Westfield Lions Club’s Poker for Sight tournament set

CIW COM 1116 poker tournament
Mike Birk, right, presents Steve Morlock with a $10,000 replica check from the spring 2019 tournament. (Photo courtesy of Mike Birk)

The Westfield Lions Club’s charities have capitalized on the popularity of Texas Hold ‘em poker tournaments.

The Poker for Sight Tournament is set for Nov. 19-20 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, 2000 Pleasant St., Noblesville.

Westfield Lions Club member Mike Birk, a Westfield resident, has been director of the tournament for three years. The tournament wasn’t held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is our largest fundraiser,” Birk said. “This comprises 90 percent of the funds we use for our charitable donations.”

Birk said previous tournaments have raised approximately $20,000 after expenses.

Birk said in 2019, the tournament was promoted more than previous ones.

“I went around to poker games in the area, like the American Legion, and talked to the poker players,” Birk said. “We ended up with raising $34,000 for the charities. The primary goal of the Lions Club is to help kids with vision problems. We do eye screening in the Westfield elementary schools. We recycle glasses. We help families that cannot afford eyeglasses. We help fund the Indiana Lions Eye Bank and Leader Dogs for the Blind.

“However, we’ve branched out and do a lot of service work in the community.”

The Westfield Lions Club also gives donations to groups such as the Diabetes Foundation, Heart and Soul Free Clinic, Fallen Heroes Memorial and Westfield Education Foundation, among others.

Per the poker tournament, there are three qualifying rounds, two on Nov. 19 and one on Nov. 20. The top 15 percent plays for the pot in the final game the evening of Nov. 20. There are 150 players signed up for the first session on Nov. 19, Birk said.

Birk said serious players, if they fail to qualify in the first session, will come back for the second or perhaps third session. He said players are willing to pay another entry fee to have a shot at the prize money.

The winner earns $10,000. The tournament pays the top 25 positions from a purse of $25,000. The entry is $135 cash at the door. There is a $10 discount for reserving a seat early and also discounts for referring a friend who registers. Registration details are on lionspoker.org. Birk said the state of Indiana doesn’t not permit the tournament to collect entry fee by credit or debit cards.

For more, visit westfieldlions.org.