On Saturday the Sphinx Club played host to a sea of poker faces, varying from the ultra-cool to the barely-keeping-it-together, as nearly 400 people attended the now decade old Chance For Life Poker Tournament and dinner dance.
This is no regular Texas Hold’Em tournament… despite having a grand prize that’s set to get any half-serious poker player going for the grand prize of $10,000 — as the event also raises money for pediatric spinal-cord cancer research.
The event’s figurehead and inspiration is 15 year old Kennedy Snyder, who has been living with spinal-cord cancer since being diagnosed at age 2. She has undergone multiple surgeries and therapy and continues to maintain a positive outlook on life.
Created at a “celebration of life” by her godfather Brad Nierenberg, the event is now attended by such local celebs like John Martin “Cakes” Auville (radio personality for Sport Junkies), The Honorable Don Beyer (D-VA), Doug Kammerer (NBC 4), John David Booty (former NFL player and current NFL analyst) and so many more notable names to be found in the crowd. Proceeds from this year’s event specifically provide funding for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which serves to fight childhood cancer and carry on Alex’s legacy of hope.
Now in its 11th year, the organizers know how to go all in! The tournament began at noon, catered for by Taylor Gourmet serving hors d’oeuvres to get the party started. Later, reinforcements by celeb chef Mike Isabella — in the form of a Taco Station and a carving station — supplied fuel to help hungry players and attendees during the grueling 8 hour session of poker playing… and the party after the tournament. The food provided as much entertainment for the onlookers as the players did themselves.
In the end it was player Richard Wiedis that took home the championship ticket/grand prize.
After the tournament concluded, evening guests had the opportunity to sample local and international wines, craft beers and liquors that were imaginatively paired with food. The evening was completed with live music provided by A-town A-list featuring top 40 and 80’s hit songs which gave everyone the opportunity to dance off the losses and celebrate life!