As the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship currently airs on weekend television throughout American homes, the tournament organizers announced the establishment of standard criteria for future seasons. The current season faced a bit of scrutiny from players and fans for the omission of some deserving players from the line-up, while other players received invitations to play based on criteria that left some in the poker community shaking their heads.
Nevertheless, the currently airing show is having much success, and on its heels, the powers-that-be have announced criteria that will be used in determining players for future seasons.
Automatic invitations will be issued to the following qualifiers:
• All previous National Heads-Up Poker champions • Two previous National Heads-Up runners-up • Defending National Heads-Up semifinalists • Any player who cashes in four consecutive past years of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship • Three previous World Series of Poker main event champions • Defending World Series of Poker main event runner-up • Multiple World Series of Poker bracelet winners in the same year, beginning with the 2008 WSOP • Defending World Series of Poker Player of the Year • Defending World Series of Poker Heads-Up champion • Defending World Series of Poker Europe main event champion, if 21-years of age or older • Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year • Reining European Poker Tour Grand Final champion, if 21-years of age or older • Reigning CardPlayer magazine Player of the Year • Reigning Bluff magazine Player of the Year • Reigning All In magazine Player of the Year • Between one and three Online and NBC qualifying players • Two host venue qualifying players
The new rules note that if no one player qualifies for an invitation in more than one category, there will be as many as 27 different players who will receive a guaranteed invitation to play in the 2009 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. The list of invited players can also be changed at the decision-making committee’s discretion, though they anticipate that this criteria will stick for the 2009 tournament.
No matter the criteria that deems a person be invited, the player still must accept the invitation and be willing to buy in to the tournament for the $20,000 amount, unless he or she participates in and wins a qualifier.
The current season of the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship will wrap with a 3-hour finale to air on May 18th.