NBC Heads-Up Poker roster partially revealed

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 16, 2013 Posted in Tournament News, TV Poker | No Comments »

NBC National Heads-Up Poker ChampionshipNBC has been playing their cards close to their vest when it comes to the roster for the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which is set to take place in less than 10 days. Normally the roster would already be in, and be scrutinized and debated ad nauseam across the Internet, but this year NBC has been far more secretive about their invites, but finally the network has let the cat out of the bag; half out of the bag anyway, considering they have revealed only half the roster in an announcement on Tuesday.

The invites to the event generally go out to an eclectic mix, ranging from poker superstars to rising stars, as well as the “name” players poker fans have grown accustomed to seeing during the Poker Boom years. Sprinkle in a handful of poker playing celebrities and you have yourself a 64 player field that is both talented and appealing to casual fans of the game. Out of the 32 names on the list released on Tuesday there are only a couple that I would argue shouldn’t be included, and when you consider the TV aspect of the tournament you understand names like Jennifer Tilly and Mike Sexton being included, even if they aren’t considered “among the best players in the world”. So who were the two players I was a bit surprised to see:

Mike Matusow

Matusow was a star during the boom years, but let’s face it, he has kind of faded out of the spotlight in recent years, not to mention his lack of results in recent years – take away one 3rd place finish in a WPT event back in March 2011 and Matusow hasn’t come close to a big win since 2008.

That being said, more often than not I find myself rooting for Matusow, so now that he is included I hope Mike plays well, acts appropriately, and plays for the trophy.

John Hennigan

Even during the poker boom Hennigan wasn’t really thought of as a well-known player, so his invite seems a bit odd, considering Johnny World hasn’t won anything since 2007?

Here is a look at the list of 32 names released on Tuesday (I’ll hold off commenting on any snubs until I see the full list):

* Brian Hastings

* Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier

* Andy Frankenberger

* Phil Galfond

* Antonio Esfandiari

* Will “The Thrill” Failla

* Matt Glantz

* Barry Greenstein

* Maria Ho

* Vanessa Rousso

* Phil Ivey

* Mike “The Mouth” Matusow

* John Hennigan

* Faraz Jaka

* Ben Lamb

* David Williams

* Jonathan Duhamel

* Tom Dwan

* Greg Merson

* John Monnette

* Mike Sexton

* Mohsin Charania

* Olivier Busquet

* Jennifer Tilly

* Yevgeniy Timoshenko

* Scott Seiver

* Eugene Katchalov

* Greg Raymer

The tournament will take place from January 24, 2013 through January 26, 2013, and will air in March/April on NBC and NBC Sports. On January 23, the brackets will be determined via a random draw.

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