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Players face off Friday in NHUPC
This Friday, for the fourth straight year, Caesars Palace opens its tournament room to the world's best poker players - and the cameras of NBC - for the National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
The NHUPC is the granddaddy of all made-for-television poker tournaments. The heads-up format allows for the players' personalities to shine through, and the one-on-one drama matches that of any other televised sporting event. Then there's the money: whoever wins takes home $500,000.
The first-round brackets won't be determined until the draw party at Pure nightclub in Caesars Palace later tonight. The entrants for the tournament, however, have already been confirmed.
As usual, the field is composed mostly of world-class professional poker players and others who have won major tournaments. Eleven former Jonathan "FieryJustice" Little, Brian "sbrugby" Townsend, Daniel "Rekrul" Schreiber, Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Scott "BigRiskky" Clements will all make their NHUPC debuts on Friday at Caesars Palace.
Thanks to a few seats set aside for qualifiers, three other players will join the world's best at the NHUPC. Two players - business owner Hooman Nikzad and former Wall Street executive Tom Kelly - won their seats through satellites held at Caesars Palace. Alisha Kunze, a 23-year-old nursing student from Greensburg, Ind., won the final seat through a free promotion on PokerStars.net.
NBC will air the first two-hour installment of its tournament coverage on Sunday, April 13, at 12 p.m. (EDT), and subsequent episodes will air each of the next five Sundays.
In alphabetical order, here are this year's competitors, followed by the prize pool breakdown.
|1. Alexander, Jason ||33. Hershiser, Orel |
|2. Antonius, Patrik ||34. Ivey, Phil |
|3. Bellande, Jean-Robert ||35. Juanda, John |
|4. Benyamine, David ||36. Kaplan, Gabe |
|5. Bloch, Andy ||37. Kelly, Tom (Caesars Palace qualifier) |
|6. Brown, Chad ||38. Kunze, Alisha (Online qualifier) |
|7. Brunson, Doyle ||39. Laak, Phil |
|8. Brunson, Todd ||40. Lederer, Howard |
|9. Chan, Johnny ||41. Lindgren, Erick |
|10. Cheadle, Don ||42. Little, Jonathan |
|11. Clements, Scott ||43. Matusow, Mike |
|12. Cloutier, T.J. ||44. Moneymaker, Chris |
|13. Cunningham, Allen ||45. Mizrachi, Michael |
|14. Deeb, Freddy ||46. Negreanu, Daniel |
|15. Duke, Annie ||47. Nguyen, Scotty |
|16. Dwan, Tom ||48. Nikzad, Hooman (Caesars Palace qualifier) |
|17. Edler, Bill ||49. Pham, David |
|18. Elezra, Eli ||50. Raymer, Greg |
|19. Elizabeth, Shannon ||51. Rousso, Vanessa |
|20. Esfandiari, Antonio ||52. Schneider, Tom |
|21. Farha, Sam ||53. Schreiber, Daniel |
|22. Ferguson, Chris ||54. Seed, Huck |
|23. Fischman, Scott ||55. Seidel, Erik |
|24. Forrest, Ted ||56. Singer, David |
|25. Gold, Jamie ||57. Smith, Gavin |
|26. Gowen, Clonie ||58. Tilly, Jennifer |
|27. Greenstein, Barry ||59. Townsend, Brian |
|28. Grizzle, Sam ||60. Tran, J.C. |
|29. Hachem, Joe ||61. Tran, Kenny |
|30. Hansen, Gus ||62. Wasicka, Paul |
|31. Harman, Jennifer ||63. Williams, David |
|32. Hellmuth, Phil ||64. Yang, Jerry |
First place: $500,000
Second place: $250,000
Third & fourth place: $125,000
Fifth - eighth place: $75,000
Ninth - 16th place: $25,000
PokerListings.com will be live on the scene as well once the cards hit the felt to bring you live updates, reports, interviews, photos and more from the NHUPC. Check it out in the Live Tournaments section.
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