Photo credit: Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis
Seidel Defeats Moneymaker to Claim $750,000 Prize
Poker great Eric Seidel once again proved his staying power by winning the seventh annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship (NHUPC) presented by GoDaddy.com at the Caesars Palace Poker Tournament Room on March 6, 2011.
Seidel, right, called second place winner Chris Moneymaker’s bluff with three fives in the final hand of to take home the top prize of $750,000, up from $500,000 in last year’s competition..
Moneymaker takes home $300,000 as the second-place finisher, which increased $50,000 from last year after the buy-in for invited players was raised from $20,000 to $25,000. All told, $1.8 million in prizes were distributed. The Texas Hold’em NHPC is taped for broadcast on NBC over six consecutive Sundays beginning April 17, noon – 1 p.m. ET.
“I have competed in the NHPC since 2005 and lost to Annie Duke in the finals at last year’s tournament, so my win today is truly special,” said Seidel. “It is always exciting to compete against my fellow poker players who showcased great skill on the tables this year.”
The Head’s Up Tournament differs greatly from basic tournament play. As the name suggests, this particular competition brought together some of the world’s best players in a one on one elimination. Following a red carpet event, a drawing held Thursday evening, March 3 at an exclusive welcome party at Pure matched the first round of players. From there, they continued the elimination until the final two played on Sunday evening. This tournament has a unique, single-elimination, bracket-style format modeled after college basketball's championship tournament, except that the finals are the best of three.
In additional to the pros, the invitation-only field of poker savvy celebrities included Jason Alexander, Emmitt Smith, Don Cheadle, and the popular actress and poker player Jennifer Tilly.
In additional to Moneymaker, Seidel defeated several top poker players on the way to the final table, including five-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Allen Cunningham and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Jennifer Harman. Third and fourth place winners, Andrew Robl and Josh Duhamel received $125,000 for their 3rd and 4th place wins. For more details on the step by step elimination, check out the chart below.
Players in the first group gathered for a photo op before the beginning of play on Friday, March 4.
Barry Greenstein and Jason Alexander
Peter Eastgate and Daniel Cates
Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly
Greg Raymer delights fans with autographs
A few lucky spectators waited hours for a close up view.