Couture's "Operation All-In"

I had not seen this before. Sorry if it has already been posted, but I thought it was interesting.

Operation All-In

by Adam Slutsky

March 2008

Six-time UFC world champion Randy Couture is one of the toughest men in all of sport, let alone mixed martial arts. His work ethic is unrivaled, his accomplishments are stratospheric, and his legacy borders on mythic. But there’s one other characteristic that deserves equal, if not greater, mention – his compassion. Couture’s heart is bigger than any of the rings or octagons he has ever fought inside. So when he turned his attention to charitable causes and fundraising, it should come as no surprise that “The Natural” was, quite simply, a natural.

After visiting with soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas who had suffered traumatic, lifealtering injuries — incredibly brave young men and women who literally gave their all defending our nation and our freedoms — Couture, moved to tears by the experience, immediately formed the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation, dedicated to raising money for those wounded in action, along with their families.

On Saturday, January 12th at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas,

Couture hosted “OPERATION ALL-IN,” a fundraising effort in the form of a celebrity-laden charity poker tournament. The 15-table No Limit Hold’em event sported a $550 buy-in and unlimited $200 rebuys for the first hour.

Just before the command of “Shuffle up and deal,” spoken by Randy, of course, Couture addressed everyone in attendance. “This has absolutely nothing to do with politics,” The Natural stated firmly. “It doesn’t matter what you feel about the war. This is pro-soldier; 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old kids defending our liberties and our freedoms with class and honor and we need to support them.”

Couture’s statement drew rousing applause. His message was loud and clear and it would set the tone for the day’s on-felt action. Enter my good friend Jamie Gold, co-host of the event, who had invited me to take part in the weekend’s festivities. It’s not often I get to spend any leisure time with someone I truly admire and respect and donate money to a great cause along the way, so when Jamie called, I jumped at the chance.

As it turns out, I was seated at the center table, directly next to the event’s host, Randy Couture. My buddy Jamie, in addition to playing in the event, pulled double duty as emcee, roving the field, microphone in hand, describing all the action taking place. He did an amazing job; I think he might have missed his calling. Thanks to his cordiality and highoctane efforts, nearly the entire field still remained when the rebuy period came to an end. Rebuys were flying left and right and Jamie deserves much of the credit.

The list of celebrities playing the event — luminaries from the gambling and entertainment communities — was nearly as long as the list of Couture’s knockout victims. Dean Cain (Superman), talk-show host Montel Williams, MLB superstar Jose Canseco, Sam Simon (creator of The Simpsons), Michael Berk (producer/writer/director of Baywatch), Todd Brunson, Pamela Brunson, Hoyt Corkins, Phil Gordon… The list goes on and on. There were also a number of well-known UFC fighters in attendance; Frank Trigg, Stephan Bonnar, Gray Maynard, and Gina Carano among them. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban couldn’t make it, so he sent a $25,000 donation in his place.

One incredible moment that proves the existence of karma (or at the very least, poker karma) saw Randy Couture go all in pre-flop with his A-J against an opponent’s A-Q. Things looked pretty grim for the UFC legend, especially when a Q hit the flop. But a 10 on the board gave Randy a smidgeon of hope.

“Only a king can save him now,” Jamie Gold declared, as if summoning the poker gods to act.

Sure enough, the river was a king and everyone went wild, including Randy’s defeated opponent. And even though Couture didn’t ultimately win his own event — which he supported wholeheartedly with numerous rebuys — he was the catalyst for a truckload of lasting memories, not to mention the best quote of the weekend. During a private poker tutorial with ’06 WSOP Champ Jamie Gold two nights before the event, Couture made this observation: “It’s much easier to punch people in the head than to play poker.”

Another highlight of the event was when hugely-successful TV producer (Ultimate

Blackjack Tour, I Bet You Will) and ultra-high stakes gambler “Houston” won an evening at the Hard Rock’s fantastic new Italian restaurant Ago (co-owned by Robert De Niro) with Couture and his beautiful wife, Kim, with a winning high bid of $10,000 — doubling the previous high bid, which was his own. And, after felting Couture on one occasion, Houston also paid for one of the MMA warrior’s innumerable rebuys.

All in all, somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000 was raised for a truly amazing cause and an awesome time was had by all. I’d tell you more about the weekend’s antics — including some wild action in the suites — but I’m still recovering!


It was a great event. It was done only as Randy could do, With class, style and he made it fun for guys like me who never played poker before.

sounds awesome

Great job Randy


*Trigg sandbagging, IMO*


Randy is just fuggin awesome IMO.

That's some cool shit.