Don Cheadle Signs with Full Tilt Poker

Ante Up for Africa co-founder Don Cheadle has signed on to be a Friend of Full Tilt Poker. Cheadle is one of the world’s leading actors and has appeared in the hit movie “Crash” as well as the “Oceans Eleven” trilogy.

Cheadle founded Ante Up for Africa along with Celebrity Apprentice candidate Annie Duke and Norman Epstein. The organization will be featured prominently during ESPN’s coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. The $5,000 buy-in Ante Up for Africa tournament starts on Thursday, July 2nd and is one of three events that compose the television network’s coverage. According to a press release distributed by Full Tilt Poker this week, participants are asked to donate 50% of their winnings to charity. In many cases, the tournament’s winners give their entire payday to the organization, which raises money and awareness for victims of the crisis in Darfur.

Cheadle is no stranger to the poker spotlight. Besides his work with Ante Up for Africa, he has also appeared on NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship, a tournament most recently won by Huck Seed, who boasts the best record in the series’ history. In 2007, Cheadle defeated Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey in the opening round of the National Heads-Up Championship before falling to Scott Fischman in the second round. Fischman, in turn, lost to poker pro Kristy Gazes in the round of 16. In 2008, Cheadle squared off against Gus Hansen in the first round, but was bested by the three-time World Poker Tour (WPT) champion.

In 2009, Cheadle defeated David “The Dragon” Pham in the first round at Caesars Palace, but fell to 2006 WSOP Main Event runner up Paul Wasicka when 32 players remained. The acclaimed actor has appeared on Poker After Dark, which also airs on NBC. He commented in a press release, “I’ve done alright in the televised tourneys I’ve participated in and I’ve won several tournaments around town. I have yet to play in the WSOP events, but I hope my schedule will permit me to do so in the future.” Other films that the newest Friend of Full Tilt has appeared in include “Hotel Rwanda,” “Traffic,” “Reign Over Me,” and “Traitor.” He will also appear in next year’s follow up to “Iron Man,” which stars Robert Downey, Jr.

Other Friends of Full Tilt include Bruce Buffer, who currently works with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Buffer appeared at the final table of the WPT Invitational during Season III, finishing sixth and earning $5,000. Poker author Michael Craig is a Friend of Full Tilt, as is All-In and Bluff Magazine columnist Jay Greenspan. Others include Niklas Heinecker, Gabriela Hill, Matt Hughes, Gary Jones, Stephan Kalhamer, Brian Koppelman, Maxi Muller, Ali Nejad, Jeremiah Smith, Mike Swick, Johnathan Wendel, and Yueqi Zhu.

Full Tilt Poker is kicking off its relationship with Cheadle by hosting a $5 + $5 private charity tournament online to benefit Ante Up for Africa. The date for the event has not yet been announced, but is expected to take place prior to the $5,000 buy-in contest in Las Vegas at the Rio. A bevy of Team Full Tilt pros will also be in attendance during the 10 week-long WSOP festivities, including Chris Ferguson, reigning WSOP Europe Main Event Champion John Juanda, Jennifer Harman, Phil Gordon, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, and Durrrr Challenge participant Patrik Antonius.

Full Tilt Poker is the second largest site worldwide with a seven day running average of 11,400 real money ring game players. Its 24 hour peak is over 16,000 and the site happily accepts customers from the United States. It is one of only a handful of online poker rooms that appears on the list of 200 sites distributed for censorship by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to 11 of the world’s largest internet service providers (ISPs). Other USA-friendly sites on the list, which was generated randomly and made public last week, include Bodog and Players Only.

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