One million US dollars is the prize money up for grabs in the SA Poker Open to be held early next year.
Speaking at the media launch for the event on Wednesday evening, Montecasino tournament director David Bakes promised local players stiff competition as a number of overseas entrants have already been confirmed.
"With the prize money we are offering we have managed to attract the top players from around the world, including Tony G who is the current European poker champion," said Bakes. "Altogether we will have players from 13 countries. Two years ago we had 100 players, this year we are expecting a minimum of 300 players, each paying R25000 to partake."
Ray Rahme, who recently won a whopping R21 million at the World Poker Championships in Las Vegas, will be South Africa's main hope.
"I'm looking forward to taking on the best from overseas and locally," said the modest Rahme.
Wednesday's celebrity poker showdown - featuring actor Colin Moss, singer Danny K, socialite Edith Venter and Rahme, among others - raised R25000 the Witkoppen School and Welfare Centre, which provides support and counselling for families affected and infected by HIV and Aids.
The 2008 SA Poker Open will take place at Montecasino, Northriding, from February 8-10.
l To view a video or photos of the celebrities in action log on to www.sowetan.co.za