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WSOP 2009

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Third Annual Ante Up For Africa Event, Final Report

Official Report
Third Annual Ante Up For Africa
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $5,000
Number of Entries: 138
Total Net Prize Pool: $670,680
Number of Places Paid: 18
First Place Prize: $177,730
July 2, 2009

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):

1
PENSACOLA
FL
2
ROME
ITALY
3
SHERMAN OAKS
CA
4
BEVERLY HILLS
CA
5
LAS VEGAS
NV
6
ATHENS
GA
7
BARKLEY, CHARLES
SCOTTSDALE
AZ
8
LAS VEGAS
NV
9
BECKLER, PAUL
MARIETTA
GA
10
BENSON, DOUGLAS
LOS ANGELES
CA
11
BITAR, RAY
GELNDORA
CA
12
LAS VEGAS
NV
13
BLOWERS, JOHN
BALLSTON LAKE
NY
14
BOLOTIN, ALEKSANDR
BROOKLYN
NY
15
BONKOWSKI, TYLER
REGINA
SK, CANADA
16
SHERMAN OAKS
CA
17
COLUMBIA
MO
18
SAN JOSE
COSTA RICA
19
MARGATE
FL
20
MANASSAS
VA
21
PARIS
FRANCE
22
HOMESTEAD
FL
23
CAIN, DEAN
MALIBU
CA
24
CALHOUN, MATTHEW
SOMERSET
NJ
25
LAS VEGAS
NV
26
SHELL KNOB
MO
27
PASCO
WA
28
BATON ROUGE
LA
29
LAS VEGAS
NV
30
LOS ANGELES
CA
31
FORT WORTH
TX
32
ST JOSEPH DE BEAUCE
QC, CANADA
33
COULTER, BRIDGID
LOS ANGELES
CA
34
SCOTTSDALE
AZ
35
DAMON, MATT
SANTA MONICA
CA
36
SAN DIEGO
CA
37
LAS VEGAS
NV
38
SANTA BARBARA
CA
39
BUDUPEST
HUNGARY
40
DRUCKER, MAX
MONTECITO
CA
41
PORTLAND
OR
42
ODENSEC
DENMARK
43
NEW YORK
NY
44
LAS VEGAS
NV
45
MOSCOW
RUSSIA
46
FENECH, JEFFREY
SYDNEY
AUSTRALIA
47
PACIFIC PALISADES
CA
48
FINE, JONATHAN
HENDERSON
NV
49
LAS VEGAS
NV
50
FURST, RAFAEL
LAS VEGAS
NV
51
MARINA DEL REY
CA
52
GROSSE POINTE
MI
53
GROSSE POINTE WOODS
MI
54
GEORGE, SAMER
 
 
55
GORDON, PHILIP
HENDERSON
NV
56
PEARLAND
TX
57
GRAHAM, TIFFANY
NEWHALL
CA
58
GREENBERG, JEFFREY
BELTSVILLE
MD
59
GREENE, ALAN
DANVILLE
CA
60
SAN JOSE
CA
61
FULLERTON
CA
62
GUOGA, ANTANAS “TONY G”
 
LITHUANIA
63
PRESTON WEST
NV
64
HARMAN TRANIELLO, JENNIFER
LAS VEGAS
NV
65
LAS VEGAS
NV
66
HAYNES, CORNELL
SAINT LOUIS
MO
67
PALO ALTO
CA
68
LAS VEGAS
NV
69
SIERRA VISTA
AZ
70
HSIEH, ANTHONY
LAS VEGAS
NV
71
TULSA
OK
72
PONTE VEDRA
FL
73
LAS VEGAS
NV
74
KAHN, JOSEPH
LOS ANGELES
CA
75
MEMPHIS
TN
76
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS
TX
77
WATERLOO
ON, CANADA
78
KRAVCHENKO, ALEX
MOSCOW
RUSSIA
79
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER
LOS ANGELES
CA
80
PLANTATION
FL
81
LEBOUF, FRANK
LOS ANGELES
CA
82
LAS VEGAS
NV
83
LEDERER, SUSAN
LAS VEGAS
NV
84
ALAMEDA
CA
85
ORLANDO
FL
86
ABILENE
TX
87
GREENVILLE
NC
88
MAO, NICHOLAS
LONG BEACH
CA
89
HENDERSON
NV
90
MCGOWAN, JOSEPH
LAS VEGAS
NV
91
MECS, IMRE
 
 
92
NEW YORK
NY
93
DAVIE
FL
94
VICTORIAVILLE
QC, CANADA
95
MUASHER, SHAKER
AMMAN
JORDAN
96
VANCOUVER
BC, CANADA
97
BEAUMONT
TX
98
KNOKKE-HEIST
BELGIUM
99
VENICE
ITALY
100
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
WEST HOLLYWOOD
CA
106
RICH, RAYMOND
FORT WORTH
TX
107
POWAY
CA
108
GORSEINON
UNITED KINGDOM
109
SAN, JEZ
LONDON
UNITED KINGDOM
110
SANDEL, DAN
MALIBU
CA
111
LAVAL QUEBEC
QC, CANADA
112
LAS VEGAS
NV
113
SCHEINBERG, MARTIN
NEW YORK
NY
114
SCHEINBERG, KIM
NEW YORK
NY
115
BOULDER
CO
116
BROOKLYN
NY
117
HENDERSON
NV
118
VICTORIA
AUSTRALIA
119
SHIRLEY, MARLON
CHULA VISTA
CA
120
KATONAH
NY
121
SILVERMAN, SARAH
W HOLLYWOOD
CA
122
LAS VEGAS
NV
123
SIPPEL, BENJAMIN
DARMSTADT
GERMANY
124
STEVENSON RANCH
CA
125
CHARLOTTE
NC
126
VICTORIA
BC, CANADA
127
TOM, PHILIP
SEATTLE
WA
128
WALKER, HERSCHEL
DALLAS
TX
129
LAKEBAY
WA
130
PEARL RIVER
NY
131
DUNWOODY
GA
132
GREENWICH
CT
133
DALLAS
TX
134
T OR C
NM
135
VANCOUVER
BC, CANADA
136
WOODWARD, MATTHEW
WATERBORO
ME
137
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 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.”

Official Results

1
Bolotin, Aleksandr
$176,449
Brooklyn
NY
2
$109,194
Poway
CA
3
Furst, Rafael
$72,308
Henderson
NV
4
$51,601
Las Vegas
NV
5
$38,550
Las Vegas
NV
6
Gordon, Philip
$30,760
Las Vegas
NV
7
$25,900
Santa Monica
CA
8
$22,970
Waterloo
ON, Canada
9
Harmon Traniello, Jennifer
$21,439
Las Vegas
NV
10
Tom, Philip
$15,713
Las Vegas, NV
NV
11
$15,713
Manassas, VA
VA
12
Lessinger, Matthew
$15,713
Alameda, CA
CA
13
$12,517
Pointe Vedra Beach, FL
FL
14
$12,517
Las Vegas
NV
15
$12,517
Charlotte
NC
16
$10,653
Grosse Pointe Woods
MI
17
$10,653
Las Vegas
NV
18
$10,653
Katona
NY

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

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