One of the most popular poker events in 2005 was the National Heads Up Poker Championship. The tournament, which was held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and broadcast on NBC in May, brought sixty four of the greatest names in the game together to determine the best heads up player in the world. Many will remember the epic showdown in the final tournament, which was won 2-1 by former World Champion Phil Hellmuth in a stirring battle over another former World Champion in Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.
Hellmuth will return to defend that hard fought championship when the second annual National Heads Up Poker Championship kicks off competition from March 4-6 at the brand new tournament poker facilities at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. NBC will once again be filming the entirety of the tournament and will broadcast the event in a six part, ten hour block of coverage beginning on April 16th and lasting into May. Up for grabs this time in addition to the championship will be $1.5 million, with $500,000 going to the survivor of the series.
The tournament is unique in that it sets up the 64 players in a single elimination tournament structured along the lines of the NCAA Basketball Championship. Four brackets are arranged with sixteen players in each bracket, playing down to a "Final Four", who then square off against each other until only one player is left standing. Because of the exclusiveness of the field and the high quality of competition, Hellmuth commented last year that "the title is more important than the money" after he vanquished the field.
This year's tournament promises to have the same high quality field that last year's event did. Along with Hellmuth defending the title, such players as Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harman, Annie Duke, Gus Hansen, Chip Reese, Chris Ferguson, Eric Lindgren and Barry Greenstein are all confirmed participants in this year's event. There will also be one "wild card" slot that will be filled by an as-yet-unknown participant who will be determined by a very special tournament.
At the tournament website, nbcheadsup.com, players will be squaring off against each other on February 12th. A final National Heads-Up Online Poker tournament will determine who takes the coveted final spot at one of the tables in the event. This gives someone who may never have such an opportunity to take on the greats of the game and, potentially, could live up to the "wild card" title and be a force in the event.
The poker played in last year's event showed some of the best in the world in what some consider the truest challenge of the game of poker, heads up competition. With the multitude of well known poker professionals in attendance and the potential for the "wild card" to affect the proceedings, these should be the major draws once again when the National Heads Up Poker Championship airs on NBC come April. Be sure to mark the calendar now to view the event or, if in Las Vegas from March 4-6, you might be able to stop by and view the action as it plays out in the new Caesars Palace poker arena.
Ed Note: Heads up is the purest form of poker. Great heads up action always at Pacific Poker