Hollywood actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke, who have already raised millions of dollars for the needy in Africa through charity poker tournaments, plan a third edition of their Ante Up For Africa Tournament for this year's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
World Series of Poker organisers have confirmed that this time around the tourney will be televised by ESPN for the first time.
The 2009 Ante Up For Africa Celebrity-Charity Poker Tournament has been scheduled for Thursday, July 2 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and will be open to the general public.
This No-Limit Hold'em poker tournament has an entry fee of $5 000, and puts entrants side-by-side with Hollywood hotshots, superstar athletes and poker professionals, battling it out in a unique charity tournament with a six-figure payday that more importantly contributes to a great cause.
The event will raise public awareness and funds to support the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. To date, Ante Up For Africa has raised close to $2 million for the cause.
"It is an honor and very exciting to have ESPN turn the cameras on for our event," said Annie Duke. "This will make great strides in raising awareness about this ongoing crisis."
Among those confirmed to participate, subject to availability, are: Cheadle, Matt Damon, Jason Alexander, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Montel Williams, Herschel Walker, Hank Azaria, Brad Garrett, Reggie Miller, Marlon Wayans, Sarah Silverman and Casey Affleck, with many more in the process of being confirmed and expressing their interest to play. Also playing, subject to availability, will be poker professionals Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel and Phil Hellmuth, with many more to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The tournament will feature a fast-paced structure designed to complete the competition within five hours. Seating for the tournament is open to anyone age 21 or older. Players can register in person at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, or online up to two weeks prior to the event at www.worldseriesofpoker.com under the registration tab.
"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," said Cheadle.
"We are eagerly anticipating the 3rd annual Ante Up For Africa Celebrity-Charity poker tournament," said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "We commend the work Don and Annie are doing on behalf of this charity and are excited to partner with them again for what is the most fun-filled day at the World Series of Poker."
Nevada gaming laws prohibit money being given directly from the prize pool to the charity. Accordingly, in the previous events, many of the in the money finishers volunteered to donate half of their winnings to the charity and Ante Up For Africa encourages participants to do the same this year.
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