amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Raising the Stakes for AIDS Research

PokerStars Charity Tournament Raises $300,000 for amfAR


January 25, 2010—Celebrities and poker stars duked it out at the amfAR and Charity Tournament in The Bahamas on Jan. 8, helping to raise more than $300,000 for amfAR.

The tournament, part of the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, was held at the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island and featured celebrity players including Carlos Bernard, star of the FOX hit series 24; musicians Kelly Rowland, Nelly, and Slash; talk show host Montel Williams; and tennis legend Boris Becker, among many others.

Photo courtesy: PokerStars

In all, 40 players each spent $5,250 to enter the charity tournament, with half of the total buy-in going directly to amfAR. In addition to the money donated to amfAR through the charity match, players in the overall tournament also were able to donate a portion of their earnings to amfAR.

In his remarks before he sat down to play an impromptu game at one of the four tournament poker tables, amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole drew parallels between amfAR’s mission of investing in breakthrough AIDS research and the risk taking involved in poker.

“Playing poker is about taking calculated risks,” Cole said. “And at amfAR, we believe it’s important and necessary to do the same. We invest in high-risk and innovative AIDS research. But the stakes in our line of work are measured not in dollars and cents, but in lives extended and lives saved.”

Participating celebrities praised amfAR and PokerStars for bringing AIDS awareness to the full 10-day event, and for highlighting how poker players could help contribute to a worthwhile cause.

Watch PCA 2010: Celebrities of the amfAR & Charity Tournament on

“I think one of the misconceptions is that AIDS is somehow under control, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” said 24’s Bernard. “So it’s really important that we support the organization and they keep doing the work they’ve been doing for years to come.”

R&B star Kelly Rowland, who later performed at a party for all 1,500 PokerStars players, thanked amfAR for getting involved in the tournament.

“When you think about all the work that amfAR does, how dedicated, how respected they are—one of the most well-respected charities out there—and the fact that they’ve invited me to be here, I’m just more than honored,” Rowland said.


amfAR and PokerStars Charity Tournament on