PartyPoker.com sent a small army to the World Poker Tour (WPT) Celebrity Invitational, but it wasn’t enough to get any of them to the televised final table. David McGrail, a 24-year old surveyor from Edinburgh, Scotland, was eliminated in within sight of the final table in 13th place on Monday, making him the last PartyPoker qualifier to be knocked out. The popular online poker room sent about 30 players to the $200,000 charity freeroll event, which is raising money for Chrysalis, a non-profit organization whose goal is to help the economically disadvantaged and homeless rebuild their lives through employment opportunities.
While the invitational-only tournament cost nothing for the players, players could elect to re-buy for $200 during the first two blind levels, with all money going to Chrysalis. As of this writing, the total dollar amount raised from re-buys has yet to be announced.
When play ended for the night, there were six players remaining of the 567 who started. Amongst the players at the final table are former “Real World Las Vegas” cast member and Absolute Poker pro Trishelle Cannatella, ClubWPT.com qualifier LeRon Washington, and poker pro Thor Hansen, who has two World Series of Poker bracelets. The seat draw and chip counts are as follows:
Seat 1: Steve Elliott — 1,520,000
Seat 2: Thor Hansen — 1,480,000
Seat 3: Trishelle Cannatella — 1,540,000
Seat 4: Sean Urban — 2,090,000
Seat 5: Neev Baram — 1,900,000
Seat 6: LeRon Washington — 1,790,000
The tournament will actually go on hiatus for about a week and will resume on March 3rd at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the same location for the first two days. Because the WPT Celebrity Invitational is not making money, it is more cost effective for the WPT to film the final table along with the televised final table for the WPT Commerce event so that production costs can be shared.
Interestingly, none of the players in the top ten to start the second day made the final table. Among those former chip leaders were NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen, who was second in chips entering the day, and Band of Brothers and “Fringe” star Kirk Acevedo, who was fifth.
Some people have been wondering how so many PartyPoker.com players could participate in the invitation-only event, especially one that is called a “Celebrity” Invitational. It is simple, really. In November 2009, World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE) shareholders approved the sale of the company to Peerless Media, a subsidiary of PartyGaming. PartyGaming, of course, owns PartyPoker.com. Under the terms of the $12.3 million purchase, WPTE will receive five percent of future gross gaming revenue and five percent of “other future gross revenues.” The total gross revenues are guaranteed by PartyGaming to total at least $3 million over three years.
The beneficiary of the WPT Celebrity Invitational, Chrysalis, has helped elevate over 30,000 out of poverty by helping them get on the path toward self-sufficiency. The organization was founded in 1984 in Los Angeles by John Dillon.

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