I guess by now, I should stop saying that he surprises me...but I'm just not used to people being so good.


Once again, 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event chip leader "Saint" Dennis Phillips will be giving of his time for a great cause when he plays in the insideSTL.com Poker Tournament this Thursday night at The Church Key (4127 Manchester Road in The Grove).


The buy-in is free, however we would greatly appreciate a $100 donation...of which the majority of proceeds will go to the Helping Hummert Foundation. The Helping Hummert Foundation was created to collect money in honor of fallen 22 year-old Maplewood firefighter Ryan Hummert, who was shot and killed July 21st.


Like he did at F15teen on August 6th, Dennis will be arriving at the start of registration (5 p.m.) to sign autographs. And, like he did August 6th, Dennis will be playing in the tournament, which will begin at 6 p.m.


(Here's another little (unrelated) fun fact about "Saint" Dennis: before signing an agreement with PokerStars to wear their gear, he insisted that they match 1% of his winnings (whatever that may wind up being...and it could be 9.1 million dollars...which would make the donation $90,000) to Prevent Cancer. If they wouldn't have agreed to that, he wasn't going to wear their stuff...no matter how much money it cost him. That's the kind of person we're talking about here).


One (of a few) mistakes I made in the very first insideSTL.com tournament was that I didn't move Dennis around enough so a number of players would get a chance to sit at a table with the WSOP chip leader. We'll make sure to do that this Thursday.


But, Dennis Phillips won't be the only St. Louis poker superstar donating his time Thursday at The Church Key. 2006 WSOP Final Table player and 9th place finisher Dan Nassif plans to be in attendance Thursday along with 2008 WSOP Pot Limit Hold 'Em/Omaha runner-up Kyle Kloeckner.


In other words, some of the best poker players in our city's history will be under one roof Thursday night at The Church Key...with (as of right now) 2.5 million dollars in World Series of Poker earnings among them.


As I mentioned when announcing this tournament last week, we will not be giving away cash prizes. However, courtesy of some generous St. Louisans and some generous St. Louis businesses, we've already begun getting offers of Cardinals/Rams/Blues/Missouri/Illinois/Saint Louis U. tickets and other donations as prizes for this event in honor of Ryan Hummert. We've even been contacted by a large corporation which has informed us they will be matching whatever we raise with a donation of their own. The outpouring of support from the community in this short amount of time has really been cool.

If you or your company would like to donate some items for prizes at Thursday night's tournament, please contact me at tmckernan@insidestl.com. And,  if you or some of your friends would like to play Thursday, click here to print out a registration sheet...and make sure you get to The Church Key as close to 5 p.m. as possible...as we only have about 75 non-firefighter/police officer spots available to the public.


Once again, thank you to Dennis Phillips, Kyle Kloeckner, and Dan Nassif for their donation of time in coming to play poker in honor of Ryan Hummert Thursday night, and thank you to the area individuals and companies (who/which I will list Friday after the tournament) for their donations to the Helping Hummert Foundation.


Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com. 

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