Actors, Athletes and Amateurs Unite For Africa at WSOP

Brad Garrett
Everybody Loves Brad Garrett.

If there is a better way to celebrate the annual anniversary of America's independence than gambling to raise money for Africa, we certainly can't think of one.

All facetiousness aside, today's $5k Ante Up For Africa tournament supports the admirable non-profit organization bearing the same name that is dedicated to raising money and awareness for Africans in need.

The tournament marks the second to last event on the 2010 WSOP calendar and has predictably drawn a crowd of celebrities, pro poker players and curious railbirds.  

Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth, David Alan Grier, Evander Holyfield and Montel Williams headline the list of celebrities who've made an appearance.

Brad Garrett, best known for his role on the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond, is keeping the Pavillion Room lively with his play-by-play and one-liners.  

"Phil Gordon everyone," Garrett said introducing the poker player and announcer. "Only one person clapped for you, Phil, I think it might be your mom."

"Shannon Elizabeth, who looks great in women's clothing, is playing today," Garrett deadpanned.

Much of the buzz in the room involved Phil Ivey's early exit for the tournament. David Alan Grier took credit for the knockout. "I gave it to him right on the chin!" Grier said. "All in and all out, baby." Then Grier admitted he wasn't actually in the hand at all and has a tendency to embellish.

Crowd favorite Matt Damon has managed to stick around and double up a couple of times. One of those double ups found Damon coming from behind in the hand and rivering a full house on his opponent. "That's what happens when you're Matt Damon, ladies and gentleman," Garrett quipped. "If you're Brad Garrett, then you're in a cab by now."

Players can donate whatever portion of their earnings they choose to charity, but at least 50% is standard. Last year John Hennigan won the tournament and donated all of his winnings to charity. Upon recognizing Hennigan for last year's donation, Garrett was overcome with kindness. "I'm going to kiss Howard Lederer because of your generosity," Garrett said before making good on his act of man love.

There were 80 players who put up the $5k buy in for today's event. Annie Duke, Phil Ivey and Montel Williams were some of the first players to be knocked out.

More information on the charity led by Cheadle and Duke is available at

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick

Latest Blogs »