Upcoming Coldwell Banker Poker Run will benefit Lagoon

Blending smart business with civic mindedness, a local real estate company is sponsoring an event this weekend that combines a wide range of open houses with a poker tournament and a fundraiser designed to benefit the Indian River Lagoon Council.

Coldwell Banker Paradise hopes to raise at least $5,000 for educational programs focused on improving the health of the Indian River Lagoon, said company chief financial officer Steve Schlitt.

“It’s a great time to work together as a community and raise awareness about the importance of saving our Indian River Lagoon,” said Schlitt. “We know the heaviest damage to our lagoon happens during our wet season.”

The Poker Run Open House, which will span across four counties, will allow residents to tour a wide range of homes on the market and also pick up a poker card at each home. The more houses a “player” visits, the more cards they will accumulate. Participants can turn in their best 5-card poker hand at the last open house for a chance to win prizes.

Prizes will include three $1,000 grand prizes for the best poker hands in Brevard, Indian River, and St.Lucie/Martin counties, Schlitt said.

The event will be hosted by agents from Coldwell Banker Paradise, which describes itself as the area’s oldest and largest full-service real estate company. There is no cost to participate.

Funds to cover the cost of prize money and the charitable donation will be raised by real estate agents, homeowners and community sponsors, Coldwell Banker Paradise Communications Director Lisa Djahed said.

“To us, being part of the community and giving back has always been important,” Schlitt said. “The idea is to create energy, excitement and to raise money for a good cause.”

The Poker Run Open House will run take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 3. Residents can view a map of the open houses at the Coldwell Banker Paradise website.

Schlitt’s sister, Linda Gonzalez, who is president of the real estate company, said the company hopes to have 100 homes open in the four counties. Those interested should check the company website on the day of the poker run to see the final list of open houses.

Participants can visit as many homes as they want, but they can only get one card from each home. Coldwell real estate agents will give house tours and hand out the poker cards.

The charity event is not restricted to homebuyers. Participants can go to the homes simply to pick up cards and play the game, if they want, Schlitt said.

Gonzalez’s and Schlitt’s parents, Ed and Marguerite Schlitt, started a tradition of supporting good causes when they founded Coldwell Banker Paradise back in 1953, Schlitt said.

The Indian River Lagoon is a nationally recognized shallow-water estuary that stretches along 40 percent of Florida’s east coast. The waterway has suffered multiple health issues such as contaminant loading, degradation of water quality, loss of seagrasses and mangroves and emerging diseases in marine mammals.

“Since the Indian River Lagoon covers the same footprint we do on the Space and Treasure Coast, and we are all part of the ecosystem, we wanted to do something significant to give our support,” Schlitt said.

For details on the open house locations and how to enter, go to www.openhousepokerrunfl.com

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