Back in action at NBC
I was really excited that the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship returned this year as it has always been one of my favorite events! There are always some interesting backstories happening, it's on an international stage, and in the past it's been one of the most highly rated poker television shows. I love heads-up poker and always have. In fact, a couple of years ago I released an app for the iPhone and iPad called 'Poker 1 on 1 with Vanessa Rousso' that focuses on heads up play fundamentals. I think my enjoyment and appreciation for this form of poker stems from the fact that it takes the game to a deeper level. You have so much interaction happening between two opponents, much more so than in a ring game where you might only play a pot against the same opponent twice in an hour. Playing so many hands against just one opponent gives you the opportunity to tell intricate stories as well as build and exploit well-established table images.
Personally, the timing of this year's event couldn't have been better. Just a week before NBC announced that they were bringing the event back for 2013, I had just released my first book entitled, Heads-Up Tournament Poker: Hand-by-Hand (co-written by Annie Duke and Josh Doody). It's available on Amazon, for Kindle and in paperback form.
Annie I share a unique stat relating to NBC Heads Up: I became the first woman to make the final table in 2009 and the following year she became the first woman to win the event outright. We took our experiences from those events and put them into a strategy book where we provide hand-by-hand analysis of every hand from every match we played. We talk about what we were thinking in every single hand from the first round all the way to the finals. The book gives you a unique behind-the-scenes look at how professional poker players approach heads-up poker tournaments.
Even if you're not a heads-up tournament player, you'll often end up in hands heads-up. The same sort of analysis that we provide in the book happens if you're in a hand against only one opponent, even if you're in a ring game. Therefore, I'd argue that a lot of the strategy communicated in the book is relevant beyond just heads up tournaments.
Ultimately, this year at NBCHU I won my first two matches but then fell in the third round to Scott Seiver. I got a small cash out of it but I was a little disappointed not to get another shot at the title. Nonetheless, this year's event was a lot of fun and I am stoked that NBC Heads Up has made a comeback!
Vanessa Rousso is a member of Team PokerStars Pro