Reality television star and Absolute Poker celebrity endorser Trishelle Cannatella has been tabbed as the co-host of V Foundation Charity Poker Tournament, which begins today at the Grand Sierra Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada. The $200 + $30 rebuy tournament will benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research, created in 1993 by the late N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano.
Joining Cannatella at the event will be the other two members of Team Absolute Poker, Matt “Plattsburgh” Vengrin and Lacey Jones, as well as poker pros from Absolute Poker’s sister site, UB.com, including Brandon Cantu, Adam “Roothlus”Levy, Michael Binger, Matt “mattg1983″ Graham, Tiffany Michelle, and Liv Boeree. Other celebrities and poker players scheduled to play are former UB.com spokesman and current Victory Poker pitch man Antonio Esfandiari, Jeff Madsen, Alec “traheho” Torelli, Alex Outhred, Erica Schoenberg, 2007 Playboy Playmate of the Year Sara Underwood, “ER” star Mekhi Phifer, and former baseball slugger Jose Canseco.
The tournament will be a two-day event, but the festivities are not limited to poker. Also included in the fundraising efforts will be a silent auction, private dinner, and “Take It Downhill” Poker Pro Ski Challenge.
Some of the aforementioned poker pros will be participating in the Ski Challenge along with Canseco, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, Maria Ho, Bay 101 Shooting Star champ McLean Karr, Ali Prescott, and UB.com’s Joe Sebok.
Cannatella first made a name for herself as cast member on the hit MTV show, “The Real World,” appearing in its 12th season when it was filmed in Las Vegas. She has appeared in numerous other reality shows, the most notable being VH1’s “The Surreal Life,” where she joined Vanilla Ice, Ron Jeremy, Traci Bingham, Erik Estrada, and Tammy Faye Messner. Cannatella has also posed for Playboy Magazine.
While nobody would argue that Cannatella isn’t a member of Team AP because of her looks and celebrity, she has actually had some success at the poker tables as well. Interestingly, her best performances have been in charity events. In February, she placed third in the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Celebrity Invitational, winning $20,000, and took down the title at the Trash Talk Championship of the World, which benefited the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She donated a significant portion of her prize from the Trash Talk Championship to the charity.
The event will be filmed for television and will eventually be shown in a half-hour time slot on ESPN2. The V Foundation for Cancer Research has raised over $90 million in its 17 years and has awarded research grants in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Out of the 109 V Scholars who received grants between 1994 and 2003, 93% have received additional funding. 100% of all direct cash donations and all net proceeds from charity events go towards cancer research. The V Foundation is one of an elite 2% of charities that have earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator