Rivers plans Lemieux charity poker event for Sept. 17

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Charity tournaments are inching toward the top of the list when it comes to generating money for a good cause.

The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh will host the inaugural Mario Lemieux Foundation charity tournament Sept. 17. Players can register for the main event, which will have a $550 buy-in, during the Sept. 1-17 period. Satellites will run up until the Sept 17. main event, which will donate $100 from each entry to the foundation.

For this event the foundation and casino will unveil a new $5 chip design that sports Lemieux’s legendary “66” icon. I recently visited the Rivers and had the chance to speak with poker room manager Morris Ramonat about the event.

“It’s going to be great,” he said. “Lots of poker action, and we get to help out the foundation.”

The casino only recently started offering tournaments in November 2010 and has a spacious 30-table room with an impressive 120-person staff. The room is equipped with electronic shufflers at the tables and the Genesis Bravo tracking system, plus 10 large flatscreen TVs.

“The room always has games going,” Ramonat said, “so if it’s action you’re looking for, we have it.”

When I asked Morris about customer service he said, “Everybody talks about customer service, but it’s the act of seeking out the opportunity to provide it that makes you great.”

The Rivers runs tournaments daily at noon and 7 p.m. As far as cash games go, they run mostly $1-$2 and $2-$5 no-limit hold’em and the occasional $5-$10 NLHE game.

Rivers Casino is one of 10 operating casinos in Pennsylvania and employs about 1,400 people. It consistently has been ranked in the top-five casinos in the state for table games.

PRESQUE POKER APPROVED: Presque Isle Downs in Erie recently was approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to add a poker room to its casino. The nine-table, 2,080-square-foot room is expected to open on the casino’s second floor by late fall. Look for updates in this column or at anteupmagazine.com.

— Mike Owens is the Ante Up Ambassador for Western Pennsylvania andWest Virginia. He’s a poker player, journalist and creator of CheckRaze.com.He can be reached at anteupowens@gmail.com.