Vanessa Selbst’s first attempt at organizing a charity poker event turned out to be very successful one after her Blinds & Justice charity event raised $160k for the Urban Justice Center in New York.
Homelessness has ever so adroitly entered my mind these past few days. Whilst I am Brussels, I have an empty two-bedroom apartment back in Cardiff. A few feet away there will be people sleeping on pieces of cardboard harassed by drunks on their way home from the pub.
This haunting imagery won’t leave. It’s evocative. It’s pulling at my heartstrings. Only fear holds me back from doing something about it, but for how long?
One person who is doing something about this problem is PokerStars Team Pro Vanessa Selbst. The most successful female poker player in the history of the sport, is a board member at the Urban Justice Center: a non-profit that has helped serve New York City’s most vulnerable residents for the past 30 years, including helping people access housing.
A few weeks ago Selbst was the organizer and host for the Blinds & Justice charity event. It was held at Current in Chelsea. 200 people attended and 135 of them entered the charity poker tournament raising $160,000 in the process.
Speaking to PokerNews about the experience Selbst said she was ‘nervous’ organizing her first charity event, and that she ‘had no idea what to expect.’ Selbst had a little bit of help from her friends. Fellow PokerStars teammates Daniel Negreanu and Victor Ramdin attended, as did fellow poker pros Loni Harwood, Erik Seidel and Andy Frankenberger.
Various celebrities also showed their support. Hank Azaria – a recent guest on Poker Central’s Super High Roller Celebrity Shootout, an event Selbst won for a million dollars – was at the event. Actor Dule Hill took part, as did actor and playwright Eric Bogosian, former NBA star Jason Collins, actress Jazmyn Simon and writer/producer Norman Lear.
Three well-known poker names went deep in the competition. Negreanu finished seventh, Frankenberger fifth, and the deepest run of all was reserved for the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event sixth place finisher, Steve Begleiter, who finished third. The winner, and recipient of a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event package, was Ingrid Weber, who beat Joel Wertheimer in heads-up action.
“Now it’s back to the poker world for me, but I am already counting down the days until next year’s event!” Selbst told PokerNews.