2011 NBC National Heads-Up, Favorite Canadians Advance While Others Fall in Round 1.

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2011 National Heads-up Poker ChampionshipThe popular televised NBC Heads Up tournament began its 2011 play Friday, with the round of 64 seeing some top Canadian poker playing favorites advance while some of the world’s best didn’t make it through the first round’s results.  While the field is packed with a variety of playing styles brought by the best online and live players, we will at first, stick to focusing on those we have met on our travels so far at Canada Poker, for some unique coverage. The event will play down to 8 tonight and we are of course, routing for some of our Canadian favorites to be back tomorrow.

Crowd favorite and funny man” Gavin “olegsmith” Smith has been laying the jokes on heavy as usual, using his twitter to keep fans entertained.  Facing Gus Hansen in the first round he said “drew Gustav Hansen today.  Am I the only one that needs to call him Gustav?”.  Gavin continued ribbing his poker rival with “even though Gustav is a friendly Dane, I have decided to pretend he is a pesky Russian for today’s match.” After defeating Gus, Gavin has now been matched up against World Series of Poker Europe 2010 Main Event Champion, James Bord.  Not one to be intimidated, Gavin continued his friendly fun tweeting, “getting ready for Bord.  It’s not often I could play a shorter, scruffier, fatter player than me, we should get professional pics J”.   Gavin has proven time and time again on Canadian and world felts to be a tough Heads Up opponent and having his own WSOP bracelet bling, surely welcomes the challenge.

Our own World Series of Poker Main Event Champion, Jonathan Duhamel has advanced to face a poker player who is also known to all, Antonio Esfandiari. While both players are obviously world class, Antonio has had a tough time with our Canadian players at the COPC $5000 Heads Up when he has attended in the past, this will certainly not be a cake walk as he faces our World Champion. (Update: Duhamel eliminates Esfandiari to advance)jonathan-duhamel-NBC-heads-up

Daniel Negreanu was eliminated by Phil Laak and while many consider Daniel as one of our countries best, Phil is equally popular and has also played the Heads Up at the Canadian Open Poker Championships.  Also familiar from the same event, Dennis Phillips faces Doyle Brunson in round two of the 2011 edition of the NBC Heads Up.  The former November Niner has proven to be a tough Heads Up opponent in past competitions, having just missed the money round on our felts after being eliminated by Canadian player Dave Cung, in a grueling match Canada Poker.com witnessed first hand.  Doyle however, is considered by many to be the “Godfather” of poker and it is tough to pick a favorite for this matches outcome.  (Update:Doyle defeats Dennis and moves on)

Party Poker team member and Canadian born Kara Scott was defeated by Victory Poker Pro Andrew Robl, who many will know from big heads-up finish at the WPT Five Diamond Classic against Antonio.  Canada Poker caught up with Kara when she competed in the British Columbia Poker Championships late last year, too bad to see her go out in this one early.

Also a top Canadian that was gone way sooner that expected, Sorel Mizzi didn’t have luck on side in more ways than one, drawing Patrick Antonius in the first round.  While there were undoubtedly high expectations going in for Sorel who had recently been crowned as a player of the year, Thomas Marchese also owns that honor and failed to make it past Phil Gordon(Update: Antonius eliminated by Eugene Katchalov)

We will look at some of the other players remaining in our next update.  Who do you think will take this down?  Post your predictions in our forum!

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35 year old recreational player, husband and father of three from Calgary, Alberta. Enjoy lower stakes cash games including PLO and limit Omaha 8. Any of the micro-stakes HORSE games will play online MTTS and SNGs. Live, Tournaments and Satellites up to $550. I love the game but am far to social to take it seriously and sometimes give up a little to much information at the table because I enjoy discussing the game, so decided it was safest for my bankroll to take up writing about the game. That way I still get to meet the cool people and opinions on the game, but with a little less risk. Writing wise, currently a regular contributor to Poker Pro Canada, like to write profiles, previews and recaps the most. formally wrote for Canadian Poker Player Canada. My Poker Blogs have been featured on CardPlayer Social and SpadeClub as "Recommended" or in newsletters on several occasions and Pokerweblogs as "Blog of the Month". Past projects included organizing and promoting major events with the Canadian Poker Tour, introducing Big Slick Poker Tour to Southern Alberta and directing events and finals.

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