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Poker Tournament Raises $300,000 for Tutoring Program

The nonprofit group Horton’s Kids held its annual fundraiser at the National Building Museum last night. The event, “Holiday Hold ’Em for Horton’s Kids,” benefited the D.C.-based mobile tutoring service for children in Ward 8, which includes Anacostia.

“It was awesome,” raved Executive Director Karin Walser, who credited the Linder & Associates Inc. event-planning firm with organizing the poker tournament. “The room was decorated with red velvet couches and there were poker tables set up and a poker clinic beforehand.”

That clinic was run by 2004 World Series of Poker winner Greg Raymer, who also is known by the somewhat unusual nickname “Fossilman.”

The event, which raised approximately $300,000, also featured a magician, caricaturist, espresso bar and cocktails. Former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.), who works for the Poker Players Alliance, kicked off the event with a video featuring the children enrolled in the program.

“I thought it was a really wonderful event, well attended and well received by all those who played in the tournament and who were merely spectators,” said John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance, which acted as a sponsor of the event. “It was lively, interesting and in my opinion using poker for a great cause.”

Horton’s Kids is an intensive remedial program established 16 years ago to provide mentors, tutors and other support for kids ages 4 to 18. The 120 children participating are bused from their neighborhoods to government buildings. The Rayburn House Office Building hosts tutoring sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the Education Department pitches in on Wednesdays.

Tickets to the event were available at a cost of $75, while those who participated in the tournament had to pay a $1,000 fee.

The winner of the tournament, Kenneth Adams, received a seat at the 2008 World Series of Poker’s main event, a ticket valued at $10,000.

Other prizes included tickets on Southwest Airlines and an autographed poker set.

“It was a huge success, the event was wonderful,” Walser said.

— Alison McSherry

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