Celebrities taking a seat at the poker table to raise funds for a good cause is nothing new. However, the Ed Asner Celebrity Poker Night has ramped things up and is now in its ninth year.
Once again this year’s event goes virtual on June 12 with a host of big names taking part and some big prizes for winners. Players can get in on the action for a $250 donation.
The annual event benefits the Ed Asner Family Center, an all-encompassing resource dedicated to helping individuals, and their families, with autism, developmental delays, and other special needs. Players have until June 4 to register for the tournament..
What to expect playing poker with Ed
Asner is beloved by many for his role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He’s also starred in numerous films and television shows and won seven Emmy awards. At age 91, Asner still acts and recently appeared in the popular Netflix series Cobra Kai.
Reigning champion Clancy Brown (Highlander, Shawshank Redemption) will be back in the field this year. Players can also expect:
- a silent auction
- special musical performance by Aimee Mann
- a livestream of the event
Organizers also announced possible appearances by past celebrity players including Jack Black, Ben Affleck, and Don Cheadle.
The event features a 300-seat field using the online Poker 501 platform. The virtual poker rooms give players like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog the ability to see and bluff other players. Look for plenty of heckling of table mates from Triumph as well.
The event features numerous celebrities and some of those familiar at poker tables include Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Ian Black, Brad Garrett, and others.
A few other celebrities attending include Dave Foley, Matthew Modine, Michael McKean, Anna Paquin, Keith Morrison, Daryl Hannah, Danny Bonaduce, Haley Joel Osment, Richard Kind, Natasha Henstridge, Rosie O’Donnell, and numerous others. Players can expect plenty of interaction via the poker platform.
“We’re very excited about this year’s Poker Night, because the virtual platform is brand new and really amazing,” says Matt Asner, Ed’s son and co-founder of the center. “It’s cutting edge and allows our players to see and talk to one another in real time at their tables.
“This virtual poker night will be truly groundbreaking and the closest you’ll get to in-person, live table action. It’s light years ahead of the video game vibe we had last year. I can’t wait to see who has the best poker face.”
A look at players and hosts
Poker fans will recognize the hosts for the annual event. Phil Gordon, Maria Ho, and Nick Geber will check in on tables throughout the live stream.
Gordon returns to poker a bit after retreating to a life back in the tech world. He was a major player throughout the Moneymaker and online poker boom. Gordon has $2.8 million in live tournament winnings including one World Poker Tour title. He also hosted Celebrity Poker Showdown on the Bravo network.
During a media event to promote the fundraiser last week, Gordon spoke with USPoker about seeing the game’s growth during the 2000s to where it is today.
“I turned pro almost 20 years ago to the day and made the World Series of Poker Main Event final table in 2001,” Gordon said. “The boom years with Chris Moneymaker were amazing and all the celebrities on the show were super fun. Obviously all the networks had their own poker show.
“I think one of the things that happened over the course of time, the young kids saw all the money that was being thrown around, and that started playing and playing really well. They had simulation tools, they had forums to help each other, the computers got a lot more powerful and were able to solve with game theory. It became a much different game than it was 15 or 20 years ago.”
When the cards get in the air, Gordon will once again be in the mix. This time the goal is not to win a pile of money, but score plenty of donations for the Asner Family Center.
To register or for more information, click here.