4th Annual Poker Tournament a Huge Success

April 2022

Ed Hockfield, winner of the 4th annual HFLA Poker Tournament

The 4th Annual Joe Krassner Memorial Poker Tournament was able to gather again in person, and the HFLA event attracted a full house of professional and amateur players who descended upon Temple Beth Shalom on Sunday, April 24th. 

The afternoon began with a networking hour and was continued with poker games, and post Pesach pizza from Home Slice. 

The fundraiser benefited The Hebrew Free Loan Austin. It was a great opportunity to support HFLA and the financial future of the Austin Jewish community. 

The first-place prize went to Ed Hockfield, one of 10 contestants to advance to the last round of the no-limit Texas Hold ‘em tournament. The other top 10 finishers included Max Freedman, Laurence Statman, Sheryl Nurenberg, Jerrod Kogut, Brian Luskey, Yoni Riemer, Daniel Kibert, Brian Copland, and Lily Schwartz. Congrats to all winners and participants on a truly successful evening! All final table players chose from a wide array of exceptional prizes. Special prizes will be awarded to all final table players.

Exceptional prizes included an all-inclusive Vegas vacation, 65” TV, and $1,000 gift card shopping spree at abt.com

Hebrew Free Loan of Austin raised over $30,000 for their biggest annual fundraiser.

The background Joe Krassner Poker Tournament

We spoke with Aileen Krassner to learn more about the history of the Joe Krassner Annual Poker Tournament which has historical significance within the Jewish community.

Joe Krassner was installed on the (then) JCAA Board in 2006 and died suddenly seven months later. At the time, Joe’s wife, Aileen Krassner was Co-chair of the Women’s Division Lion’s Event. Joe was curious why there was no Men’s Division in the community, and it then became his mission to create a Men’s fundraising presence.

“At his Shiva, some of his poker buddies sat down with Jay Rubin, the CEO of the Jewish Community Association at that time. We proposed holding a memorial poker tournament, in Joe’s honor with the proceeds put into a special account for funding the startup of the Men’s Division.  After the first tournament, Margo Smith, who was a JCC board member, invited a group of men of all age groups to her home for dinner and a Cabinet was formed that night to start a Men’s Division. Due to her effort and persuasion things began to gel, the result was ‘Momentum: Men’s Night Out’, where Jewish community members met for a dinner and drinks fundraiser to benefit the JCC. The last one raised over $650,000.00. Margo’s Husband Arthur Smith and I were the Co-chairmen of that event.” said Mike Voticky one of Joe’s friends and Jewish community leaders.

Aileen noted, “Mike took the gauntlet and ran with it to fulfill this commitment and created a Poker Tournament and started the Men’s Division in Joe’s memory.”

Once Shalom Austin reconfigured their fundraising events, the financial/staff support shifted, and the poker tournament needed a new home.

“I didn’t want Joe’s memory to die, so contacted Marvin Schrager, who I have known for many years and was a strong supporter of Hebrew Free Loan. I proposed that HFL take over the tournament and keep the funds raised and engage new younger donor base for their charitable purposes. Scott Miller and HFLA leaders headed up the tournament and did a fantastic job. Now the rest is history.” Voticky explained.

“I thought HFLA did a great job this year. It was well organized, attended, and received.” said Aileen Krassner. “I’m glad that this tournament is continuing and is doing good in a Jewish context.”

This was the first-time poker enthusiasts were able to attend the in-person event since the pandemic. This has been the largest and most successful fundraiser to date for the Hebrew Free Loan Austin, amounting to $30K.

Top 10 finishers: Ed Hockfield, Max Freedman, Laurence Statman, Sheryl Nurenberg, Jerrod Kogut, Brian Luskey, Yoni Riemer, Daniel Kibert, Brian Copland, and Lilly Schwartz.

Generous sponsors included:

Four-of-a-Kind

ANDREA & EDWARD HOCKFIELD, DEBBIE & RICKY RUDY, BRIAN COPLAND – REALTY AUSTIN, GARY SOLKA – WELLS FARTGO ADVISORS, ABT.COM – ELECTRONICS, APPLIANCES & MORE 

Full House

AILEEN & JOE KRASSNER FAMILY, JENNIFER FAILLA – STRADA MANAGEMENT, CAROL DOCHEN & ARLENE MAZE – DOCHEN REALTORS, DR. MICHAEL & CYNTHIA GROSSMAN, NANCY & BRUCE ZIMMERMAN, CAROLE & KERRY PRICE, ZELL TEAM, LAW OFFICE OF JOEL A. LEVINE, JANET & JP NEWMAN, PHIL & ADAM LOEWY, WEITZMAN, PLAINS CAPITAL BANK, SOUTHERN TURF CO., MOSIER LUXURY HOMES

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