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2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship

Round of 64 Features Top Pros and Celebrities; Don Cheadle Upsets Phil Ivey

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March Madness, the poker version, kicked off at Caesars Palace with the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship. The round of 64 began at 11:30 a.m. PST with $20,000 starting stacks and $100-$200 blinds.

The four brackets (spade, heart, diamond, club) featured 61 invited guests, and three qualifiers.

The results of the NBC National Heads-Up Championship opening round were as follows:

Club Bracket

The tournament's opening group, the club bracket, saw actress Shannon Elizabeth become the first player to advance, following her victory over Rene Angelil. Humberto Brenes and Erik Seidel battled the longest, with Brenes eliminating Seidel after nearly two hours of play, courtesy of Brenes's A K holding against Seidel's K Q.

The other club bracket results:

Jeff Madsen over Steve Zolotow
Vanessa Rousso over Erick Lindgren
Barry Greenstein over Carlos Mortensen
Huckleberry Seed over Patrik Antonius
Chip Reese over Paul Darden Jr.
Phil Laak over Marco Traniello (heads-up qualifier)

Next-round match-ups:

Jeff Madsen vs. Shannon Elizabeth
Vanessa Rousso vs. Barry Greenstein
Humberto Brenes vs. Phil Laak
Huckleberry Seed vs. Chip Reese

Spade Bracket

The spade bracket included a feature-table match-up between Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem. The former WSOP bracelet winners battled for 20 minutes, before Hachem busted Moneymaker with a diamond flush. Defending champ Ted Forrest also participated in the spade bracket, advancing after his 84 paired an eight to top Sam Farha's K 3.

The other spade bracket results:

Tuan Le over Antonio Esfandiari
T.J. Cloutier over Cyndy Violette
Paul Wasicka over Eli Elezra
Shawn Sheikhan over Gus Hansen
Annie Duke over Jeff Shulman
Nam Le over Greg Raymer

Next-round match-ups:

Tuan Le vs. T.J. Cloutier
Joe Hachem vs. Paul Wasicka
Shawn Sheikhan vs. Ted Forrest
Annie Duke vs. Nam Le

Heart Bracket

Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow played at the heart bracket's featured table. "The Mouth" built an early chip lead, but Negreanu doubled up twice, including a two-outer with pocket tens to crack Matusow's pocket queens. In the end, an all-in call with flopped two pair gave Matusow the lead over Negreanu's top pair, and "The Mouth" eliminated "Kid Poker" when the board bricked out.

Like Negreanu, John Juanda proved to be another tough-to-bust opponent. Short-stacked to Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Juanda staved off elimination once with runner-runner trip sixes (J 6) to beat Mizrachi's K-8 top pair. Mizrachi, however, made Juanda the heart bracket's final bustout when his A-8 held against Juanda's J-8.

The other heart bracket results:

Allen Cunningham over John Michael (heads-up qualifier)
Andy Bloch over Jennifer Harman
Gavin Smith over David Benyamine
Johnny Chan over J.C. Tran
Jamie Gold over Jennifer Tilly
Phil Gordon over Scotty Nguyen

Next-round match-ups:

Allen Cunningham vs. Andy Bloch
Mike Matusow vs. Michael Mizrachi
Gavin Smith vs. Johnny Chan
Jamie Gold vs. Phil Gordon

Diamond Bracket

Arguably the day's biggest upset occurred during the diamond bracket. Actor Don Cheadle built an early chip lead over Phil Ivey, then watched as Ivey rebounded to a 2-to-1 advantage. But the Ocean's 11 star doubled up against the poker superstar, and eventually earned his way to round two after his Q-J held against Ivey's Q-8.

The other diamond bracket results:

Kristy Gazes over Clonie Gowen
Isabelle Mercier over Eric Larrivee (heads up qualifier)
Scott Fischman over Chris Ferguson
Brad Booth over Howard Lederer
David Williams over John D'Agostino
Gabe Kaplan over Todd Brunson
Chad Brown over Yosh Nakano

Next-round match-ups:

Kristy Gazes vs. Isabelle Mercier
Don Cheadle vs. Scott Fischman
Brad Booth vs. David Williams
Gabe Kaplan vs. Chad Brown

The NBC National Heads-Up Championship resumes at 11:30 a.m. PST with the 32 players returning for round two play.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for live updates, photos, videos, and recaps.

Quote of the Day: "I'm gonna win this, goddamnit" - Mike "The Mouth" Matusow seconds before Daniel Negreanu doubled through him with a rivered heart flush.