National Heads-Up Poker is No More

October 13, 2011

NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker was started in 2005 and has run every year since, but for no longer. The invitation-only televised tournament series featured 64 pro poker players who played in a bracket style competition, reducing down to six players, one of which was pronounced winner, has been cancelled by NBC.

This isn’t the first poker TV cancellation though, as Poker After Dark was ended earlier this year by NBC, and the Fox Network has also ended PokerStars’ The Big Game, though it can still be viewed online on PokerStars TV.

Despite this though, the long-standing deal between the World Series of Poker and ESPN means there will be some poker on TV in the US, along with the World Poker Tour, now in its 10th season. WPT airs on Fox Sports Networks. In addition, the new Epic Poker League debuted on CBS and new Velocity network recently.

Fans of the NHUPC hope that the tournament does continue even without its TV spot, as it yielded a $750K first place payout and allowed the best of the best poker pros to play each other live. Since PokerStars and Full Tilt were the main sponsors of the event, it’s not too surprising that the show will not continue in 2012. It was however the top ranking poker show throughout its seven-year run with an average 1.5 rating.

It may not be cancelled forever though, as Adam Freifeld, NBC Sports Senior Director of Communications, suggested that they were continuing to evaluate poker programming on the network.


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