Alex ‘Diesel' Bolotin, a diminutive 30-year-old poker pro from Brooklyn, New York took down this year's ‘Ante Up forAfrica' charity tournament (see previous InfoPowa reports) Friday, and immediately committed himself to donating half of his $176 9 first prize to the cause.
Bolotin's win was his fifth cash at this year's World Series of Poker, bringing his career earnings in 30 tournament cashes to almost $2 million. In WSOP events over the years he has enjoyed 14 cashes and has achieved three final tables.
Almost every one of the 18 players who cashed in the charity event ploughed their winnings back into the AUFA campaign.
Bolotin defeated Adam Richardson in a one-hand heads-up at a final table that included third place finisher Rafe Furst, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, John Hennigan and Jennifer Harman. For his second placing, Richardson earned $109 194. The final table action was fast and furious, with plenty of all-ins and coin flip decisions
The charity match attracted 137 entrants at $5 000 a pop, building a prize pool of $665 820.
All eyes are now on the 40th World Series of Poker Main Event, scheduled to commence Friday and play down to a final table over the coming days. Final table action will again be delayed for several months to allow maximum television impact when it is screened later this year.
Picking up on the interest, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the first 55 events of the 57 event series this year had drawn more than 53 460 entries and awarded more than $111.6 million in pay-outs.
In last year's 2008 World Series of Poker, $180.7 million in prize money was paid out and the tournaments drew 58 720 entries, with 6 844 of those signing up for the main event's $10 000 buy-in no-limit Texas hold'em tournament. The year prior to that – 2007 – was impacted by the passage of the controversial Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 and saw entries down at 6 358. 2006 – pre-UIGEA – recorded the highest Main Event entries at 8 773.