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Harman's Charity Poker Tournament Kicks Off Tomorrow

Poker Pro Will Raise Money for Kidney Foundation


Jennifer HarmanJennifer Harman’s charity tournament is already shaping up to be one of the biggest of the year. As of Monday, more than 320 people have registered for the $230 event, according to Lisa Wheeler, the president of Greasie Wheels, a company that is helping to coordinate the event.

The no-limit hold’em tournament will begin tomorrow at noon at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno. Several poker professionals, including Howard Lederer, Tiffany Michelle, Maria Ho, Andy Bloch, and Marco Traniello, are scheduled to play the event.

Besides the $230 entry fee, there will be $50 rebuys during the first three 20-minute levels and a one-time add-on. The winner of the event will receive a $5,000 World Poker Challenge championship entry, while second and third place will receive $3,000 WPC entries. All of the top-three finishers will receive Curtis and Co. sports watches.

Proceeds from the tournament will go toward the National Kidney Foundation — specifically toward “free-of-charge” patient programs, camps for children on dialysis, patient and family assistance, and research, as requested by Harman.

For more information, go to the website created for the Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament.

Jennifer Harman’s Story

At the age of 17, Harman was told that she had three months to live.

She had just watched her mother die from kidney disease, and now her own kidneys were failing.

“When I was young, I always thought that I was indestructible,” said Harman. “I was in denial. I didn’t believe that it was going to happen.”

But her body wasn’t responding well to dialysis, the treatment used to help replace the functions of the kidney. While she was supposed to go into the hospital for dialysis three times a week for three hours at a time after her kidney failure, she could only manage to go in twice a week for two hours at a time because her blood pressure would bottom out during treatment.

“They did the bare minimum of dialysis on me to keep me alive,” said Harman.

Just when the situation seemed uncompromising, Harman received a kidney transplant and made a full recovery. Despite a second kidney transplant in 2004, she has gone on to become one of the greatest poker players in the world, a regular at the highest-stakes cash game in Las Vegas.