Last July, Annie Duke teamed up with Don Cheadle and created the ‘Ante up for Africa’ poker event, an effort that raised over $700,000 for humanitarian efforts in Darfur. With such positive results, it’s no surprise that Duke and Cheadle are raising money again this year, and this time it’s more than just one poker tournament.

The first event took place just this past week in Los Angeles, California at the San Manuel Casino. San Manuel was very generous, hosting the event and also donating to the cause themselves, bringing the total donations for the effort to $500,000. “When I heard about [their] decision to increase the donation to $500,000, I couldn’t believe it,” Cheadle said. “I am so very grateful to them for their generosity and for helping us continue to bring the plight of the refugees of Darfur into the light.” There was also a silent auction which raised over $4,000. Combine the money raised this year with last year’s total and it’s over $1 million raised for Darfur relief so far!

Duke brought the poker players and Cheadle (an Academy Award nominee) brought the celebrities. The poker pros included Howard Lederer (Duke’s brother), Chris Ferguson, Phil Laak, and Andy Bloch. Some of the celebrities included Willie Garson (“Sex in the City”), Josh Malina (“The West Wing”), Tia Mowry (“Sister Sister”), and Scott Ian (“Anthrax”).

The big charity poker event for Ante up for Africa is yet to come, scheduled for July 2nd during the World Series of Poker. Last year’s event hosted several big-name celebrities including Adam Sandler, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Ray Romano, and many others, so we should expect many famous faces at this year as well.

Duke must have decided that hosting a bunch of charity poker events wasn’t enough, however, because she was also planning on running in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and donating all proceeds to Ante up for Africa. Unfortunately she recently injured herself and will no longer be able to participate in the marathon, which takes place in a couple weeks on June 1st. She will still represent Ultimate Bet and come out for the race, however. If you register for the event and play at Ultimate Bet, you will have a chance to have dinner with Duke and other Ultimate Bet players the day before the marathon. You can also donate to the cause by donating your UltimatePoints to Ante up for Africa via the UltimatePoints Store online. Vist the Ultimate Bet website for full details.