National Heads-Up Poker Championship

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National Heads-Up Poker Championship
2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship trophy.jpg
The 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship trophy
Format Poker
Created by NBC Sports
Narrated by Ali Nejad and Matt Vasgersian
Country of origin  United States
Production
Location(s) Golden Nugget Las Vegas (2005),
Caesars Palace (2006 - present)
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run 2005 – 2011
External links
Website

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship is an annual poker tournament held in the United States and produced by the NBC television network.[1] It is a $25,000 "buy-in" invitation-only tournament[2] organized as a series of one-on-one games of no limit Texas hold 'em matches. The participants include many of the world's most successful poker players, as well as celebrities.

The championship was the first poker event to be televised on and produced by a major U.S. television network.[1]

In October 2011, NBC announced that the National Heads-Up Poker Championship would not return in 2012, ending the championship's seven-year run.[3]

After a one-year hiatus, the tournament returned in 2013.[4] The $25,000 buy-in event ran from Jan. 24 through 26 at Caesars Palace, the same venue where the event was held from 2006 through 2011.

The Heads-Up Championship had been sponsored by online poker companies before Black Friday. The World Series of Poker (WSOP.com) is the new presenting sponsor.[5]

Structure[edit]

The single-elimination tournament is modeled after college basketball tournaments. Players who win a match advance to the next round; the player who wins six matches is crowned champion.

The first round is seeded randomly the night before the tournament begins. Players are divided into four brackets – Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. A participant advances by winning a heads-up match against his or her randomly drawn opponent. The structure of the brackets then determines every match thereafter. The semifinals consist of one player from each bracket, with the winner of the Spades bracket playing the winner of the Clubs bracket, and the winner of the Hearts bracket matched up against the winner of the Diamonds bracket. A best-of-three final match then determines which of the two finalists is crowned champion.

Brief history[edit]

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship is an invitation-only event. In contrast, the World Heads-Up Poker Championship is an open event with a maximum participation of 128 players.

The 2005 event took place at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas between March 4 and March 6. It aired weekly on NBC from May 1 to May 22 with commentary from Gabe Kaplan and Matt Vasgersian.

The 2006 edition took place from March 4 to 6 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. NBC began its coverage by broadcasting one part of the opening round on April 16. The semi-final and championship matches aired May 21. Kaplan and Vasgersian returned as commentators.

The 2007 edition was broadcast from April 8 to May 20. Ali Nejad took Gabe Kaplan's spot as commentator due to Kaplan competing in the tournament.

Winners[edit]

Year Winner
2005 Phil Hellmuth
2006 Ted Forrest
2007 Paul Wasicka
2008 Chris Ferguson
2009 Huck Seed
2010 Annie Duke
2011 Erik Seidel
2012 no tournament
2013 Mike Matusow

Brackets[edit]

2005[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Phil Hellmuth
64 Men Nguyen
Hellmuth
Phillips
33 Dewey Tomko
32 Paul Phillips
Hellmuth
Seed
17 Huck Seed
48 David Pham
Seed
Raymer
49 Greg Raymer
16 Kathy Liebert
Hellmuth
Berman
9 Carlos Mortensen
56 David Williams
Mortensen
Ng
41 Evelyn Ng
24 Bobby Baldwin
Mortensen
Berman
25 Freddy Deeb
40 Lyle Berman
Berman
Harman
57 Jennifer Harman
8 David Grey
Hellmuth
Esfandiari
5 Daniel Negreanu
60 Jerry Buss
Negreanu
Esfandiari
37 Antonio Esfandiari
28 Howard Lederer
Esfandiari
Forrest
21 Ted Forrest
44 John Cernuto
Forrest
Arieh
53 Josh Arieh
12 René Angélil
Esfandiari
Fischman
13 Johnny Chan
52 James Woods
Chan
Sklansky
45 Phil Ivey
20 David Sklansky
Sklansky
Fischman
29 Erik Seidel
36 Dennis Wager
Wager
Fischman
61 Annie Duke
4 Scott Fischman
Hellmuth 2
Ferguson 1
3 Scotty Nguyen
62 Mike Caro
Caro
Cloutier
35 T. J. Cloutier
30 Nick Frangos
Cloutier
Hennigan
19 John Hennigan
46 Layne Flack
Hennigan
Orenstein
51 Henry Orenstein
14 Chip Reese
Cloutier
Juanda
11 Doyle Brunson
54 Billy Baxter
Baxter
Greenstein
43 Barry Greenstein
22 Lee Salem
Greenstein
Juanda
27 Amir Vahedi
38 John Myung
Vahedi
Juanda
59 Chau Giang
6 John Juanda
Cloutier
Ferguson
7 Phil Gordon
58 Hasan Habib
Habib
Farha
39 Sam Farha
26 Prahlad Friedman
Habib
Sexton
23 Todd Brunson
42 Erick Lindgren
Lindgren
Sexton
55 Yoshio Nakano
10 Mike Sexton
Sexton
Ferguson
15 Chris Moneymaker
50 Eli Elezra
Moneymaker
Tran
47 Mimi Tran
18 Tom McEvoy
Tran
Ferguson
31 Gus Hansen
34 Curtis Bibb
Hansen
Ferguson
63 Cyndy Violette
2 Chris Ferguson

2006[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Ted Forrest
64 Erik Seidel
Forrest
Brown
33 Chad Brown
32 Phil Ivey
Forrest
Dureck
17 Ernie Dureck
48 Scotty Nguyen
Dureck
Phillips
49 Paul Phillips
16 Jennifer Tilly
Forrest
Farha
9 Sam Farha
56 René Angélil
Farha
Shulman
41 Barry Shulman
24 Antonio Esfandiari
Farha
Mizrachi
25 Michael Mizrachi
40 Mark Seif
Mizrachi
Lederer
57 Howard Lederer
8 Allen Cunningham
Forrest
Sheikhan
5 Shahram Sheikhan
60 Gus Hansen
Sheikhan
Brunson
37 Doyle Brunson
28 John Juanda
Sheikhan
Grey
21 David Grey
44 Lyle Berman
Grey
Mortensen
53 Carlos Mortensen
12 Johnny Chan
Sheikhan
Negreanu
13 Daniel Negreanu
52 Evelyn Ng
Negreanu
Raymer
45 Greg Raymer
20 Layne Flack
Negreanu
Cloutier
29 T. J. Cloutier
36 Jeff Shulman
Cloutier
Laak
61 Phil Laak
4 Gavin Smith
Forrest 2
Ferguson 1
3 Chris Ferguson
62 Freddy Deeb
Ferguson
Reese
35 Chip Reese
30 Phil Hellmuth
Ferguson
Arieh
19 Josh Arieh
46 David Williams
Arieh
Elezra
51 Eli Elezra
14 Mike Matusow
Ferguson
McManus
11 James McManus
54 Josh Lochner
McManus
Sexton
43 Mike Sexton
22 Annie Duke
McManus
Chesnoff
27 David Chesnoff
38 Bobby Baldwin
Chesnoff
Harrington
59 Dan Harrington
6 Todd Brunson
Ferguson
Seed
7 Huck Seed
58 David Oppenheim
Seed
Lindgren
39 Erick Lindgren
26 Steven Glassner
Seed
Fischman
23 Scott Fischman
42 James Woods
Fischman
Luong
55 Dee Luong
10 Men Nguyen
Seed
Greenstein
15 Barry Greenstein
50 Cyndy Violette
Greenstein
Le
47 Tuan Le
18 Chris Moneymaker
Greenstein
Vahedi
31 Amir Vahedi
34 Jerry Buss
Vahedi
Caro
63 Mike Caro
2 Tony G

2007[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Shannon Elizabeth
64 René Angélil
Elizabeth
Madsen
33 Steve Zolotow
32 Jeff Madsen
Elizabeth
Greenstein
17 Erick Lindgren
48 Vanessa Rousso
Rousso
Greenstein
49 Barry Greenstein
16 Carlos Mortensen
Elizabeth
Brenes
9 Erik Seidel
56 Humberto Brenes
Brenes
Laak
41 Marco Traniello
24 Phil Laak
Brenes
Seed
25 Patrik Antonius
40 Huck Seed
Seed
Reese
57 Paul Darden
8 Chip Reese
Elizabeth
Wasicka
5 Tuan Le
60 Antonio Esfandiari
Le
Cloutier
37 Cyndy Violette
28 T.J. Cloutier
Cloutier
Wasicka
21 Joe Hachem
44 Chris Moneymaker
Hachem
Wasicka
53 Paul Wasicka
12 Eli Elezra
Wasicka
Le
13 Gus Hansen
52 Shawn Sheikhan
Sheikhan
Forrest
45 Ted Forrest
20 Sam Farha
Forrest
Le
29 Annie Duke
36 Jeff Shulman
Duke
Le
61 Greg Raymer
4 Nam Le
Wasicka 2
Brown 0
3 John Michael
62 Allen Cunningham
Cunningham
Bloch
35 Jennifer Harman
30 Andy Bloch
Bloch
Matusow
19 Mike Matusow
46 Daniel Negreanu
Matusow
Mizrachi
51 Michael Mizrachi
14 John Juanda
Bloch
Smith
11 David Benyamine
54 Gavin Smith
Smith
Chan
43 Johnny Chan
22 J. C. Tran
Smith
Gordon
27 Jennifer Tilly
38 Jamie Gold
Gold
Gordon
59 Phil Gordon
6 Scotty Nguyen
Smith
Brown
7 Kristy Gazes
58 Clonie Gowen
Gazes
Mercier
39 Eric Larrivee
26 Isabelle Mercier
Gazes
Fischman
23 Don Cheadle
42 Phil Ivey
Cheadle
Fischman
55 Chris Ferguson
10 Scott Fischman
Gazes
Brown
15 Brad Booth
50 Howard Lederer
Booth
Williams
47 John D'Agostino
18 David Williams
Booth
Brown
31 Gabe Kaplan
34 Todd Brunson
Kaplan
Brown
63 Chad Brown
2 Yoshio Nakano

2008[edit]

In additional to the poker professionals, several poker-playing celebrities from other fields were invited: Gabe Kaplan, Don Cheadle, Jennifer Tilly, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Alexander and Orel Hershiser.[6] Also invited was Alisha Kunze of Greensburg, Indiana, who won her seat via a "special online qualifier."[6]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Jonathan Little
64 Erik Seidel
Little
Kaplan
33 Patrik Antonius
32 Gabe Kaplan
Little
Raymer
17 Greg Raymer
48 Hooman Nikzad
Raymer
Clements
49 Kenny Tran
16 Scott Clements
Little
Ferguson
9 Mike Matusow
56 Joe Hachem
Matusow
Dwan
41 Tom Dwan
24 Phil Hellmuth
Matusow
Ferguson
25 Tom Schneider
40 Gavin Smith
Smith
Ferguson
57 Chris Ferguson
8 John Juanda
Ferguson
Ivey
5 Don Cheadle
60 Gus Hansen
Hansen
Nguyen
37 Scotty Nguyen
28 Bill Edler
Hansen
Laak
21 Jerry Yang
44 Chris Moneymaker
Yang
Laak
53 David Singer
12 Phil Laak
Hansen
Ivey
13 Phil Ivey
52 Alisha Kunze
Ivey
Chan
45 David Williams
20 Johnny Chan
Ivey
Tran
29 Dan Schreiber
36 T. J. Cloutier
Cloutier
Tran
61 Annie Duke
4 J. C. Tran
Ferguson 2
Bloch 1
3 Vanessa Rousso
62 Antonio Esfandiari
Rousso
Bloch
35 Shannon Elizabeth
30 Andy Bloch
Bloch
Fischman
19 Todd Brunson
46 Scott Fischman
Fischman
Gold
51 Jamie Gold
14 Tom Kelly
Bloch
Hershiser
11 Ted Forrest
54 Orel Hershiser
Hershiser
Cunningham
43 Allen Cunningham
22 Chad Brown
Hershiser
Deeb
27 Jean-Robert Bellande
38 Sam Grizzle
Grizzle
Deeb
59 Freddy Deeb
6 Paul Wasicka
Bloch
Seed
7 Jason Alexander
58 Huck Seed
Seed
Townsend
39 David Pham
26 Brian Townsend
Seed
Mizrachi
23 Clonie Gowen
42 Jennifer Tilly
Gowen
Mizrachi
55 Daniel Negreanu
10 Michael Mizrachi
Seed
Benyamine
15 Barry Greenstein
50 Howard Lederer
Greenstein
Benyamine
47 David Benyamine
18 Jennifer Harman
Benyamine
Brunson
31 Sam Farha
34 Doyle Brunson
Brunson
Lindgren
63 Erick Lindgren
2 Eli Elezra

2009[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Don Cheadle
64 David Pham
Cheadle
Wasicka
33 Paul Wasicka
32 Nicholas Joy
Wasicka
Rousso
17 Jennifer Tilly
48 Phil Ivey
Ivey
Rousso
49 Doyle Brunson
16 Vanessa Rousso
Rousso
Negreanu
9 Hevad Khan
56 Scotty Nguyen
Nguyen
Forrest
41 Ted Forrest
24 Orel Hershiser
Nguyen
Negreanu
25 Daniel Negreanu
40 Chris Moneymaker
Negreanu
Minieri
57 Mike Matusow
8 Dario Minieri
Rousso
Grospellier
5 Gabe Kaplan
60 Chris Ferguson
Kaplan
Juanda
37 John Juanda
28 Joe Hachem
Juanda
Grospellier
21 Ilari Sahamies
44 Gavin Smith
Sahamies
Grospellier
53 Fred Collins
12 Bertrand Grospellier
Grospellier
Hellmuth
13 Jeffrey Ishbia
52 Leon Yanovski
Ishbia
Hellmuth
45 Mike Sexton
20 Phil Hellmuth
Hellmuth
Dwan
29 Gavin Griffin
36 Tom Dwan
Dwan
Greenstein
61 Barry Greenstein
4 Blandino Gines
Rousso 0
Seed 2
3 Johnny Chan
62 Eli Elezra
Elezra
Lindgren
35 Erick Lindgren
30 Howard Lederer
Lindgren
Williams
19 J. C. Tran
46 David Williams
Williams
Fischman
51 Jamie Gold
14 Scott Fischman
Williams
Farha
11 Erik Seidel
54 John Phan
Phan
Yang
43 Jerry Yang
22 Clonie Gowen
Phan
Farha
27 Allen Cunningham
38 Sam Farha
Farha
Eastgate
59 Andy Bloch
6 Peter Eastgate
Farha
Seed
7 Kenny Tran
58 Antonio Esfandiari
Tran
Harman
39 Greg Raymer
26 Jennifer Harman
Tran
Oppenheim
23 Kenny Yeh
42 Phil Laak
Laak
Oppenheim
55 Vanessa Selbst
10 David Oppenheim*
Oppenheim
Seed
15 David Benyamine
50 Gus Hansen
Hansen
Seed
47 Huck Seed
18 Jonathan Little
Seed
Chorny
31 Chad Brown
34 Glen Chorny
Chorny
Garrett
63 Annie Duke
2 Brad Garrett

2010[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Patrik Antonius
64 Chris Moneymaker
Moneymaker
Wolpert
33 Leo Wolpert
32 Eric Baldwin
Moneymaker
Seidel
17 David Williams
48 Joe Cada
Williams
Seidel
49 Erik Seidel
16 Huck Seed
Seidel
Eastgate
9 Dan Ramirez
56 Erick Lindgren
Lindgren
Eastgate
41 Peter Eastgate
24 Bertrand Grospellier
Eastgate
Gold
25 Stephen Quinn
40 Ted Forrest
Quinn
Gold
57 Dario Minieri
8 Jamie Gold
Seidel
Nguyen
5 Gavin Smith
60 Phil Ivey
Ivey
Nguyen
37 Richard Edwards
28 Scotty Nguyen
Nguyen
Kaplan
21 Shawn Rice
44 Joe Hachem
Hachem
Kaplan
53 Gabe Kaplan
12 Johnny Chan
Nguyen
Mercier
13 Daniel Negreanu
52 Jason Mercier
Mercier
de Korver
45 Pieter de Korver
20 Mike Sexton
Mercier
Laak
29 Phil Gordon
36 Tom Dwan
Gordon
Laak
61 Phil Laak
4 John Juanda
Seidel 1
Duke 2
3 Jesper Hougaard
62 Allen Cunningham
Cunningham
Elezra
35 Eli Elezra
30 Greg Mueller
Elezra
Phillips
19 Annette Dworski
46 Chris Ferguson
Ferguson
Phillips
51 Kara Scott
14 Dennis Phillips
Phillips
Brunson
11 Brock Parker
54 Doyle Brunson
Brunson
Cheadle
43 J.P. Kelly
22 Don Cheadle
Brunson
Obrestad
27 Howard Lederer
38 Phil Hellmuth
Hellmuth
Obrestad
59 Annette Obrestad
6 Orel Hershiser
Phillips
Duke
7 Barry Greenstein
58 Vanessa Rousso
Greenstein
Farha
39 Sam Farha
26 Antonio Esfandiari
Greenstein
Yang
23 Jennifer Harman
42 Jennifer Tilly
Harman
Yang
55 Jerry Yang
10 Mike Matusow
Yang
Duke
15 Darvin Moon
50 Bill Huntress
Moon
Duke
47 Andy Bloch
18 Annie Duke
Duke
Wasicka
31 Andrew Wilson
34 Paul Wasicka
Wasicka
Hansen
63 Gus Hansen
2 Greg Raymer

2011[edit]

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Dwyte Pilgrim
64 Olivier Busquet
Busquet
Boeree
33 Liv Boeree
32 Jason Alexander
Busquet
Mercier
17 Jason Mercier
48 Ted Forrest
Mercier
Bloch
49 Andy Bloch
16 John Juanda
Busquet
Duhamel
9 Barry Greenstein
56 Scotty Nguyen
Greenstein
Mahmood
41 Annette Obrestad
24 Ayaz Mahmood
Mahmood
Duhamel
25 Jonathan Duhamel
40 Melburn Whitmire
Duhamel
Esfandiari
57 Nicolas Chouity
8 Antonio Esfandiari
Duhamel
Moneymaker
5 Doyle Brunson
60 Jennifer Tilly
Brunson
Phillips
37 Erick Lindgren
28 Dennis Phillips
Brunson
Moneymaker
21 Daniel Cates
44 Phil Ivey
Cates
Moneymaker
53 John Racener
12 Chris Moneymaker
Moneymaker
Oppenheim
13 Carlos Mortensen
52 Sam Trickett
Mortensen
Oppenheim
45 Eric Baldwin
20 David Oppenheim
Oppenheim
Katchalov
29 Patrik Antonius
36 Sorel Mizzi
Antonius
Katchalov
61 Eugene Katchalov
4 Faraz Jaka
Moneymaker 0
Seidel 2
3 Kara Scott
62 Andrew Robl
Robl
Smith
35 David Williams
30 Emmitt Smith
Robl
Bord
19 Gavin Smith
46 Gus Hansen
Smith
Bord
51 James Bord
14 Frank Kassela
Robl
Benyamine
11 Phil Laak
54 Daniel Negreanu
Laak
Mizrachi
43 Michael Mizrachi
22 Vanessa Rousso
Mizrachi
Benyamine
27 Don Cheadle
38 Tom Dwan
Dwan
Benyamine
59 Phil Hellmuth
6 David Benyamine
Robl
Seidel
7 Bertrand Grospellier
58 Justin Young
Grospellier
Galfond
39 Joe Hachem
26 Phil Galfond
Galfond
Selbst
23 Vanessa Selbst
42 Eli Elezra
Selbst
Eastgate
55 Peter Eastgate
10 Chris Ferguson
Selbst
Seidel
15 Huck Seed
50 Jennifer Harman
Harman
Seidel
47 Erik Seidel
18 Allen Cunningham
Seidel
Gordon
31 Mike Matusow
34 Greg Raymer
Raymer
Gordon
63 Tom Marchese
2 Phil Gordon

2012[edit]

No tournament.

2013[edit]

After a one-year hiatus, the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship ran from Jan. 24 through 26, 2013, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

First round Second round Third round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championships
                                   
1 Antonio Esfandiari
64 Jennifer Tilly
Esfandiari
Duhamel
33 Jonathan Duhamel
32 Matt Glantz
Esfandiari
Cates
17 Chris Moorman
48 Carlos Mortensen
Moorman
Cates
49 Matt Salsberg
16 Daniel Cates
Cates
Seiver
9 Vanessa Rousso
56 Yevgeniy Timoshenko
Rousso
Deeb
41 Shaun Deeb
24 Andy Frankenberger
Rousso
Seiver
25 Andy Bloch
40 Kyle Julius
Julius
Seiver
57 Will Failla
8 Scott Seiver
Seiver
Matusow
5 Ben Lamb
60 Barry Greenstein
Greenstein
Monnette
37 John Monnette
28 Greg Raymer
Greenstein
Matusow
21 Viktor Blom
44 Andrew Lichtenberger
Blom
Matusow
53 Michael Mizrachi
12 Mike Matusow
Matusow
Hennigan
13 David Williams
52 John Hennigan
Hennigan
Simon
45 Sam Simon
20 David Oppenheim
Hennigan
Ivey
29 Phil Laak
36 Phil Ivey
Ivey
Bonomo
61 Isaac Haxton
4 Justin Bonomo
Matusow 2
Hellmuth 1
3 Joseph Cheong
62 Olivier Busquet
Cheong
Miller
35 Jean-Robert Bellande
30 Bruce Miller
Cheong
Katchalov
19 Maria Ho
46 Phil Galfond
Galfond
Katchalov
51 Eugene Katchalov
14 Faraz Jaka
Katchalov
Hellmuth
11 Justin Smith
54 Bertrand Grospellier
Smith
Hellmuth
43 Phil Hellmuth
22 Mike Sexton
Hellmuth
Sands
27 Chris Moneymaker
38 Jason Somerville
Moneymaker
Sands
59 Robert Salaburu
6 David Sands
Hellmuth
Serock
7 Erik Seidel
58 Tom Dwan
Dwan
Brunson
39 Tom Marchese
26 Doyle Brunson
Dwan
Hastings
23 Brian Hastings
42 Matt Matros
Hastings
Elezra
55 Nick Schulman
10 Eli Elezra
Hastings
Serock
15 Greg Merson
50 Joe Serock
Serock
Seed
47 Mohsin Charania
18 Huck Seed
Serock
Smith
31 Liv Boeree
34 Gaelle Baumann
Baumann
Smith
63 Jason Mercier
2 Dan Smith
2013 prize payout structure
Place Payout
1 $700,000 + $50,000 (from NBC)
2 $300,000
3-4 $100,000
5-8 $50,000
9-16 $25,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b NBC Spot in the Cards for Poker Tourney February 2005 article from the Las Vegas Sun
  2. ^ NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship Inks Four-year Deal with Caesars, a May 2008 article from pokernews.com
  3. ^ "NBC Cancels National Heads-Up Poker Championship". PokerNews. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "NBC Brings Back National Heads-Up Poker Championship". PokerNews. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "National Heads-Up Poker Championship returns to Caesars Palace". Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Field is set for the 2008 NHPC from the NBC Sports website