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Chicago Women Junior League Ups Ante for Charity

Windy City Nights Casino-Themed Extravaganza and Poker Tournament Reaped Impressive Rewards for Local Community

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When the Chicago chapter of the Women's Junior League organized an event to raise money for local charities, a casino-themed festival seemed the natural choice. What the JLC didn't anticipate was the sheer number of participants willing to putJLC President Michelle Kerr their money on the tables for a good cause. Saturday's Windy City Nights at the downtown Tavern Club attracted over 450 guests. So many, in fact, that nearly a hundred hopefuls were turned away due to the venue being filled to capacity.

Windy City Nights JLC Poker Tournament PlayersLocated high above the city, the Tavern Club on North Michigan Avenue provided stunning views of the city's skyline, where Windy City Nights guests enjoyed dancing and appetizers courtesy of The Melting Pot, featuring chocolate martinis and fondue. Other sponsors included Gerard Design, Bronze Relax Riesling, and Miller beer.

JLC members Natalie Harrison and Amy Sproull spearheaded Windy City Nights, with JLC President Michelle Kerr rallying the troops. The event hosted a silent auction featuring A.M. Feldman jewelry, along with casino-themed JLC Windy City Nights Poker Tournament in Chicagogames of roulette, black jack, and craps. The evening's most anticipated event was the inaugural Ante Up For Charity poker tournament organized by Karen Williamson, and emceed by ESPN Sport Talk radio host Steve Rosenbloom. The sold-out affair was a $150JLC Members and Guests at Windy City Nights Poker Tournament no-limit Texas hold'em event that afforded locals an irresistible opportunity to play like the pros in Chicago's first-ever TV-style poker tournament. When the buy-ins were tallied, a whopping $10,650 had been added to the JLC charity prize pool. In lieu of cash awards, winners walked away with alternative bounties.

Kerr was on hand to congratulate the winners. The first-place prize package valued at $2,260 went to Brian Farmer. Farmer received a satellite entry into Heartland Poker Tour's televised main event on March 24 at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana, and a trip for two to Sunset Waters Beach Windy City Nights Poker Tournament Winner Winner Brian FarmerResort in Curacao. Runner-up Scott Chester collected a "gamer" prize package that included a Play Station2 console and a World Championship Poker 2 game donated by professional poker player Robert Williamson III. Chester was also awarded a two-night stay at Mississippi's Beau Rivage. Third-place finisher Brian Donnely walked away with a Chicago cityJLC - 95 Years of Service experience package, including a one-night stay at the Affinia Hotel, dinner at McFadden's Saloon, and tickets to a Wrigley Field Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves baseball game, courtesy of TicketsFirstClass.com. All nine final table finishers received consolation gift bags with a copy of Rosenbloom's novel The Best Hand That I Ever Played and a World Championship Poker 2 game.

In all, the JLC extravaganza raised more than $50,000 for charity. Celebrating 95 years of service, the JLC is a metropolitan organization of volunteers committed to helping women develop their potential, improving the local community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers