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By Dianne R. Davis

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Photo credit: Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis

Poker Players Return To Caesars for  Heads-Up Poker Championship is Back as Sponsor of 7th Annual Tournament

Annie Duke Returns to Defend 2010 Title, Stands to Win $750,000 Grand Prize

With a larger tournament grand prize package than ever before, 64 of the world’s most elite poker players will go “all in” at the seventh annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship presented by on March 3-6 at the Caesars Palace Poker Tournament Room.

Annie duke
Heads-Up brings a who’s who of the poker world to compete in its distinctive, bracket-style head-to-head format for $1.8 million in combined prize money. Annie Duke returns to defend her 2010 tournament title and her chance at the $750,000 first-place grand prize., the world's top Web hosting provider and largest domain name registrar, returns for a third year as the presenting sponsor of the tournament, which will be taped for broadcast on NBC over six consecutive Sundays in April and May.

"We are proud to broadcast the National Heads-Up Poker Championship for a seventh consecutive year for our viewers to see some of the most exciting poker in the world,” said Jon Miller, president of programming of NBC Sports and Versus. “You never know what match-ups you are going to get in Heads-Up. Every year we are amazed with the outcome of who beats who when the best of the best battle it out.”

Scheduled to appear in this year's event are several of the world's top poker pros, including: Go Daddy Girl and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Huck Seed, Daniel Negreanu, along with 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel and 2010 Heads-Up runner up Erik Seidel.  Also, 2008 WSOP main event champion Peter Eastgate, who left the game in 2010, is coming out of his self-imposed retirement specifically to play in this year’s NHPC.

“Year after year, I look forward to competing among the toughest competition out there that the Heads-Up tournament brings together for fans to see nationwide,” said champion Annie Duke. “I am excited to compete against the skill and mental toughness that my fellow poker players will showcase on the tables.”    

“The great thing about poker fans is they are Internet savvy and extremely loyal,” said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons. “We will absolutely be rooting for our Go Daddy Girl Vanessa Rousso …the first woman to ever reach the finals of this tournament back in 2009, which was also the first year we sponsored it.”

Model and television personality Leeann Tweeden will serve as the host and sideline reporter, while Craig Hummer and Ali Nejad will provide commentary for the broadcast.

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship features 64 top poker players competing in a series of heads-up, one-on-one matches of No Limit Texas Hold'em to determine the best heads-up poker player in the world.  

The first round opponents for the brackets will be chosen at random. The single-elimination competition begins Friday, March 4 at noon and continues through Sunday, March 6, when a two-out-of-three championship match will determine the winner. The viewing gallery is open to guests on a first-come, first-served basis.

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