Hank Azaria Teams Up with PokerStars to Host Celebrity Poker Tournament

Stars are set to align on May 9 in an effort to help PokerStars raise $1 million for those affected by the coronavirus.

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria, has partnered with PokerStars to host an online coronavirus relief event. (Image: YouTube/GQ)

With the world slowly emerging from the wreckage caused by the pandemic, thoughts are turning toward the clean-up operation.

Online poker has been in a somewhat fortunate position during the lockdown period and now, PokerStars is giving something back. With the help of celebrity poker enthusiasts like Hank Azaria, the operator is hosting a special MTT on Saturday.

Stars Combine to Raise Money

Azaria and screenwriter Andy Belling came up with the idea for a charity poker event. They approached PokerStars for a donation, but it quickly turned into a collaborative effort. The poker site is now hosting the tournament and donating $1 million to the cause.

Celebrities already signed up to play include Michael Cera, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, and David Schwimmer. Fans will be able to watch via Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube as commentators James Hartigan and Lex Veldhuis bring some extra entertainment to the party.

Each streaming platform will carry its own “donate” button, and the money raised will be split among various good causes. 50% will go to Care International while the Entertainment Industry Fund (EIF) will distribute the remaining donations.

In addition to giving fans a chance to see their poker faces, the poker-playing celebs will also put their skills to the test. To help generate interest, PokerStars is inviting a select number of fans to take part.

PokerStars Ambassadors will be running community giveaways over the next few days and the winners will get to play. The MTT will start with two separate fields: the celebrities and the contest winners. Once each field reaches a final table, the two will combine for a stars vs. amateurs showdown.

PokerStars and Azaria to Create Spectacle

Every poker star will have their webcam turned on throughout the event, and Azaria hopes the tournament will be as much about entertainment as raising money.

“This event is a great way to combine genuine giving where it’s needed with a way to stay home and yet still connect with people from around the world,” the Simpsons star said in a Tuesday press release. “A friendly game of poker reminds us how life used to be, which hopefully we get back to soon.”

Stars CALL for Action – Powered by PokerStars is the latest in a series of poker-inspired relief efforts. In April, Grosvenor Casinos offered up its facilities to help those delivering aid to coronavirus victims.

In India, Adda52 was one of the first online poker operators to host a charity MTT. With activity booming, it ran a second fundraiser a week later to help India’s poorest families during the pandemic.

Phil Hellmuth has also flown the community’s flag of benevolence. The Poker Brat raised $17,500 for the All In Challenge by auctioning off a two-hour coaching session.

Acts of generosity from poker players are nothing new. Just as it’s done in the past, the industry has rallied and used the resources at its disposal to raise money for charity.

With online operators enjoying a spike in traffic over the last two months, PokerStars has become the latest site to step up in the fight against coronavirus.

Daniel Smyth
Written by
Daniel Smyth
The former Strategy Editor at WPT Magazine has bluffed his way through the poker community producing feature pieces, crafting strategy articles, and reporting on daily happenings from the gaming industry. As CardsChat's ROW correspondent, Smyth covers gaming and poker news outside the US.

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