Call it April Madness. Like college basketball's March version, NBC's "2007 National Heads-Up Poker Championship" is sure to provide some epic battles and unheralded heroes, and they've started the build-up by naming the first 16 invitees.
And they'll be joined by 59 others vying for the title of best face-to-face poker player in the world in the college hoops-inspired single-elimination, bracket-style format.
Win a match and advance to the next round; win six matches and be crowned 2007 champion, making an elite trio with previous winners Forrest and 2005 champ Phil Hellmuth.
The first round is seeded randomly during a live pairings party that will happen the night before the tournament begins. Players are divided into four brackets - Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades - and they'll play down until the semifinals are comprised of one player from each bracket.
A best-of-three-hands final then determines the champ.
Each episode will air Sunday at 3 p.m. (PST) beginning Apr. 8, and the series will finish with a three-hour episode May 20.
Here is the complete list of invitees so far for 2007.
- Phil Ivey
- Daniel Negreanu
- Ted Forrest
- Howard Lederer
- Johnny Chan
- Gus Hansen
- Antonio Esfandiari
- Joe Hachem
- Sam Farha
- Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
- Jennifer Harman
- Phil Hellmuth
- Greg Raymer
- Chris Moneymaker
- Doyle Brunson
- Jamie Gold
The elite field will be joined this year by one freeroll satellite winner from NBCHeadsUp.com, and one winner from a live satellite on Feb. 10 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Related Article: Forrest Beats Ferguson for Heads-Up Title