Round One National Heads-Up Poker Championships Matchups ReleasedPublished on March 6th, 2009 5:13 am EST
The first round match-ups for the 2009 National Heads-Up Championship have now been released.
Every player that was invited to participate in the event will be taking part, with the exception of Ivan Demidov. According to reports, Demidov was unable to secure a visa for the event and won't be able to attend. Hevad Khan took his spot in the tournament, and will be squaring off against Scotty Nguyen in the first round.
Here are the four brackets, followed by some notes about each bracket:
Johnny Chan v Eli Elezra
Erick Lindgren vs Howard Lederer
J.C. Tran vs David Williams
Jamie Gold vs Scott Fischman
Erik Seidel vs John Phan
Jerry Yang vs Clonie Gowen
Allen Cunningham vs Sam Farha
Andy Bloch vs Peter Eastgate
Probably the toughest bracket of the tournament by far. You have 9-10 highly skilled players in this draw.
Am I the only one that is hoping for a Lederer / Gowen showdown?
Jerry Yang vs Clonie Gowen - this match-up will be ridiculed more than any other match-up in the tournament.
Bloch was runner-up last year and will be very hard to beat. As mentioned, this is a very tough bracket.
Kenny Tran vs Antonio Esfandiari
Greg Raymer vs Jennifer Harman
Kenny Yeh vs Phil Laak
Vanessa Selbst vs Layne Flack
David Benyamine vs Gus Hansen
Huck Seed vs Jonathan Little
Chad Brown vs Glen Chorny
Annie Duke vs Brad Garrett
Watch out for Vanessa Selbst - she is an excellent heads-up player. She has placed third in the WSOP heads-up event two years in a row.
Benyamine and Hansen have logged many hours against each other online - this should be an entertaining match-up.
I like Selbst in this bracket.
Gabe Kaplan vs Chris Ferguson
Ilari Sahamies vs Gavin Smith
John Juanda vs Joe Hachem
Fred Collins vs Bertrand Grospellier
Jeffrey Ishbia vs Leon Yanovski
Mike Sexton vs Phil Hellmuth
Gavin Griffin vs Tom Dwan
Barry Greenstein vs Blandino Gines
Plenty of dead money in this bracket.
Ferguson has performed unbelievably in this event and is the defending champion.
Hellmuth, Greenstein, Grospellier and Dwan all have great shots of making it out of this bracket, but they will all have to get by Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, which is no easy feat.
Grospellier and Dwan both have a TON of experience playing heads-up online - don't discount this.
Don Cheadle vs David Pham
Paul Wasicka vs Nicholas Joy
Jennifer Tilly vs Phil Ivey
Doyle Brunson vs Vanessa Rousso
Hevad Khan vs Scotty Nguyen
Ted Forrest vs Orel Hershiser
Daniel Negreanu vs Chris Moneymaker
Mike Matusow vs Dario Minieri
Ivey will be tough to beat (obviously) - I don't see him having much trouble getting past Tilly in the first round. His friends will torment him if he loses to Tilly, so expect him to be on his "A" game.
Negreanu is playing really strong poker right now.
David Pham shouldn't be overlooked - he has a good draw in the first round and could easily make it out of this bracket.
Matusow vs Minieri should prove to be an entertaining match-up. Cue the scarf comments.
How much longer will Chris Moneymaker keep getting invited to this event? I know that his win at the 2003 World Series of Poker ignited the poker boom, but that was almost six years ago.
This should be a very entertaining event, and I can't wait for it to get underway.