Deaf Poker Tour raises stakes for players in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — “Poker is like an international language that you don’t need to know to play the game,” says Rita Scarcella, who interprets Matt Erickson’s sign language.

A lifelong poker player, Erickson became a co-owner of the Deaf Poker Tour in 2017. The traveling tournament was founded in 2006. Seeing how it impacted so many lives, Erickson felt compelled to continue it when the opportunity arose.

“Some places don’t have areas where they can play poker,” Scarcella said on behalf of Erickson. “So this is an opportunity for those who enjoy the game to come together.”

Deaf Poker Tour previously partnered with Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland. The success of the partnership has allowed the tournament to expand to its Philadelphia branch, where it returns this weekend.

“I think it’s important to bring the non-hearing community to the casino. We’re very proud of that,” said Anne Tran, Director of Poker Operations at Live! Philadelphia. “Our team members practiced and learned basic sign language to communicate during the events.”

For three days, seven poker events will invite deaf and deaf players to compete against each other. Some events are open to the general public, creating an inclusive environment where players of all skill levels can meet.

It also brings visibility to a group of individuals with invisible disabilities.

“It’s great to show people that the community is here and that it can be together and strong,” said Stephen DiGiovanna of Slatington, Pennsylvania.

To find out more about the Deaf Poker Tour and upcoming events, visit their website.

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