The always controversial Mike Matusow defeated fellow poker veteran Phil Hellmuth to win the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship at Caesars Palace on Sunday.
Matusow defeated Michael Mizrachi, Viktor Blom, Barry Greenstein, John Hennigan and Scott Seiver before beating Hellmuth in the final to claim the prestigious title and the first place prize of $750,000.
The victory was Matusow’s biggest payday since he made the final table of the 2005 World Series of Poker and his first tournament win the 2010 Florida State Poker Championship.
Matusow was extremely emotional after the victory and thanked all the supporters who had stuck by him.
“And God said let the cards break even… and they did,” Matusow said on Twitter.
“Thanks to all my supporters and fans was such a great win.”
Matusow had tears in his eyes when he accepted the Championship Ring and said he was proud that the victory represented a victory for the old guys.
“Yes, it is just a poker tournament, but it means a lot,” Matusow said.
For guys like me and Phil [Hellmuth], where everyone was making fun and upset that the final was us two, ‘Oh Phil and Mike, what are they doing in the final?’”
“You know what, we are the old guys, but where are the young players? They’re not here. We are.”
Hellmuth was attempting to become the first player to win the NBC Nationals Heads-Up Championship on multiple occasions but was extremely classy in defeat and paid credit to his good friend Matusow.
“The world doesn’t understand how great a guy Mike is,” Hellmuth said.
“I tip my hat to him.”
The NBC National Heads-Up Championship will be televised in March with ratings expected to soar thanks to the deep runs of Matusow and Hellmuth.
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Daniel Negreanu has withdrawn from the NBC National Heads-Up Championship that will be held from January 24th to January 26th.
The NBC National Heads-Up Championship is a made-for-tv event that features sixty-four of the best or most well-known poker players from around the world.
Negreanu was set to compete in the event for the eighth time but cited a prior commitment as his reason not to compete.
“First off I like to stay how much I love the event and how great that I think it is for poker and how important it is for this event to be back on the schedule in light of what has happened in the United States,” Negreanu said.
“The simple answer that I am not playing is a prior commitment.
“I promised some friends who need me and my support that I would be there this weekend.
“I’ve looked back in my life and the amount of times that I have made a poker tournament a priority over my friends and my family… I don’t know if I could forgive myself for skipping out on my friends anymore.”
Although the absence of the popular Negreanu leads a hole in the tournament it is still filled with some of the best and most exciting poker players in the world.
Some of the big names competing in the tournament are:
Jean-Robert Bellande: The self-proclaimed bad boy of poker and contestant on the popular TV show Survivor is not the most talented player in the field but may be the most entertaining.
Doyle Brunson: The NBC National Heads-Up Championship is one of the few tournaments that haven’t been won by the Godfather of Poker.
Antonio Esfandiari: The Big One For One Drop winner reached the semifinals in the inaugural competition but has struggled in recent years.
Phil Hellmuth: The Poker Brat had a stellar 2012 and is looking to become the first person to win this tournament on multiple occasions.
Phil Ivey: Ivey sets high levels for himself and would be disappointed at his previous lackluster efforts in this event.
Greg Merson: The 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event winner is looking to add yet another accolade to his growing poker resume.
Chris Moneymaker: The man credited with igniting the poker boom has an excellent record in this event finishing runner-up in 2011.
Erik Seidel: The 2011 winner joins Hellmuth in the quest to win a second NBC National Heads-Up Championship.
Dan Smith: The 2012 GPI Poker Player of the Year is looking to maintain his number 1 GPI ranking.
The draw for the event is taking place tonight and we will post the draw here at Poker.com as soon as it is available.