NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship finale airs

The Money Shot

The long-awaited finale of the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, showcasing the battle between heavyweights Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Andy Bloch, is set to air today.

Some players feel that the true test of poker skill is aptitude at playing heads-up. Other than how the cards fall, the only factors at play are the actions and reactions of the players. How well you know your opponent, both on and off the table, can be a huge factor in whether or not you succeed heads-up.

The road to the final table

To make it to the final two of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, a player has to win five concurrent matches against randomly selected opponents. Ferguson and Bloch both had to make their way through a minefield of tough adversaries to get to the final table.

Jonathan Little clambered up to a 6-1 chip lead against Ferguson. Jesus' battle back was furious - he managed to double up twice, the first as he was holding a slight edge, and the second after getting it all-in with pocket nines versus Little's pocket fours.

With a slight chip advantage, Chris called Little's all-in bet with pocket nines, which held up against Little's 10-7 suited.

The semifinal matchup against Phil Ivey was one of the most spectacular, ending with Ferguson going into the tank, finally coming out to make a big call with pocket nines. They held up to beat Ivey's pocket sixes with an open-ended straight draw, sending Jesus to the finals for an amazing third time.

Andy Bloch

Round 1 saw Shannon Elizabeth miss a good draw on the flop, giving Bloch a seat in round two.

In Round 2, Bloch defeated another woman opponent, Vanessa Rousso, after they both hit a flop hard. Bloch's flopped two pair held up against Vanessa's top pair.

Round 3 started off with an early lead for Andy after he flopped a set of fours against Scott Fischman. The final hand had Fischman at a slight advantage getting it all in pre-flop. In the end Andy's hand hooked up a diamond flush for the win.

The quarterfinals found Bloch up against ex-Major League pitcher Orel Hershiser. After trading chips for a long time, Orel called off all of his chips with J-T against Bloch's A-9. The best hand held, sending Bloch to the semifinals with a freshly signed baseball.

Debatably, the toughest matchup for Bloch was against Huck Seed in the semifinals. An hour into the match, the two were almost even in stacks. With a slight chip lead, Bloch moved all-in with his A-Q, getting a call from Seed's pocket nines. Bloch caught an ace to ensure himself a seat at the final table.

Tune in to NBC tonight to see the semifinals, as well as the final match between Bloch and Ferguson, who proves to the world he may just be the world's greatest tournament NL Hold'em player.

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