SEATTLE, Washington — Sarah Silverman is a fairly well-known comedian and actress on both the big and small screens. She is renowned for her vulgar sense of humor, which she applies in such diverse roles as Gladys Heldman in Battle of the Sexes, Sheila in The Book of Henry and Vanellope von Schweetz in Wreck-It Ralph and Ralph Breaks the Internet. However, she also has a soft spot for the world’s poor. Her fans found this out when they discovered that Sarah Silverman played in Ante Up For Africa in 2009.
Ante Up For Africa
Ante Up For Africa was a special poker tournament that raised money to help surviving victims of genocide in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. This genocide began in 2003 and resulted in 480,00 deaths and 2.8 million displaced people at the hands of Arab soldiers called Janjaweed. In 2009, 138 players paid $5,000 to participate in Ante Up For Africa. The players all promised that, if they won or cashed in in the event, they would donate half of their winnings to the charities ENOUGH and the International Rescue Committee to help refugees get back on their feet.
Many celebrities participated in Ante Up For Africa. There were professional poker players, including Chris Ferguson, Ylon Schwartz and Matt Graham to name a few. A large number of athletes also participated, including the likes of Herschel Walker and Charles Barkley. Among the actors and actresses who took part were Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander and Dean Cain. And, of course, Sarah Silverman played in Ante Up For Africa.
The event was filmed by ESPN as part of their 2009 WSOP poker package. Alumni poker hosts Don Cheadle and Annie Duke co-hosted the event. In the end, Alex Bolotin won the tournament and the $177,730 prize, half of which was donated to charity. Others who cashed in included Adam Richardson, Rafe Furst, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, John Hennigan, Matthew Kay, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Phillip Tom, Clay Brown, Matt Lessinger, James Joyner, Steve Zolotow, James Sowers, John George, Matt Graham and Richard Seigel. They, too, donated half of their winnings to charity.
Sarah Silverman’s Participation
When asked why she participated in Ante Up For Africa, Sarah Silverman answered that she really wanted to raise money and awareness for the genocide in Darfur. She even went so far as to refer to the genocide as a modern-day Holocaust and stated that humanitarian efforts would have already ended it if it was happening in Europe. She feels that America is in the perfect position to help, as it is the most powerful country in the modern world.
In the end, Sarah Silverman did not win the tournament. She did not even cash in. But her reason for participating was validated by many of her competitors, including Dean Cain, Montel Williams and Greg Raymer. Furthermore, she brought a great deal of publicity to the event.
More Than Meets the Eye
Sarah Silverman may be known for her crude jokes on the small and silver screens, but she has a heart of gold when it comes to helping the less fortunate. When she paid $5,000 to enter Ante Up For Africa, she was making a difference in the lives of survivors of the Darfur genocide. Even though she didn’t win, around half of the pot, a pot to which she contributed, was donated to helping those in dire need. When Sarah Silverman played in Ante Up For Africa, she assisted the persecuted people of Darfur.