Poker News in Brief: May 17-23, 2010

Matt Damon

With the start of the 2010 WSOP just days away the entire poker world started serious preparations during the second to last week of May.

The headlines belonged to events like APPT Macau, WPT Barcelona and WSOPC New Orleans and there were several stories that slipped through the cracks again.

Fortunately, we've compiled them below in our ongoing Poker News in Brief feature.

This week we'll look at the 2010 Ante Up for Africa roster, the new 888poker, a soccer star signing with PokerStars and more.

Damon, Affleck Headline 2010 Ante Up for Africa

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Tracy McGrady are among the big-name celebrities confirmed to appear at the 2010 Ante Up for Africa event this summer at the WSOP.

Although subject to availability, the WSOP released a preliminary list of celebrities that will play the charity event this week.

The list also includes Don Cheadle, Brad Garrett, Hank Azaria, Ray Romano, Kenny Smith, Sara Rue and poker players Annie Duke, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson and Phil Hellmuth with more to be confirmed in the coming months.

The tournament, which was founded by Cheadle and Duke, is now in its fifth year of existence and has raised over $3 million for aid in Darfur.

888poker Giving Away iPads, iPods

888poker, formerly Pacific Poker, is celebrating its new look by giving players a chance to win free iPads and iPods.

As part of a two-week long promotion 888poker will be giving away the aforementioned Apple products, 888poker branded chip sets, seats in the Challenge Series tournaments and $88 and $8 instant cash bonuses.

The prizes will be awarded to random players at 888poker cash tables every 30 minutes from 17:00 to 20:30 GMT every day from May 20 to June 3.

The site is also offering reload poker bonuses, which you can learn more about in our 888poker review.

Liv Boeree

New Poker Room Opens in London

The new Bluff Europe card room at the Mint Casino in South Kensington, London, opened this week with a number of high-profile English poker players in attendance.

Neil Channing, James Akenhead, John Tabatabai and Sam Tricket all made an appearance while recent EPT San Remo winner Liv Boeree provided the christening speech.

The new card room offers a contemporary design and eight tables of poker. The room will feature a diverse schedule of tournaments including a £100 buy-in event every Saturday.

bwin Introduces Chip Chaser Sit & Go

bwin Poker is putting its own spin on the wildly popular Sit & Go format.

The new bwin Chip Chaser Sit & Goes starts by giving players a standard super-turbo format with a starting stack of 1,000 chips. There are no blinds but there is an ante of 100 so each player only has 10 big blinds.

The catch is that after exactly 10 minutes players are no longer in control of their own fate as every player is forced all-in on every hand.

The players who accumulate a large stack will have a much better chance of surviving the barrage of all-ins and even winning the tournament.

Look for Chip Chaser events in the Sit & Go tab of the bwin software or check our bwin review for more information.

UB, Absolute Poker Running Custom Skin Contest

UB and Absolute Poker are calling all graphic design enthusiasts to put their own touches on both site's virtual poker tables.

The Table Skin Design Contest's overall winner will receive a free trip for two to Las Vegas during the WSOP, accommodations and $1,000 cash.

To enter the contest simply download the design template from either UB or Absolute's website and create a design using photos, images and logos. Once your design is finished upload it at either the Absolute or UB Facebook fan page.

The top 10 themes will be featured in the June 8th Absolute and UB newsletter and users will get the chance to vote for their favorite.


Italian Goalkeeper Joins PokerStars

PokerStars has signed renowned Italian national goalkeeper Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon as an ambassador for the site.

Buffon, the current goalkeeper of FC Juventus and a member of the Italian World Cup winning team in 2006, is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in world.

"I love living life to the fullest," he said. "I know there will be many commitments, but I love playing poker and the opportunity to join Italy's (and the world's) largest poker site is an honour and a great challenge. I can't wait to play against Team PokerStars Pros and I'm ready to have lots of fun playing against everyone who wants to take me on."

Check our PokerStars review for more information.

2010 Reno Throw Down Raises Over $200k

Over 500 players took part in last weekend's 2010 Poker Throw Down hosted by Jennifer Harman and the Peppermill Casino in Reno.

The charity tournament raised over $200,000 for the National Kidney Foundation with Frank Harrington taking first place and a $10,000 entry into the 2010 WSOP Main Event.

High-profile poker players such as Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Antonio Esfandiari, Hoyt Corkins, Gavin Smith, Cyndy Violette and many more took part in the event.

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