NBC's third annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship will soon begin its seven-episode run, with 64 of the world's finest poker players squaring off in a single-elimination bracket format. The series was filmed at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in early March, and the fist episode will air on Sunday, April 8th at 12pm ET (3pm PT). The series runs for seven consecutive Sundays.
Last year's winner, Ted Forrest, and two-time runner-up Chris Ferguson lead the field. Other notable players include Johnny Chan, Annie Duke, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Farha, Mike Matusow, Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, and Greg Raymer. Don Cheadle, Jennifer Tilly and Shannon Elizabeth are among the event's celebrity players.
The first three episodes will cover the opening rounds, with the players divided into Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades brackets. Hearts-bracket opening matches kick off play, with the featured pairings including Mike Matusow vs. Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Tilly vs. Jamie Gold. The second episode moves to the Diamonds bracket and focuses on the Don Cheadle vs. Phil Ivey and Gabe Kaplan vs. Todd Brunson matchups.
The third episode, airing on April 22 finishes up the opening round with Spades and Clubs bracket coverage; among the featured matches here are Chris Moneymaker vs. Joe Hachem and Shannon Elizabeth vs. Rene Angelil. These first three episodes are one-hour shows, with episodes four through six showing two hours of coverage each, focusing on the middle rounds. The final episode, to be broadcast May 20, is a three-hour extravaganza that wraps up the championship. Check your local NBC listings for more information.