NBC Heads Up Championship begins today

In less than six hours, the 2009 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship begins and now we know who will face each other in the first round.

As we mentioned yesterday, a host of Team PokerStars Pros, one Friend of PokerStars and a PokerStars NBC Heads Up Qualifier are in Las Vegas for the $20,000 buy-in 64-player heads-up event.

Last night, the players went to the draw party at Pure and learned who they will play today. The first round only sees one match-up that pits a Team PokerStars Pro versus another. In the Clubs bracket, Daniel Negreanu will play Chris Moneymaker. The winner of that match will go on to face the winner of the match between Dario Minieri and Mike Matusow. Elsewhere in the Clubs bracket, Vanessa Rousso will sit down across the small felt from the godfather of poker, Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson.


Daniel Negreanu

The Clubs bracket will also see a repeat of a match-up from 2008. Last year Friend of PokerStars Orel Hershiser defeated Ted Forrest in round one before going on to make it to the quarter finals and a $75,000 win. Finally in the Clubs bracket, Hevad Khan will have a shot against Prince of Poker Scotty Nguyen. Khan was a late add to the field of 64 after Ivan Demidov could not make it Vegas.

PokerStars qualifier Blandino Gines already has his work cut out for him. He drew Barry Greenstein in the first round of the Spades bracket. The Spades bracket will also see 2005 World Series Champion Joe Hachem go up against John Juanda and Gavin Griffin play Tom Dwan. Finally, we know ElkY is playing a man named Fred Collins. Collins qualified on PokerStars but we are not yet 100% sure he showed up in Vegas. More to come on this as the event progresses.

The Diamonds division rounds out the field and puts 2004 World Series champion Greg Raymer up against Jennifer Harman and Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown against 2008 EPT Grand Final champion Glen Chorny.

The full brackets are below. Good luck to everybody today.

Clubs Bracket

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

Hearts Bracket

Johnny Chan vs. Eli Elezra
Erick Lindgren vs. Howard Lederer
JC 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

Spades Bracket

Gabe Kaplan vs. Chris Ferguson
John Juanda vs. Joe Hachem
Ilari Sahamies vs. Gavin Smith
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

Diamonds 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

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in PokerStars news