Once again, poker was the game of choice to raise money for a good cause as Geoff Jenkins, MLB outfielder, hosted a charity tournament at the Jack Rabbit Supper Club and Lounge in Arizona last night. Recently signed as a free-agent to the Philadelphia Phillies, Jenkins decided to raise some money for the Boys and Girls Club of Phoenix before starting a new season with his new team. “We always wanted to put something together for charity,” he said. “We thought a poker tournament would be a good deal.”
Jenkins is an avid poker player, so it only made sense that he raised money via a poker event. “I’ve played poker. I’m not Phil Hellmuth Jr. or anything like that, but I know what I’m doing,” he stated. “On a scale of one to ten, I’m about a seven.” He also mentioned that he’s good at detecting bluffs.
Jenkins and 42 others combined efforts with 19 sponsors to raise approximately $60,000. “The guys each bought in for $1,000, and the sponsors chipped in $5,000 to set up each table,” Jenkins noted. Donated prizes were given out so that 100% of the buyins could be donated to the Boys and Girls Club. These prizes included televisions and trips. Sponsors included the Jack Rabbit Club (of course), Marquis Jet, All Bases Covered Sports Management, Desert Sky Development, and the Players Trust.
Aside from baseball players, football players, musicians, and local celebrities joined in last night. While all were eager to support Jenkins’ effort, they were certainly were not all card players. Javon Walker, Denver Broncos wide receiver, actually got a quickie poker lesson from Milwaukee third baseman, Bill Hall, right before the tournament. “Now, if you’ve got an ace and nobody has a pair, you win. Then three of a kind beats a pair…” Not only was the room full of amateurs, the room was also obviously not normally a card room, evident by large mirrors hanging on walls around the room!
People like to win, but the night wasn’t meant to be hugely competitive and was more for fun and a good cause. Jenkins was pleased by the turn out and hopes to make the Geoff Jenkins Tournament an annual event. “This is all going to charity,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and I’m real happy we were able to get it together.”
Charity poker tournaments hosted by MLB players doesn’t end after the Jenkins event. Next stop is the Royce Clayton’s Poker Celebrity Bowl, taking place February 1-3 at Harrah’s AK-Chin Casino Ballroom. Jenkins is scheduled to attend, along with his new team mates Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. “As athletes, we have a chance to do some good,” Jenkins said. “Why not do it with something everyone enjoys doing anyway?”