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The Second Annual ‘Ante Up for Africa’ poker tournament was held on July 2nd in Las Vegas, and drew an impressive field of poker pro’s, celebrities and athletes – all of who helped make the event a success by raising over $400,000 for charity.

The event, co-hosted by humanitarian/actor Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke, is already having a positive impact in Darfur – notably in reference to a UN Security Council vote authorizing a peacekeeping force in the area. “It wouldn’t have taken place [without us],” said Cheadle.

“It’s just great to see everybody,” Cheadle said as the event began.

The mood was comical at some tables,“All the tournaments I’ve ever won have been for charity,” said actor Jason Alexander. “When there’s no actual money for me, I’m very good.”

Adam Sandler cracked his first joke as the first hand was dealt, “I just want to hurry up and lose my money and go home to my wife.”

Matt Damon busted out of the tournament early, while seasoned poker pal Ben Affleck made it all the way to the final table before losing to John Hennigan.

Affleck said he remains optimistic about the situation in Darfur, “I do think that [Sudan’s leaders] are afraid of the next administration being tougher, and are probably a little bit more willing to be more cooperative. But I’m optimistic about what’s going to happen.”

Other celebrities who kicked in the $5k for a spot at the felt included Charles Barkley, Jennifer Tilly, Shannon Elizabeth, Ray Romano, Casey Affleck, and poker pro Phil Helmuth among others.

The tournament benefited two charities: ENOUGH, a project co-founded in 2007 by the International Crisis Group and the Center for American Progress; and Not On Our Watch (NOOW), a group co-founded by Cheadle, Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

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