Elite Eight Set at NBC Heads-Up

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2 March 2008, Created By: Matthew Showell
Elite Eight Set at NBC Heads-Up
Day 2 of the NBC National Heads-Up Championship is bubble day. Half of today's 32-person starting field would make it into the first level of the payouts, the other half having to settle for just the TV time.

With eight tables in the room, 16 players at a time were pitted against one another. Today's first round of matches saw each contestant start with twice the starting stack of the Day 1 heats. Players keep the chips they win in each match so we can expect that trend to continue until the finale. Curiously, the blinds are also double so although they have a deeper stack the structures are essentially the same, regardless of the round.

Just like round one, today saw a single-elimination structure which can amount to shockingly short experiences for some in this event. A clash of two big hands is all it takes heads-up for the money to go in the middle. T.J. Cloutier, Freddy Deeb, Huck Seed, Jonathan Little, Greg Raymer, Mike Matusow, Chris Ferguson, Gus Hansen, Phil Laak, Phil Ivey and J.C. Tran.

Before the day was done, however, the field would be halved yet again to decide the elite eight who will return for Day 3.

One by one the matches ended with one player heading home $25k richer and one guaranteeing themselves at least $75,000. David Benyamine, Huck Seed, Orel Hershiser, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and Jonathan Little all advanced by about 8 p.m. but the match between Chris Ferguson and Mike Matusow continued.

Mike Matusow
Rock on guys. Me, I'm going home.

The two played a few more levels with the stacks remaining near even. On the final hand Matusow moved in holding A 6 and Jesus made the call with K Q. The flop missed both players but gave Jesus a monster draw, coming 9 9 2. The 2 on the turn sealed the deal and we had our final eight.

Tomorrow will see the elite eight square off and play down to four. Those four will pair off to decide the final two and only then will we be ready for this event's finale, which will be a best-two-of-three affair.

Among the remaining eight are former world champions, WPT winners, WSOP bracelet winners, high-stakes hotshots and one Major League Baseball pitcher. Orel Hershiser is relatively new to the game of heads-up poker but he's certainly no stranger to high-pressure situations.

Orel Hershiser
I glued this to my hand four years ago. No one seems to notice.

He won the Gold Glove, the Cy Young Award and was named MVP of the 1988 World Series (the real one). Hershiser defeated Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham and Freddy Deeb to get this far and will face off with Andy Bloch first thing tomorrow morning.

PL.com's own Martin Derbyshire spoke to the big-leaguer earlier this afternoon so make sure to check that out before you leave.

For a full rundown of each and every elimination in this event so far simply surf over to the Live Updates Page. PL.com will be back in action, along with the elite eight and everyone following at home, at about 11:30 (PST) so make sure to hit us back then. If you are unable to make it at the agreed-upon time all the info will be waiting for you to peruse at your convenience. That's PL.com's promise to you.

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