At the end of September, Vanessa Selbst hosted "Blinds & Justice," a charity event benefitting the work of the Urban Justice Center, which has served New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing for more than 30 years.
It was a cause near and dear to Selbst's heart, and the event, which took place at Current in Chelsea, proved to be a big success with 200 total attendees, of which 135 took part in the charity poker tournament, which raised over $160,000. Among the notables in attendance included poker pros Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Andy Frankenberger, Loni Harwood, and Victor Ramdin, as well as celebrities Dulé Hill, Eric Bogosian, Hank Azaria, Jason Collins, Jazmyn Simon, Justin Pugh, and Norman Lear.
"The last month I've spent basically all of my time and energy promoting and organizing the Blinds & Justice charity poker tournament, which benefitted the Urban Justice Center," Selbst told PokerNews. "I was a bit nervous because this was the first charity event I had ever organized and I had no idea what to expect. I did everything from visiting random poker games in New York City, to doing interviews in magazines, to going in person at bars on Wall Street during happy hour. It was actually a pretty fun challenge because it was so new. In the end, everything went really smoothly and I couldn't have been more thrilled with how it turned out. I owe that to a lot of people who helped in making the event a success, and probably a bunch of run-good as well."
Former November Nine Steve Begleiter ended up being the last poker pro standing – he finished in third place – though both Frankenberger and Negreanu managed to make the final table.
"He also stuck it out to the end, and was the star of the show in my opinion," Selbst said of Negreanu, her fellow Team PokerStars Pro. "Just as always he provided such amazing energy and made the night so much fun."
In the end, Ingrid Weber took down the top prize, which was a trip to the annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. That package included airfare, a nine-night stay at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and buy-in to the $5,000 Main Event as well as $5,000 in additional in buy-ins to side events of Weber's choosing.
Blinds & Justice Results
"Daniel Negreanu and Joe 'Stapes' Stapleton both brought their A-games, with energy through the roof that kept the crowd engaged even after most of them had hit the rail," Selbst continued. "Many other pros also came out to support the cause. Also, all the celebrities were fantastic, but the MVCs were Dulé Hill and Jazmyn Simon, who stuck it out to the bitter end at 1:15 a.m.! It was just a tremendous night, which saw over 200 people show up and raise more than $160,000 for the Urban Justice Center and New York's neediest populations. Now, it's back to the poker world for me, but I'm already counting down the days until next year's event!"
Check out some shots, courtesy of Urban Justice Center, from the Blinds & Justice charity event:
For more information, visit poker.urbanjustice.org.