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NEW YORK – April 21, 2011 – A field of 64 players comprised of the world’s top poker players and celebrities compete in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship presented by from CaesarsPalace in Las Vegas this Sunday at Noon ET on NBC. Only half the field will move on to compete for the $750,000 top prize after Sunday’s opening round coverage.

NBC Sports’ Craig Hummer, Ali Nejad and Leeann Tweeden call the action for the second installment of opening-round featured matchups in the Spades, Clubs and Diamonds brackets.

The Spades bracket includes former World Series of Poker World Champions Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker and Carlos Mortensen. Actress Jennifer Tilly takes on Brunson in hopes of winning her first-ever NHPC match.

“It’s an honor to come and play with the best players in the world,” said Brunson. “I look forward to it every year and really enjoy playing in it.”

In the Clubs bracket, actor Jason Alexander takes on a professional in newcomer Liv Boeree from England. Reigning WSOP Champion Jonathan Duhamel and tournament specialists Annette Obrestad and Jason Mercier compete as well in the Clubs bracket opening round.

And finally, the Diamonds bracket features a hotly contested rematch between 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Raymer and Raymer’s former WSOP nemesis, Mike Matusow. Also competing are four other former WSOP World Champions: Joe Hachem, Peter Eastgate, Chris Ferguson and Huckleberry Seed.

“It’s really important to play in this tournament,” said Raymer. “These are 64 of the best, most famous players in the world. A few celebrities make it even more fun and exciting.”

NBC continues its coverage of the 2011 Heads-Up Poker Championship with the Round of 32 on Sunday, May 1 at Noon ET.

NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship Schedule (all times ET):

Sunday, April 24 – Round of 64 12-2 p.m.

Sunday, May 1 – Round of 32 12-2 p.m.

Sunday, May 8 – Round of 16 12-2 p.m.

Sunday, May 15 – Quarterfinals 12-2 p.m.

Sunday, May 22 – Semifinals/Championship 12-3 p.m.


Rafael Nadal and Lindsey Vonn receive top honors at the 12th Annual Laureus World Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, as stars of the sporting world come together to salute the finest sports performances of the year.

Nadal wins the acclaimed Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after his three impressive Grand Slam victories in 2010, while Vonn is presented with the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award after an extraordinary year in 2010 in which she secured both her third straight skiing World Cup and the Olympic Downhill gold medal.

Seven-time Motor Cycle World Champion Valentino Rossi, 10-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater and World No. 1 golfer Martin Kaymer are also among the winners.