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Phil Hellmuth Hosts Beauty and the Bet Charity Event

The TASER Foundation Benefited From the Generosity of Poker Pros, Celebrities, and Amateurs Alike


Phil HellmuthThis weekend at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, 11-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth hosted the Beauty and the Bet charity poker tournament benefiting the TASER Foundation, an organization in support of families of fallen officers.

"We were very fortunate to have a mutual friend through the PPA (Poker Players Alliance), and they invited Phil Hellmuth to come out the first year," said Geraldine Hills, executive director of the TASER Foundation. "When he really found out about the work of the TASER Foundation and the impact we have on the families of fallen officers, he really became very passionate about the cause. This is his third year."

The charity event was split into two tournaments, a main Scott Ianevent ($500 buy-in with rebuys) and a High Rollers tournament ($2,500 buy-in with rebuys). Fifty percent of the money generated from the buy-ins, rebuys, and add-ons went towards the player prize pools, while the other half was withheld for the charity. The top three finishers of both events moved on to the winners table to compete for the grand prize of two Super Bowl XLII tickets, as well as entry for two into the exclusive Playboy's Super Saturday Night Party.

For the main event, the player prize pool came out to $20,500 with Steve Kontharos winning the lion's share of it. Eric Mills and Anthony Cibotti finished in second and third place, respectively. The High Roller tournament featured a number of pros and celebrities. Montel Williams, Pam Brunson, James Van Alstyne, Steve Zolotow, and Playmates Stacy Fusion and Sarah Elizabeth all competed in this event. Hellmuth alsHoyt Corkins and Pam Brunsono played while emceeing the tournament. He often gave play-by-plays of certain hands, remarking on his opponents' play. While Hellmuth's antics were no different than in regular tournaments, it was clear that he had a big impact on many of the stars who came.

"Phil invited me to this event. We met a while ago when I won a VH1 celebrity poker tournament that he was emceeing," said Scott Ian of Anthrax, who ended up finishing in sixth place.

Another player invited by Hellmuth who didn't even let winning a major title keep him away from the event was Hoyt Corkins. "I rushed over here from the Venetian to play in this event," said Corkins, who took down the $5,000 buy-in Vegas Open event just minutes before arriving at the Palms. "This is for a great cause. Plus, I always want to play with Phil."

Anthony CibottiTodd Brunson eventually won the High Rollers event, and his portion of the $96,250 prize pool. Arnette Heintze finished second and Bruce Culver third. All six finalists then battled for the grand prize. In the end, it was Cibotti who was the last person standing.

"The Palms and TASER Foundation are both sponsors of Playboy racing," said Hills. "We wanted to bring it up to the next level by making it a bigger event. Having the Playboy relationship and Phil Hellmuth really differentiates us from other poker tournaments. We are trying to be unique and be edgy and fun to raise a lot of money for the families."

Memory booklets of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty were scattered on the tables, serving as a subtle reminder of the cause at hand. Officer deaths are up 35 percent in 2007, and the TASER Foundation is determined to make life easier for the families.

Since its inception in 2004, the foundation has distributed $1.7 million to help more than 500 families. Because TASER International pays all expenses of the foundation, 100 percent of everything raised goes directly to the families.

As quoted at the bottom of each page in the booklet, "They are not heroes because they died, they are heroes because of how they lived." For more information on the TASER Foundation, click here.

Photos Credit: Rob Grace/