PokerStars brings Ante Up For Africa to Europe

anteupthumb.JPGPokerStars has revealed a star-studded addition to its EPT Grand Final festival in Monte Carlo - the Ante Up For Africa charity tournament. The special event will raise money and awareness for the current humanitarian relief efforts in crisis-torn Darfur.

As the best poker players from around the world converge on Monaco for the EPT Grand Final, Europe's richest poker tournament, a host of A-list celebrities and players will take their seats at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel on April 27 and play for entirely different stakes - a €4,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em charity event with all the money raised destined for those at the sharp end of the relief effort in Darfur.

It's not the first time Ante Up For Africa has successfully highlighted the current situation in the region. PokerStars was instrumental in organizing the event's latest incarnation last summer in Las Vegas, where a who's who of Hollywood and poker helped raise vital money for the cause.

hachdam.jpg

Joe Hachem and Matt Damon

Familiar faces from the big screen, such as Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth and Adam Sandler sat alongside poker greats such as Team PokerStars Pros Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein, as well as former world champions and legends of the game like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson and Annie Duke.

It's hoped that the worthwhile cause, coupled with the glittering backdrop of the stunning Monte Carlo skyline, will lure another cast of dignitaries to the tables for one of the world's most pressing causes. PokerStars will be awarding a special prize package to their flagship EPT event in the Bahamas' in January 2010.

gregalex.jpg

Greg Raymer and Jason Alexander

The plight of the people of Darfur has grown in relevance over a number of years. While the situation has improved in some ways conditions remain perilous on the ground. A relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing has left 400,000 dead and almost four million people displaced and living in squalid conditions in refugee camps along the Chad/Sudan border.

Essential aid has never been more vital. Help is needed to support those doing vital humanitarian work on the ground. This is where organizations like Not In Our Name and Enough, alongside events like the Ante Up For Africa, come in with vital fundraising, not only supporting the humanitarian efforts but campaigning for change in the region.

Already those changes are being seen.

A new US envoy has begun high level talks with the Sudanese government and two top Sudanese officials have been indicted by the International Criminal Court with more expected to follow.

Further pressure has led to companies pulling out of Sudan amounting to divestiture of tens of millions of dollars, while 22 US states now have laws in place forbidding pension funds from investing in companies that do business in Sudan. More states, including Nevada, are in the process of doing the same.

In light of this momentum the aim of PokerStars and Ante Up For Africa is to tap into the generosity of the poker playing community and raise vital funds for those making a difference in the region. With a poker tournament and a few Hollywood stars and poker world champions thrown in, they can make sure Darfur is something no one can ever ignore.

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in PokerStars news