Annie Duke and Don Cheadle
Thursday was our 3rd annual Ante Up for Africa tournament at the World Series of Poker and it was a huge success. This year we had 138 players and we had a huge poker pro presence with Jennifer Harman, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Rafe Furst, John Hennigan and Phil Gordon all making the final table. We also had a bigger celebrity presence than ever before. Some of the celebs in attendance were Sarah Silverman, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Nelly, Cedric the Entertainer, Herschel Walker, Charles Barkley, Dean Cain and Brad Garrett.
Three years ago we founded Ante Up for Africa, a charity to raise money for relief efforts in Darfur through poker events. When we founded the charity we approached Jeffrey Pollack, the Commissioner of the World Series of Poker, who was so enthusiastic about the cause that he jumped in with both feet and had the WSOP partner with us. AUFA became an official WSOP event and our first year we raised $700K. Before Thursday our charity had raised $2.1m for the Darfuri people.
This year we were lucky enough to have the addition of ESPN covering the event as a full episode of their WSOP coverage. This will increase awareness which is so important to our efforts. The way to make lasting change in the region is through education and awareness because that creates passion in people, passion that gets communicated to governments and governments ultimately create change.
We raised a lot of money, brought awareness to an important issue and had a lot of fun in the process!
Our next event will be October 29th at San Manuel Casino. Please, come join us there and help Ante Up for Africa continue to do this very important work.
The dire crisis in Darfur is entering its sixth year. The conflict has killed 400,000 people and forced more than 3 million Darfuris to flee their homes. The recent expulsion of key international humanitarian groups by the government of Sudan in response to the International Criminal Court's issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir has placed hundreds of thousands of the most needy at even greater risk and without access to medical care or reliable food supplies. President Bashir continues to utilize starvation as a weapon of war to silence his opponents and to distract the world from the key issues in Darfur. Now more than ever, there needs to be a dynamic international effort to move beyond simply treating the symptoms of Sudan's crisis and focuses on ENDING it by forging a lasting and equitable peace for all of Sudan. If you want to learn more about the crisis in Sudan and what you can do to make a difference, visit www.enoughproject.org.
Our hope is that through efforts like Ante Up For Africa, we can continue to keep the issue in the spotlight while providing real funds to support a brighter future for the people of Sudan.