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2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship

Tournaments, 2007-03-05, by Ozone

NBC's third annual National Heads-Up Championship took place this weekend at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The bracket-style tournament's field of sixty-four was filled by the world's best players and a few celebrities.

Poker pros had some problems against the celebrities in this year's tournament. Actor Don Cheadle defeated Phil Ivey in the first round. Shannon Elizabeth plowed all the way to the final four, knocking off the likes of Humberto Brenes and Barry Greenstein along the way.

Eventually Elizabeth's improbable run came to an end against 2006 WSOP Main Event runner-up Paul Wasicka. Similar to last year's WSOP, Wasicka faced a Hollywood figure turned poker enthusiast in former actor Chad Brown for the championship. Wasicka won the first two matches in the best-of-three contest to claim the championship and $500,000. In his path to a $250,000 runner-up finish, Brown knocked off WPT champion Gavin Smith in the final four.

Last year's champion Ted Forrest returned to the Sweet 16 this year before losing to Nam Le. Phil Hellmuth, the winner of this tournament's inaugural running, was slated to participate but ultimately was not on the bracket for reasons that are not clear.

Some interesting matchups included; Joe Hachem knocking off fellow former world champion Chris Moneymaker in the first round, female player Kristy Gazes advancing to the Sweet 16 by defeating two other women along the way, Isabelle Mercier and Clonie Gowen. In what was undoubtedly the chattiest table of the tournament, Mike "The Mouth" Matusow knocked off Daniel Negreanu in the first round.

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