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Antonio Esfandiari to Host Poker for Hope Charity Event in Vegas April 10-11

Antonio Esfandiari

From April 10-11, 2015, Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas will play host to the 2nd Annual Poker For Hope, a night of entertainment followed by a $500 buy-in charity poker tournament that will boast a $60,000 prize pool, award a $25,000 first-place prize, and see Antonio Esfandiari serve as host.

In 2014, the event raised over $160,000 for Tia's Hope, a charity founded in honor of Tia Palermo (1959-2012), who was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2001 and bravely battled the disease for over 11 years. Created in 2012 by Jess Ravich, Tia's husband, and their daughters, Tia's Hope seeks to honor her wish that children at hospitals all over the country receive joy and gifts during their holiday stay at the hospital.

"The event is important because it helps fund our mission," Ravich told PokerNews. "Rather than a boring dinner, people love poker and in Vegas they can play for real cash prizes. So rather than giving someone another rubber chicken dinner and some bad silent auction items our fundraiser is fun and potentially lucrative."

Indeed, Ravich, who is the largest investor in the Absinthe show at Caesars Palace, has even went so far as to nab Esfandiari as host.

"A friend of mine is friends with Jess and when he asked if I was interested in being a part of such a great cause it was a no brainer," Esfandiari told PokerNews. "These sort of events are important in order to raise awareness. To raise money for research. Most importantly to show that we as a community care. There were multiple celebrities present last year, and the tournament itself was a lot of fun. I'm sure this year will be even bigger and better than last."

The two-day event will kick from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, April 10, which is when the first 100 people to register for the poker tournament will be treated to a Celebrity Improv Show supporting Poker for Hope at Cleopatra’s Barge nightclub in Caesars Palace. The show is slated to feature all-stars such as Willie Garson, Cheryl Hines, Camryn Manheim, Kevin Pollak, and Sara Rue.

Afterwards, the first 175 registrants will be treated to the 9:30 p.m. showing of Absinthe, the #1 show in Vegas. As the Poker for Hope website describes, Absinthe is hailed by Chicago Sun-Times as "sexy, funny, unabashedly raunchy," and named "Best Show" on the Strip by Vegas SEVEN and Las Vegas Weekly, ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace is an acro-cabaret variety show featuring wild and outlandish acts in a theatre-in-the-round presentation. Audiences are treated to a night of imagination and excess as the cast of eccentrics perform amazing feats of strength, balance, danger and unfathomable flexibility within mere feet of the audience surrounding the intimate stage.

Then, on Saturday at Planet Hollywood, cards will be in air at 12:30 p.m. local time. Players will receive 5,000 in chips for their $500 buy-in, plus rebuys (2,500 chips for $250 or 5,000 chips for $500) will be offered until the first break. Players can reload any time their chips dip below the starting stack. To sweeten things, players who purchase a rebuy for $250 at registration will get 3,500 chips (a 1,000 chip bonus). Finally, at the break there will be an add-on option ($250 for 4,000 in chips or $500 for 8,000 in chips).

"Caesars has been our partner since we started and they have been great," Ravich said of his relationship with both Caesars properties. "When the poker room at Caesar's was remodeled, it made more sense to move to Planet Hollywood. They have been wonderful and I have a prior history with the property as I was on the board at one point."

To reserve your spot in the 2nd Annual Poker for Hope, and to take advantage of both the Celebrity Improv Show and Absinthe tickets, click here. Remember, tickets to each show are limited to the first 100 and 175 players respectively, so don't wait too long to lock up you spot.

Antonio Esfandiari to Host Poker for Hope Charity Event in Vegas April 10-11 101

Right now attendees can get a hotel discount at nearby Caesars Palace by using code VC1PFH5. For more information, visit

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