LAS VEGAS – May 20, 2007 – More than a dozen Hollywood celebrities and sports legends are expected to join poker’s greatest players to raise public awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur in a special “Ante Up For Africa” tournament at the 2007 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light.
The brainchild of Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle and poker professional Annie Duke, the Ante Up For Africa tournament is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. July 5 in the WSOP tournament area in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Among those who’ve expressed their intent to play, subject to availability, are Hollywood stars Cheadle, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Jason Alexander, Jennifer Tilley, Hank Azaria, George Clooney, Matt Damon, George Lopez, Danny Masterson, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler and James Woods.
Basketball great Charles Barkley and poker notables Duke, Erik Seidel, Howard Lederer, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Gordon, Joe Hachem, Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Robert Williamson III, Phil Laak, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow and Clonie Gowan have also expressed plans to compete.
Participants in the $5,000 buy-in tournament, which is open to anyone, are also eligible to attend a private party at the Voodoo Lounge at the Rio beginning at 10 p.m. July 5. The tournament will feature a fast-paced structure designed to complete the competition within five hours. Seating for the tournament is limited and persons who want to participate are encouraged to pre-register at www.worldseriesofpoker.com/anteup/anteup.pdf.
“We’re honored to host this event and hope that entrants – particularly those fortunate enough to win money – will make donations to help ease the human suffering that defines the crisis in Darfur,” said Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker.
“While a donation is not required to enter, we are respectfully asking players who win prize money to donate half of their winnings to the ENOUGH Project and the International Rescue Committee – organizations whose goals include raising public awareness and providing aid to the survivors of Darfur,” Duke said.
“Four years ago, the specter of genocide reared its ugly head in an area of the Sudan called Darfur,” said Cheadle, whose role as a hotel manager in the true-life film “Hotel Rwanda” earned him an Academy Award nomination. The movie told the story of the government-sanctioned slaughter of more than a million innocents in Rwanda in 1994.
For more than two years, Cheadle has worked to raise public awareness of the Darfur humanitarian crisis. He recently testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about his visits to Darfur and refugee camps in neighboring Chad. “Not On Our Watch” – a book he co-authorized with human-rights activist John Prendergast – was released into bookstores nationwide this month.
Cheadle, an accomplished poker player, and Duke, who has more than $4 million in tournament winnings, are committed to raising both public awareness about the tragedy in Darfur and funds to aid its victims. As the world’s richest sporting event, the WSOP is covered by more than 600 journalists from around the globe each year and attracts players from more than 50 countries.
Cheadle and Duke are supporting the work of two non-profit organizations as part of their efforts. The International Rescue Committee (www.theirc.org), a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to refugees and those displaced by conflict, offers critical aid to people uprooted by crises in 25 countries, including the more than 700,000 survivors of the ethnic and political violence in Darfur, Sudan. The ENOUGH Project, a joint project of the Center for American Progress and the International Crisis Group, is dedicated to raising awareness and activism for causes such as Darfur.
The 2007 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light will begin June 1 at the Rio® All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. More information on the tournament is available at www.worldseriesofpoker.com.
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