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Actors go 3-1 in first round of NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship

3 March 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Actor Don Cheadle defeated high-stakes professional poker player Phil Ivey in the first round of the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship on Friday at Caesar's Palace.

Cheadle was one of three actors to advance to the second round. Shannon Elizabeth defeated Rene Angelil in the Clubs bracket, while High Stakes Poker analyst Gabe Kaplan defeated pro player Todd Brunson to join Cheadle in the second round of the Diamonds bracket.

Jennifer Tilly, the only thespian in the group with a World Series of Poker bracelet, was also the only one to earn a first round exit, falling to 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold.

WSOP Main Event champions had a less than stellar day, winning just four-of-eight first round matches. The most notable defeat was handed out by Scott Fischman, who defeated two-time Heads-Up Championship runner-up Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Carlos Mortensen was defeated by Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer lost to Nam Le, and Chris Moneymaker was defeated by 2005 Main Event champ Joe Hachem.

Main Event champion Huck Seed and Johnny Chan joined Gold and Hachem as first round winners.

2006 Heads-Up Champion Ted Forrest defeated Sam Farha to advance to the second round. 2005 champion Phil Hellmuth, who was listed as registered in earlier promotional materials, did not play this year.

The second and quarterfinal rounds of the tournament will be contested on Saturday, while the semifinals and the best-of-three championship matches will be held on Sunday at Caesar's Palace.

Here are the round two matchups:

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

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

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

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

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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.