Ratings rise for NBC poker show

Michael Matusow

The third season may be the charm for NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship as the poker show saw a 15% increase in ratings from last year. According to NBC Sports, the show earned an overall 1.7 rating with a five share Sunday.

The show held an even bigger share in various markets across the United States.

In Seattle it had a 4.9 rating with a 15 share and a 4.6 rating in San Diego with a 13 share. Variety also reported that in other big cities such as Boston, Washington D.C. and Denver, ratings were higher than the national average as well.

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship is filmed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and pits 64 players going head-to-head against each other in bracket format.

Not only were pros such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Mike Matusow (pictured) invited to play, celebrities such as Tobey Maguire, Gabe Kaplan, Don Cheadle and WSOP Ladies Event bracelet winner Jennifer Tilley showed off their skills as well.

The poker personalities and the celebrities help keep viewers tuned in, and the timing of the show has helped as well.

"We were looking for a time of the year where we could maximize the show," Jon Miller, NBC Sports executive vice president, said in Variety.

"We found April through early May to be perfect, and to air it at noon is a god time of the day in terms of competition. Baseball and basketball don't start until around 1 p.m., and NASCAR starts later."

The show airs Sundays at noon (EST).

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