Published on 2008-02-29 10:23:31

national heads-up poker championship logo on blue nbc backgroundThe drawing party took place tonight for the 2008 National Heads-Up Championship which begins on Friday. The party took place at the Pure nightclub inside of Caesars Palace, the site of the Championship. 64 players will take part in the event, meaning that there will be a total of 32 first round match-ups. I have included a list of all of the match-ups at the bottom of this article (courtesy of, but here are the first round match-ups that really jumped out at me:

Tom "durrrr" Dwan vs Phil Hellmuth - "durrrr" is one of the top young poker players in the world, and he will be going up against one of the best tournament players of all time in Phil Hellmuth Jr. Will Hellmuth still be tilted from his sixth place finish at the L.A. Poker Classic? Will Dwan's aggressive style of play tilt Hellmuth? If I had to pick four players to win this event, Dwan would be one of them. You can not underestimate his play, especially in a heads-up tournament.

Jerry Yang vs Chris Moneymaker - I find it funny that these two are going to play against each other in the first round of play. Aside from the satellite entrants, these are probably two of the weaker players in the tournament.

Phil Ivey vs Alisha Kunze - Alisha was the qualifier that won entry into the Championship through an online satellite. How would you like to draw Phil Ivey as your first round opponent if you were in her shoes? She is a 23 year old nursing student who likely has little, if any, live poker experience. She's in for a rough ride.

David Williams vs Johnny Chan - this should be a great match-up. Williams is extremely aggressive and Chan is one of the all-time best.

David Pham vs Brian "sbrugby" Townsend - Townsend has a ton of heads-up experience (most online) and Pham is one of the top No Limit Hold'em players in the world. Both players are in an extremely tough part of the draw that includes players such as Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein and Doyle Brunson. I think that the eventually winner will come from this quarter of the draw.

Sam Farha vs Doyle Brunson - two cagey old veterans doing battle. There must be nearly a century of combined poker experience between these two.

Barry Greenstein vs Howard Lederer - what's the combined IQ between these two?

Jean-Robert Bellande vs Sam Grizzle - I'm not sure why Grizzle is playing in this event; I guess he earned his way in by being a grumpy old man. I wouldn't have minded if they had decided to add another talented young player into the mix instead of Grizzle - someone like Brandon Adams. That's just me though.

Here is the complete list of first round match-ups:

Clubs Draw

Jonathan Little vs Erik Seidel

Patrik Antonius vs Gabe Kaplan

Greg Raymer vs Hooman Nikzad

Kenny Tran vs Scott Clements

Mike Matusow vs Joseph Hachem

Tom Dwan vs Phil Hellmuth

Tom Schneider vs Gavin Smith

Chris Ferguson vs John Juanda

Hearts Draw

Vanessa Rousso vs Antonio Esfandiari

Shannon Elizabeth vs Andy Bloch

Todd Brunson vs Scott Fischman

Jamie Gold vs Tom Kelly

Ted Forrest vs Orel Hershiser

Allen Cunningham vs Chad Brown

Jean-Robert Bellande vs Sam Grizzle

Freddy Deeb vs Paul Wasicka

Spades Draw

Don Cheadle vs Gus Hansen

Scotty Nguyen vs Bill Edler

Jerry Yang vs Chris Moneymaker

David Singer vs Phil Laak

Phil Ivey vs Alisha Kunze

David Williams vs Johnny Chan

Daniel Schreiber vs T.J. Cloutier

Annie Duke vs J.C. Tran

Diamonds Draw

Jason Alexander vs Huck Seed

David Pham vs Brian Townsend

Clonie Gowen vs Jennifer Tilly

Daniel Negreanu vs Michael Mizrachi

Barry Greenstein vs Howard Lederer

David Benyamine vs Jennifer Harman

Sam Farha vs Doyle Brunson

Erick Lindgren vs Eli Elezra

The tournament will kick off at 10:15 am local time, with the Club Draw starting first.



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