The “Stars CALL for Action” charity event was held successfully over the weekend, with David Costabile emerging as the winner. The American actor, known for his roles in a number of hit TV series including Breaking Bad, Damages, Suits, and The Wire, won $100,000 in first-place prize which will be donated to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization serving meals to people worst-hit by disasters.
The fundraising event was put together by comedian and producer Hank Azaria, and film director and screenwriter Andy Bellin to help with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic relief efforts.
PokerStars played host to the tournament on May 9, and also donated $1 million to the prize pool. Half of that went to leading international humanitarian organization Care International. The remaining $500K will be shared by other charities which will receive donations via grants being coursed through the Entertainment Industry Federation (EIF), a not-for-profit organization that’s fully compliant with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) charity standards.
The charity event was held as a phased tournament, where the participants battled it out in multiple 6-max shootout tables, with the winners then advancing to a grand finale, composed of a total of 23 players, including six professional players who qualified via an invite-only “Players Tournament”. These players were: Felix “xflixx” Schneiders, Nick “OP-Poker Nick” Walsh, Jack “Supafuz” Stanton, Arlie “Prince Pablo” Shaban, and “pienososas”.
For qualifying in the finale, each player already won $10,000 for their respective charities. Those finishing second during the shootout competitions were also being given a “Second Chance” to boost their winnings.  The “Second Chance” tournament saw English footballer Wayne Bridge walking away with $50,000 for his selected charity.
Final Recap
Costabile’s Breaking Bad co-star Bryan Cranston became the official bubble player after his KsQs failed to hold against Douglas Costa’s pocket aces. Mike “TheLordLord” Tindall was then eliminated by Jennifer Shahade in sixth place. The former rugby union player won $15,000 for his charity of choice.
The next player to leave was PokerStars ambassador Chris Moneymaker, who busted in fifth place after losing a preflop all-in battle against Casey Affleck. Moneymaker won $20,000 for his efforts. Affleck fell next when his Ac9s shove was called by Costa’s QhQd. The award-winning actor found no further help from the board and he finished fourth for $30,000. Shahade would follow him in third place for $40,000 after losing a hand against Costa.
The tournament culminated in a thrilling heads-up match between Costabile and Costa. The Brazilian footballer held a massive chip lead – 990,375 against Costabile’s 159,625. But Costabile snatched the lead when he managed to win two doubles. The American actor made his victory official after winning a race with pocket fours against his opponent’s ace-king suited. Not a bad day for Costa though, as he also won $75,000 for his chosen charity.
Celebrities Do Their Part
The successful event was made possible through the support and participation of other famous poker-playing celebrities, including Edward Norton, Kevin Pollak, Amy Schumer, Macaulay Culkin, Liam Payne, Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Ricky Williams, Teri Hatcher, Lisa Kudrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Hamm, Michael Cera, Neymar Jr., Jeff Garlin, and Jack Black.
Lou Diamond Phillips, David Lee, David Schwimmer, Tracy Letts, Josh Charles, Justin Long, Bill Simmons, Brian Koppleman, Martha Plimpton, Adam McKay, Erik Siedel, Nate Silver, Brad Garrett, Mark Teixeira, and Aaron Paul also took part in the charity event.
Azaria and Bellin had always wanted to hold a charity tournament even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The original plan was to hold a live event in New York, but the duo thought it wouldn’t be possible given the current restrictions brought about by the global health crisis, so they decided to partner with PokerStars to hold an online tournament instead. During these difficult times, it’s heartwarming to see people from different walks of life coming together to help in whatever way they can.
The deadly virus continues to spread worldwide and has so far claimed more than 280,000 lives.

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