| Tournament Highlights:
Event Headlines -
1. Alex Bolotin Wins Third Annual "Ante-Up for Africa" Charity Tournament at World Series of Poker
2. Celebrities and Poker Players Ante-Up For Africa and Raise $362,000 for Crisis in Darfur
3. Alex Bolotin Dedicates Half of his Winnings to ENOUGH Project and International Rescue Committee
What is "Ante-Up for Africa?" --
· "Ante-Up for Africa" is a charity-motivated poker tournament which attracts celebrities, poker pros, and concerned citizens alike who want to make a positive change in the world. The first "Ante-Up for Africa" tournament was held at the 2007 World Series of Poker. Through this year, the charity has raised nearly $2.5 million for the ongoing crisis in Darfur (Africa).
· All donations go directly to ENOUGH and the International Rescue Committee, which are dedicated to stopping mass genocide and crimes against humanity. ENOUGH primarily focuses its efforts on the crisis in Darfur, as well as other troubled regions in Africa. The International Rescue Committee is instrumental in providing relief and resettlement to innocent victims and refugees who are affected by war and oppression. For more information, please visit: www.enoughproject.org and www.theirc.org
· The "Ante-Up for Africa" tournament is played on the main floor of the World Series of Poker and costs $5,000 to enter. No monies are withheld from the prize pool, nor are players required to donate their winnings. However, the overwhelming majority of players who participate and finish in-the-money donate between half to the full amount of their winnings to the charity.
· "Ante-Up for Africa" was jointly organized by actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke. Cheadle first became involved in charity work in Darfur following his Academy-Award nominated performance in "Hotel Rwanda." He later authored a book titled, "Not on Our Watch," which has helped to raise awareness about the conflict and other humanitarian projects dedicated to helping those less fortunate. Annie Duke is one of the world's most well-known poker players. She recently finished as the runner up in NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" and was responsible from the start of Ante-Up For Africa to bringing it to the WSOP and the poker community.
· ESPN filmed the tournament for later broadcast. Given the high number of celebrities and poker pros in the field - all playing for a good cause - the event is sure to be watched by millions on television.
· In 2007, "Ante-Up for Africa" attracted 167 players. The joint winners were Dan Shak and Brandon Moran, who in an unprecedented display of unity agreed to share the championship title and dedicate all of their winnings (both 1st and 2nd place) to the charity.
· In 2008, "Ante-Up for Africa" attracted 88 players. The winner was poker pro Johnny "World" Hennigan. He dedicated his entire cash prize to the charity.
· This year's tournament began with WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack welcoming the players and hundreds of fans in attendance. He noted that U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who works on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a true friend to poker and the WSOP. Pollack also emphasized that all donations collected from the tournament go directly to the ENOUGH project and the International Rescue Committee. He then started play with the ceremonial "Shuffle-Up and Deal" announcement.
· WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel and his staff ran the tournament from start to finish, which lasted about ten hours.
· The Rio Pavilion Amazon tournament room was packed with hundreds of spectators, who in many cases were just feet away from many famous celebrities and poker superstars.
· "Ante-Up for Africa" attracted a mix of celebrities from the worlds of film, television, and sports. In addition, several CEOs and other business leaders "anted-up" for the cause. About one-third of the total field was comprised of professional poker players.
List of Participants -
The fourth annual "Ante Up For Africa" Charity Poker Tournament attracted the following participants (with hometowns listed):
Celebrity Quotes --
· As they entered the tournament arena, several well-known celebrities were interviewed. Here are a few quotes from those in attendance:
"The big thing that is different this year is the ESPN coverage. This year, there will be a full episode of coverage. That's incredible for two reasons. First, it's going to boost participation in the vent which is important because that translates to real dollars. But the thing I think is more important is that it creates awareness. And that is what we need, for people to care about Darfur and develop some passion for....and so they might write to their congressman, or dedicate a little money or their time to create some changes."
-- Annie Duke (Poker Professional and Ante-Up for Africa Co-Founder)
"What is great about this charity is that all the money goes to Darfur and the victims. It's a great thing to be involved with and I am honored to be here....(and) having it at the World Series of Poker is a huge thing."
-- Brad Garrett (Actor and Comedian)
"You have the best poker players in the world here, and also a lot of poker enthusiasts. I'm going to Africa next week to (work in a documentary), so this is an event I really believe in. I think this is a way to show the good side of poker along with the other good side, which is the World Series of Poker."
-- Montel Willliams (Television Host)
"I know there is a real need to help people in Africa, and I want to help. I also think it is a fun way to get involved and play with a lot of celebrities. It's a cool thing and a good thing, too."
-- Jason Mercier (Poker Professional)
"It's a great event. You have all these great poker players here, the media, and all the stars. It's a great combination. Don (Cheadle) talked to all his friends to come in, and we did....Everybody's charity is important. But you have to pick and chose the charities you want to do. And, I am here for one reason - Don Cheadle."
-- Charles Barkley (Former Basketball Star and TV Commentator)
"I think you get a lot of people enjoy playing poker. With all that is going on in Africa, and attaching the celebrities to it draws attention to what's going on....As a human being, you don't want to watch anyone suffer. And that's why I am here and why a lot of people came out to be a part of this event....the World Series attracts people from everywhere and to have part of it not be about yourself winning but rather to show that you want to give and you care about those who are suffering is important."
-- Cedric the Entertainer (Actor and Comedian)
"I'm here for Ante-Up for Africa and it's all about Darfur. Genocide is happening and we always hear about the Holocaust in school and we say that will never happen now, we would never let that happen again, but it's happening right now. And I'll tell you something else. I think if this was happening in France or England, that (expletive deleted) would be taken care of!"
-- Sarah Silverman (Actor and Comedian)
"I think there needs to be a great amount of awareness over what is happening in Darfur...It's a form of annihilation and slavery, something that we should have taken notice of earlier."
-- Mike Tyson (Former Heavyweight World Champion Boxer)
"I am here to try and help my people. I come from Africa (Congo), and I wanted to be here."
D.J. Mbenga (NBA Player -- Los Angeles Lakers)
"The people this money is going to go to in Africa are some of the most troubled people in the world. They are facing the greatest difficulties, more than anyone can even imagine who live in this country. For us to put in some time and effort and money to help these people is a demonstration of the kindheartedness and dedication of people in the poker community."
-- Greg "Fossilman" Raymer (2004 WSOP Main Event Champion)
"This is my second year to come to the event. I think it is a great cause. Anything we can do as a family, we come to support Don and this charity. I think this brings awareness to another culture that some people really don't follow, and that's important."
-- Kenny Smith (NBA Commentator)
"Last year, I went with a charity to Kenya for 14 or 15 days. I witnessed firsthand some of the stuff going on over there. Whether it was the poverty in Kenya, or the AIDS pandemic, or the genocide occurring in Darfur -- it's amazing. We hear about it. But we don't see it. When you see it, it breaks your heart. As a father and as a concerned citizen of the world I want to try and give back and draw attention to the cause....Poker players play cards for huge amounts amount money. But they are truly generous people. That was in evidence the last few years when all the winners donated their winnings to the cause."
-- Dean Cain (Actor)
"I think this is way to raise awareness about something important. It is a way for people at home to watch and become informed, because it is fun to watch people play poker. I sit and watch poker on television, and sometimes I have no idea who they are. So, to see a celebrity play a hand in a particularly stupid way or maybe in a good way will be interesting. And if we are messaging along with that, rather than having someone watch a program about how much suffering there is in this region in Africa, they might turn the channel. But sprinkle it in with a nice and fun poker event and it might do a better job of getting the message across."
-- Matt Damon (Actor)
"The situation is obviously still urgent. In Western Sudan, there are still countless thousands of refugees. 300,000 people have died, and people continue to die. In fact, the National Congress Party in Khartoum (Sudan) has thrown out a lot of the relief organizations doing work. The situation is even more urgent than it was. The hope here is to raise money for those organizations still there doing work, offering relief to those people who are still suffering."
-- Ben Affleck (Actor)
"Why am I here? Well, we haven't fixed it yet. It's still a mess. I believe when you start something you keep at it. I sometimes worry that good causes like this are overshadowed by celebrities and by poker. The trick when you do something like this is to stay informed about what you are playing for. This is for people who are literally starving. They are homeless. They are refugees. There is no education. There are no social services. And they have no voice. This is a real coup to have such a great cause right next to the greatest poker event in the world."
-- Jason Alexander (Actor and Comedian)
"I think it is an amazing thing what Annie and Don have done. It goes to show you what one or two people can do in making a difference. They saw what was going on in Darfur and said they have to do something about it. I think this event raises awareness for the atrocities in Darfur and raises a lot of money. It also gives poker players to show they are generous and really do care. This is a way for us to come together for a great cause."
-- Jennifer Tilly (Actor and Poker Player)
"I love doing charity tournaments and helping out. It's important also to give something back, especially if you had some success. And this is a lot of fun. I just think it is so great how poker is helping people out."
-- Brandon Cantu (Professional Poker Player)
"I love poker and I love the idea of poker doing something for charity. There is a lot of money in this business and it is good to see people redistribute it and do good things."
-- Patrick Bruel (French Actor and Singer, and former WSOP gold bracelet winner)
"This is a fantastic opportunity to shed some light on e very serious issue. Annie Duke and Don Cheadle have been extremely supportive about getting their friends together and to come out for a very worthy cause. I think this highlights that so many people from so many different walks of life come together and play poker at a high level."
-- Phil Gordon (Professional Poker Player)
"This is very inspirational. I want to be a part of that. If I can play poker here for a few hours and hopefully make someone's life better, I think it is well worth it."
-- Nelly (Singer)
"It's a great tournament. It's a way to meet a lot of different people, which is all for a great cause. I have some of my own charities and we raise money so I always like to help people when they ask. I am happy to be here in America."
-- Shane Warne (World-Famous Cricket Player from Australia)
"I wanted to come and help when I heard about it from Annie (Duke). I think it is such a great cause. I used to come to the World Series before it became so popular. I think it's crazy. I played in a few years before it really took off. It's nice to be back now and support something that is really important to a lot of people."
-- Tony Hseih (CEO of Zappos.com)
"I think the money is very much needed in Africa. It is a very good cause. I am very happy that many people have turned out. It is not even an option for me after I had so many good things happen. How could I say ‘no?"
-- Peter Eastgate (2008 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion)
The Winner --
· The fourth annual "Ante Up For Africa" Charity Poker Tournament champion is Aleksandr Bolotin, from Brooklyn, NY. He is originally from Minsk, Belarus. (NOTE: The spelling is his first name is ALEKSANDR)
· Bolotin is a professional poker player.
· Bolotin collected $177,730 for first place. He donated half of his cash winnings -- $88,865 to Ante Up for Africa.
Winner Quotes (Aleksandr Bolotin) --
· On becoming a professional poker player: "I worked like 50 dead-end jobs before I discovered poker. Poker is my calling, and I am glad I found it."
· On his experience at Ante-Up for Africa: "It's was great to meet all the celebrities and athletes and poker stars. It was a great experience."
| 1 Adams, George || Pensacola || FL |
| 2 Adinolfi, Mario || Rome || ITALY |
| 3 Affleck, Ben || Sherman Oaks || CA |
| 4 Alexander, Jason || Beverly Hills || CA |
| 5 Alvarado, Juan || Las Vegas || NV |
| 6 Bach, David || Athens || GA |
| 7 Barkley, Charles || Scottsdale || AZ |
| 8 Baroco, Marina || Las Vegas || NV |
| 9 Beckler, Paul || Marietta || GA |
| 10 Benson, Douglas || Los Angeles || CA |
| 11 Bitar, Ray || Gelndora || CA |
| 12 Bloch, Andy || Las Vegas || NV |
| 13 Blowers, John || Ballston Lake || NY |
| 14 Bolotin, Aleksandr || Brooklyn || NY |
| 15 Bonkowski, Tyler || Regina || SK, CANADA |
| 16 Bonomo, Justin || Sherman Oaks || CA |
| 17 Boyd, Russell || Columbia || MO |
| 18 Brenes, Humberto || San Jose || COSTA RICA |
| 19 Brown, Chad || Margate || FL |
| 20 Brown, Clay || Manassas || VA |
| 21 Bruel, Patrick || Paris || FRANCE |
| 22 Cabrera, Elio || Homestead || FL |
| 23 Cain, Dean || Malibu || CA |
| 24 Calhoun, Matthew || Somerset || NJ |
| 25 Cantu, Brandon || Las Vegas || NV |
| 26 Caro, Mike || Shell Knob || MO |
| 27 Castaneda, Jaime || Pasco || WA |
| 28 Chambers, Walter || Baton Rouge || LA |
| 29 Chau, Giang || Las Vegas || NV |
| 30 Cheadle, Don || Los Angeles || CA |
| 31 Chicotsky, David || Fort Worth || TX |
| 32 Cloutier, Rock || St Joseph De Beauce || QC, CANADA |
| 33 Coulter, Bridgid || Los Angeles || CA |
| 34 Craig, Michael || Scottsdale || AZ |
| 35 Damon, Matt || Santa Monica || CA |
| 36 Daniels, Kevin || San Diego || CA |
| 37 Deeb, Shaun || Las Vegas || NV |
| 38 Degusta, Michael || Santa Barbara || CA |
| 39 Demjan, Sandor || Budupest || HUNGARY |
| 40 Drucker, Max || Montecito || CA |
| 41 Duke, Annie || Portland || OR |
| 42 Eastgate, Peter || Odensec || DENMARK |
| 43 Eolis, Wendeen || New York || NY |
| 44 Esfandiari, Antonio || Las Vegas || NV |
| 45 Evdakov, Nikolay || Moscow || RUSSIA |
| 46 Fenech, Jeffrey || Sydney || AUSTRALIA |
| 47 Ferguson, Chris || Pacific Palisades || CA |
| 48 Fine, Jonathan || Henderson || NV |
| 49 Friedman, Perry || Las Vegas || NV |
| 50 Furst, Rafael || Las Vegas || NV |
| 51 Garrett, Brad || Marina Del Rey || CA |
| 52 George, Christopher || Grosse Pointe || MI |
| 53 George, John || Grosse Pointe Woods || MI |
| 54 George, Samer || || |
| 55 Gordon, Philip || Henderson || NV |
| 56 Graham, Matthew || Pearland || TX |
| 57 Graham, Tiffany || Newhall || CA |
| 58 Greenberg, Jeffrey || Beltsville || MD |
| 59 Greene, Alan || Danville || CA |
| 60 Greenstein, Barry || San Jose || CA |
| 61 Griffin, Gavin || Fullerton || CA |
| 62 Guoga, Antanas “Tony G” || || LITHUANIA |
| 63 Hachem, Joe || Preston West || NV |
| 64 Harman Traniello, Jennifer || Las Vegas || NV |
| 65 Haxton, Isaac Blum || Las Vegas || NV |
| 66 Haynes, Cornell || Saint Louis || MO |
| 67 Hellmuth, Phil || Palo Alto || CA |
| 68 Hennigan, John || Las Vegas || NV |
| 69 Henry, Roger || Sierra Vista || AZ |
| 70 Hsieh, Anthony || Las Vegas || NV |
| 71 Jacob, Alex || Tulsa || OK |
| 72 Joyner, James || Ponte Vedra || FL |
| 73 Juanda, John || Las Vegas || NV |
| 74 Kahn, Joseph || Los Angeles || CA |
| 75 Kassela, Frank || Memphis || TN |
| 76 Kassela, Thomas || North Richland Hills || TX |
| 77 Kay, Matthew || Waterloo || ON, CANADA |
| 78 Kravchenko, Alex || Moscow || RUSSIA |
| 79 Cedric The Entertainer || Los Angeles || CA |
| 80 Lawson, Ted || Plantation || FL |
| 81 Lebouf, Frank || Los Angeles || CA |
| 82 Lederer, Howard || Las Vegas || NV |
| 83 Lederer, Susan || Las Vegas || NV |
| 84 Lessinger, Matt || Alameda || CA |
| 85 Levy, Adam || Orlando || FL |
| 86 Lewis, George || Abilene || TX |
| 87 Malaguti, Flaminio || Greenville || NC |
| 88 Mao, Nicholas || Long Beach || CA |
| 89 Matusow, Mike || Henderson || NV |
| 90 Mcgowan, Joseph || Las Vegas || NV |
| 91 Mecs, Imre || || |
| 92 Mercer, Heather || New York || NY |
| 93 Mercier, Jason || Davie || FL |
| 94 Mercier, Isabelle || Victoriaville || QC, CANADA |
| 95 Muasher, Shaker || Amman || JORDAN |
| 96 Mueller, Greg || Vancouver || BC, CANADA |
| 97 Nathan, Rayan || Beaumont || TX |
| 98 Neuville, Pierre || Knokke-Heist || BELGIUM |
| 99 Pagano, Luca || Venice || ITALY |
| 100 Phillips, Dennis || Cottage Hills || IL |
| 101 Piscal, Michael || Santa Monica || CA |
| 102 Powell, Russell || El Cajon || CA |
| 103 Rafalowicz, Jeremy || Doral || FL |
| 104 Ramdin, Victor || Bronx || NY |
| 105 Reitman, Joseph || West Hollywood || CA |
| 106 Rich, Raymond || Fort Worth || TX |
| 107 Richardson, Adam || Poway || CA |
| 108 Romanello, Roberto || Gorseinon || UNITED KINGDOM |
| 109 San, Jez || London || UNITED KINGDOM |
| 110 Sandel, Dan || Malibu || CA |
| 111 Sara, Rene Angelil || Laval Quebec || QC, CANADA |
| 112 Sass, Alan || Las Vegas || NV |
| 113 Scheinberg, Martin || New York || NY |
| 114 Scheinberg, Kim || New York || NY |
| 115 Schutz, Jordanna || Boulder || CO |
| 116 Schwartz, Ylon || Brooklyn || NY |
| 117 Seidel, Erik || Henderson || NV |
| 118 Shane, Warne || Victoria || AUSTRALIA |
| 119 Shirley, Marlon || Chula Vista || CA |
| 120 Siegel, Richard || Katonah || NY |
| 121 Silverman, Sarah || W Hollywood || CA |
| 122 Singer, David || Las Vegas || NV |
| 123 Sippel, Benjamin || Darmstadt || GERMANY |
| 124 Smith, Kenny || Stevenson Ranch || CA |
| 125 Sowers, James || Charlotte || NC |
| 126 Tilly, Jennifer || Victoria || BC, CANADA |
| 127 Tom, Philip || Seattle || WA |
| 128 Walker, Herschel || Dallas || TX |
| 129 Watkinson, Lee || Lakebay || WA |
| 130 White, Patrick || Pearl River || NY |
| 131 Williams, Jeff || Dunwoody || GA |
| 132 Williams, Montel || Greenwich || CT |
| 133 Williamson, Robert || Dallas || TX |
| 134 Willis, Bobby || T Or C || NM |
| 135 Wilson, Scott || Vancouver || BC, CANADA |
| 136 Woodward, Matthew || Waterboro || ME |
| 137 York, Adam || Nailsea || UNITED KINGDOM |
| 138 Zolotow, Stephen || Las Vegas || NV |
Note: 17 of the 18 in-the-money finishers donated a portion of their winnings to the "Ante-Up for Africa" charity.