NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship

[RR] “Are you guys ready for some March Madness?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[LL] “Of course, I wouldn’t miss the Final Four tournament for anything”, answered Leroy the Lion.

[RR] “Who’s talking about basketball? I was referring to the brackets of the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship!”1

[EE] “I always like to see how the pros play, because whether you like heads-up or not, you gotta learn it if you want to win a tournament”, Elias the Eagle answered.

[YY] “Agreed. Fortunately, the celebrities are usually all gone by the third round”, Yuri the Young Gun agreed.

[RR] “There have been a few big upsets over the years though, partly thanks to the very fast blind structures. Like in 2007, when actor Don Cheadle eliminated Phil Ivey in the first round.”2

[LL] “And actress Shannon Elizabeth made it all the way to the semis, beating an amateur and three pros, Jeff Madsen, Barry Greenstein, and Humberto Brenes!”

[RR] “The next year, Cy Young award winner Orel Hershiser got by Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb to reach the quarters.”

[LL] “In the first round in 2009, actor Brad Garrett upended Annie Duke, who went on to win the tournament the next year!”

[RR] “And in 2011, the last time the event was held, running back and Dancing With the Stars champ Emmitt Smith surprised David Williams.”

[YY] “When and where can I watch?” Yuri the Young Gun inquired.

[LL] “On my cable system it starts on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, which is channel 90 for me. TiVo says it’s a repeat of a 2006 episode, but I think they just haven’t updated the info yet. Obviously, you guys are on different providers out here, so, as they say, ‘Check your local listings’. After three consecutive Thursday evenings, the broadcast moves to NBC for three straight Saturday afternoons.”

Date Time Round Station
Thursday, March 21 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. First Round (Part 1) NBC Sports
Thursday, March 28 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. First Round (Part 2) NBC Sports
Thursday, April 4 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Second Round NBC Sports
Saturday, April 6 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Round of 16 NBC
Saturday, April 13 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Quarterfinals NBC
Saturday, April 20 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Semifinals & Finals NBC

[TT] Tyrone the Telephone ended the conversation as Yuri jotted down the info:3

“In the middle of March, late in January,

Two poker friends sat down to battle wary.

Face to face the players backed each other,4

Honestly bluffed as they stacked each other.

One was blind and the other couldn’t see,

So they called the tournament referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout ‘hooray!’

A deaf policeman heard them scuffle,

Replaced the dealer, set to shuffle.

A paralyzed donkey walking quick,

Said he’d beat them both without a stick,

‘You’ve won all my money, an unbelievable crime.’

‘If there weren’t luck involved, I’d win every time.’5

(If you don’t believe this lie is true,

Ask the blind man, ’cause he saw it too!)”


  1. The tournament was held at Caesars Palace from January 24 to 26, 2013. If you can’t wait, here are the complete results.
  2. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, Cheadle also took out David Pham in 2009 and J.P. Kelly in 2010.
  3. For one of the many common versions of this poem, see the middle of the Wikipedia page on nonsense verse.
  4. Had a piece of each other’s action.
  5. This was Phil Hellmuth’s famous whine when he busted out of the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event.

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