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NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship to Air in March

After a 1-year hiatus NBC is bringing back one of their most successful televised poker events, the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. The invite-only 64-player tournament aired for seven consecutive years before NBC pulled the plug on the project in the aftermath of Black Friday (when virtually all sponsorship dollars and ad-buys were reduced to zero amidst a turbulent and unknown backdrop) but NBC has announced the tournament will return this year, and will once again air on NBC and NBC Sports.

According to a press release that landed in my inbox today, the 64 player field will convene at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 26th for the three day tournament, which will then be broadcast on NBC and NBC Sports beginning on March 14, 2012. You can find the full broadcast schedule below in the attached press release.

The field for the tournament has yet to be announced, but several players have let the cat out of the bag, including the very interesting Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, whose presence in the field should bring in quite a few viewers, considering the young Swede is one of the most enigmatic and most talked about players in the game –not to mention being one of, if not THE best, Heads-Up NLHE player in the game.

While the event is by invite-only, the competing players must bring their own entry-fee, which has been anywhere from $20,000-$25,000 in the past, with the winner generally walking away with a cool $500,000 after surviving the NCAA Basketball style tournament seedings.

Here is a look at the full press release regarding the NBC Heads-UP Championship:

NEW YORK – Jan. 9, 2013 – NBC Sports Group today announced the return of theNational Heads-Up Poker Championship to NBC and NBC Sports Network. Coverage of the invitational tournament from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev., includes three original airings on NBC and three on NBC Sports Network beginning March 14 at 9 p.m. ET.

TheNational Heads-Up Poker Championship features 64 of the world’s most compelling poker players as they compete in a series of Heads-Up matches (one-on-one games of No Limit Texas Hold’em). The tournament is a single-elimination, bracket-style format modeled after the NCAA Basketball tournament. A player wins a match and advances to the next round; wins six matches and becomes the National Heads-Up Poker Champion.

This year’s event marks the eighth installment of theNational Heads-Up Poker Championship. For the seventh time, the tournament will be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev., a resort with a long history of exclusive poker tournaments and cash games. The reigning champion is eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel, who defeated 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker to win the title. Previous Heads-Up Poker Championship competitors have included Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Antonio Esfandiari.

NBC SPORTS GROUP’S FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (All times ET and subject to change):

DATE TIME NETWORK

March 14 9 p.m. NBC Sports Network

March 21 9 p.m. NBC Sports Network

March 28 9 p.m. NBC Sports Network

April 6 1 p.m. NBC

April 13 1 p.m. NBC

April 20 1 p.m. NBC

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