A look at the 2013 NBC Heads-Up Poker brackets

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 24, 2013 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

NBC National Heads-Up Poker ChampionshipOn Wednesday night the participants in the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship assembled at Caesar’s Palace for the “Draw Party”, where the 64 players found out who their first-round opponents will be, and what their path to the Final Four will look like.

The tournament uses an NCAA Basketball style bracket system (even naming each bracket: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs) only without the seedings, instead the matches are randomly drawn, allowing for some very interesting first-round matches. The tournament will get underway today.

Here is a look at the four brackets, and below you will find my thoughts on the more interesting matches in Round 1:


* Ben Lamb vs. Barry Greenstein

* John Monnette vs. Greg Raymer


* Viktor Blom vs. Andrew Lichtenberger

* Michael Mizrachi vs. Mike Matusow


* David Williams vs. John Hennigan

* Sam Simon vs. David Oppenheim


* Phil Laak vs. Phil Ivey

* Isaac Haxton vs. Justin Bonomo

Key Matchups in the Spades Bracket:

Phil Laak vs. Phil Ivey should draw the most attention, but the matchup between Justin Bonomo and Ike Haxton (who are good friends) will be the one that avid poker fans will be following.


* Joseph Cheong vs. Olivier Busquet

* Jean-Robert Bellande vs. WSOP.com Qualifier BJ Miller


* Maria Ho vs. Phil Galfond

* Eugene Katchalov vs. Faraz Jaka


* Justin Smith vs. Bertrand Grospellier

* Phil Hellmuth vs. Mike Sexton


* Chris Moneymaker vs. Jason Somerville

* Robert Salaburu vs. David “Doc” Sands

Key Matchups in the Hearts Bracket:

Joe Cheong vs. Olivier Busquet will be one of the best matches of the tournament, but the pairing of Mike Sexton and Phil Hellmuth will be the one that draws the most TV attention. And who wouldn’t love to see the qualifier take on JRB?


* Erik Seidel vs. Tom Dwan

* Tom Marchese vs. Doyle Brunson


* Brian Hastings vs. Matt Matros

* Nick Schulman vs. Eli Elezra


* Greg Merson vs. Joe Serock

* Mohsin Charania vs. Huck Seed


* Liv Boeree vs. Gaelle Baumann

* Jason Mercier vs. Dan Smith

Key Matchups in the Diamonds Bracket:

Seidel vs. Dwan should be an interesting clash, and Mercier vs. Smith will be a battle of two of the top young players in the game. This bracket will also see the only all-female match as Liv Boeree takes on Gaelle Baumann.


* Antonio Esfandiari vs. Jennifer Tilly

* Jonathan Duhamel vs. Matt Glantz


* Chris Moorman vs. Carlos Mortensen

* Matt Salsberg vs. Dan Cates


* Vanessa Rousso vs. Yevginiy Timoshenko

* Shaun Deeb vs. Andy Frankenberger


* Andy Bloch vs. Kyle Julius

* Will Failla vs. Scott Seiver

Key Matchups in the Clubs Bracket:

There are a lot of good pairings in this bracket, but the storyline might focus on Antonio taking on his good friend Phil Laak’s girlfriend, Jennifer Tilly. The match that could see the most fireworks will be Frankenberger vs. Deeb, as both players are ultra-aggressive and capable of making wild bluffs.


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