Former Miami Dolphins Headline Charity Poker Tournament
By: Malcolm Shields
In an effort to raise awareness and funding against Parkinson’s disease, former Miami Dolphins players Dante Culpepper, Shawn Wooden and Troy Drayton are going all in for the Inaugural Poker for Parkinson’s tournament. The tournament will be held on July 8 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Isle Casino at Pompano Park in Pompano Beach.
All proceeds raised will benefit the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation. After some initial difficulty to find a venue to host the event, the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation found an interested partner in the Isle Casino. “Thankfully the Isle got behind us 100 percent,” said Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, Daniel Wilkins. “They have been great to work with.”
The Isle Casino has a history of working with non-profit organizations. “We [have] run charity events before,” said Director of Poker Operations at the Isle Casino Mike Smith. “We were interested in it because of the magnitude of the charity. Typically these events go pretty well.” The Isle Casino has been involved with charity work for at least the last five years.
Although not an avid poker player, Wooden – who spent eight of his nine year career in a Dolphins’ uniform – expects to have a good time being around some of his former teammates. “I always enjoy spending time with former teammates and also a chance to beat them at anything,” Wooden said. “We are very competitive by nature so to beat them at the table will be very nice.”
Interested players can register up to the day of the event at the Isle Casino. The cost for the fundraiser is $200 with a $100 re-buy. Those with the best poker skills have the chance to win numerous prizes which includes the grand prize of a seat at the 2013 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Other prizes include seats at the Isle Casino million-dollar poker events for the next four quarters and trips to either Hawaii or Las Vegas. All of the prizes were donated to the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation by other organizations.
“We expect to raise $40,000 at this event to help us drive awareness for the Parkinson’s community nationwide. The purpose of our organization is to providing marketing help to those who need it. This money goes a long way,” said Bill Wilkins, Co-Founder of the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation.
For Wooden, the opportunity to be involved with a cause that supports Parkinson’s awareness was important for him. “It is always important to me when I am able to be a part of an event that helps people,” Wooden said. “I know that this event will promote awareness and help raise necessary funds in helping improve the quality of life for those that are stricken with this disease and also their loved ones.”
For more information about the event and the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, visit Wilkins-PF.org