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Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament In Atlantic City: How It Was

The Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament was not just about the cards!

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Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament In Atlantic City: How It Was

Excitement filled the air in Atlantic City as the spotlight shone on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The occasion was none other than the exclusive Celebrity Charity Blackjack. 

Attendees included models gracing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue pages, adding an extra touch of allure to the event. Accompanying them were celebrated sports icons united in their engagement with the blackjack tables.

Beyond the thrill of the game, their collective intent was to generate substantial funds for charitable initiatives.

Tournament Format

The tournament, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, was not just any other event. It featured a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models lineup, who had spent their week shooting for the July issue at the same venue.

The shoot was conducted stateside due to the ongoing global pandemic. Despite the chilly weather, with temperatures ranging in the 50s and 60s, the models showcased their professionalism by posing on the beach in front of the hotel.

The blackjack table saw fierce but friendly competition, with celebrities trying to outplay each other. Camille Kostek, who graced the cover of the previous year’s SI Swimsuit issue, emerged as the night’s shining star.

Celebrities on the Event

The Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament was not just about the cards; it was also a star-studded affair that added a glint of glamour to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. A unique blend of the modeling world and the sports universe converged at the blackjack tables, all in the spirit of charity and good fun.

From the world of sports, renowned personalities graced the event:

  • Andre Dawson: Once a celebrated MLB player, especially known for his time with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Wayne Chrebet: The former wide receiver for the NY Jets. Besides trying his hand at blackjack, Chrebet also made a memorable moment by signing a guitar during the event.
  • Keith Byars: Former Philadelphia Eagles player. He and Margaret Byars were spotted admiring a themed cake crafted by Thaddeus DuBois, the Executive Pastry Chef of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The world of modeling was represented by the dazzling faces from the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue:

  • Camille Kostek: Not only did she shine as the night’s winner by clinching the $10,000 prize, but she was also recognized for her appearance on the cover of the previous year’s SI Swimsuit issue.
  • Josephine Skriver, Haley Kalil, and Brooks Nader: These models added to the event’s allure with their presence on the blackjack table and during the various activities throughout the week at Hard Rock.

Joe Lupo, the President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, also played a pivotal role by presenting Camille Kostek with the $10,000 donation for The Gronk Nation Youth Foundation.

Celebrities Who Did not Come

While the Celebrity Charity Tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was a starry affair, there were some notable absences. Unfortunately, several celebrities, known for their love of blackjack, couldn’t attend the event. Let’s shed some light on them:

  • Ben Affleck: The Hollywood actor and director is known for his skills. Rumor has it he was tied up with post-production work for his latest movie, which kept him from attending.
  • Matt Damon: Often seen alongside his buddy Ben Affleck at blackjack tables, Matt was reportedly out of the country for a film shoot, preventing him from joining the tournament.
  • Paris Hilton: The socialite, businesswoman, and DJ, known for her love for casino games, was said to be hosting an event in Europe during the same time.
  • Sean “Diddy” Combs: The music mogul, often spotted at VIP blackjack tables, was reportedly in the studio working on a new album, making it impossible for him to grace the event.

While these celebrities missed the live action, it’s well known that they often indulge in online blackjack tournaments. For those looking to get a taste of these tournaments, check out this list of the best online blackjack sites in NJ: it offers a comprehensive guide to top-tier virtual experiences, ensuring you’re always in the game, even from the comfort of your home.

Key Moments & Highlights

The Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament was not just about the celebrities but also about the thrilling moments and strategies that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Here’s a breakdown of some key moments and highlights that made the night unforgettable:

  • The Unexpected Turn: While many assumed that former athletes like Andre Dawson or Keith Byars would leverage their competitive spirits to lead the game, Camille Kostek emerged as the tournament winner. Her keen observation and swift decision-making set her apart.
  • Celebrity Strategies: Observing celebrities play blackjack is a treat in itself. While some relied on intuition, others employed tried and tested strategies. Wayne Chrebet, for instance, was seen using a conservative approach initially, only to switch gears and become more aggressive as the game progressed.
  • The Double Down Drama: One of the most nail-biting moments of the evening was when Josephine Skriver decided to “Double Down” on a hand where she was dealt an 11 while the dealer showed a 6. The tension in the room was palpable, as doubling down can be a risky move. But it paid off when she drew a 10, making her hand a perfect 21.
  • Battling the House Edge: Every player at the table was playing against each other and trying to beat the house. While the house edge in blackjack is generally low compared to other casino games, it still presents a challenge. Keith Byars showed an acute understanding of this, often adjusting his bets and strategy based on the cards on the table and the ones that had been played.

The Beneficiaries: Where the Funds Went

The Celebrity Charity Tournament had two goals. One was to entertain. The other was to help a good cause. The money from the event went to the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. Camille Kostek won the tournament. She gave her $10,000 prize to this foundation. Superbowl champ Ron Gronkowski leads it.

The foundation promotes youth sports in New Jersey and beyond. Every celebrity, person who attended, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino helped. They all supported a better future for young people.

FAQs about Celebrity Charity Blackjack Tournament

How often do you hold charity blackjack tournaments?

While the frequency can vary, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City has shown a keen interest in hosting charitable events. Patrons and fans are always encouraged to watch the casino event calendar for announcements.

Can an ordinary casino visitor take part in the tournament?

While the Celebrity Charity Tournament primarily features celebrities, there are often other events where ordinary casino visitors can try their hand at blackjack. Brushing up on your strategy to increase your player advantage before participating is always a good idea.

Does the tournament have any prize pool?

Yes, the tournament had a prize pool, with the highlight being the grand prize of $10,000, which Camille Kostek won. However, the primary focus of such events is charity, ensuring that the funds are directed toward meaningful causes.

The GlamourBuff Team is a set of experienced writers associated with the Glamour Buff magazine, reporting world news, celebrity lifestyle, and exclusive Hollywood details.

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Havana Rose Liu’s Family — Parents, Siblings, and Ethnicity

All about Havana Rose Lui’s family.

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Havana Rose Liu’s Family — Parents, Siblings, and Ethnicity

Havana Rose Liu is an American actress, model, dancer, activist, and designer. She is well recognized for her modeling work and her major part in the comedy flick Bottoms.

Moreover, she is an up-and-coming actress, and not a lot of people know about her. This includes her personal life with her family, including her parents, siblings, and their ethnicity.

Havana Rose Liu’s family — parents and siblings

Havana’s parents’ names are David Liu and Carley Roney. They met as undergraduate students at New York University.

David is Boxed’s entrepreneur and advisor. He is a chairman, CEO, and entrepreneur with extensive experience in the digital media sector. 

He has gained a wealth of knowledge during his career, having served as co-founder of Run Time Incorporation from 1994 to 1996. He was on the board of directors of MPA- The Association of Magazine Media.

He has dedicated 22 years of his life to the XO Group Incorporation as CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder. He also served as co-chair and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Chinese in America.

From December 2016 until September 2019, he served on the Member Board of Directors of Venture for America. Likewise, he served on Wine Enthusiast’s Advisory Board. 

In addition, he served on the board of Humanity Forward. He has been on Constellation Agency’s board of advisors for more than three years. 

In addition, he serves on the boards of Willapa Wild LLC and Rebelle Media. He earned his BFA in Film and Television studies at New York University. 

He is an experienced entrepreneur with expertise in management, digital innovation, publishing, media creation, E-commerce, and digital marketing, among other things.

Havana’s mother, she is an entrepreneur who co-founded The Knot, a successful Internet company. From September 2015 to November 2016, she served on Hillary for America’s Member National Finance Committee. 

She has been a Rent The Runway board member for almost 13 years. She has been a member of the advisory team since its inception. 

Similarly, she served on the boards of both The WIE Suite and Courier Newsroom. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Film, and Television and a Master’s degree in Arts, Cultural Studies/Critical Theory, and Analysis from New York University.

Havana Rose Lui with her siblings, brother Cairo and brother Dublin.

Havana Rose Lui with her siblings, brother Cairo and brother Dublin. (Source: Instagram)

Throughout her career, she has served in a variety of capacities, including serving on the board of WIE Network and as a board member, speaker, and mentor at Project Entrepreneur. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Power of Two and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Havana’s siblings include two younger brothers, Cairo Liu and Dublin Liu. Havana was raised with them in Brooklyn, New York.

Havana’s first brother Cairo was born in 2004. On the other hand, Dublin was born in 2010.

Havana Rose Liu’s ethnicity

Havana and her siblings are of mixed ethnicity. This is because of their parents. 

Her father is of Chinese ethnicity and emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, while her mother is an American citizen and Caucasian. As a result, Havana and her siblings’ ethnicity is Chinese American.

The actress talked about her ethnicity with Elle and said, “I don’t know anything different than being mixed.”

She said that she was a mix of contrasting elements that came together to make her a whole. “I just feel like that sort of relationship to identity and that relationship to understanding people’s differences and different cultures and how they can interact… I have never been able to see it another way, because that’s who I am.”

Havana Rose Liu’s parents company —  The Knot

As said before, Havana’s parents are entrepreneurs best known for The Knot Worldwide, formerly XO Group, The Knot Inc., and WeddingWire, Inc. It is a worldwide digital firm that offers information, tools, goods, and services to couples planning weddings, arranging parties, and managing pregnancy and parenthood. 

The firm works in 16 countries and has the following brands — The Knot, WeddingWire, Bodas.net, Hitched, The Bump, The Bash, WeddingPro, Matrimonio.com, and others. As of August 2023, The Knot Worldwide has 35 million monthly visitors and a worldwide wedding vendor marketplace that connects roughly 4 million engaged couples with 850,000 suppliers.

Three years after their marriage, Havana’s parents, along with their business partners, Rob Fassino and Michael Wolfson, established The Knot Inc. in 1996. They discovered that the internet might facilitate and minimize anxiety in the wedding planning process for couples.

After receiving seed funding from AOL, the partners created The Knot brand as a gateway to AOL. TheKnot.com had its online debut in 1997 and aimed to provide online services and assistance to couples in their wedding planning services.

The firm eventually grew into the well-known lifestyle brand XO Group, with a current worth of more than $500 million. David and Roney have a strong relationship, and David talked several times about their collaborative efforts to establish the lifestyle empire, which had its ups and downs.

“As a married couple in business together you will experience highs that most couples will never experience. When you close a big deal or IPO with your spouse it’s extraordinary. But some of the lows can be unbelievably dark. Deeper and darker than other couples will likely experience,” he told Business Insider India.

All in all, Havana’s parents are very successful with their brand and are working on growing it.

Havana Rose Liu’s career

According to IMDb, Havana has eight acting credits. 

She never saw herself as an actress until her street casting. She told Elle about how her parents dissuaded her from being in the limelight because of their job.

So, she never imagined herself in this kind of career. “And then I was feeling extra brave one day and the same casting director came up to me a couple of times, and I felt comfortable enough with her at that point to follow her into the Williamsburg basement,” she said.

Havana’s first acting gig was a 2018 short, Girls Will Be, where she portrayed Rome. She was initially cast in a feature-length film in 2019 and made her acting debut in 2021 as a supporting character in the action drama film Mayday

The same year, she made her television debut in the Netflix comedic drama series The Chair, playing the small role of Sarah. In 2022, she played the role of Sarah in Wake, a short.

The same year, Havana appeared in two films — first, as a supporting character Bailey in Josephine Decker’s romantic drama The Sky Is Everywhere, and then as the protagonist Darby in the thriller No Exit

She then acted in Emma Seligman’s comedy film Bottoms, about two lesbian high school girls who form a fight club to hook up with other females at school, starring Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, and Kaia Gerber. Her most recent project is Season 3 of American Horror Stories’s episode titled, ‘Organs’ where she played the role of Sasha.

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Fola Evans-Akingbola’s Bio: Age, Parents, Ethnicity, and Career

All about Fola Evans-Akingbola’s family and career.

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Fola Evans-Akingbola's Bio: Age, Parents, Ethnicity, and Career

Fola Evans-Akingbola is an actress best known as Maddie Bishop in the Freeform series Siren and Chelsea Arrington, an American Secret Service agent, in the 2023 Netflix series The Night Agent

Evans-Akingbola is very private about her personal life, so not much is known about her. However, for curious fans and followers of the actress, here is all we could find out about her, including information about her age, parents, and ethnicity.

Fola Evans-Akingbola’s parents and ethnicity

Evans-Akingbola was born on September 26, 1994, making her age 29 at the time of writing. However, after she celebrates her birthday on September 26, 2024, her age will be 30.

She was born and raised in London, UK, making her nationality British. Not much is known about her family.

However, it looks like her family comprises of herself and her parents only. The actress took the last names of both of her parents — Dr. Gillian Evans and Sola Akingbola.

Her mother is an English anthropologist who also helps her daughter do charity work. For instance, in 2018, the mother-daughter duo started the WeAreAllWindrush campaign to “raise awareness and funds for the people of the Windrush Generation in the UK whose lives have been turned upside down by the recent immigration scandal.”

Fola Evans-Akingbola with her mother, Dr. Gillian Evans.

Fola Evans-Akingbola with her mother, Dr. Gillian Evans. (Source: Instagram)

They sold teeshirts and gave the profits to the Windrush Justice Fund. Her father, Akingbola, is a musician who currently plays percussion for the band, Jamiroquai.

Jamiroquai is an English funk and acid jazz band based in London. They were formed in 1992, led by vocalist Jay Kay, and were notable in the 1990s London funk and acid jazz trend. 

They developed their acid jazz sound in their early recordings before branching out into rock, disco, techno, and Latin music. The group’s lyrics have focused on social and environmental justice.

As of 2017, Jamiroquai has sold over 26 million records globally. Their third album, Travelling Without Moving (1996), received a Guinness World Record for the highest-selling funk album in history.

Because of her parents, Evans-Akingbola’s ethnicity is mixed. Her mother is English, whereas her father is Nigerian, making her ethnicity British Nigerian.

Fola Evans-Akingbola’s career

Talking about Evans-Akingbola’s career, she studied acting from a young age. She began performing instruction at the National Youth Theatre but quit at the age of 12 to focus on her studies.

She then began acting classes at the Identity School of Acting. Evans-Akingbola was a model prior to her professional acting career.

Her first acting credits were from the BBC programs Youngers and Holby City in 2014. While performing on a third BBC series, Death in Paradise, Evans-Akingbola was cast in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, as Khal Moro’s second wife, whose name was not revealed, during season 6 in 2016.

In 2017, Evans-Akingbola provided voiceovers for Assassin’s Creed video games and played the role of Angelica in An American Exorcism. She has been a key character on Siren from 2018 to 2020, playing marine biologist Madelyn Bishop.

In 2018, she portrayed Makayla in the movie VS. For Netflix’s Black Mirror, she appeared in a 2019 episode called ‘Striking Vipers’ as Mariella, a younger Millennial woman dating Karl (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), but circumstances reveal their relationship is extremely superficial.

In 2021, she appeared in five episodes of Trying and the next year, she played the role of Zoe Spencer in eight episodes of the British comedy series, Ten Percent.

Evans-Akingbola starred as Chelsea Arrington, a US secret agent, in the 2023 Netflix series The Night Agent. Her most recent project is the movie Upgraded, where she played the role of Renee. 

According to IMDb, she has 14 acting credits and three as a producer. Her first project as a producer was Grandma’s 80th Surprise in 2018.

She directed, co-written, and produced the short film. In 2023, she produced two projects — The Victoria I Know and Untold Stories: Hair on Set.

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Does Thomas Kretschmann Have a Wife? Inside His Dating History

“One day, I will certainly get married.”

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Does Thomas Kretschmann Have a Wife? Inside His Dating History

Thomas Kretschmann is a German actor who has starred in several European and American films.

He is best known as Lieutenant Hans von Witzland in Stalingrad, Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in The Pianist, Hermann Fegelein in Downfall, Captain Englehorn in King Kong, Major Otto Remer in Valkyrie, Professor Z’s voice in Cars 2, and journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter in A Taxi Driver

As much as Kretschmann’s professional life is well-established and known, the same cannot be said for his personal life. He has kept his love life private, and not much is known about it.

As a result, he is often questioned about his love life, with fans and followers asking if he has a wife or not. Here is all we know about it.

Does Thomas Kretschmann have a wife?

No, Kretschmann does not have a wife because he is not married. However, he has been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Brittany Rice.

The pair have been together since 2011, and as of 2024, they have been dating for almost 13 years. Despite keeping their relationship under wraps for over a decade, the couple frequently attend events and red carpets together, displaying PDAs and falling head over heels for one other.

Thomas Kretschmann does not have a wife but a girlfriend.

Thomas Kretschmann does not have a wife but a girlfriend. (Source: Instagram)

Kretschmann also often photographs his girlfriend, calling her his muse on Instagram. Even though the actor is silent about his love life now, he used to talk about Rice and their relationship in the past.

For instance, he has mentioned how Rice is the perfect stepmother to the three children, Nicolas, Stella, and Sascha, whom he shares with his former partner, Lena Roklin.

“The children basically have two homes. I go in and out of my old house without calling. It’s become really nice and easy,” he said in a 2014 interview. “My children say they have the greatest stepmom in the world with Brittany.”

Thomas Kretschmann photographed his girlfriend, Brittany Rice.

Thomas Kretschmann photographed his girlfriend, Brittany Rice. (Source: Instagram)

He also toyed with the idea of making Rice his wife. He claimed that he was not hesitant to make her his wife but had not felt the need for it.

“One day, I will certainly get married,” he said. “I have one quite great girlfriend. I consider that a luxury,” he gushed.

By the looks of it, Kretschmann has not felt the need to make Rice his wife, even after dating for over 13 years. Regardless, the pair seem to be happy and content with each other.

Thomas Kretschmann’s dating history 

Apart from his current girlfriend Rice, Kretschmann has two former partners.

In 1997, he started dating his manager, Roklin. Throughout their relationship, the couple welcomed three kids — Nicolas in 1998, Stella in 1999, and Sascha in 2002. 

The pair parted ways in 2009. Despite being together for 12 years, Kretschmann did not get married to Roklin and make her his wife.

He once told Penthouse magazine that he would not have been together with Roklin if it were not for the kids. According to Welt, he said, “I would certainly no longer be together with my wife if we didn’t have three children. Thanks to the offspring, you always pull yourself together. And then you quickly realize that As a result, love has grown.”

Unfortunately, Kretschmann’s children could not keep him and their mother together, and they eventually broke up in 2009. Regardless, the pair are on civil terms and co-parented their kids.

It is reported that Kretschmann and Bird only live a few blocks apart from Roklin and the children.

Kretschmann apparently began dating Shermine Shahrivar shortly after his breakup. This claim sparked conversation around town, as they met shortly after Kretschmann and Roklin split up. 

Although Kretschmann and Shahrivar originally disputed the claims, they appeared together on the red carpet for the Bambi Awards, which confirmed the relationship rumors. Unfortunately, over a year after they began dating, Kretschmann and Shahrivar parted ways owing to their busy schedules.

Thomas Kretschmann’s career

At the age of 25, Kretschmann began his acting career, appearing in several European films and television programs, including Westler in 1985. In 1991, he was awarded the Max Ophüls Prize for Best Young Actor for his performance in Der Mitwisser

In 1993, he began working on Stalingrad, his first major feature picture. His performance of Alfredo Grossi in Dario Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome received international recognition.

While he was well-known in his own country, Hollywood caught notice of him only until he starred as Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist in 2002. Since then, he’s regularly portrayed military personnel in films set during the Third Reich.

Notable performances include Hermann Fegelein in Downfall and Major Otto Ernst Remer in Valkyrie. He also played Adolf Eichmann in a biographical film released in 2007.

Kretschmann made his American television debut in 2003, first as a guest in 24 and then in Relic Hunter. In 2004, he played Timothy Cain in Resident Evil: Apocalypse and appeared in the revolutionary French thriller Immortal

In 2005, he landed a role in Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, reuniting with Adrien Brody, his co-star from The Pianist. The next year, Kretschmann received accolades for his role in Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story, a psychological thriller based on the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case. 

He won Best Actor at the 2006 Festival de Cine de Sitges, sharing the award with co-star Thomas Huber. He also won the Best Actor prize alongside Huber at the 2007 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

In 2008, he was cast as Johann Krauss in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but the character was eventually given to Seth MacFarlane owing to creative disagreements. That same year, he starred in Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy.

In 2009, he appeared as King Leopold I of Belgium in the British film The Young Victoria. The following year, he returned to Germany as a guest star in the romantic comedy Rabbit Without Ears 2, before heading to Malaysia to film parts for the German movie Jungle Child

In addition, he provided his voice for the Pixar film Cars 2 and acted as Captain Kurt Brynildson in the ABC series The River from 2011 to 2012. Kretschmann signed a multi-film contract with Marvel Studios to play Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, and he appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron

He frequently re-records his own portions for German dubs of his film appearances and has also worked as a fashion model, most notably as the face of a Hugo Boss perfume.

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