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September 18, 2014

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Photos: Brad Garrett’s all-star charity poker tournament breaks records

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Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau

Brad Garrett at his annual Maximum Hope Foundation Charity Poker Tournament at MGM Grand on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

It was an all-star turnout for comedian Brad Garrett’s poker tournament at MGM Grand, and by the end of play, he had surpassed $100,000, broken a record and set a new one.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he told me. “It was a great success and a marvelous day. We broke our record and took in over $112k for our Maximum Hope Foundation. Thank you, everybody!”

I had the privilege of kicking off the fun and games with a champagne toast after comedy actor Brad had literally torn apart every star in the hotel’s poker zone with his cutting humor. Hundreds of fans packed three deep around the stars, the playing tables and an auction packed with sports memorabilia that had been set up in between Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” theater and Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill on the main casino floor.

The moment I made the “shuffle up and deal” announcement to the more than 300 players, many bought in second and third times to benefit the charity.

Brad Garrett's 2012 Charity Poker Tournament

Brad Garrett's annual Maximum Hope Foundation Charity Poker Tournament at MGM Grand on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Among the players -- and thanks to Brian Jones of the Las Vegas News Bureau for capturing many of them in a photo gallery -- were Brad and his best pal standup comic and TV actor Ray Romano. They starred together in “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Ray returned the ribbing by telling everybody that Brad had wound up in the basement after the TV series ended because Brad’s new MGM Grand comedy club is in the lower level walkway of the hotel.

Others bluffing and holding: Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Suburgatory”); Mimi Rodgers (“Two and a Half Men”); Brad’s “How to Live With Your Parents” co-stars Elizabeth Perkins, Willie Garson, Jon Dore and Stephanie Hunt; Jon Manfrellotti (“Men of a Certain Age”); Kevin Burke (“Defending the Caveman”); comedians Kevin Jordan, Stephen Thomas and Dennis Phillips; and pro poker players Andy Bloch, Joe Awada, Chip Jett and Karina Jett.

Las Vegas VIPs playing included Keep Memory Alive founder Larry Ruvo and his wife Camille and MGM President Scott Sibella. Tim Acker, a frequent MGM Grand Poker Room player, won $10,000 for first place. Actor Willie finished 2nd and earned an all-in MGM guest prize package. Actress Mimi Rogers also finished in the Top 10.

Slightly teary-eyed, Brad said: “What a day. What great people, wonderful friendships and tremendous supports helping children with life-limiting illnesses. The MGM staff all volunteered to help out unpaid giving up their free time. We’ll be able to do a lot more this time than the 45 families we’ve already helped out from financial nightmares caring for their kids.

“We’ll keep building and growing this, and now I’ve got to think how we make it bigger and better for next year.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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