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Howard Stutz

WSOP players ante up for charity

8 June 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- With the 41st World Series of Poker under way at the Rio, tournament officials hope to surpass last year's prize pool of more than $174 million.

They also hope a percentage of those winnings end up in the hands of the World Series of Poker's chosen charity, the Nevada Cancer Institute.

Players who cash out in any of the tournament's 57 events are encouraged to "Put a Bad Beat on Cancer" by making tax-deductible donations to the cause.

World Series of Poker spokesman Seth Palansky said if all players return 1 percent of their winnings, the tournament's participants could donate $1.75 million toward fighting cancer.

"Poker players are among the most generous and charity-conscious people on the planet," Palansky said. "They continually use the game of poker to help raise awareness and funds for many worthy causes throughout the calendar year."

The tournament's other major charitable effort is the fourth annual Ante Up For Africa Charity-Celebrity event, which is hosted by actor Don Cheadle and poker professional Annie Duke.

The $5,000 buy-in no limit hold'em tournament is open to anyone 21 years or older. More than $1.5 million has been raised in the first three years of the event.

Those cashing in have generously donated huge portions of their winnings to Ante Up For Africa to help raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Donations made to the Nevada Cancer Institute and the Ante Up For Africa event are deductible.

In the "Put a Bad Beat on Cancer Effort," players simply need to let the payout clerk know their intent to leave 1 percent of their winnings to Nevada Cancer Institute. The tournament will arrange to transfer the funds. Contributors will receive a letter from the charity for accounting purposes after the donations are received.

The Ante Up For Africa event places players side-by-side with Hollywood celebrities, athletes and poker professionals, battling it out in a charity tournament that features a fast-paced structure designed to complete the competition within five hours.

Duke, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner considered one of the game's best female professional players with more than $4 million in tournament winnings, was hopeful this year's event will top the previous three.

"We created this event to make a positive impact on the lives of those in Darfur and throughout Africa," said Duke, who was the runner-up in Donald Trump's reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice" last year. "I am delighted the event continues to grow every year, boasting more celebrities, more players and more poker pros."

Among those participating, subject to availability, are actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Brad Garrett, Hank Azaria and Ray Romano, and basketball stars Tracy McGrady and Kenny Smith. Poker champions Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson and Phil Hellmuth have also committed to participate.

Nevada Gaming laws prohibit money being given directly from the prize pool to the charity. In the previous events, many of those who cashed volunteered to donate half of their winnings to the Ante Up for Africa charity.
WSOP players ante up for charity is republished from