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“All In For CP”, a charity poker tournament which benefited the One Step Closer Foundation drew poker players, foundation supporters, and Celebrities to the Venetian Poker Room on Saturday, December 11.  No matter how the tournament turned out for participants, the big winner was the foundation which seeks to find a cure for Cerebral Palsy. The tournament raised $65,860. Another $7,000 in additional donation came from the players. As of press time, the auction items brought in additional funds in excess of $73.00.

Michael Divita, the tournament winner, received a prize of $17,810 and donated 10% of that sum back to the charity.  Jennifer Elise Cox was second with winnings of $$11,064 followed by Harold Keikoan  who got $6,718.  Al Santos was next and recieived $4,940 followed by Alex Lehman who  was awarded a prize of $3,841.

Prior to the beginning of play, celebrities and professional poker players graced the red carpet posing for tourists and signing autographs.  Tournament host Cheryl Hines and One Step Closer Foundation founder Jacob Zalewski kicked off the event with the traditional “shuffle up and deal!” Actress Shannon Elizabeth also addressed the crowd, calling Zalewski “an inspiration and a shining star.”

Hines, co star of Larry David’s HBO hit series “Curbing Your Enthusiasm” brought her own enthusiasm to the tournament.  Her nephew Michael is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy.  Cheryl told me that next season’s episodes of CYE are done and contain, “the same madness as before.”

In addition to the play, participants bid on silent auction items and enjoyed massages from Canyon Ranch SpaClub masseuses. One player bid a staggering $5,000 to sit between Playboy playmates Stacy Fuson and Lauren Anderson.

Poker stars included Karina and Chip Jett, Justin Smith, Todd and Anjela Brunson, Lupe Soto, Marsha Waggoner, Robert Williamson III, Christina Lindley, Phil Laak, Eric Mizrachi, Joseph Reitman, Joe Stapleton, Andy Bloch and 2009 WSOP champion Joe Cada. Also in attendance was Mekhi Phifer of FOX’s “Lie To Me,” Sam Simon, creator of “The Simpsons,” Jennifer Elise Cox, Jennifer Tilly, Jeremy London, Omar Gooding, Al Santos, Miko Hughes and boxer Sergio Martinez.

Sean Astin of “Lord of the Rings,”  I had the chance to chat with Austin who told me that he and his wife Christine  are working on a movie based on the 1990  historical fiction book, “Number The Stars” about a ten year old girl in Denmark in 1943 during the Holocaust.  The novel was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1990 as the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,”
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Sean Astin
Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Sam Simon creator of 'The Simpsons'
Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Sergio Martinez WBC Middleweight Champion
Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Shannon Elizabeth
Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Marsha Wagoner
Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Photo credit: Burt Davis

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Actor Mekhi Phifer getting ready to play during the “All In For CP” Tournament at The Venetian
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas

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Playboy Playmates Stacy Fuson, Alison Waite and Lauren Anderson pose with One Step Closer Founder, Jacob Zalewski
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas

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Actor Mekhi Phifer poses with actress and tournament host Cheryl Hines
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas

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Actress Cheryl Hines poses on the red carpet before kicking off the event
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas

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Actress Shannon Elizabeth poses with actor Sean Astin before the tournament
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas
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Jennifer Tilly poses at a poker table before the tournament
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak – IS Photography/ Images of Vegas
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