Heads-Up Championship Starts Today

by Lou on March 5, 2010

NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship gets underway today, and will be contested through March 7.

This made-for-TV event will air on the following dates:
April 18 – Noon – 1 p.m. ET/9:00-10:00 a.m. PT

April 25 – Noon – 2 p.m. ET/9:00-11:00 a.m. PT

May 2 – Noon – 2 p.m. ET/9:00-11:00 a.m. PT

May 9 – Noon – 2 p.m. ET/9:00-11:00 a.m. PT

May 16 – Noon – 2 p.m. ET/9:00-11:00 a.m. PT

May 23 – Noon – 3 p.m. ET/9:00-Noon a.m. PT

Although this event is invitational and made for television so you’d expect it to be celeb-heavy and laden with some players who are more notable than gifted, the 64-player field is as notable for those who are not playing as it is for those who are.

Three who really should have received invites are Yevgeniy Timoshenko, who won more than $4 million in 2009, Jeffrey Lisandro who won three WSOP titles last year, and Cornel Andrew Cimpan, who won two World Poker Tour events last year.

Maybe they were invited but turned down an opportunity to play. I don’t know. If they did turn an invitation down, that’s their choice. But if they were omitted or overlooked, you can scroll through the list of invitees, and celebs aside, it’s easy to find at least ten players who are not as deserving as these three.

But that’s what happens in invitational events, and it’s why everyone in the United States is spending time debating which teams deserve to be included in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament and which should be passed over. It makes great water cooler discussion material, but in the case of this poker tournament, passing up these three makes no sense at all.

Here’s a complete list of players:

Patrik Antonius

Eric Baldwin
Andy Bloch
Doyle Brunson
Joe Cada
Johnny Chan
Don Cheadle
Allen Cunningham
Pieter de Korver
Annie Duke
Tom Dwan
Peter Eastgate
Eli Elezra
Antonio Esfandiari
Sam Farha
Chris Ferguson
Ted Forrest
Jamie Gold
Phil Gordon
Barry Greenstein
Bertrand Grospellier
Joe Hachem
Gus Hansen
Jennifer Harman
Phil Hellmuth
Orel Hershiser
Jesper Hougaard
Phil Ivey
John Juanda
Gabe Kaplan
John Paul Kelly
Phil Laak
Howard Lederer
Erick Lindgren
Mike Matusow
Jason Mercier
Dario Minieri
Chris Moneymaker
Darvin Moon
Greg Mueller
Daniel Negreanu
Scotty Nguyen
Annette Obrestad
Brock Parker
Dennis Phillips
Greg Raymer
Vanessa Rousso
Kara Scott
Huck Seed
Erik Seidel
Mike Sexton
Gavin Smith
Jennifer Tilly
Paul Wasicka
David Williams
Leo Wolpert
Jerry Yang
Seven Online Qualifiers

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