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Author: Subject: Ante Up For Africa - Don Cheadle's poker playing has benefits
Careyn
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[*] posted on 10.28.2009 at 08:28 AM
Ante Up For Africa - Don Cheadle's poker playing has benefits


Don Cheadle's poker playing has benefits
By David Daniel, CNN – 10/27/09

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- "Hotel Rwanda" star Don Cheadle got a first-hand view of horror when he traveled to the devastated Darfur region of Sudan in 2005.

He saw what it's like in an area in which tens of thousands have died and many more have been rendered homeless.

He came back inspired to try to help. And this Thursday, he'll return to one of the efforts that has had the most impact.
Playing poker.

Cheadle, poker champ Annie Duke and their friend Norman Epstein founded Ante Up For Africa in 2006, hoping to raise money and awareness of issues in Sudan and help bring peace to the region. Initially, their goals were as modest as the problem is massive: They pictured a one-off celebrity poker tournament that might raise $20,000 or $30,000.

The first day's take for their new charity: $700,000. They were onto something. What do you think of Ante Up's efforts?

"Everybody wants to give, but they also want value in return for their time," says Duke, positing that trying to beat a movie star or a pro athlete at cards is a better tool than "boring speeches" at a rubber-chicken dinner. "I think there's a variety of ways to do that that are effective, but I'm not sure anything is more effective than a poker tournament, because people come and they can genuinely hang out with celebrities and some of the famous poker players, and just have a really fantastic time while they're giving."

As incongruous as those images may be -- well-fed celebs laughing around a poker table, versus millions of subsistence farmers and nomads being killed or driven from their villages -- there's no arguing with the group's success. Ante Up For Africa has raised about $2.5 million and has spread awareness of the disaster significantly. It's had events at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

On Thursday, the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in California is hosting its second annual event for the group and has anted up $500,000 of its own to the charity. More comes from the hundreds of participants, and not just those who lose their $150 buy-in.

"They give what they want to give," explains Cheadle, who says the big winners routinely kick in some or all of their purses. "We ask at least 10 percent, but some people, most people actually, every year have given back everything."

Naturally, the star power is a big attraction. Celebrities can be just as awed as "civilians" by stars in another field, whether it's Matt Damon and Ben Affleck itching to sit down with the best poker players in the world, or athletes like Herschel Walker who care far less about the game than about hanging out and having fun.

And then there are those "civilians" -- about 300 members of the general public who can go one-on-one with a star at the poker table. Casey Affleck (one of last year's big winners), George Lopez, Cheryl Hines, Marlon Wayans, Ron Livingston and Mekhi Phifer are among the celebs confirmed for this year's tourney.

"Everybody that's just a regular Joe wants to have a story to tell about how they took out Annie Duke, or they took down Howard Lederer, or they took down Don Cheadle or Matt Damon at the table," says Cheadle, whom Duke calls a talented and fiercely competitive player. "I think it's part of the fun in the tournament as well. ... But everybody still ultimately understands what they're there for."

Players also learn about and fund groups like Refugees International, the Enough Project and the Darfur Peace and Development Organization, which works to create an infrastructure in the devastated region. The latter is run by Darfuri people, who, as Duke notes, are less likely to be thrown out of the country than foreign aid groups.

"One of the things as an organization we are really focused on is long-term solutions to the problem," says Duke, "and one of the ways to do that is to look at the people from within the country being able to help themselves."

Yes, there's an apparent disconnect between celebs in the spotlight and those they're trying to aid. "Brad [Pitt] is fond of saying -- and he's right about this -- he can't get out of the light, you know. And these guys can't get in the light," says Cheadle. "Some people look at that and are cynical about it and think, that's just frivolous celebrities trying to give themselves some sort of gravitas.

"But I still say, even if it is that, there is still something going on over there, and we want you to look over there. So you try and take the opportunity whenever you can."
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[*] posted on 10.28.2009 at 10:23 AM


Now this is interesting. I was just reading an article by James McManus written in The Chronicle of Higher Learning about America's national pasttime. He contends that it isn't football or even baseball, but Poker.

Quote:


Poker has been integral to "our national experience for a couple of centuries now," influencing everything from politics to business and literature. How did an "ink-stained, poshly educated greenhorn" named Barack Obama ingratiate himself with the ward heelers of the Illinois legislature? "By playing poker with them, of course."



He goes on to talk about Bill Gates who said he learned more in all-night poker games at Harvard than he did in business classes. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon were all superb poker players, and historians agree that during the Cuban missile crisis in the early 1960s where the world hung on the precipice of nuclear annihilation, President Kennedy "played poker" with Nikita Krushchev of Russia and "bluffed" his way into winning when Krushchev "folded."

So as soon as I read that Cheadle was hosting (or facilitating) poker games through casinos, etc., I knew it would be a success. And to get world class poker players to participate as it says in the OP was a stroke of genius. I'll warrant they pull as many participants AND observers as the movie stars. Put the two groups of "stars" together - poker and movie - and you have a mega-event.

Hats off the Cheadle for his black consciousness AND his humanitarian consciousness, as well as his out of the box thinking in coming up with a fund-raiser that is surely a pasttime of his own - a bad azz poker game! :bd:




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[*] posted on 10.28.2009 at 02:32 PM


TH - I had no clue poker has played such a pivotal role in politics or such heavy decision making. Thanks for sharing.
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[*] posted on 10.28.2009 at 03:20 PM


This is such a great idea. Poker has become a fantastic event to watch every year. I love watching the World Series of Poker. On top of which, but let me find out Phil Ivey is in on this. I will steal the money to get in on this. (And by steal I mean, not pay my cable bill for a few months)
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[*] posted on 10.28.2009 at 05:46 PM


^^^Well you go right ahead and LOSE your money - I'll watch! :lol:

For those not in the know, Phil Ivey is one of those poker stars I was talking about. The brutha is in his twenties (maybe thirties) and he won $16 MILLION in 3 hours from the billionaire, Andy Beal. :okaaay:


(you can catch him sometimes on Poker After Dark - I believe ABC).


Quote:
Originally posted by Careyn
TH - I had no clue poker has played such a pivotal role in politics or such heavy decision making. Thanks for sharing.


:ummm: Just to make sure we're on the same page here.....

Kennedy and Krushchev didn't actually PLAY poker. When I talked about Kennedy bluffing and Krushchev folding, I was being allegorical. Kennedy simply used the principles of poker in his negotiations with Krushchev. He refused to back down from his threat of all-out nuclear war if Krushchev carried our HIS threat to put nuclear weapons in Cuba, 90 miles from U.S. soil. Both Kennedy and Krushchev were bluffing about firing missiles on each other's countries, but Kennedy put on a "poker face" and held out longer than Krushchev, who "folded" under the pressure and called the ships carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba, back home to Russia, thus averting a world holocaust. Up until that time, Kennedy was like Obama, new at the job of POTUS and Krushchev thought he could scare and bully him.




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Careyn
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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 12:28 PM


Yeah TH I was following you - I knew you were speaking of the strategies of the game, not playing per say.
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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 12:46 PM


Did I forget to tell y'all that Don Cheadle is my husband in another life?:headscratch: Yeah, it's true.:coffee:

I absolutely love him as an actor and activist. He's GREAT!:tu:




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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 01:10 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Careyn
Yeah TH I was following you - I knew you were speaking of the strategies of the game, not playing per say.


I kinda figured you did, but I've "figured" other people knew stuff and found out, no, they took what I wrote literally. So not to insult your intelligence, but to be on the safe side..... :nod:




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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 01:12 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Tea_Honey
^^^Well you go right ahead and LOSE your money - I'll watch! :lol:


:lol: I will GLADLY lose money to sit across from him for a few hours, staring into his adorableness. :cloud: The first time I saw him on TV I said to myself, yeah self you need to learn to play this game. :whistle:

He's not even gorgeous or nothing, I don't know what it is, maybe just the confidence or the ease by which he masters his opponents. Or maybe it was watching him collect big piles of chips. :yes: :lol:
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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 01:33 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by deep_thinker
Quote:
Originally posted by Tea_Honey
^^^Well you go right ahead and LOSE your money - I'll watch! :lol:


:lol: I will GLADLY lose money to sit across from him for a few hours, staring into his adorableness. :cloud: The first time I saw him on TV I said to myself, yeah self you need to learn to play this game. :whistle:

He's not even gorgeous or nothing, I don't know what it is, maybe just the confidence or the ease by which he masters his opponents. Or maybe it was watching him collect big piles of chips. :yes: :lol:



Well, he's a "little" too young for me - I really think he's in his mid-twenties. :dunno: But I understand where you're coming from and if I "were" in my mid-twenties, I'd prolly go for him too. I pretty agree with all you wrote about him - the adorable factor, the confidence (for me, it's remaining cool and unruffled, even when losing), not gorgeous, but presentable and kinda cute, and, oh yea, the big STACKS of chips. :eyebrow:




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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 02:38 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by tafui
Did I forget to tell y'all that Don Cheadle is my husband in another life?:headscratch: Yeah, it's true.:coffee:

I absolutely love him as an actor and activist. He's GREAT!:tu:


You better back off of my man. :topic:




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Careyn
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[*] posted on 10.29.2009 at 02:52 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by tafui
Did I forget to tell y'all that Don Cheadle is my husband in another life?:headscratch: Yeah, it's true.:coffee:

I absolutely love him as an actor and activist. He's GREAT!:tu:


Alright ladies - back off of My Don ;). The 'computer gremlin' wiped out my last comment - but I was trying to claim him before Soul Cry.

I love Don too!! He's one hellva man to give so much back. Makes me warm all over just thinking about such passion.
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