As the Ante Up for Africa organization gears up for its 2008 tournament amidst the World Series of Poker , it will conduct a smaller, invitation-only tournament on May 8th to raise additional funds. The event will take place at the San Manuel Casino in Southern California with 120 celebrities and invited guests.
Academy Award nominee and acclaimed actor Don Cheadle and professional poker player Annie Duke head up the Ante Up for Africa organization and are scheduled to attend the event at San Manuel with one goal in mind – to create awareness of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Darfur. A mix of celebrities and poker pros have been invited to attend, so in place of a cash prize, the winner of the tournament will receive a celebrity autographed custom poker table that has been donated by the casino.
The May 8th tournament at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, California, will feature a silent auction and a poker tournament scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. There will also be an exclusive VIP party following the game, and all proceeds from the evening will go to benefit the Not On Our Watch (NOOW) organization. NOOW was founded by Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt to focus attention and resources on ending mass atrocities around the world, such as in Darfur, Africa.
San Manuel has also pledged a $75,000 donation to NOOW in support of the organization and its mission. James Ramos, Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, said, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Annie Duke and Don Cheadle to support a worthy cause. We hope our efforts will help draw mass attention to this very important issue that affects us all, and inspire others to get involved.”
Cheadle noted, “The crisis in Darfur is an issue very close to my heart. San Manuel understands the severity of this crisis and is helping us use the popularity of poker to spread the word.”
Ante Up for Africa held a fundraising tournament in 2007 at the World Series of Poker and attracted 167 of the biggest names in Hollywood and poker. In the end, the final two players – Dan Shak and Brandon Moran – donated their entire combined winnings to the Enough Project and the International Rescue Committee. All in all, it was reported that $700,000 was raised from the event. Considering its initial success, the organization will be hosting another tournament this year on Wednesday, July 2nd in the Amazon Room of the Rio in Las Vegas, just prior to the start of the WSOP main event. The buy-in is again $5,000, and pre-registration can be made currently at the WSOP website.