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Charity - No Limit Hold'em Ante Up For Africa Results & Report

40th World Series of Poker 2009

Charity - No Limit Hold'em Ante Up For Africa
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
3700 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV, 89103, US
Full Schedule
Alex Bolotin AKA "Diesel" Tournament...
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Profile: Alex Bolotin AKA "Diesel"
Date: July 2, 2009 Time: 2:00 PM

Buy-In: $5,000
Prizepool: $670,680
Entries: 138
Game Type: No Limit Hold'em

Place Country Name Prize
1 USA Alex Bolotin AKA "Diesel" $176,449
2 USA Adam Richardson $109,104
3 USA Rafael Furst AKA "Rafe" $72,308
4 USA Erik Seidel $51,601
5 USA Chris "Jesus" Ferguson $38,550
6 USA Phil Gordon $30,760
7 USA John Hennigan $25,900
8 Canada Matt Kay $22,970
9 USA Jennifer Harman AKA "Jen" $21,439
10 USA Philip Tom AKA "'chairman'" $15,713
11 USA Clay Brown $15,713
12 USA Matt Lessinger $15,713
13 USA James Joyner $12,517
14 USA Steve Zolotow $12,517
15 USA James Sowers AKA "Mike" $12,517
16 USA John George $10,653
17 USA Matthew Graham $10,653
18 USA Richard Siegel $10,653

Tournament Report

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: and

· 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):

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
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

"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."

Note: 17 of the 18 in-the-money finishers donated a portion of their winnings to the "Ante-Up for Africa" charity.

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