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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

The Round Table – My Friend Just Won the Heads-Up Championship

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Unless you have been living under a rock you must know by now that Chris Ferguson has taken down the National Heads-Up title, FINALLY!

After making it to the final two, the last three out of four years, he was finally able to seal the deal this year.
Chris played hard through his rounds of tough opponents, including John Juanda, Gavin Smith, Mike Matusow, Phil Ivey, Jonathan Little and lastly his golf buddy, Andy Bloch.

Chris told me, “there really wasn’t much I could do to prepare for my matches. The interesting thing is when you are playing against poker players there is less that you need to do to prepare for the match. I am more used to the way they play; I have a better understanding of how they play so preparation wise, there really wasn’t that much for me to do.”

Chris’s lack of preparation worked well for him as he found himself in the finals once again.

He did have some things working against him, including his heavy TV presence where any opponent could check out his heads up strategy from his prior appearances.

“I think it can hurt me a little bit,” Chris explained. “I think people are learning my style and people are learning what I do against the different styles. I think it is good for poker, though, so it’s all worth it.”

Quite a crowd was drawn to watch the two pros battle it out and Andy joked with friends and the spectators making a pitch as to why the audience should cheer him on.

“In a lot of ways it would have meant a lot more to me to win this because Chris has so many World Series of Poker bracelets and big wins. I wasn’t trying to get fans to switch one way or another,” Andy said with a laugh. “Chris deserved the win of course. He’s got two second place finishes and both times he won one out of the three matches, so he was always within one hand of winning it. This is only my second year playing in it, last year I made it to the final eight and this year is my first time in the finals.”

The finals are set up in a best out of three format. Andy won the first one, Chris won the second, and it was down to the final third match. The last hand of the third match determined it all; who would walk away with the title and who would just walk away (still with $250,000 in pocket mind you.)

Andy told me a little bit about the oddity that the third match came down to.

“That third match really came down to that last hand and it was a really close decision. I flipped a coin, but I wasn’t necessarily going to do what the coin said. It may have pushed me a little towards my decision. I thought I was going to call but sometimes I flip it to see what my opponent’s reaction is, against Chris that’s not going to work. It also helps me to think it through in my mind. It really is a close decision. It was a tough hand.”

In the end, two friends had a great time battling it out for the top prize.

“It’s fun playing against your friend,” Andy said with a smile, “because everyone is happy no matter what happens. I didn’t have to feel like, ‘oh man I let that guy beat me,’ although I will joke about it. ‘How could I have let that donkey with the long hair and cowboy hat beat me?’”

The donkey in the cowboy hat is still enjoying his win, rightfully so, and when I saw him yesterday, several days after the event, he threw his arms into the air and said, “champion!” with a huge grin and a laugh.

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