TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - The Tyler YMCA will host an inaugural poker tournament this weekend to raise funds for its programs.
Spots still are open for the "Texas Hold'em" tournament, which will be held Saturday at the Cascades from 3 to 9 p.m., according to a news release from the YMCA.
Check-in will be at 2 p.m. The cost to play is a donation of $200, and the prizes range in value from $300 to $6,000, Philip Geissal, YMCA's director of development, said Tuesday.
Everyone will start with 10,000 chips and the first 75 losers will be able to play in a second chance tournament for a one-time added donation of $75, the release said.
The game will be under the direction of Mr. Jon Bell, the owner of Casino Parties of East Texas, who conducts several charity events around East Texas and will conduct the play of the game under standard rules that will be published for each guest, according to the organization.
Geissal said the Y runs after school programs for roughly 500 children, daycare for about 60 and entertains an average of 100 more through various sporting events during the year. The facilities are also used by adults for its weight room and salt-water pool, he said.
Geissal said the poker tournament was added this year after the Red Cross decided not to host their poker event, and is another way to raise funds to help with scholarships to children for its three-hour after school programs and basic supply needs. All in all, about $200,000 needs to be raised each year, he said.
"We do not give 100 percent scholarships because we feel someone needs to have some vested interest in what we do," he said. "About half of the kids we serve need some support, and that support averages about 30 percent of their program cost."
Geissal said poker may not be for everyone, but the organization also hosts a 5K run in December and a fundraising drive in October. Donations to the nonprofit organization can also be made online atwww.tylerymca.org .
Grissal said all donations and funds from events go to continuing the story of the organization that has been working in Smith County for 55 years.
"The Y has always been about the mind, body and spirit, and has served with Christian principles," he said.