Ante Up for Africa playing field grows

Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle will use his celebrity and his poker skills to raise money for the Darfur crisis.

The World Series of Poker announced this week that more than a dozen celebrities and athletes are lined up to take part in the Ante Up for Africa charity poker tournament taking place July 2 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

This is the second annual charity poker tournament hosted at the World Series that will raise public awareness and funds to support the victims of the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

The tournament was created by actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Rafe Furst, Barry Greenstein and more are expected to play if they're available.

"The poker community has a unique opportunity to help ease the suffering in Darfur," said Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP commissioner. "The stars are coming out for this special event once again and we encourage everyone to register early before we sell out."

Cheadle said he was elated that the tournament was such a success in its first year, raising more than $700,000.

"I am so grateful for everyone's participation and generosity in helping us continue to bring the plight of the refugees of Darfur to the forefront of people's minds. I hope we can raise even more this year," Cheadle said.

Proceeds from this year's tournament will be given to two charities. The first is ENOUGH, a joint initiative of the International Crisis Group and the Center for American Progress, which aims to end crimes against humanity in Darfur, northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The organization also hopes to prevent future mass atrocities around the world.

The second organization benefiting from the charity poker tournament is Not On Our Watch, taking its name from the book authored by Cheadle and John Prendergast. Founded by George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, the group endeavors to focus global attention and resources on putting an end to mass atrocities around the world.

Not On Our Watch has adopted the Darfur crisis as its inaugural campaign and draws on the voices of celebrities, cultural leaders and activists to help bring the crisis to the public's attention and generate humanitarian assistance for the nation.

The tournament is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on July 2. For more information visit www.harrahs.com or www.worldseriesofpoker.com.

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