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2008 NBC Heads-Up Championship: $20,000 No-Limit Hold'em

Tournaments, 2008-03-04, by Ozone

For Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, this year's NBC Heads-Up Championship proved that the third time really is a charm. In the first two runnings of this tournament, Ferguson made it to the championship match and lost both times. Three years ago, he lost to Phil Hellmuth in the inaugural tournament. The very next year, he made it back to the championship match only to lose again, that time to Ted Forrest. Ferguson finally got his vindication in this year's tournament by knocking off Andy Bloch for the title. In addition to the pride of knowing he's reached the championship match in three of four opportunities, Ferguson also walked away with a cool $500,000. Bloch earned $125,000 for second.

Phil Ivey, fresh off of a win at the L.A. Poker Classic, managed to reach the final four where he fell to Ferguson. It seems there is a correlation between performing well in the L.A. Poker Classic and the NBC Heads-Up Championship. Last year, Paul Wasicka took 4th in the L.A. Poker Classic before winning the NBC Heads-Up Championship. Wasicka didn't make it past the first round in this year's tournament after losing to Freddy Deeb.

1996 WSOP Champion Huck Seed was Bloch's last victim. Former baseball player Orel Hershiser reached the final eight by knocking off the likes of Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb. In a first-round battle of recent Main Event champions, Jerry Yang ousted Chris Moneymaker.

Ferguson's road to victory was littered with impressive knockouts: John Juanda, Gavin Smith, Mike Matusow, and Jonathan Little all felt his wrath before he finished off Ivey and Bloch.

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