Off the Press

August 21, 2012

By David Hayes

The days of the cookie or bake sale as fundraiser are long past. Even the car wash doesn’t bring in as much as it used to. When the goal is to go way beyond the hundreds and bring in thousands of dollars for a cause, groups have turned to the big events to draw in the bigger spenders, such as community luncheons or the charity golf tournament.

David Hayes
Press reporter

Might I suggest another such option — the amateur poker tournament.

Ever since Chris Moneymaker (never a better name for a topic) won the 2004 World Series of Poker, everyone and their sister has tried their hand at Texas Hold ’Em. As the old timers say, it only takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.

But if mastery is not your goal, then consider a fun time to be had by all. Every event has enough players with the knowhow to guide the newbies into knowing when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, and when to walk away (hat tip to Kenny Rogers).

And I just happen to know a place right here in Issaquah that has a gambling license, blessed by the state, that allows sanctioned fundraisers for just said purpose — the Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge.

Oh, and I just happen to know the guy who’s name is signed at the bottom of said license — me.

It’s true my own poker skills have not yet advanced to where I can drop everything else I do and join the pro circuit. But I have honed them sufficiently that I know all the ins and outs of tournament play. We have the chips, the clock and all the paraphernalia needed to complete the command, “Shuffle up and deal.”

The Malarkey’s Tavern softball team discovered the Elks Lodge can comfortably house 10 tables of 10 players each, for a 100-player tournament. Not too many poker rooms in the region sport them numbers.

Rent out the lodge from the secretary for just $100 discounted fundraiser rate (parties are usually $250). Then slap down an additional $300 cleaning deposit (which you get back for keeping the lodge spic and span during the event) and you’re ready to rake in the dough.

Typical participation rates I’ve seen prior organizations use were a $50 donation to the fundraiser with another $20 to $30 toward the prize pool. That works out to nearly $5,000 toward your cause and another $1,200 first-place prize for the poker player who exhibits the best skills.

My services are usually negotiable, as I’ve even been known to waive my fee for a buy-in to the tournament. (Just don’t be surprised if I place in the top five like I did last time.)

To get the ball rolling on your next event, call the lodge at 392-1400 and we’ll be talkin’ shortly after that.

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