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Strip Poker: Planet Hollywood Hosts Tourney for BET

Black Poker Superstars Event Filmed for Air in Early 2008


In this "Strip Poker" series, Card Player covers the Las Vegas poker scene - on The Strip and around the city.

Eddie GriffinAll stars aligned this weekend at the official grand opening of the new Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Red carpet events lined the casino floors, and the poker room was no different, as the first-ever Black Poker Superstars tournament was filmed for air on BET.

The event attracted celebrities including Nelly, Katt Williams, Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and Mekhi Phifer. Highly respected tournament director Matt Savage oversaw the event wherein players competed in two matches each for points. Those who accumulated the most points made it to the final table. One seat at the final table was awarded to the winner of a match played by those who did not accumulate enough points. One celebrity who made the final table by placing first and second in his two heats was Kevin Hart.

Kevin Hart"Getting to the final table was not hard at all. I'm here playing with a bunch of roody-poos," Hart said, jokingly. "I have been playing for about four years pretty seriously. I am a big player at the Commerce and at the Bike. I have grown a passion for the game. I would love to get to the point where I can rub elbows with David Williams and Mike 'The Grinder' [Mizrachi] in tournaments, and they can say, hey, this guy is a good player. Hopefully from something like this, even though it is only celebrities, people can see that I'm a good player. Plus, I'm a sex symbol. One thing ya'll need in poker is sex symbols."

Poker professional David Williams, considered a sex symbol himself, was also in attendance. He provided commentary for the show, as well as taught poker to some of the celebrities. He also couldn't help but get into some cash-game action as a $5-$10 no-limit game broke out while waiting for the final table to begin.

Nelly and David Williams"We have a few players that have never played before jumping in, and then we have guys like Nelly, Kevin Hart, and Mekhi Phifer who play all the time. So, overall it has created a good, fun game where people don't mind calling people's all-ins with two random suited cards, just having fun," said Williams.

In the name of fun, or calling all-ins without hesitation, the last hand of the cash game before breaking for the final table was in-line with the theme William's described. Williams flopped a flush and Nelly flopped a pair. All the money went into the pot at this point, and the board gave Nelly a runner-runner full house, and he took almost every chip in William's stack.

David's reactionReactionShip the pot

Fans on the rail got see all of the action. Nelly bragged about winning so much money that he needed his jacket to carry it to the cashier.

Orlando Jones and Matt SavageThough the commotion, excitement, and cash were a lot to handle, nothing upstaged the fact that in the end, the event was benefiting a number of great causes. Top finishers in the tournament donated winnings to charities of their choice.

"I'm actually playing for a number of local community charities in South Carolina, where I'm from," said actor Orlando Jones. "I like knowing the families that you are particularly helping so that you can build a long-standing relationship with them, rather than a short-term one."

Find out the winner of the event when it premieres on BET in early 2008.