Poker Stars and Ocean's 13 combine on Dafur crisis

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POKER STARS TO SUPPORT DAFUR INITIATIVE BY HOLLYWOOD STARS

Online poker's biggest site puts up a million for charity...and powers towards its 10 billionth hand of poker.

The Internet's biggest and most active online poker site, Poker Stars.com has announced that it will make a $1 million donation to the Dafur humanitarian crisis in Africa in support of a major fundraising effort by the stars and cast of the upcoming gambling movie "Ocean's 13."

The donation will be presented in a blaze of publicity next week at the Cannes Film Festival and Poker Stars has created a series of special events to generate additional contributions for the fund in the coming weeks.

Stars and cast of the latest gambling film now in production "Ocean's 13" will received the million dollar boost to their Not On Our Watch [NOOR] initiative, a non-profit body established by several of the "Ocean's 13" principals. Organisers include actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle, together with producer Jerry Weintraub, who created NOOR to aid the victims of the Sudanese conflict.

"We're thankful for PokerStars' contribution and their desire to support the cause to help save Darfur," said Clooney, the Ocean's 13 headliner. "PokerStars has decided to 'go all in' for Sudan and we're grateful for their support, knowing the immense impact these funds will have to provide food, clothing and shelter to women, children and those most in need."

PokerStars' initial donation is scheduled to occur on May 22, in advance of Ocean's 13's May 24 Cannes premiere. This is not the first worthy cause the poker site has supported; previous Poker Stars assistance projects have included Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina relief, the Virginia Tech tragedy, and support of the 2007 Life Ball, a major European fundraiser in the battle against AIDS.

To give its players opportunities to augment the big donation, PokerStars has introduced two "Ocean's 13 Darfur Charity Tournaments." The first of these took place on May 13 and provided four winners with trips for two to the May 24 film premiere in Cannes.

The second event will start May 27 with similar prizes, but to the US premiere of the movie on June 5 in Los Angeles. A third Stars fundraiser is on the drawing board and as yet no date has been set. This will have a prize of note for poker fans - a poker table cover signed by the top "Ocean's 13" stars.

In each of these promotions, PokerStars is matching the donations generated by the entry fees to the NOOW fund, and the online poker giant has made arrangements for its players to make donations directly to the fund if that is their preferred route.

The major Dafur contribution overshadowed other Poker Stars news, this week. Notably, it edged out reports that the site is powering toward it's 10 billioth hand of poker....and has set aside a further $1 million to mark the occasion! It was only a year ago that the company celebrated its 5 billionth hand, an indication of how popular the site, and the online poker phenomenon has become.

The 10 billionth hand is likely to be dealt sometime within the next week, according to a Poker Stars spokesman, and that will bring with it some pretty special rewards for the lucky players in action when it happens.

The winner of the 10-billionth hand will receive $100 000....and every player at the table involved will receive $10 000.

There will be an announcement when the big hand is imminent, and business this week is expected to be brisk on the prospect of these unique bonanzas. Along with the big money on the lucky table, PokerStars will be handing out prizes for every millionth hand dealt from 9.9 billion onward. The prize level will be dependent on the players' bets - but winners must be playing in cash-ring games.

Poker Stars routinely hosts around 10 000 real money ring game players over peak times, so the action is likely to be frenetic on the site running up to the really Big Hand.
 

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