth, Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon. Interestingly, a Hellmuth made the final table that year, though it was Phil Hellmuth Sr. showing his son how it’s done.

Trophy from the 2010 Hellmuth's Hold'em with Agrace HospiceCare which was awarded to Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon.
Trophy from the 2010 Hellmuth's Hold'em with Agrace HospiceCare which was awarded to Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon.

This year, organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout and have prepped for a 400-plus field. For those interested in attending, there are three ticket options available:

  • All-Access Ticket: $1,000/person. Includes poker, food, entertainment, VIP access and admission to a poker academy held on Friday, Dec. 16 where they’ll have the opportunity to learn from the pros. They also receive a free add-on at the first break of the tournament.
  • VIP Ticket: $500/person includes poker, floor, entertainment, and VIP access.
  • Poker Ticket: $300/person includes poker, food, entertainment, and VIP access.
  • Entertainment Ticket: $100/person for food, entertainment and excitement.

“Basically what we do is take the entire Madison poker community and we have them be dealers, that’s how we pull it off,” Verrett, said. “They all volunteer to deal. We’ve secured 48 tables, so 48 times nine, we can go up to 432 players.”

The full-day poker event will take place at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Town Center in Madison, with registration beginning at 2:00 p.m. and the tournament kicking off around 3 p.m. You can also preregister for the event by visiting

*For more info from the day of the event, be sure to follow the hashtag #HellmuthHospice.

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*Lead photo courtesy of

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