Reno 2010 Throw Down Poker Competition Raises $200,000 for the National Kidney Foundation

Reno, NV (MMD Newswire) May 18, 2010 -- More than 500 players and 40 teams participated in last weekend's 2010 Poker Throw Down hosted by professional poker player Jennifer Harman and the Peppermill Casino in Reno. The event raised over $200,000 for the National Kidney Foundation. Jeff Harrington was the overall champion, taking home a slew of prizes, the first place trophy, and receiving a $10,000 entry to this year's World Series of Poker. Despite the large playing field and turbo charity structure, Harrington seemed destined to win.

Harrington warned his competitors that he'd be playing "any queen," as the face card represents the same name he fondly uses to describe his wife Patti. In 1993, Patti Harrington suffered kidney failure and received an organ donation from her sister the next year. By 2005, she was in need of another transplant. Medical testing declared her son Todd a match, and on Valentine's Day that year, he gladly sacrificed one of his own kidneys to save his mother's life.

High profile participants included host Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Antonio Esfandiari, Hoyt Corkins, David "The Maven" Chicotsky, Gavin Smith, Cyndy Violette, Mark "P0kerH0" Kroon, Mark Gregorich, Paul Wasicka, Gary "Debo" DeBernardi, Pam Brunson, Marsha Waggoner, Karina Jett, Kristy Gazes, Susie Isaacs, Bryan Devonshire, David Plastik, Annie LePage, Lee Watkinson, "The Sopranos" Robert Iler, "Saved By The Bell" Dennis Haskins, VH1 Host Craig "CJ" Jackson, US Olympian Ross Powers, Lacey Jones, two-time Olympian Nate Holland, Sam "Mindset Guru" Chauhan, "Real World" Trishelle Cannatella, "The Backup Plan" Jennifer Elise Cox, and World Champion snowboard icon Jeff Brushie.

During final table play, though Harrington was holding inferior hole cards that included a queen, such hands would often beat out significantly stronger ones, catapulting him into the lead and eventually to the final table. Harrington would go heads up against Lake Tahoe's Jim Martini, another fateful player.

"I guess Waskicka wasn't kidding," said Martini later. He was referring to the runner-up of the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Paul Wasicka. Martini had eliminated the professional poker player in early action. "You know," joked Wasicka. "Often the one to knock me out, usually goes on to win."

The 2010 Throw Down poker competition also included a unique team format, uniting casinos and card rooms across the Southwest. Each team participant received custom branded commemorative jackets, complimentary tickets to the exclusive VIP party hosted by Peppermill's Resort Terrace Lounge the night before the tournament, a team walk along the red carpet, official team photos, and complimentary gift bags courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation. Martini's runner-up finish contributed to Peppermill Team #6 winning the team title, with team Doyle's Room taking second, and Atlantis Resort Team #1 coming in third. Harrington was a member of the minor league baseball Reno Aces team.

"The Kidney Foundation means the world to our family," stated Todd Harrington in an interview with "Jeff has been by (Patti's) side for two transplants," he continued. "To win a seat (to the World Series Main Event) in a tourney sponsored by the Kidney Foundation makes it that much more special."