pokerstars donated $1 million
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PokerStars Donated $1 Million to Charities Via Celebrity-Filled Online Tournament

PokerStars donated $1 million to charities and truly lived up to their name last Saturday, when the online poker giant hosted a series of celebrity tournaments online to raise money for various charities.

Held on May 9, the Stars CALL for Action Online Celebrity Poker Tournament was organized by Hank Azaria of “The Simpsons” fame and screenwriter / author Andy Bellin.

PokerStars donated $1 million to the prize pool, half of which was donated to the global humanitarian organization CARE International, which works to provide emergency relief in more than 100 nations.

As for the other $500,000, that money was “paid” out to players who finished in the tournament’s top spot. Players then donated the funds to charities of their own choosing, with most focusing on assisting underprivileged people coping with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

PokerStars tournament, pokerstars donated $1 million

Celebrities during the online poker tournament.

Simpsons Alum and “Poker Nation” Author Collaborate on Charity Tourney

With much of the world’s economic activity hampered by coronavirus quarantines, charities that rely on regular donations have struggled to make ends meet over the last few months.

In an interview with the PokerStars Blog, Bellin explained why charities need a helping hand of their own during these trying times:

“We realized right now it doesn’t really make sense to do an event like that except for COVID relief.

We’ve both been working really hard to think of how we can lend our various skill sets to helping people.

Particularly right now in a time where charitable giving has to be way down.”

We realized right now it doesn’t really make sense to do an event like that except for COVID relief.

We’ve both been working really hard to think of how we can lend our various skill sets to helping people.

Particularly right now in a time where charitable giving has to be way down.

Azaria told the PokerStars Blog that the idea for a charity poker tournament originated before the coronavirus outbreak, but the crisis shifted its intent and format:

“Andy and I had been planning to hold a big charity poker event in New York, the old-fashioned kind where people actually sat around a table and touched cards.

PokerStars was generous enough to offer this tremendous deal of putting it up to a million dollars.

It’s made us have to scramble to find a lot of celebrities to fill it, but we’re getting a great response.”

Star-Studded Field Helps PokerStars Send $1 Million to Charities Struggling Due to COVID-19

The field was made up of a long list of celebrities, and each participant was awarded $10,000 for their chosen charities simply for entering the event.

According to the PokerStars Blog, the following celebrities were among those who took to the virtual felt in the name of philanthropy:

  • Casey Affleck (Ocean’s trilogy, The Assassination of Jesse James)
  • Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Brockmire)
  • Andy Bellin (author of Poker Nation)
  • Jack Black (Tenacious D, School of Rock)
  • Michael Ian Black (The State, Wet Hot American Summer)
  • Eric Bogosian (Talk Radio, subUrbia)
  • Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone)
  • Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Molly’s Game)
  • Don Cheadle (Traffic, Hotel Rwanda, Ocean’s trilogy)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle)
  • Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond)
  • Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Goldbergs)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Brian Koppelman (co-screenwriter of Rounders, co-creator Billions)
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
  • Gabriel Macht (The Spirit, Suits)
  • Neymar Jr. (Brazilian footballer)
  • Ed Norton (Rounders, American History X, Motherless Brooklyn)
  • Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
  • Liam Payne (One Direction)
  • Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects, Casino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
  • Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer, Trainwreck)
  • David Schwimmer (Friends)
  • Mike Tindall (English rugby player)
  • Tony Yazbeck (On the Town)

The event – which used PokerStars’ “play money” format to allow Americans entry – was divided up into a pair of concurrent tournaments.

On the celebrity side, stars took one another on in a series of six-handed “shootout” tables, and the winner of each advanced to the final tournament. PokerStars’ regular player base also took part in a traditional six-handed multi-table tournament, with the final six left standing advancing to play against the celebs.

To cap things off, the final tournament was played out in standard multi-table rules.

In the end, actor David Costabile – best known for portraying doomed chemist “Gale Boetticher” on the television drama “Breaking Bad” – emerged victorious to earn $100,000 for the World Central Kitchen global food bank.

To see how the final table stacked up, check the table below to see who finished where and what they earned for their charities of choice:

Stars CALL for Action Online Celebrity Poker Tournament Final Table Results

Place Player Prize
1st David Costabile $100,000
2nd Douglas Costa $75,000
3rd Jen Shahade $40,000
4th Casey Affleck $30,000
5th Chris Moneymaker $20,000
6th Mike Tindall $15,000

All in all, the online celebrity poker tournament was a success, and PokerStars donated $1 Million to various charities, with most of the winnings going to pandemic-related relief.