Roster for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship set

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 19, 2013 Posted in Poker News | 1 Comment »

NBC National Heads-Up Poker ChampionshipThe NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship will be making its return on January 24th, 2013, ending the one-year hiatus the popular “made-for-TV” poker tournament took after Black Friday left networks scrambling to determine if airing poker shows was 1) going to be worthwhile, and 2) going to get them in hot water with the Department of Justice should players where patches or advertise for online poker sites in some other way.

Fortunately this has all been worked out, considering the DOJ has settled with PokerStars and is working on a resolution with Full Tilt Poker, giving the TV networks prohibitive go-ahead to run poker programs once again. So now NBC is bringing back the heads-up tournament, featuring 64 of the best poker players (sprinkled with a few celebrities) which we have listed below:

Doyle Brunson

Olivier Busquet

Shaun Deeb

Phil Galfond

Daniel Cates

Mohsin Charania

Tom Dwan

Andy Frankenberger

Joseph Cheong

Eli Elezra

Antonio Esfandiari

Will “The Thrill” Failla

Faraz Jaka

Jonathan Duhamel

Phil Laak

Mike Matusow

John Hennigan

Ben Lamb

Andrew Lichtenberger

Matt Matros

Carlos Mortensen

Chris Moorman

John Monnette

Chris Moneymaker

Michael Mizrachi

Greg Merson

Jason Mercier

Kyle Julius

Erik Seidel

Scott Seiver

Joe Serock

Sam Simon

Huck Seed

Nick Schulman

Mike Sexton

Jennifer Tilly

Matt Salsberg

Greg Raymer

Dan Smith

Jason Somerville

Daniel Negreanu

David Oppenheim

Vanessa Rousso

Rob Salaburu

Jean Robert Bellande

Andy Bloch

Jennifer Harman

Eugene Katchalov

Justin Bonomo

Liv Boeree

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Ivey

Viktor Blom

Barry Greenstein

Brian Hastings

Maria Ho

Justin Smith

Yevgeniy Timoshenko

David Williams Qualifier

Gaelle Baumann

Matt Glantz

Bertrand Grospellier

Isaac Haxton

Here are my thoughts on the field:

* Only six women? I understand Vanessa Selbst declined at the last minute, but what about Xuan Liu, Annette Obrestad, Kathy Liebert, Melanie Weisner, or Amanda Musumeci? If we want women to get involved in poker let’s start inviting them to these types of events. In my opinion they should have made it a priority to have at least 10 women in the field.

* Only two celebrities? With the preponderance of poker playing celebs how is it that only Sam Simon and Jennifer Tilly got an invite/ Hopefully people like Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps, Kevin Pollack, and other well-known poker playing celebs simply turned the invite down.

* Surprises that I wasn’t expecting to see. On the one hand there are players like Rob Salaburu, Mike Matusow, Jean Robert Bellande,and John Hennigan who I feel were not deserving of an invite. On the other hand there were some pleasant surprises like John Monnette, Joe Serock, Kyle Julius, Matt Matros, and Mohsin Charania who I am happy to see get the respect they deserve.

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One Response to “Roster for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship set”

  1. JJ Goode says:

    Overall, I’m happy with this year’s field. I was sad to see Selbst decline, and a few of my coworkers at DISH were surprised by some of your mentioned surprises, too. I’ve been following coverage, and I can’t wait to see it air in March. I’ll be watching it a few times over to see if I can learn anything, and my DISH Hopper stores up to 2,000 hours of entertainment, so I won’t have to clear it out anytime soon. My wife, kids and I will all still have room for our series and anything else that catches our eyes.

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