Poker
NBC Releases List of Poker Players for the 2011 National Heads-Up Poker Championship

NBC Releases List of Poker Players for the 2011 National Heads-Up Poker Championship

Every year, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship is taped in Las Vegas and broadcast on NBC. This tournament has been held since 2005 and is played at Caesars Palace. NBC has announced the list of poker players participating in the 2011 event, which is being sponsored by domain registrar GoDaddy.

The selections for this particular invitational tournament are always controversial. Most of those invited are professional poker players, but some celebrities are invited, presumably for ratings. Some of the professionals have not had many big results lately in poker tournaments (the live pros like Phil Gordon, who have been famous for years but who hardly even play on the pro tournament circuit).

In addition, virtually no unknown online professional poker players are invited. To be honest, though, there doesn’t seem to be a good argument for complaining about unknown heads-up specialists not being invited. While the marketing may be misleading, anyone who knows poker at all knows this is not even supposed to be the 64 best no-limit hold ’em heads-up players in the world. There is a reason it is called an “invitational.” Otherwise, everyone would have to qualify, which could make for an extremely boring broadcast. Indeed, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship is more like a pro-am invitational, not a professional poker tournament.

As in previous years, 2020’s crop of invited players includes celebrities like Jason Alexander and Emmitt Smith. It also includes several who qualified automatically based on past achievement in this heads-up championship, other tournaments or …