Full Tilt Poker has announced that they will be giving away free seats to the fifth annual NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Full Tilt will award two of their members with a prize package valued at $22,000 which includes an entry into the Heads-Up Championship as well as travel and accommodation.
Players can win these packages by entering the daily “Round 1” heads-up shootout tournaments which run until February 20th, the weekly “Round 2” freerolls which run until February 21st, or by buying directly into the final qualifier on February 22nd at 4:35 ET. Anyone who finishes in the top 200 of a Round 1 tournament moves on to the Round 2 freeroll; those who finish in the top 56 of Round 2 earn a spot in the final qualifier on Feb. 22nd.
The NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship normally gives its seats away through invitations. All NBC Heads-Up champions, the last three WSOP Main Event champions, the latest WSOP Main Event runner-up, and the last WSOP Player of the Year earn automatic invitations. And, as mentioned before, two of the invitations will be reserved for Full Tilt members.
In addition to the poker players who attend the event, celebrities and sports personalities can also be invited to the Heads-Up Championship. Some of the non-poker players invited to the 2008 Championship included Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth, Orel Hershiser, and Jason Alexander. One of the big surprises of the tournament was provided by Hershiser when he defeated Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb before finally being beaten by Andy Bloch.
Last year Bloch also went on to beat Huck Seed in the semifinals before facing Chris Ferguson in the finals. Things between the two went back and forth with Andy Bloch winning the most poker hands and the first match before Ferguson took the second match. The third and final match came down to Bloch flipping a coin to help him decide his poker odds on whether or not to call Ferguson’s all-in bet on a board of 10c-7s-3s-7h. The coin came up heads and Bloch called with 10s-4s while Ferguson was holding Js-Jc. The river gave Ferguson the full house and he won the first place prize of $500,000 while Bloch settled for the second place prize of $250,000.
The first place prize will once again be $500,000 and the tournament format will be the same too with 64 players competing in a NCAA basketball-style bracket. The tourney is single elimination and the players are seeded randomly the night before the Heads-Up Championship begins.