Ante4Autism, an annual charity poker tournament in Las Vegas, is back for its 11th year raising money for multiple autism charities, with an event that features poker celebs, non-poker celebs … and Norman Chad.
Part of the fun in charity poker tournaments is playing for a good cause when it’s more about the money raised than money won. The Ante4Autism event — being held Saturday, 6 pm PT, in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget — has seen both numbers grow.
The tournament is a $150 buy-in with $50 rebuys, and offers a $15,000 guaranteed prize pool, which will be split among the final table of nine. It is the largest prize pool in the charity event’s 11-year history.
Low Buy-In Celebrity Fun
In addition to WSOP colorman Chad, celebrity RSVPs this year include poker legends Jennifer Harman and Erik Seidel, baseball slugger Jose Canseco, actors Mark Wahlberg and Kevyn Major Howard, UFC face-smasher Randy Couture, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Chris and Jacqueline Laurita, “Walking Dead” actress Jeryl Prescott, singing sensation William Hung, and Dennis Haskins, the man still referred to as “Mr. Belding,” principal on the hit 1990’s TV show “Saved By the Bell.”
Just about every starting table will have someone there you can tell your sister about.
Tournament Comes of Age
As the final table prize pool has grown over the years, so has the money raised.
Doug Krinsky, co-founder of the non-profit Beat Autism Now, started the charity tournament in 2009 to raise awareness within the home furnishings industry, and money to support families affected by Autism who needed help. That first event raised $6,220.
Ten years later, with the tournament’s first $10,000 guaranteed final table, last year’s event set a record by generating $137,983 to be distributed to different charities.
In total, the event has raised $565,199. The proceeds of the event are now donated to five Autism-related charities each year. This year’s recipients are Autism Speaks, the National Autism Association of Southeast Ohio, The Reece School in New York City, Stynchula Foundation, and Cleveland Clinic Kids.
Autism is a mental condition that impairs the ability to communicate and interact, and affects about one percent of the world’s population, according to the Autism Society. The CDC reports that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are diagnosed in 1 in 59 children in the United States.
Raising a child with autism can be costly. Estimated expenses related to autism ranges from $1.4 million to $2.4 million over an individual’s lifespan. On average, it costs a family $8,600 more per year to educate a child with autism.
Beyond the communication problems associated with autism, patients are also prone to other health issues such as depression, anxiety, and epilepsy.
A special guest speaker at Saturday’s event will be Jackson McQuiston, an adult with autism and son of Mike McQuiston, president of Symbol Mattress, one of the event’s big sponsors.
Jackson, 21, will share with poker players how people with autism can live healthy, successful lives. He can point to himself as an example, as the Virginia resident enters adulthood working for Home Depot while taking welding classes at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Play some poker, hang out with famous people, drink a few adult beverages, and make a few lives better by getting your Aces cracked by someone in early position calling a re-raise with Queen-6.
Sounds like a perfect evening of no-lose poker in Sin City, which may explain why this tournament continues to grow year after year.