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Harman’s Charity Poker Event Starts May 8

Peppermill Resort Casino Will Host the Tournament


Jennifer HarmanAt the age of 17, Jennifer 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.

Throw DownNow, she is using poker to help raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.

For the second straight year, Harman will host a poker tournament in an effort to raise money for kidney disease research. This year, the Throw Down Poker Championship (sponsored by IGT and Liberty Dialysis) will take place at the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno on May 8.

Several well-known poker pros have already confirmed their attendance, including Howard Lederer, Antonio Esfandiari, Andy Bloch, Marco Traniello, Layne Flack, Tiffany Michelle, Maria Ho, David Williams, Todd Brunson, Paul Wasicka, Jon Friedberg, and Allen Kessler.

A number of celebrities have also committed to coming, including The Sopranos’ Robert Iler, Saved by the Bell’s Dennis Haskins, and U.S. Olympian Ross Powers.

Players can purchase an individual entry into the charity tournament for $320, or enter as a 10-player team for $2,500. There will be prizes for both individual and team performances, including a 2010 WSOP main event seat. More than 300 players have already registered for the event, so if you want to book your entry, do so soon at

Editor’s Note: Some information from this article was re-used from a Feburary 2009 Card Player article on Harman’s first charity tournament for the National Kidney Foundation.