By Scott Long
After attracting more than 520 players — and regrettably having to turn away many more — how does one improve upon what can arguably be called one of the most successful annual charity events around?
That’s the challenge this year for organizers of the third annual Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza, which takes place May 22 at Daytona Beach Kennel Club in Florida.
“With another sellout expected this year, we believe players have truly come to regard this event as the best tournament of the year,” said Scott Frank, the event’s creator. “So, while we cannot really increase capacity this year, we can and will even further enhance the experience for our players.”
That experience annually includes inviting top pros to compete, giving entrants a chance to rub elbows with their favorite players from TV. Last year, those pros included Darvin Moon, Tom McEvoy and Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. This year, organizers will welcome all four of the Mizrachi brothers — Robert, Eric, Donny and, of course, “the Grinder” Michael.
The so-called “First Family of Florida Poker” is coming off a year that saw all four brothers cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event and Michael earn his first bracelet and become a member of the November Nine.
“I like to make sure people who are in need of something have it,” Michael Mizrachi said. “I try to give as much as I can, as much as I can help. It’s just very special to be with a charity and to help people out. It makes you feel better to care about other people and not just yourself.”
If you noticed “charity” isn’t in the event’s name, it’s by design. While the event generates thousands of dollars each year for a host of good causes, including the Federation Food Bank, the Disabled American Veterans and several youth organizations this year, organizers secure so many prize sponsors that the value returned to players exceeds that of many non-charity tournaments.
“This year, we will award over $50,000 in prize packages and will provide many thousands of dollars worth of door prizes,” Frank said. “The value of the first-place package has been increased to a whopping $14,100, and even includes a championship Rolex.”
The first-place prize package includes an entry into a $5,000 event at the Venetian resort in Las Vegas as well as airfare, hotel accommodations and $1,000 in dining credits. Second through fifth place will win $2,500 Venetian tournament entries, and cash payouts will be made to other top finishers.
But players need not go deep in the event to benefit. All players are treated to a bagel breakfast buffet, a dinner buffet catered by Outback Steakhouse and entries in drawings for door prizes and raffles.
“We strive to fully express our gratitude to our tremendous sponsors,” Frank said. “Many of them are companies with whom we have very close relationships.”
For more information or to preregister visit deepstackcharityclassic.com or call (386) 871-9187.
Venetian Deep StackExtravaganza III
Where: Daytona Beach Kennel Club
When: 1 p.m., May 22
Buy-in: $165 in advance; $190 at the door