My NBC National Heads-Up Championship Predictions
The NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship kicks off today at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Normally, I don't go too deep in covering this type of event other than giving whom I think will win.
This year is different since I actually have some money riding on this thing. I'm currently part of the little bracket contest that @kevmath is holding for the event. As such, I figured that I would give my picks for the event as well as the overall winner.
For those of you hoping to see Emmitt Smith go deep in this thing, don't hold your breath. He has a monster opponent in the first round in David Williams, and I don't see him winning. I see Williams advancing as well as Michael Mizrachi, Negreanu, Hellmuth, and Dwan.
The big match is going to be the heart bracket semi-final where I see Mizrachi taking on Dwan and Williams taking on Gus Hansen. I think we will have a Hansen - Mizrachi bracket final with Mizrachi moving on to the final four.
This bracket is highlighted by WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel, Barry Greenstein, Andy Bloch, and Jason Mercier. I think the "upset" of this round will be Annette Obrestad falling to WSOP Heads-Up Champ Ayaz Mahmood. He will probably put her to sleep and advance to round two.
I see Jason Mercier and Liv Boeree making it through to the semi-finals of the bracket where they will face each other. I see the other semi-final match being Greenstein vs. Duhamel.Â Mercier will battle Greenstein in the semifinal with Mercier going to the final four.
This is probably the toughest bracket of the four. Joe Hachem vs Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, Vanessa Selbst vs Eli Elezra, Peter Eastgate vs. Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel vs Allen Cunningham, and Huck Seed vs Jennifer Harman are all Round 1 matches.
Mike Matusow will take on Greg Raymer in Round 1 and will begin a trek that will see him advance to the bracket finals. Seidel beats Cunningham and then withstands what should be a solid challenge from Seed to make the bracket final as well.
Seidel will continue his hot streak and make the final four.
Eric Baldwin will make a deep run in this bracket after he beats David Oppenheim in round one and then Carlos Mortensen the 2nd round. Faraz Jaka will use his unorthodox style to beat the somewhat dull style of Eugene Katchalov and then Patrik Antonius.
I most look forward to three matches in the bracket. First, I want to see the Phil Ivey vs Dan Cates match. I see Ivey coming out on top and taking on WSOP runner-up John Racener.
This will then setup a ratings dream match as Doyle Brunson will make a run at this thing and make the bracket semi-finals to take on Ivey. Baldwin will face Jaka in the other semi-final.
While poker would love to see Doyle take it down, I see Ivey defeating Doyle and facing off with Baldwin in the bracket final. Ivey will advance to the final four.
Final Four Match-ups
The final four will see Jason Mercier vs Phil Ivey and Michael Mizrachi vs Erik Seidel. Both matches will be fun to watch, but I think the Ivey - Mercier match will be the closer match.Â Seidel will defeat Mizrachi and Ivey will survive against Mercier to setup our final event.
Erik Seidel is indeed on a roll this year, but he is no Phil Ivey. While Erik is entirely capable of taking this down, I think Phil is ready to try and retake the All-Time Money List lead. Expect this match to go the distance with Ivey coming out on top 2 games to 1.
Phil Ivey will be your 2011 NBC National Heads-Up Champion.