Poker, sports and entertainment stars walked the red carpet at the third annual celebrity charity poker tournament, Ante Up for Africa. Hosted by Hollywood’s Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke on 2 July 2009, 138 players participated in the No Limit Texas Hold'em Tournament, in association with the World Series of Poker (WSOP), raising money and awareness for the people of Darfur.
Big celebrity names came out to play including Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Shane Warne, Mike Tyson, Charles Barkley, Montel Williams, Brad Garret, Jason Alexander, Nelly, and Dean (Superman) Cain. All Africa Poker’s Perfect Pair, Danny K and Lee Ann Liebenberg and MNET Supersport’s Neil Andrews were there to cover the event and get exclusive interviews for the All Africa Poker Channel.
This year’s winner Alex Bolotin played larger than life at the final table and outlasted pro players like Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson to win the first place prize of $177,730. This Brooklyn-based grinder has had 14 WSOP cashes and last year made three final tables.
Bolotin announced that he would be giving 50% of his winnings to the charity. Last year’s winner John Hennigan donated his entire $136,860 first place prize back to the charity.
Hosted at the Rio Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Ante Up for Africa has raised more than $2 million for the people of Darfur and Southern Sudan.