On Jan. 19, players in more than two dozen poker venues across North America and online came together to raise cash and food for their local communities. Restock the Shelves, a food bank initiative created by Ante Up Poker Media and Blue Shark Optics, helped give an estimated 43,660 people a meal on Jan. 20. Thanks to everyone who made this success and we’ll see you again Jan. 18, 2016.
Jackson Rancheria Casino
Players who donated a can of food to Interfaith Food Bank got an additional 500 units in the tournament. Lead poker supervisor Carl Jackson on the fly let players who donated up to three more cans 500 units for each of the additional cans, an offer so enticing that one player ran to the store to buy cans for five players.
Running Aces Card Club
The card club gave players the option of $5 add-on, with all proceeds going to Family Pathways. The cash raised was in addition to food players brought strictly from the goodness of their heart for the event. Tony Burgoyne, left, was the winner.
Ante Up fan Kathy Stahl showed her personality and sales skills by chatting up players and selling raffle tickets, which helped raise a ton of money for Tri-Valley Haven, and she and Team Blue Shark Optics Team Pro Greg White put bounties on their heads to be split between Tri-Valley and the player who knocked them out. Livermore sold $5 raffle tickets with the proceeds split between the charity and the winner, and gave out Livermore merchandise to players.
Hold’em Radio broadcasted live from the event, which collected donations for Redwood Empire Food Bank. Jon Ardell and Dwight Espensen chopped heads-up and Ante Up Ambassador Garrett Roth and Blue Shark Optics Team Pro Greg White played, too.
Lucky Chances donated $10 for every player who participated, on top of the cash and food donations from the players themselves, to benefit the North Peninsula Food Pantry and Dining Center of Daly City.
Foxwoods Resort Casino
The casino upped the ante, entering all players who made a cash donation into a drawing that awarded 10 $200 super-satellite seats to the poker room’s next major event. United Way of Southeastern Connecticut was able to use the donated cash and leverage its relationships with other food organizations to multiply the benefit by more than seven times.
Red Hawk Casino
The Twin Lakes Food Bank was the beneficiary of this event, which saw Mitch Crow (Team Ante Up) outlast Rick Weissman (Team Blue Shark Optics) in the last-longer challenge.
Shark Tank Poker Club
Sheldon White “really put his heart into this one,” said organizer Joe Abrams, and it showed with many boxes overflowing with food headed to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. Players got 1,000 units for each can they donated up to a maximum of 10, and Abrams, representing Team Blue Shark, lost the last-longer bet with Ante Up rep Nathan Bugard to donate 100 more cans. Chili Verde Cafe provided food for all players.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Bryan Oulton of PPC Aruba won the event, which raised heaping bins of food for Metropolitan Ministries thanks to additional chips being given to players who donated a can of food. He then drove to Tampa Bay Downs, where he was hosting a PPC event, and made a sizable food donation to that event’s beneficiary. Back at Derby, Ante Up Ambassador Andrew Malowitz and Blue Sharks Optics rep Sam Medina had bounties on their heads of custom Derby Lane hats and jackets from Poker Joker Gear. Oulton, pictured above, also won a spot on Derby Lane’s Gasparilla parade float and another lucky player got an Ante Up Poker Cruise package.
Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel and Casino
Bossier City, Louisiana
Every player who participated made a donation to the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, no doubt encouraged to do so by the fact that they got to double their starting stack and were entered into a drawing for a $120 tournament seat for doing so.
Daytona Beach Kennel Club
Daytona Beach, Florida
Jim White, left, was the winner of the event that benefited the Jerry Doliner Food Bank. Players donated cans of food and had the option to take a $5 add-on for more units and entry into a raffle for prizes.
Tampa Bay Downs
The seeds of the Restock the Shelves initiative were planted over a dinner one summer night with Ante Up’s Scott Long and Blue Shark Optics founder Kerry Karoutsos, who were on hand for Tampa Bay Downs event. The poker room gave extra chips to players who made donations to the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center in the 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. PPC Aruba events. Karoutsos made an additional donation of $100 for losing a last-longer bet with Long, who matched the $100 donation.
Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf
Freezing rain kept many players away, but River Bend Food Bank still received plenty of donated food to help Iowans in need.
The casino rewarded players by giving away merchandise to those who donated to benefit the Penndel Community Food Pantry. Moe Farah won the event and Ante Up Atlantic City-Philadelphia Ambassador Jo Kim, pictured at right, said players had a good time trying to get the bounty on her head. She was knocked out 22nd.
Cool Mule Poker
Blue Shark Optics Team Pro Steve Brydson hosted a series of events with the player who knocked him out in receiving a gift certificate from location host Last Shot Bar & Grill. Donations benefitted the Thornton Food Bank.
Generous players raised money for the Monterey County Food Bank.
Miami Poker Society
Miami Beach, Florida
Stacks of cans were collected for Curly’s House of Style at Haven Lounge, where Dave Reyment also won a seat in a World Series of Poker qualifier.
1 Move Poker
Indian Trail, North Carolina
Blue Shark Optics pros Erik Gorman, Evan Grizzard and Clinton Cartwright joined Team Ante Up volunteers Chris Shaw, Brian Zarroff and David Harper to help lead the event at Bonfire Bar & Grill to benefit Operation Reach Out, with Harper outlasting all of them.
Pearl River Resort and Casinos
The New Choctaw Baptist Association will be able to feed plenty of hungry people thanks to strong incentives for players to donate. Pearl River collected donations for 12 hours, giving players an additional 1,000 units for contributing, as well as a raffle ticket for each of up to five food items donated, with winners getting $100 in casino chips if playing in cash games afterward.
Little Creek Casino Resort
While Restock the Shelves takes place once a year, Little Creek collects donations of food for local food bank every Thursday night, giving players bonus chips for contributing. The haul usually generates 500 to 1,000 pounds of food a month. For this event, four players chopped the prize pool for $1K each.
Cherokee, North Carolina
Players supporting the Manna Food Bank received an additional 1,000 units and we’re eligible for a World Series of Poker Circuit qualifier entry donated by Chip Bully Poker.
Orangeville Poker Tour
Blue Shark Optics Team Pro Steven Kerr might be regretting recruiting World Series bracelet-winner Kirk “Pudge” Caldwell to play for Team Ante Up in the local “last longer” competition … if this wasn’t for a good cause. Caldwell lasted longer than Kerr, meaning Kerr had to donate an additional $100 to the Orangeville Food Bank, which received plenty of other cash and food donations from generous players.
Coushatta Casino Resort
A sizable donation was made to the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, thanks to the entire $20 buy-in going to charity, plus a dealer donating her tips and tournament director Danny Wade, above, donating his pay for the night. The final table chopped the prize pool, with Blue Shark Optics rep Greg Besse outchipping Coushatta’s Randall Litteral in their last-longer competition.
Thanks to PartyPoker, all participants received a prize in the event that benefited the Salvation Army Oakville. Tim Silman, representing Team Ante Up, won the event and a $1,100 seat in a World Poker Tour Fallsview event, and Buddy Villaluz, representing Blue Shark Optics, finished fourth.
Advanced Poker Training and HogWild Poker Leagues
Hundreds of players who couldn’t make it to a live Restock the Shelves event signed up to play in one of the two free online events hosted by Advanced Poker Training and HogWild Poker Leagues. Players in each were asked to make a donation on the honor system to Feeding America, which distributes donations to food banks near the donor’s home. They competed for a bevy of prizes provided by Advanced Poker Training, HogWild Poker Leagues and more than a dozen other sponsors. On Tilt Radio broadcast the HogWild Poker League event live.
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Carolyn Wayne, pictured above, an Ante Up Magazine fan who just wanted to help out Three Square, finished fifth in the poker tournament. Planet Hollywood had a donation drum available for several days before the event to collect as many donations as possible.
Sponsors: Benton Blount, Best Poker Stuff, Bustout Poker, Chip Bully Poker, Chris “Fox” Wallace, Council Oaks Steakhouse, Deeg Poker, Double Up Pokerwear, Fossilman Poker Training, Grinder Gear, Heads Up Poker Gear, High Roller Clothing, Hold’em Radio, Ken Lo, Off Tilt Custom Poker Tables, Poker Joker Gear, PokerRadius.Com.
Volunteers: Garrett Roth, Greg White, Kathy Stahl, Mitch Crowe, Kenny (Quoc) Nguyen, Steve Brydson, Tim Silman, Buddy Villaluz, Steven Kerr, Jason Richeda, Warren Schreiber, Scott Frank, Andrew Malowitz, Sam Medina, Randall Litteral, Gregory Besse, John Somsky, Chris “Fox” Wallace, Carolyn Wayne, Nathan Dowland, Clinton Cartwright, Joe Abrams, Jo Kim, Robert Kelly and Ted Leahy.