Several big-name poker pros and celebrities have decided to ante up for a worthy cause. The second annual Ante Up For Africa poker tournament, co-founded by actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke, will be played at the 2008 World Series of Poker. The tournament, designed to raise money for the victims and bolster public awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan, will start at 2 p.m. July 2 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the WSOP announced in a news release Wednesday.
The inaugural Ante Up For Africa that took place last year raised more than $700,000 for the cause and featured a star-studded lineup. "After the success of last year's tournament, we are looking forward to another exciting year while raising awareness for an ongoing crisis," Duke said. "It is exciting to bring the world of poker and entertainment together, and we are once again asking players who win prize money to donate half of their winnings to our charities."
Cheadle, an Oscar-nominated actor who has become a serious poker player, is scheduled to play in the tournament. The star of the movie Crash will be joined by fellow actors such as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Sandler and Ray Romano, subject to their availability. Other celebrities expected to participate include NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley, NBA star Jason Kidd, comedians Kevin Pollack, Cheryl Hines and George Lopez, and musician Joe Trohman of the band Fallout Boy.
"I was elated that we raised over $700,000 last year," Cheadle said. ""I am so grateful for everyone's participation and generosity in helping us continue to bring the plight of the refugees of Darfur to the forefront of people's minds. I hope we can raise even more this year."
The celebrities will joined by an all-star cast of professional poker players, including Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, Barry Greenstein, Phil Laak and Phil Hellmuth Jr. Their participation also is subject to availability. "The poker community has a unique opportunity to help ease the suffering in Darfur," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "The stars are coming out for this special event once again, and we encourage everyone to register early before we sell out."
The tournament will feature a fast structure, designed for the event to finish in five hours or less. Seating is limited, and those interested in playing are encouraged to sign up early at www.worldseriesofpoker.com/pdfs/prereg2008/Ante-Up-for-Africa.pdf.
Cheadle and Duke are passionate advocates of the cause who are committed to raising public awareness and funds for the victims of Darfur. They have found an effective outlet at the WSOP, which is covered by more than 600 journalists and represented by players from 85 countries worldwide. Funds from the tournament will go to benefit two charities, ENOUGH and Not On Our Watch, both of which aim to end and prevent mass human atrocities. More information can be found at www.enoughproject.org and www.notonourwatchproject.org.
More information about the tournament can be found at www.worldseriesofpoker.com.