Annie Duke becomes first-ever female to win the NBC Heads Up Championship; David Williams beats defending WSOP Champion Joe Cade.

One of the most popular events of the year on the poker calendar is the NBC Heads Up Championship. The 2010 version was played out last weekend at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas and it didn’t disappoint. This tournament always has lots of upsets and the 2010 version was no exception. The 64 invited players all invested $20K to have a chance at being crowned the best heads up player in the world, at least for a year. This year the final pairing would be a complete surprise, mainly because they were the two players that had the worst records in the history of this tournament.

Much anticipation was centered around Bodog Poker Pro David Williams going into the NBC Heads Up Championship this year. He had a great run in this tournament last year, and it’s no secret that Williams is a very talented heads up player. He was hoping to improve on his quarterfinal finish of 2009, but he ran into one of the eventual finalists in the second round, which eventually led to him running into a pair of pocket aces that set him to the rail. After beating defending WSOP Champion Joe Cada in the first round, Williams sat down against Erick Seidel, who’s arguably one of the top five poker tournament players in the world.

As he always does, Williams showed up to the event in fine fashion. Looking ultra dapper in appearance, Williams didn’t have much difficulty getting to the second round. Once he was seated against Seidel his frustration level began to rise with each tough hand he played. After getting his chips in with what he thought was a strong hand of Ac-6c, he ran into Seidel’s pocket aces. Williams couldn’t hold back his frustration after seeing Seidel’s holding and ripped his hole cards into pieces before the remaining cards even hit the board, causing officials to piece them back together for the cameras. If it’s any consolation for Williams, Seidel did go on to make it to the final pairing.

That paring consisted of Seidel and Annie Duke. The two had the worst NBC Heads Up records going into the tournament, but it seems that they were both overdue to have some success here. Seidel defeated Scotty Nguyen, Peter Eastgate, Chris Moneymaker, Huck Seed and Williams to get to the finals. Duke defeated Andy Bloch, Darvin Moon, Paul Wasicka, Jerry Yang and Dennis Phillips along her way to the finals. Before this year Seidel was sporting a 0-5 record on the show, and Duke wasn’t far behind with a record of 1-4. Neither was expected to go this far, but poker has a way of making underdogs champions.

Seidel and Duke are longtime friends, but all that was put aside for their three matches to determine this year’s champion. The battle went the distance and it was Duke who came on top, taking down the title and the $500K payday. Seidel had to settle for half of that, receiving a $250K check for his efforts.

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