National Heads-Up Poker Championship axed by NBC

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Oct 14, 2011 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

One of the longest tenured poker telecasts has come to an end according to multiple sources in the poker industry, as NBC has announced that it will not be bringing back the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2012, which would have been the tournament’s eighth season.

The decision was almost certainly influenced by the changed poker landscape in the aftermath of Black Friday, which has seen the two most prolific ad-buyers, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, shut out of the US market. Without the revenue generated from the two online giants, televised poker has been slowly waning, evidenced by the cancellation of not only the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, but also the Full Tilt Poker backed Poker after Dark and the PokerStars Big Game.

The Heads-Up Poker Championship was basically conceived by the network, which sought to limit the field of 64 players to only the most well-known poker players, with a few celebrities thrown in. Overall the show was very successful in its seven-year run, but as with other poker programming, ratings had been on the decline over the past several years.

According to WickedChops Poker, which first broke the story, the show may return in the future –likely contingent on online poker legislation in the US.

A number of high-profile poker players have captured the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship title over the years including Phil Hellmuth (who won the inaugural event), Chris Ferguson, Huck Seed, Erik Seidel, and Annie Duke.

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