15 Surefire Ways to Play in the Next NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship

NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship announces automatic ways to get invitedThe selection committee for NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship, hosted by Leeann Tweeden (at right), has just announced a list of automatic ways to get invited to upcoming Heads-Up Championships. Or put another way, the Top 15 Reasons Your Chances of Getting Invited to Upcoming Heads-Up Championships are Slim to None. Except for maybe the ALL In magazine Player of the Year one. That seems like it may be easy to win.

Here are the 15 ways to earn an auto-invite (full press release after the jump):

- Previous 5 National Heads-Up Poker Champions
- Previous 2 National Heads-Up runners-up
- Defending National Heads-Up semifinalists
- Any player who cashes in the past 4 consecutive years of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship
- Previous 3 World Series of Poker Main Event Champions
- Defending World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up
- Beginning with the 2008 WSOP, multiple bracelet winners in the same year will receive an automatic invitation to the next Heads-Up Championship
- Defending World Series of Poker Player of the Year
- Defending World Series of Poker Heads-Up Champion
- Defending World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Champion (must be 21 or older)
- Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year
- Reigning Monte Carlo European Poker Tour Grand Final Champion (must be 21 or older)
- Reigning Card Player magazine Player of the Year
- Reigning Bluff magazine Player of the Year
- Reigning ALL IN magazine Player of the Year

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Criteria for Automatic Invitations to Future National Heads-Up Poker Championships Established

Categories created which ensure an invitation to play in next year’s event and beyond

NEW YORK – April 29, 2008 – Based upon the resounding success of NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship over the past 4 years, the selection committee involved with determining which players are invited has reviewed the fields assembled and decided to implement a list of automatic invitations for upcoming Heads-Up Championships. Similar in nature to the list of exemptions and automatic qualifiers issued in some other sports, the committee has established a number of different categories ensuring that the players who qualify in each one will receive an invitation to play.

Viewers of the 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship are currently witnessing the toughest field ever assembled in its history, featuring 11 former World Champions, 6 WPT Players of the Year, a combined total of 112 World Series of Poker bracelets won between the players, and collective live tournament winnings in excess of $124 million. The identification of the categories found below that will receive automatic invitations will help to ensure that the quality of the fields in future events will remain of the same high caliber.

The list is as follows:

· Previous 5 National Heads-Up Poker Champions

· Previous 2 National Heads-Up runners-up

· Defending National Heads-Up semifinalists

· Any player who cashes in the past 4 consecutive years of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship

· Previous 3 World Series of Poker Main Event Champions

· Defending World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up

· Beginning with the 2008 WSOP, multiple bracelet winners in the same year will receive an automatic invitation to the next Heads-Up Championship

· Defending World Series of Poker Player of the Year

· Defending World Series of Poker Heads-Up Champion

· Defending World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Champion (must be 21 or older)

· Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year

· Reigning Monte Carlo European Poker Tour Grand Final Champion (must be 21 or older)

· Reigning Card Player magazine Player of the Year

· Reigning Bluff magazine Player of the Year

· Reigning ALL IN magazine Player of the Year

· Online and NBC qualifiers (1-3) (must be 21 or older)

· Host venue qualifiers (2)

As it stands, if no one player qualifies for an invitation in more than one category, then there will be as many as 27 different players who will receive a guaranteed invitation to play in 2009. That number could also rise if another player wins two or more bracelets in the 2008 World Series of Poker. It should be noted that the players who earn their invitation by achieving one or more of the above are still responsible for buying into the tournament, unless, of course, they win their seat through one of the qualifiers.
The list can be changed at the committee’s discretion, i.e. more automatic bids can be added, but at the very least, it will be used for the 2009 event. The committee also reserves the right to withhold an invitation to a player in certain circumstances. Unless otherwise noted, the World Series of Poker refers to the event(s) held in Las Vegas.

NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship is the most widely-watched of all poker programming on television. The event showcases the skills of many of the world’s best players, along with a few poker-playing celebrities, who must win 6 heads-up matches in a row in order to claim the prestigious and coveted title. Past winners in this event are Phil Hellmuth (2005), Ted Forrest (2006), Paul Wasicka (2007), and Chris Ferguson (2008), who have 21 World Series of Poker bracelets between them and combined career tournament winnings in excess of $28 million. These statistics alone are an indication of the strength of the field one has to conquer in order to be crowned the National Heads-Up Poker Champion.

The 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship continues to air the next three Sundays, May 4, May 11, and May 18 at noon EDT on NBC. The shows on May 4 and May 11 are each 2 hours in length, and the one on May 18 is a special 3-hour finale. Check your local listings for exact times in your area.

 

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