Yasiel Puig Hosts 3rd Annual Poker Tournament at Harry Houdini Estate
"I love the city and for the last six years all of the Mexican people, the American people, all of the people that live here in the city helped me a lot and gave me a lot of love, and that's the reason why I want to give back to the community," Yasiel Puig told The Hollywood Reporter.
Former Dodger Yasiel Puig was joined by George Lopez, Sofia Milos and Constance Marie on Monday night for his annual poker tournament, held at the sprawling Harry Houdini Estate. The tournament is intended to benefit the Wild Horse Children's Foundation, an organization that provides sports and educational opportunities for disadvantaged children throughout Los Angeles.
Puig was a beloved fan favorite during his six years with the Dodgers, and even after he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, the large turnout at this benefit shows that he remains a popular figure in the city.
Puig spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why he was committed to helping the children of Los Angeles. "Being around kids and families that don't have anything made me want to do more events like this to raise more money. The more money I can raise, the more kids I can help around the city, and I keep doing it here in Los Angeles because I played six years here and I love the city and for the last six years all of the Mexican people, the American people, all of the people that live here in the city helped me a lot and gave me a lot of love, and that's the reason why I want to give back to the community."
The party had a 1920s Great Gatsby-style theme, mixed with some Cuban flavor. As guests arrived at the estate, they were offered tequila shots and greeted by a flapper walking on stilts, a swinging jazz band and a fortune teller. The silent auction before dinner was a sports lover's paradise with prizes to bid on including a signed LeBron James jersey, an autographed Jared Goff helmet and a baseball signed by Alex Rodriguez.
Lopez told THR why he was would always support Puig no matter what team he was on. “I met Yasiel when he was a rookie. We became fast friends. His mom has come to my shows, he's come to my shows and just because he's on another team doesn't mean he's not your brother.”
Guests were served a lavish feast, starting with pass-around appetizers including battered and deep-fried lobster corn dogs, tiger shrimp ceviche and al pastor Kurobuta pork with duck fat chicharron. For dinner, the centerpiece was a beer-braised A-5 Wagyu short rib with herb-roasted mashed potatoes.
During dinner, Puig honored Dodger hitting legend Manny Mota with the Inspiration Award.
Said Marie, "Anybody who can shine a spotlight on disadvantaged youth and what they're trying to do to create a safe space for them and to support them I think is so important. Especially now that I'm a mom, I really realize how those things where people are like, 'Eh, you don’t need that. You can cut that,' really puts children at a disadvantage."
Following dinner was the real highlight of the evening: the poker tournament. The competition on the felt was just as intense as it is on the baseball diamond, with dozens of players chasing the jackpot. This year, for the second time in a row, Brad Harris donated the $10,000 grand prize back to the Wild Horse Foundation.
This year's tournament raised nearly half a million dollars to benefit the Wild Horse Children's Foundation.