A slew of big name poker pros and poker playing celebs will be supporting this year's Ante Up for Africa tournament, which has been scheduled for the afternoon of July 2 at the Rio in Las Vegas, taking advantage of the attention that the World Series of Poker is receiving at that venue.
This is the second run of the charity event, which was conceived by actor Don Cheadle and poker ace Annie Duke to raise money for the victims and bolster public awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. In its inaugural run, the event raised a praiseworthy $700 000 for the cause, thanks to a stellar turnout of players and Hollywood celebrities, who donated at least half their winnings.
Joining Duke and Cheadle at the felt will be fellow actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Sandler and Ray Romano, together with 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.
Providing an equally powerful lineup from the industry will be internationally respected poker "names" such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, Barry Greenstein, Phil Laak and Phil Hellmuth Jr.
Announcing this year's event, WSOP director Jeffrey Pollack said: "The poker community has a unique opportunity to help ease the suffering in Darfur. The stars are coming out for this special event once again, and we encourage everyone to register early before we sell out." Pollack said the Ante Up for Africa had been designed to finish in around five hours or less.
The publicity opportunities for the cause are considerable – the World Series of Poker 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.
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