Monday, July 13, 2009

"Ante Up for Africa" - playing poker for the poor people of Darfur

Rob Crilly says celebrity poker players turned out in full force yesterday for the 3rd annual Ante Up for Africa, a charity tournament co-hosted by world poker champ Annie Duke and actor Don Cheadle. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Charles Barkley, Sarah Silverman, Jason Alexander, and Mike Tyson were just a few of the poker aficionados who took to the red carpet to talk about the importance of supporting humanitarian relief efforts in Sudan.   

Read more in Rob Crilly's blog post Gambling for Sudan [Frontline Club blogs, July 11, 2009]. Rob wonders if gambling really is the best way to raise cash for Sudan and says:
I was a little nonplussed by "Ante Up for Africa", ... essentially playing poker for the poor people of Darfur.

Now I'm not a leading authority on Islam, but I think after travelling through Sudan and Somalia I know a thing or two about the central tenets of the religion. Is gambling really the best way to raise cash for Sudan? What next, a sponsored hot dog eating competition? A drinkathon? There are plenty of celebrities who have spent time there or in Chad and really get the place (I'm thinking of Mia Farrow). But this just makes people like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck look a little silly.
Sorry to disagree, I think gambling is a good way to raise cash for Sudan.  Poker is popular, especially online.  It is played by some great personalities and warm hearted people and, like most sports, poker is fun.  I reckon poker is a mental agility sport, like chess.  So yes, why not 'Ante Up for Africa'?  Good luck to all those involved.

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