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Heads-Up Championship to draw formidable field
The best heads-up poker pros in the world will battle it out for the inaugural World Series of Poker $10k Heads-Up Championship on June 13 at the Rio in Las Vegas.
The $10k event marks yet another of the massive heads-up tournaments to take place in recent months, and is bound to attract an impressive field.
In recent heads-up events, including NBC's Poker After Dark invite-only $20k Heads-Up Championship and the Jonathan Little and Phil Ivey.
Ferguson took $500k home for defeating Andy Bloch to take the NBC title and says he and Bloch think very similarly about poker and are a force in any heads-up tournament.
"Winning [the NBC heads-up] is unbelievable. I really thought I would have to wait a long time to get another chance at winning. It's amazing," said Ferguson after his win over Bloch.
"Andy and I talk a lot about poker but have never played heads-up, that I can remember. [It was] really amazing facing probably my best friend in poker on national TV. I guarantee you, it's not an accident we both made the final table."
And it raises the question, will they face each other again in the WSOP $10k Heads-Up Championship?
Ferguson is running well early in this year's WSOP. He finished third in a field of 3,928 other players in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, pocketing $388,287 and bringing his total number of WSOP cashes to 48. It was the 27th final table he's reached in WSOP play.
Singer, the winner of the Full Tilt tournament, defeated Emil "whitelime" Patel in the final of the $25k event for an approximately $560k payday, the second largest of his career.
In addition to that victory, Singer recently captured his first WSOP bracelet ($1,500 PL Hold'em) since turning pro in 1983. According to Howard Lederer, Singer is a powerhouse right now.
"David Singer's live tournament results have been impressive over the last few years," said fellow Full Tilt team member Lederer. "Adding a [heads-up] title in the biggest buy-in online event in history shows just how versatile David is."
Recent Bodog addition Jean-Robert Bellande also played in the NBC heads-up and says he'll be playing the $10k heads-up come Friday. For him it's the unknown Internet players who'll make the tournament so challenging this year.
"In the NBC heads-up you pretty much know the players," says Bellande. "You have an idea of their style; you've seen them play. The scary thing about this heads-up is that it is probably going to be filled with Internet stars and kids you've never seen before who are every bit as talented and maybe even more so than the players you know. That's a scary parameter."
As mentioned earlier by Ferguson, his good friend Andy Bloch should not be forgotten among the Internet madness.
Bloch made it to both the final of the NBC event and the semifinal of the Full Tilt event, and is the man many consider to be the best heads-up player in the world.
In addition to his finishes in the two biggest recent heads-up events, Bloch has eight cashes in the last two years at the WSOP and has already had some great results in the 2008 WSOP. Bloch finished second to Nenad Medic in the Pot-Limit Hold'em $10k Championship and walked home with $488,048 as the runner-up.
It's only the second year that the WSOP has offered a heads-up event. Last year Dan "Rekrul" Schreiber defeated Mark Muchnik in the final to take home the $425,594 prize and the distinction of being the first WSOP heads-up champ. The renowned StarCraft player was just 21 years, 11 months and 9 days old at the time.
Last year there were 392 entrants in the heads-up event but this year the number of participants is limited to just 256. Play takes place over three days with a prize pool of approximately $2.5 million, $1 million more than the NBC event.