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VH1 Classic Poker Tournament Rocks Las Vegas

Flamingo Las Vegas and Hosts Music Legends in Their First VH1 Poker Charity Event


Lisa Tenner and Dusty HillThe VH1 Classic Rock 'n' Roll Poker Tournament sponsored by Ultimate was taped at the Flamingo Las Vegas on Wednesday, with five heavyMark Tenner gives Vinnie Paul poker tips metal music legends hitting the felt in an all out grind benefitting eight separate charities.

For audience members inside the Second City Theatre, the no-limit hold'em tournament felt more like the backstage of a rock concert. VH1 Classic and Tenner & Associates assembled a sensational televised feature table, with Godsmack's Sully Erna, Pantera's Vinnie Paul, Ace Frehley of Kiss, ZZ Top's Dusty Hill, and Scott Ian of Anthrax. Rob Cross and Ian Hamilton were the lucky Ultimate Bet TV qualifiers, as well as Flamingo Hotel Casino's satellite winner Steve Thomas, who rounded out the eight-handed line-up.

Production began on Wednesday afternoon with impromptu guitar signings and VH1 Classic celebrity interviews. TapingBreakfast Spread and 36 quarts of coffee included a series of Poker Tips by Mark Tenner, as well as short segments featuring ten-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. There should also be reels of entertaining clips courtesy of the poker duo Phil Swedish Triplets"the Unabomber" Laak and Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari.

By 6 p.m. it was a "wrap," and the hungry crew headed for some fine dining at Flamingo's Steakhouse 46. The restaurant relaxed its dress code that night for music legends donning leather, chains and sporting tattoos. There was also an interesting display of body piercings along with ornamental and intricately colored facial hair braidings.

On Thursday morning, the cast and crew gathered for breakfast in the Tenners' suite, where players, models, and commentators were outfitted and prepped for camera. Much of the food went untouched as the early risers consumed nearly 16 quarts of coffee.Comedian Kid Wok

Meanwhile, fans packed the stands in the Second City Theater while Mark Brittan - otherwise known as "Chinaman" or "Kid Wok" - warmed up the audience. Brittan, a young college student, was discovered while performing an open mike routine at a Los Angeles comedy club. His style ofBack in the Green Room with Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari offbeat humor and hilarious impersonations were a perfect match to the show's theme as Brittan had fans and the VH1 Classic crew rolling in the isles.

By noon, the cards were in the air as tournament director Matt Savage declared, "Shuffle up and deal." But players were experiencing momentum issues. It took some prodding from the stunning Lynn Hoffman to rouse the sleepy legends. "You're not in church," explained the VH1 Classic vee-jay. "So give us a show guys."

Hellmuth defended the tired competitors. "Poker players and rock stars," said the poker professional. "They don't function Godsmack's Sully Ernavery well in the morning."
Anthrax Bandmember Scott Ian
That's all it took for percussionist Vinnie Paul to set the rhythm, as he delivered the first bad beat to his fellow musicians. Ian Hamilton, Rob Cross, and Steve Thomas were finally able to shake off the star-struck jitters, serving Sully Erna and Dusty Hill some well-deserved poker banter. Ten minutes into the tournament, a nervous and inexperienced Scott Ian finally piped in and declared "I'm just glad I made it through the first hand."

Ace Frehley remained stoic until he received a special delivery. Frehley's daughter sent him a gold and leather bracelet via FedEx with the words, "Good luck Dad, I love you" inscribed on the face. And with that, it was "game on," as the charm worked its superstitious magic on the rock 'n' roll icon and secured him the early chip lead.

By the second round, two players were eliminated and escorted back to the adjoining Green Room where Laak and Esfandiari were passing time playing their own game of chance. The Lynn Hoffman and Ace Frehleyyoung UB duo cohosted a seriesFlamingo's Second City Theater Cocktail Waitress of heads-up challenges, giving those busting out of the main event a second opportunity to win a June 2007 poker cruise for two to Alaska donated by Card Player Cruises.

Though the final results must remain a secret until the event airs in early 2007, we can mention that the champion was presented with a $25,000 check and the first-ever VH1 Classic Rock 'n' Roll Poker Tournament trophy. The money will be donated to a charity of his choice. He'll also receive an's Aruba Poker Tournament package worth $10,000.00, and serve as VH1 Classic's "VJ for a Day."

Don Marrandino, president of Flamingo Las Vegas, presented the runner-up Matt Savage and Vinnie Paulwith a check for $10,000 to go towards the charity of his choice. And we can tell you that the second-place finisher of the main event won the Green Room heads-up challenge and was more than happy to accept the cruise as a consolation prize.Three monkeys

Visitors can get a sneak peek of the VH1 Classic Rock 'n' Roll Poker Tournament by visiting's multimedia photo section.