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Poker News | World Poker News

2009 National Heads-Up Poker Ready With Player Lineup

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Only recently were the dates of the fifth installment of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship announced, and the tournament has now followed up with the lineup of players. With the exception of some qualifiers yet to be determined, most of the 64-player roster for the March event has been published.

The field will be headed up by reigning champion Chris Ferguson, who will be accompanied by some of the most well-known and successful names in the game - Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Sam Farha, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, Allen Cunningham, Howard Lederer, and Annie Duke. Notable WSOP champions Peter Eastgate, Joe Hachem, Chris Moneymaker, Jamie Gold, and Jerry Yang will also participate. Almost everyone on the list is recognizable and brings a unique and impressive catalog of poker accomplishments to the tables.

Notables from the Hollywood contingent include Jennifer Tilly, who has her own list of poker successes of which to speak, Don Cheadle, and Brad Garrett, and representing the world of baseball will be legend Orel Hershiser.

Six of the final participants will be new names and faces to most in the poker community, as two are qualifying through Caesars Palace tournaments in Las Vegas, and four are winning their seats through online poker satellites. Since most of those opportunities are still in progress, only the names of one Caesars winner - Jeffrey Ishbia - and one online qualifier - Leon Yanovski - have been announced at the time of the press release.

NBC Sports executive vice-president Jon Miller commented on the lineup: “We’ve got a great mix of celebrity participants and top poker pros, including veterans and newcomers, for this year’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship. It’s a combustible combination bound to produce the inevitable upsets and compelling action that will excite poker fans everywhere.”

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship is one of the most anticipated events of the year in the poker industry. Not only is the hefty $25,000 buy-in one that keeps the field limited to the best in the business, but the bracket-style format allows the fans to get involved by picking their favorites and following the action closely to see who gets eliminated or who progresses through the rounds. The best of the action then comes to prime television when it is aired on NBC throughout the months of April and May.

Organizers are excited about the event as well, especially with new presenting sponsor GoDaddy.com in place and Caesars Palace preparing its poker tournament room for an event that will be open to the public.

The festivities are set to begin very soon, with the drawing party set for March 5 at a private event at PURE Nightclub in Las Vegas and the heads-up matches beginning the following day. Out of the 64 players, only one will emerge victorious, receiving the $500K grand prize and the one-of-a-kind poker title of National Heads-Up Poker Champion.

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