Vancouver-based poker pro Ebony Kenney outlasted a field of 65 celebrities and professionals to win the Americas Cardroom “All In For Feeding America” charity tournament on Sunday.
Kenney beat Kevin Pollak in heads-up play to win the $10,000 buy-in online event.
Kenney, Superstar Field Raise $2 Million for Feeding America
While the tournament would have generated a nice little prize pool for the players, neither Kenney nor anyone else in the field took home any money from the event. Instead, all of the money went to Feeding America, a hunger relief organization that helps support food banks across the United States.
Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy estimated that the final donation would be about $2 million in total, though he didn’t know the exact number.
So I physically collapsed and slept for about an hour after the event today. No, I don't have official # ’s. My guess is 2 M ish. Thank you to everyone that participated. With days what they are it was nice to make things a little better In The world. Back Monday need family time
— Phillip Nagy (@WPN_CEO) April 12, 2020
A number of prominent poker players made their way into the event, including Doyle Brunson and his son Todd, streamer Jamie Staples, Mike McDonald, and Jason Koon, among others. They were joined by a number of celebrities – some of whom are already known for their poker prowess – including Tom Brady, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Sarah Silverman, and Adam Sandler.
But the day belonged to Kenney. Not only did she walk away with the win, but she knocked out some of the biggest names in the field along the way. Her scalps included Phil Hellmuth, Damon, and director Kevin Smith. She also had no problem with calling out some of her famous opponents along the way, including firing a shot at Brady on Twitter before the tournament.
Cannot wait to take your chips. ??? https://t.co/pHAYkupFbP
— Ebony Kenney | Coach (@Ebony_Kenney) April 11, 2020
Others at the final table included actors Bryan Cranston and Tobey Maguire.
Tournament Shows Weakness of Fractured American Online Poker Scene
Because only a handful of states currently offer regulated online poker, it would have been impossible to coordinate a tournament with so many celebrities on any of the licensed sites in the United States. Realistically, only an unregulated, offshore site like Americas Cardroom could have hosted such an event, at least of this scope. Poker player and lawyer Mac VerStandig opined that holding the tournament might not be the smartest move.
FFS people, it’s a quarantine, not The Purge. ACR is still an illegal, unregulated, unlicensed, untaxed poker site. And even if you’re okay with that, drawing this much attention to it is like having Carole Baskin livestream her use of a meat grinder. https://t.co/ugsLsa8NPr
— Mac VerStandig (@mac_verstandig) April 11, 2020
Others found the tournament worthwhile, even if the situation was less than ideal.
“Not that I’m for what they are doing, but Bovada/Ignition has been doing the same for even longer,” Solve For Why Academy owner Matt Berkey told Deadspin. “Increased security measures would be needed for me to be a customer or ambassador, but that aside, they are filling a hole in the market and making a killing doing so.”
Online poker sites are flourishing during the worldwide coronavirus shutdowns as casinos and other live poker venues are virtually entirely closed. Organizers have yet to make a determination as to whether or not to cancel the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas later this year.