It’s that time of year again, as the National Heads-Up Poker Championship gears up to welcome 64 players to the most prestigious $25K buy-in heads-up tournament in the poker industry. While the player list is still being finalized, the dates and location have been set for March 6 through 8 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
One of the most exciting pieces of news to come with the announcement of the fifth season of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship is the inking of a deal with GoDaddy.com to be a presenting sponsor. Not only is GoDaddy.com entering a business filled with internet-savvy people, but it will secure air time on NBC when the shows are broadcast in April and May.
GoDaddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons said, “The popularity of poker has grown thanks in large part to television and the internet. Being an industry leader for domain names and web sites, we only sponsor the most exciting events. NBC and Caesars Palace are assembling a top-notch tournament with world-class players and I look forward to seeing some great action.”
That action will begin on March 5, when all participants will attend a GoDaddy.com draw party at PURE nightclub in Caesars Palace. Amidst the festivities, players will find out who their first round competitors will be and see the entire tournament bracket for the first time.
March 6 will kick off the action in the Caesars tournament poker room, where the public is welcome to watch some of the best poker players in the world mix with some celebrity players and online qualifiers to play for the $1.5 million in prizes, $500,000 of which will go to the ultimate champion. The 64-player line-up is scheduled to include reigning champion Chris Ferguson, 2008 World Series of Poker champion Peter Eastgate, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Ivey, and Phil Hellmuth, among others to be announced at a later date. The final best-of-three heads-up match will take place on March 8.
The action will then be edited for television to air on NBC over the course of Sunday afternoons in April and May of 2009. Leeann Tweeden will return as the reporter and interviewer, and Ali Nejad will again do commentary for the broadcast alongside Craig Hummer.
The NBC schedule has been established as follows, all times listed as Eastern Time, as Pacific Time is to be determined by local stations:
April 12 - Noon to 2pm April 19 - Noon to 1pm April 26 - Noon to 2pm May 3 - Noon to 2pm May 10 - Noon to 2pm May 17 - Noon to 3pm
Jon Miller, Executive Vice President of NBC Sports, added, “The National Heads-Up Championship’s exciting and unique one-on-one format creates the most compelling poker action anywhere. We’ve got another great lineup of talent for our fifth season, which will provide fans with the kind of riveting match-ups they have come to expect from our tournament.”