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Winners at the 2015 tourney were (seated, from left)
Jay Fares, Joe Corso and Jim Kuchta, and (standing,
from left) Jim O’Malley, Jeff Corso, Mark Norville,
Bridget Van Eekeren and Tom Dobrez. 

(Provided photo)

Feeling lucky?

Of the nearly 100 poker players who will try their luck at the upcoming Texas Hold’ Em tournament in Homewood, eight will split $5,000 in cash and prizes.

But everyone at the annual tourney will have a hand in making sure the real winner is the Cancer Support Center, which benefits from the popular annual fundraiser set for Feb. 6 at Balagio Ristorante, 17501 Dixie Highway. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. The games start at 5 p.m., and a winning table is announced around 11 p.m.

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“People love this event because it’s a chance for a lot of friends to get together and play poker,” said Brent Bachus, a member of the center’s Community Board, which organizes the tournament. “It’s a real cross-section of people from our community—men and women, people of all ages. We always have some people who are experienced, and every year we have some first-timers, too. There are no card sharks and it’s not real serious. Everyone is here to have fun.”

Players pay $200 to enter, or $175 if they register in advance at cancersupportcenter.org. The amount covers an open bar, food and poker chips. Those who want to come cheer on a player but don’t want to play can eat, drink and watch the fun for $50. All participants must be at least 18 years old, according to the Illinois law on charitable gaming.

“We always host it the night before the Super Bowl and we sell squares for that, too,” Bachus said.

The goal is to raise at least $25,000 from the event, an amount that will mean the Community Board has raised a total of $500,000 for the center since 2004.

“This will be a major milestone for us,” Bachus said. 

The Community Board is a group of volunteers from Homewood and Flossmoor who stepped forward to support the center. 

“We wanted to raise funds for the Cancer Support Center and also raise awareness of it,” Bachus said. The Texas Hold’ Em event was one of the board’s first fundraisers; volunteers also host an annual Halloween party that has proved popular with the community.

“One hundred percent of the money we raise goes to the center, which provides support to people whose lives have been impacted by cancer and their families, all free of charge.

“And the center doesn’t receive any federal funding,” Bachus said. “So these are pretty important dollars.”

To register in advance, click here.
 

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