A bunch of A-list celebs signed up to battle it out in an online poker tournament, but in the end they were just a bunch of fish swallowed up by a full-time shark who trash-talked Tom Brady.
Ebony Kenney, a poker pro from Miami, who lives in Vancouver, won a $10,000 buy-in charity tournament on Americas Cardroom, beating “Casino” actor Kevin Pollak heads up. The event featured Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Bryan Cranston, Tobey Maguire and many other celebrities. Poker pros like Jaime Staples, Tim Reilly and the legendary Doyle Brunson also played.
Kenney, who has won $298,000 in live tournament cashes, tweeted to Brady, saying she would take all his chips.
Kenney won’t be cashing in any dough as the entire prize pool will go to FeedingAmerica.org, but she was super stoked about the win on her Twitch stream:
“OH MY FUCKING GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!”
The win was made sweeter by the fact that Kenney came back from 1 BB, quadrupling up with pocket 5s. Kenney also knocked out director Kevin Smith, poker pro Phil Hellmuth and Damon along the way.
Besides Kenney, only three other women entered: comedian Sarah Silverman, movie producer Suzanne Todd and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actress Cheryl Hines. (Sarah, don’t open limp UTG on 15 bbs!)
The event, which was streamed on Twitch, raised $1.2M for charity and undoubtedly cast poker in a positive light. But some in the poker world believed it could be bad for the game to encourage Americans to play on ACR, an unregulated site when online poker is only legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada.
Others, like high-stakes Las Vegas pro Matt Berkey, think the risk is minimal.
“My understanding of the gray markets is that the government policed the payment processing,” said Berkey, “Seems as though (ACR) has circumvented that. Not that I’m for what they are doing, but Bovada/Ignition has been doing the same for even longer.
“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.”
Berkey, owner of poker training site Solve For Why Academy, doesn’t think the charity tournament, or the fact that ACR is an unregulated, offshore site, will factor in the uphill battle for online poker legalization.
“I’m pretty sold that legislation is strictly built upon the pockets of the lobbyists,” said Berkey. “It’s crony capitalism at its finest and I doubt it matters if the industry is perceived as above board or not.”