Success has been theirs as far as fundraising and awareness for the past two years, so the third annual Ante Up for Africa Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament has been announced for July 2 to correspond with the 2009 World Series of Poker. Don Cheadle and Annie Duke will again host the star-studded event at the Rio in Las Vegas, and this time it will be filmed for later broadcast on ESPN.
Set for Thursday, July 2nd at 2pm, the poker tournament will be preceded by a red carpet welcome for the numerous poker and Hollywood celebrities who will attend. Already confirmed are hosts Cheadle and Duke, along with Matt Damon, Jason Alexander, Charles Barkley, Montel Williams, Herschel Walker, Hank Azaria, Brad Garrett, Reggie Miller, Marlon Wayans, Sarah Silverman, and Casey Affleck. Poker pros promised to attend include Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, and Andy Bloch. The list will inevitably grow as the date approaches.
All of the guests will then “ante up” their $5,000 entry fee to play in the no-limit hold’em tournament. The general public is welcome and encouraged to play as well, given that it is an opportunity to not only raise money for a worthy charity but also to play poker alongside some of the biggest stars on the felt and on television and movie screens. In addition, television exposure will be an added bonus as ESPN has offered to film and broadcast a special WSOP episode about the Ante Up for Africa tournament, already scheduled to air on August 11.
Duke commented, “It is an honor and very exciting to have ESPN turn the cameras on for our event. This will make great strides in raising awareness about this ongoing crisis.”
Added Cheadle, “I am very pleased that we have raised almost 2 million to date and appreciative of everyone who has participated and donated to help us on our mission of bringing the plight of the refugees of Darfur to the forefront of people’s minds.”
Ante Up for Africa is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping survivors of the humanitarian crisis occurring in Darfur, Sudan. Working with two other organizations - Enough and Not On Our Watch, both with goals to end genocide and crimes against humanity throughout the world - Ante Up for Africa seeks to end the devastation in Darfur while helping the victims, peacekeepers, and aid workers who are there now. As nearly 400,000 people have died there thus far and 4 million people are living as refugees along the Chad/Sudan border and surrounding African regions, the needs for funds and awareness are great.
More information about the cause can be found at www.AnteUpForAfrica.org. And those wishing to preregister for the tournament can do so at www.WorldSeriesOfPoker.com. Early registration is encouraged and can be done online or at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas up to two weeks prior to July 2.
Organizers would also like the public to be aware that Nevada gaming laws prohibit prize pool money from going to a charity. Thus, the last two years found a majority of the money finishers donating half or more of their winnings to Ante Up for Africa after being awarded their prize money. Players in the 2009 event are encouraged to do the same. The generosity of players in the past have allowed the organization to raise more than $2 million for the cause, and this year could be the most successful to date.