Good Bets

Stars of screen and felt put their money where their mouths are July 3 at the fourth annual Ante Up for Africa poker tournament.

The event takes place at the Rio, two days before the World Series of Poker main events kick off July 5.

The buy-in for the accelerated, five-hour, no-limit hold’em tournament is $5,000. Last year, 138 players competed for $670,680, and Aleksandr Bolotin walked away with the $177,730 grand prize.

Gaming laws ban organizations from requiring that prize money go to charity, but money winners are strongly “encouraged” to voluntarily donate half their winnings. (Bolotin followed form, donating $88,865 last year.)

Returning to the tables this year are event co-founders actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke, as well as actors Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Ray Romano and Brad Garrett. Professional poker players are also expected, including Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson and Phil Hellmuth.

As a nonprofit foundation, Ante Up for Africa strives to “make a tangible impact on the ground in Africa, through humanitarian assistance and policy work toward lasting solutions to Africa’s worst conflicts,” and has raised nearly $3 million since its inception in 2007. Recent beneficiaries include Ben Affleck’s charity, the Eastern Congo Initiative, and Matt Damon’s cause,, both of which received grants for $50,000.



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