Edgemar Celebrity Poker Tournament

By Vanessa Bisetti

“Shuffle up and deal!” was the phrase that kicked off the 4th annual Edgemar Celebrity Poker Tournament in Santa Monica on Saturday, July 14th.  Held at the Edgemar Center of the Arts, celebrating its 10th anniversary, the non-profit center stays alive through the societal love and generosity of the community.  The poker tournament is an annual fundraiser that plays a large role in helping the center to continue to be a home for anyone to unleash their inner artist.

The night began with a variety of food and beverages, sponsored by Tom Elliott, owner of the Venice Ale House located on the boardwalk in Venice Beach.  As a friend to the center’s owner and founder, Tom was more than willing to not only provide food but to of course get in on the poker action and contribute to the cause.  Of the participants sat John Hennigan, a professional poker player and Camryn Manheim of ABC’s “The Practice” and many others.  A grand prize of a weekend getaway to Las Vegas was the cherry on top of participating in the charitable event.

Michelle Danner, owner and founder of the Edgemar Center of the Arts, describes it as a magical place.  She expressed her gratitude to those who came to play and for their contributions to keep it running as it is a “wonderful home in the community”.  The theater itself gives back by having programs for under privileged kids and senior citizens.  Recently, the Edgemar had a night called “Senior Moments” where senior citizens came and shared stories from their lives to an audience, “story telling at its purist”.  Michelle enjoyed playing poker for the night and gave the floor to Lara Gertzen of the West LA Poker.  Lara has provided the equipment for the event the past four years.  With a personal love of the theater, she enjoys putting on the event and believes it draws a great crowd every year.  The night, full of laughs and friendly competition, concluded as a night to remember.