NBC Heads Up Poker Tournament Recap

As our pre-event column predicted, this year’s NBC Heads Up National Poker Championship sure was entertaining! While the event won’t be aired for a little while (mark your calendars for Sunday, April 18th people!), the final tournament bracket indicates that there were plenty of awesome matchups and some surprising winners over the course of the matches played.

The winner of the prestigious event was Annie Duke. It could be argued that the win “revives” her poker career. While she’s been a “name” player for a while already, the woman formerly best known as Howard “The Professor” Lederer’s sister hasn’t posted any memorable results as of late.

The event is unique in its format, as well as (to borrow an old NBC slogan) “Must See TV”. What makes the Heads Up Championship a major event each year is not just the $500,000 payday it awards to the winner, but, more importantly, a national TV audience eager to learn some household names.

In this writer’s humble opinion, however, on the poker playing level, I’d say that luck plays a much larger role than skill in this particular format than in a traditional poker tournament (not to mention a cash game). In poker, any player can win a hand against any other player on any given day. With a random draw dictating the opponents you’d face, even the top players might find themselves facing other players who they simply can’t get a good read on. Alternatively, the chips might fall in such a way that someone like Phil Ivey might just be able to mow down a bunch of online qualifiers on his way to the final match.

Despite the major luck factor, thus far at least, big “name” players have prevailed for 6 straight years in this exclusive tournament. In any event, congratulations to Annie Duke – who just guaranteed her name and face will stand out for another few years to come.

Anne Duke Wins

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