A Poker tournament where everyone wins

The first of its kind in Hatzolah events history, our Hatzolah Poker evening was not just a fabulously fun and elegant evening out, it was a fundraising extravaganza.

A couple of state-of-the-art Hatzolah ambulances greeted our guests at the entrance of the Wanderers Banquet Hall as they geared up to put their game faces on and play poker to raise funds for Hatzolah. The evening was targeted at corporates, who were encouraged to invite clients, colleagues and friends for a glamorous night of poker, delicious Gary Friedman cuisine, terrific prizes and 12-year old Glenfiddich. 20 corporates attended the event and our title sponsor, Blue Strata, ensured it was a stylish and sophisticated night to remember. Blue Strata's Romain and Adam Orlin were our hosts for the evening and Barney Girnun did an equally flawless job as MC.

The generosity of the guests was exceptional, with multiple re-buys sold before the first card had even been dealt. Even though not a cent was earned by any of the competitors, as all funds went to Hatzolah, everyone felt like winners on the night as we felt the collective influence of the community uniting and raising money to save lives.

But players did not exactly leave empty-handed. Fantastic spot prizes were awarded throughout the night, including iPod Shuffles and a R5000 iStore gift voucher for the winner of each table. There was also a raffle at the event, in which some amazing prizes were awarded: A Kia Picanto (nominated for Car of the Year) for first prize, second prize was a Tag Heuer watch and third prize was a TV.

A real highlight of the night was the Blue Strata Blue Room, a lavishly decorated lounge area where guests could step away from the game tables, relax and kick back on a chic and comfy couch. An elaborate ice sculpture adorned the centre of the Blue Room and wowed guests as they entered, and all participants left with a gift pack of playing cards and sweets.

Our Hatzolah poker evening was the third largest poker event in Africa. It was also the largest poker charity event in the country and we were blown away by the unwavering generosity of our guests. Once again, when we call upon our community, they rise to the occasion every time. We thank every guest who attended the Hatzolah Poker Evening, all our table and prize sponsors, and we look forward to seeing you next year.