Mike Matusow emerged as the champion of the NBC National Heads-up Poker Championship, winning the first cash prize of $750,000 and 504 Card Player Player of the Year (POY) points for his achievement. Matusow had to defeat his friend Phil Hellmuth, winner of the 2005 NBC event, to become the champion.
Later, he told NBC, “It means a lot to have Phil alongside me. All you hear from the young kids is ‘Mike and Phil used to be good, but they can’t keep up with us kids, with our generation.’ But where are they standing today?”
The event had a field comprising 64 players, many of who were the most talented younger poker players. Matusow first beat Michael Mizrachi, who had won the World Poker Tour (WPT) championship twice and three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. During the second round of the event, he beat Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. During the next round, he beat Barry Greenstein, who has won the WSOP bracelet three times. In the semi-final round, Matusow defeated Scott Seiver, who recently won $2 million at the super high roller event of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Seiver won a prize of $100k and 294 POY points for his achievements in the NBC event, which puts him in the 10th position on the POY leader board.
The tournament format, which was single elimination throughout, turned into best of three for the finals. Both Matusow and Hellmuth were at their best, and at the end of the 3 decisive heads-up matches, Matusow emerged as the 8th NBC champion and Hellmuth collected his runner-up prize of $300k.
At the end of the tournament, Matusow said, “I’m on top of the world right now. There is nothing that feels better than winning a tournament. Nothing I hadn’t won one since 2008. I have only played about 40 since then, and these guys play about 40 a week. But, you know man, I feel good.”
Here are the final table results of this event. As the champion, Mike Matusow collected $750,000 and 504 POY points. As the runner-up Phil Hellmuth collected $300,000 and 420 POY points. Semi-finalists Joseph Serock and Scott Seiver collected $100,000 and 294 POY points each. Quaterfinalists Daniel Cates, John Hennigan, Eugene Katchalov, and Brian Hastings won $50,000 each. The winners of Round of 16 Antonio Esfandiari, Barry Greenstein, Phil Ivey, Vanessa Rousso, Joseph Cheong, Tom Dwan, Dan Smith, and David Sands won $25,000 each.