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National Hemophilia Foundation's 2006 Game Night Proves Huge Success

5 April 2006

One player at the National Hemophilia Foundation's (NHF) 2006 Game Night walked away with a seat in the 2006 World Series of Poker, but hemophilia and other blood and clotting disorders were the night's biggest winner, taking in an estimated total of $240,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

The charity event was a huge success thanks to the more than 330 participants who freely donated to the important cause. Event goers gambled at the casino tables and raked in top prizes while enjoying the ESPN Sports Zone venue in Time Square, NY.

"This event exceeded all my expectations," Event Co-Chair Shari Bender said. "It was such an exciting night and I really think it created a lot of energy and support for our cause."

Established in 1948, the NHF operates in various chapters all around the country. Their programs and initiatives are funded through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations as well as through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hemophilia may be the most well known of the blood disorders with an estimated 400,000 people affected worldwide. There is no cure for hemophilia and although treatments exist, the NHF reports these treatments are costly and may require lifelong infusions of replacement clotting factor just to maintain normal life activities.

Officials at the NHF decided holding a casino night in Times Square would not only allow them to raise money for these serious disease, but also raise awareness as well. Judging by attendance and smiling faces on April 4th, the decision was correct.

"This event was a tremendous upbeat event that brought awareness of the NHF to a whole new group of people," NHF Vice President of Marketing and Communication Suzy Zimmerman said. "We are thankful for all the generous support and hope that many will continue to be involved with out efforts."

Game Night's biggest draw was a 70-person No-Limit Texas Hold'Em tournament. The top prize was a trip to Las Vegas to play in a World Series of Poker event. The prize package was donated to the NHF by Casino City.

After two hours of grueling play, Alan Sofer of Plainview, NY won the Casino City sponsored tournament when his King and Jack of clubs won at the final table against his opponents Ace and Nine of different suits.

Sofer caught a flush on the river and the celebration began. He will now travel to Las Vegas to play in the June 27th WSOP Event # 2. He said the only thing troubling after the tournament was deciding whom to take with him.

"I came here tonight to make sure that the children afflicted with hemophilia are taken care of," Sofer said, then added with a smile. "This was a fantastic night and event. Of course winning a trip to Vegas helps."

For those not playing in the poker tournament, there was a silent auction, an open bar, and plenty of gaming action to keep people's attention.

The NHF auctioned off tons of sports memorabilia. Up for bid were items such as a signed Michael Jordan North Carolina Tar Heels jersey and a framed poster that featured original cards and cast members from the famous poker movie Rounders.

The blackjack tables saw the most play with people piling around the dealer for their chance at one of 30 donated prize packages including a trip for two to Las Vegas, a 40-person poker cruise around Long Island, golf clubs, executive chip sets and more.

A.B Whitfield of Brooklyn, NY gathered the most chips, successfully parlaying his charity tokens and blackjack skills into a total count of 22,500. He began the night with 500, but doubled his amount nearly every time he bet.

Whitfield chose an executive poker set from the prize table, but said in an interview afterwards that he came here to support the cause and was happy just to be a part of the evening.

"I have family members with hemophilia so when my friend told me about this event, I knew I had to come and support the cause," Whitfield said. "Plus it was fun."

At one point in the night, New York Yankees World Series hero Jim Leyritz stopped by to sign autographs for NHF supporters. He was greeted by a hearty cheer and told NHF officials he was happy to help out.

Also attending Game Night were Perry and Corey Parker. Perry plays professional golf and Corey once played baseball for the Detroit Tigers. Both have hemophilia and serve the NHF as Game Night Co-Chairs.

The Parker brothers told attendees that the ESPN Sports Zone was a great place to hold the event because, thanks to advances in modern medicine, persons afflicted with hemophilia no longer need to shy away from their sports dreams. Both men are living examples.

After the night was over, Co-Chair Shari Bender said she was overwhelmed by the success. She thanked everyone around her for his or her help and added that this may become an annual event.

"Judging by the success we saw tonight, it's safe to say we'll see this again next year," Bender said.

For more information on the NHF, visit their Web site at www.hemophilia.org.

Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. Email your comments and questions to him at ryanmclane@casinocity.com .

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Best of Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane

Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.
Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.