Theatre fans and Broadway’s biggest behind-the-scenes players went “all in” on Monday, May 16, 2016, at the second annual edition of Broadway Bets, Broadway’s official poker tournament, raising a spectacular $247,800 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
This year’s impressive total far surpassed the inaugural edition’s final tally of $137,200.
The fundraising total was revealed after a spirited evening of Texas Hold ‘em poker at Sardi’s restaurant in the heart of New York City’s theatre district. Broadway Bets gives the theatre community and other loyal Broadway Cares supporters an opportunity to play in a friendly tournament while raising money to help friends and colleagues in “the business” through BC/EFA’s support of The Actors Fund while reaching out to the social service agencies serving hundreds of thousands more across the country.
The exuberant evening welcomed players from all corners of the industry, from theatre owners and advertising agencies to production companies, producers and performers. Among the Broadway luminaries participating in the evening’s fun were Paige Davis, Josh Grisetti, Steve Martin, Joe Mantello, Patrick Page, Scott Rudin, Aaron Tveit, Tony Yazbeck, the cast of the Tony Award-nominated Best Play The Humans, as well as world poker champion Eric Seidel.
This year’s Broadway Bets started with 22 Texas Hold ‘em poker tables and more than 200 card players filling the two floors of the iconic restaurant before 10 final players outlasted their competitors to reach the championship table.
The ultimate head-to-head battle found Jamesin Seidel facing off against Bryan LaPlant. Surrounded by colleagues, friends and busted-out players, the final pair skillfully battled each other until Seidel, a guest of Tony Award nominee Yazbeck, bested LaPlant to become this year’s Broadway Bets champion. As winner, she received a World Poker Tournament VIP experience at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.
The final table also featured, in order of finish, Carl Pasbjerg of Alchemy Production Group, Joel Szulc from Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, actress Lorinda Lisitza, Tejal Patel with Jujamcyn Theaters, David Broser of Harbor Entertainment, Stephen Santore with SpotCo, Jeff Loeb from Nederlander’s Hollywood Pantages Theatre and John Sabat of Cubist Systematic Strategies.
Texas Hold ’em-style tournaments begin with each player receiving an equal amount of chips. Two blinds are posted per hand to force the action. As play progresses, the amount of the blind bets increase. As players drop out, tables are combined until there is one final table of players competing for the championship title. Players who make the final table are eligible for prizes that include an overnight VIP visit to the World Poker Tournament’s Borgata Open, VIP baseball and soccer tickets, tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden and more.
A new addition for this year’s Broadway Bets allowed players who busted out in the early rounds the opportunity to buy their way back into a game for a new stack of chips.
Those not ready to take a seat at the poker tables purchased Broadway Bets guest passes and enjoyed the spirit of the evening while playing blackjack and roulette for prizes.
Last year’s inaugural tournament raised an incredible $137,200 as Bill Paness, controller for The Shubert Organization, bested IATSE Local 311 member Eric Castaldo and eight other players at the final table to become the first Broadway Betschampion.
|“Royal Flush” Bar Sponsor|
|“Full House” Sponsors|
|AKA||Independent Presenters Network||Serino/Coyne|
|Ambassador Theatre Group||Jujamcyn Theaters||The Shubert Organization|
|The Araca Group||The Nederlander Organization||Situation Interactive|
|Foresight Theatrical||The Road Company||SpotCo|
|John Gore/Broadway.com||Road Concierge/ALTOUR|
|“Two Pair” Sponsors|
|Disney Theatrical Productions||Production Resource Group||Sweet Hospitality Group|
|Entertainment Benefits Group||David Stone||Ticketmaster|
|Broadway Bets Founding Co-chairs|
|Robert E. Wankel
President and co-CEO of The Shubert Organization
BC/EFA Executive Vice President
|Broadway Bets Co-chairs|
of Key Brand Entertainment
of NAC Entertainment Ltd.
|Broadway Bets Tournament Directors|
of Jujamcyn Theaters
of Foresight Theatrical
of The Road Company
|Broadway Bets Committee|
|Philip Brohn||Nick Falzon||David Lazar||Spencer Taustine|
|Eric Castaldo||Erich Jungwirth||J. Max Sullivan||Tony Yazbeck|
|James Decker||Jeffrey Korn|