The 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, already in its fourth season, is on the horizon, and 60 of the 64 players have been announced. The four remaining seats will be filled by qualifiers whose spots have not yet been secured.
With the first round of heads-up matches scheduled to begin on February 29th, the majority of the players have accepted their invitations and are prepared to pay the $20,000 entry fee. The winner will take home a $500,000 first prize.
While there are numerous players returning who have played in previous years, including defending champion Paul Wasicka and previous champions Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest, there are a number of new players. Some of them are Bill Edler, David Singer, Tom Schneider, Jerry Yang, Jean-Robert Bellande, Brian Townsend, Jonathan Little, Scott Clements, and Tom Dwan. Also new to the list are celebrities Jason Alexander and Brad Garrett, as well as well-known baseball player Orel Hershiser.
NBC has released the list of 60 players in alphabetical order, with first-time National Heads-Up Poker Championship players in bold.
1. Alexander, Jason 2. Antonius, Patrik 3. Bellande, Jean-Robert 4. Benyamine, David 5. Brown, Chad 6. Brunson, Doyle 7. Brunson, Todd 8. Chan, Johnny 9. Cheadle, Don 10. Clements, Scott 11. Cloutier, T.J. 12. Cunningham, Allen 13. Deeb, Freddy 14. Duke, Annie 15. Dwan, Tom 16. Edler, Bill 17. Elezra, Eli 18. Elizabeth, Shannon 19. Esfandiari, Antonio 20. Farha, Sam 21. Ferguson, Chris 22. Fischman, Scott 23. Forrest, Ted 24. Garrett, Brad 25. Gold, Jamie 26. Gowen, Clonie 27. Greenstein, Barry 28. Grizzle, Sam 29. Hachem, Joe 30. Hansen, Gus 31. Harman, Jennifer 32. Hellmuth, Phil 33. Hershiser, Orel 34. Ivey, Phil 35. Juanda, John 36. Kaplan, Gabe 37. Laak, Phil 38. Lederer, Howard 39. Lindgren, Erick 40. Little, Jonathan 41. Matusow, Mike 42. Mizrachi, Michael 43. Negreanu, Daniel 44. Nguyen, Scotty 45. Pham, David 46. Raymer, Greg 47. Rousso, Vanessa 48. Schneider, Tom 49. Schreiber, Daniel 50. Seed, Huck 51. Seidel, Erik 52. Singer, David 53. Smith, Gavin 54. Tilly, Jennifer 55. Townsend, Brian 56. Tran, J.C. 57. Tran, Kenny 58. Wasicka, Paul 59. Williams, David 60. Yang, Jerry
The drawing party to determine the matches will take place at Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas at 9pm on the evening of February 28, 2008. The tournament will then begin the following day and run for three days, at which time the champion will be determined.
The format for the matches, as has been in previous years, is a series of heads-up matches in a single-elimination, bracket-style format. Details of the structure can be found at www.NBCHeadsUp.com, and the filmed series of matches will be produced for air on NBC on dates yet to be announced.