Phil Gordon wins “Ante Up For Africa”
Fourth Annual Charity Tournament Held at the World Series of Poker
For the tournament portal page for this event, click HERE.
To learn more about Ante Up For Africa, click HERE.
“Now, More than Ever.”
The world is a very troubled place. There is war, famine, and environmental catastrophe. While many of us live in relative peace and luxury, much of the rest of the world struggles. Things we take for granted – like clean drinking water, ample food, and personal safety – are very much part of the daily struggle for hundreds of millions of good and decent people who are far less fortunate.
Fact is, we all need to be reminded at times of what is truly important, and most meaningful. While there is intense competition to win gold bracelets and pocket astronomical sums of prize money at the World Series of Poker, there are millions more who are competing for their lives just to stay alive – each and every day.
Every year since 2007, the World Series of Poker has attempted to create greater awareness for the victims of the unspeakable tragedy which has been taking place in the Darfur region of western Sudan in Africa for the past five years, who are overwhelmed by an ongoing humanitarian crisis that seems to have no end.
Some people see bad things and do nothing. Other people see bad things and want it to end. Some exceptional people see bad things and are motivated to take action. "Ante Up for Africa" all started when Oscar nominated actor Don Cheadle joined forces with poker pro and former WSOP gold bracelet winner Annie Duke to launch an initiative with the goal to create awareness and raise contributions for the victims in Darfur. With the encouragement and blessing of the World Series of Poker, a charity poker tournament was added to the official 2007 schedule. Each year since, participants from many walks of life -- including famous celebrities, poker players, and some very fine people who just want to do what they can -- paid $5,000 each to play in the event. Although no money was held out of the official prize pool, organizers hoped to raise enough donations to make a difference in the lives of some who we may not know by name, but whom we can connect with as fellow citizens of a fragile planet.
To date, more than $4 million has been raised for "Ante Up for Africa" and its designated charities who do noble work to help the helpless victims of unspeakable tragedy.
Numerous celebrities and poker pros entered this year's Ante Up for Africa No-Limit Hold'em tournament, which was played in the afternoon and evening of July 3rd at the Rio in Las Vegas. Among those who participated this year were Matt Damon, Brad Garrett, Jerome Bettis, Don Cheadle, Montel Williams, Shannon Elizabeth, David Alan Grier and several others.
Prior to the start of the tournament, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel spoke to the huge crowd which assembled around the tournament and stated: "Given all that is going on in the world -- with terrible wars, terrorism, hurricanes, global warming, and the latest crisis that affects us all -- the gulf oil spill, it's a fair question to ask -- do we still need Ante Up for Africa? I have five words in response to that question: YES -- NOW MORE THAN EVER."
The 2010 Ante Up for Africa winner was none other than poker pro and ambassador, Phil Gordon – one of the game’s most dedicated players and most popular personalities. Gordon has been a poker pro for more than a decade. He has hosted network television shows, including Celebrity Poker. He's also won more than $650,000 at the WSOP alone. Oddly enough, the one thing Gordon has not won in his illustrious career is a WSOP gold bracelet. He took this win in stride and had some fun at his own expense.
"I always wanted to win an event at the World Series of Poker," Gordon said afterward. "Of course, it had to be a non-gold bracelet event. But, I am thrilled to win such an important honor and am pledging all of my winnings to the Ante Up for Africa cause."
Ironically, Gordon will be celebrating his 40th birthday in two days, on July 6th. But it is the benefactors of the Ante Up for Africa charity who will receive a most memorable birthday present – amounting to $129,086 -- which is the sum total of Gordon's pledge.
The runner up was actress and serious poker tournament aficionado Shannon Elizabeth, who also made a sizable donation to Ante Up for Africa out of her prize which amounted to $79,776. The other seven players to made it to the final table also donated sizable percentages of their winnings to the charity -- and in all an incredible $275,000 was raised today.
When this World Series of Poker finally ends, after all the poker chips have been cashed in, and all the cards have all been dealt out -- each one of us will ultimately be judged not by what we accomplish at the poker table, but rather what we do away from it.
Phil Gordon is to be commended for his exceptional overture, donating all of his prize money to the Ante-Up for Africa charity. Yet, each and every one of those who played and participated are donors to a cause that is both noble and good. So too, must we acknowledge all the in-the-money finishers in this event and those players who posted the $5,000 entry fee.
Finally, Don Cheadle and Annie Duke are to be commended for their inspirational efforts in organizing this unparalleled event on behalf of millions of people in Darfur who desperately need us to try and know them, to help them, and to never forget them.
Now, more than ever.