Erik Seidel reigned supreme over an elite field of 63 of poker's best to win the seventh annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship (NHPC) presented by GoDaddy.com, the world's top Web hosting provider and largest domain name registrar, at the Caesars Palace Poker Tournament Room. Seidel defeated Chris Moneymaker in the tournament's best-of-three final table to claim the championship and the $750,000 first-place prize, up from $500,000 in last year's competition. Moneymaker takes home $300,000 as the second-place finisher, which increased $50,000 from last year after the buy-in for invited players was raised from $20,000 to $25,000. The NHPC is taped for broadcast on NBC over six consecutive Sundays beginning April 17, noon - 1 p.m. ET.
"I have competed in the NHPC since 2005 and lost to Annie Duke in the finals at last year's tournament, so my win today is truly special," said Erik Seidel. "It is always exciting to compete against my fellow poker players who showcased great skill on the tables this year."
Seidel defeated several top poker players on the way to the final table, including five-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Allen Cunningham and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Jennifer Harman. He called Moneymaker's bluff with three 5s in the final hand of the second match, giving him the 2011 National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
The single-elimination competition began Friday, March 4 and continued through Sunday, March 6, when a best-of-three championship match determined Seidel the winner.
The National Heads-Up Poker Championship features 64 top poker players competing in a series of heads-up (one-on-one matches of No Limit Texas Hold'em) matches to determine the best heads-up poker player in the world. This tournament has a unique, single-elimination, bracket-style format modeled after college basketball's championship tournament, except that the finals are the best of three.
The brackets were set during the tournament's draw party held at PURE Nightclub on Thursday, March 3, the day before the Championship began.
NBC's television coverage of the 2011 NHPC is as follows:
April 17 - Noon-1 p.m. ET/9-10 a.m. PT
April 24 - Noon-2 p.m. ET/9-11 a.m. PT
May 1 - Noon-2 p.m. ET/9-11 a.m. PT
May 8 - Noon-2 p.m. ET/9-11 a.m. PT
May 15 - Noon-2 p.m. ET/9-11 a.m. PT
May 22 - Noon-3 p.m. ET/9-Noon PT.
The NHPC prizing structure increased in 2011 to $1.8 million in combined prize money, and featured the following breakdown:
3rd & 4th Place $125,000
5th - 8th Place $75,000
9th - 16th Place $30,000