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My NBC Bracket Picks with reasoning

03 Mar 2007

Shannon Eliabeth over Rene Angeli

Shannon has been playing lots of heads up poker recently and been working hard on her game. Rene hasn't played as much heads up poker as Shannon I don't think, and I think the format will benefit Shannon.

Jeff Madsen over Steve Zolotow

In this format, playing no limit hold'em, I think I'd give Jeff the edge. I think he plays a little faster than Steve and should be able to take this one down.

Erick Lindgren over Vanessa Rousso

This should actually be a tough test for Erick, but I think his experience should help him win this one.

Carlos Mortensen over Barry Greenstein

I think Carlos' erratic style could cause Barry some problems and I'm picking him to win one of the toughest first round matches.

Erik Seidel over Humberto Brenes

I think Humberto might play a little too careful heads up and Erik should be able to build up a decent lead before the blinds get too high.

Marco Traniello over Phil Laak

Strangely enough, both of these players have a similar approach to the game. Marco is a player that's difficult to read and has a very unorthodox approach. I decided to go for an upset here.

Huck Seed over Patrick Antonious

Huck Seed, when he wants to be, is one of the best no limit hold'em players in the world, especially heads up. I think playing Patrick will motivate him enough to play his "A game" which is pretty awesome. I also think he matches up well against Patrick from a style perspective.

Chip Reese over Paul Darden

I think Chip's style will confuse Paul and force Paul into a few mistakes that might cost him the match.

Tuan Le over Antonio Esfandiari

I just have a feeling about Tuan in this tournament. I think he has all the tools to do well in an event like this, and I'm not sure how much Antonio knows about Tuan's game. I think this could be an intriging matchup, but I'm going with Tuan.

Cyndy Violette over TJ Cloutier

I am going for an upset here also. If there was an award for most improved player, my vote would go to Cyndy Violette. She's really come full circle with her game and is deep in lots of tournaments.

Joe Hachem over Chris Moneymaker

I don't think Moneymaker matches up well against a player like Joe. Joe will play slow and steady, but I think Chris may get a little too frisky in marginal situations and Joe will get his money in good against him.

Eli Elezra over Paul Wasicka

Paul is coming off a final table the previous night in LA and I think fatigue could be a factor. That, combined with the fact that Eli is best suited for short handed and heads up play.

Gus Hansen over Shawn Shiekan

This one could go either way, but I'm betting on Gus to run over Sheiky a little bit and build up a chip lead and then hang on for a win.

Ted Forrest over Sammy Farha

Ted is one of the best in this format and winning last year was no fluke. I expect Ted to go deep again this year.

Jeff Shulman over Annie Duke

Jeff actuallly plays short stacked no limit hold'em exceptionally well. Whether it's a super satellite or a show like the Poker Super Stars, Jeff is very good at playing pre-flop poker, which is what these things become by about level 4.

Nam Le over Greg Raymer

I think Nam is one of the best no limit hold'em players in the world. Seriously, he has great instincts and a wealth of knowledge. He doesn't over play his hands and has a good "flow" to his game.

Allen Cunningham over John Michael

I know nothing about John Michael, but I do know a thing or two about Allen. I like Allen's chances.

Jennifer Harman over Andy Bloch

I think the longer this match goes the more likely it is that Andy wins the match as he is likely better at making the correct decisions when it comes down to playing hands pre-flop. Nonetheless, I picked Jennifer to win this one.

Daniel Negreanu over Mike Matusow

Mike has a tendency of bluffing at the wrong pot, and if he does that I think I'll be able to trap him. If he plays his "A game" then it will come down to the cards.

John Juanda over Michael Mizrachi

One of the toughest first round matches, I'm betting on John to play focused and give it his all and come out with a win here. Both are great players and have different strengths. John's play before the flop is as good as anyone in the world.

Gavin Smith over David Benyamine

David has been sick recently and I think that could hurt him here. That, and Gavin has the right kind of game to do well in heads up poker.

Johnny Chan over J.C. Tran

I'd pay money to watch this match. I'm betting on Johnny because J.C. is flying in late after finishing second in LA. That's tough to do and play well, especially against one of the greatest no limit hold'em players of all time.

Jamie Gold over Jennifer Tilly

Jamie is no where near as "bad" as many people think. He is an aggressive player that is a little sloppy, but I'm not sure if Jennifer will be able to exploit some of Jamie's weakness' just yet.

Scotty Nguyen over Phil Gordon

Unless Scotty wins this match by level 3 I think Gordon takes it down. Scotty does better in deep stack situations, but I think he plays a little too cautiously when the blinds get high and I think Gordon might be able to exploit that in the later rounds.

Kristi Gazes over Clonie Gowan

This is another fun match to watch with two "up and coming" women on the circuit. Kristi has really been en fuego lately, so I'm betting on her to continue that run.

Isabelle Mercier over Eric Lavyeux

I know nothing about Eric, but I know that Isabelle is an absolute bull!

Phil Ivey over Don Cheadle

I'm very tempted to go for the upset here, seriously. Phil is flying in late and doesn't seem to be playing much poker recently. Don, on the other hand, can enter this match with a "nothing to lose" attitude and that might propel him to victory if he dedicates himself to playing aggressively.

Scott Fischman over Chris Ferguson

I think Scott is ready to go on a big run this year. Very underrated player that is a student of the game. If he's studies Chris' game I think that will give him enough of an edge to pull this one out.

Brad Booth over Howard Lederer

Brad is a "new school" player that is afraid of nothing. He has lots of gamble, lots of moves, lots of gears, and is an all around tough competitor.

David Williams over John D'Agostino

Many may consider this an "upset" but I like the way David plays heads up and I think he's very dangerous. Totally fearless and aggressive, if John doesn't hit any flops David might just run right over him. He did it to me at the Borgata in 2004 before making a few boo-boos. If he doesn't make those same errors, he could win this match.

Todd Brunson over Gabe Kaplan

This is no gimme match for Todd. Gabe could win this match. He's watched enough no-limit hold'em after doing commentary on High Stakes Poker, and I imagine that's helped his game. Mike Sexton went from a relatively weak no limit hold'em player prior to doing commentary on the WPT, to becoming an excellent no limit hold'em player. I think Mike would admit that doing the commentary has made him a much better player.

Yosh Nakano over Chad Brown

I don't really have a strong opinion on this match either way, so I went with experience. Yosh has tons of heads up experience from playing cash games in LA, so I give him the nod

ROUND of 32:

Jeff Madsen over Shannon Elizabeth

Jeff and Shannon know each other well, but I think that probably gives Jeff the edge.

Erick Lindgren over Carlos Mortensen

These guys know each other very, very, well, but I think Erick is more focused on poker right now and is playing great.

Marco Traniello over Erik Seidel

Another upset pick here. I just think that Marco has a very difficult style to play against and will cause lots of top players problems. He's just a tough guy to read because he makes plays that often don't make much sense!

Huck Seed over Chip Reese

Chip is an awesome player obviously, but I actually think Huck is a more experienced heads up player. Plus, I think Huck has something to prove in this tournament.

Tuan Le over Cyndy Violette

Tuan is another guy with something to prove and his aggressive style might be a little too much for Cyndy to handle.

Eli Elezra over Joe Hachem

I think Eli's style is the one style that might work well against a player like Joe.

Ted Forrest over Gus Hansen

I see a trap coming here. I think Ted will play pretty straight forward here and hope that Gus makes a mistake.

Nam Le over Jeff Shulman

Like I said before, I think Nam is a wonderful player. I think he may be able to trap Jeff early in this match.

Jennifer Harman over Allen Cunningham

I just have a feeling here and am going with what has to be considered an upset in this format. Allen has a lot more experience playing no limit hold'em.

John Juanda over Daniel Negreanu

I rarely ever beat that guy a pot so why would I start now? LOL, actually I figure that I might as well pick someone other than myself to win, becuase if I win the whole thing I'll be happy anyway. Also, I don't match up very well against John Juanda at all. He is a much better player than me in the late stages of these matches.

Johnny Chan over Gavin Smith

I think Chan will look to trap Gavin, and that's what Gavin will want to do to Johnny. Johnny is a tough guy to trap, though, so I'm betting on Chan.

Jamie Gold over Scotty Nguyen

I just think that Gold's aggressive approach will give him a chance in every match he plays. Scotty will try to get his money in good, obviously, but he'll have to make sure he doesn't wait too long to do that.

Kristi Gazes over Isabelle Mercier

I have a good feeling about Kristi here. She is playing with loads of confidence right now and it's always tough to beat someone that feels like they are playing great.

Phil Ivey over Scott Fischman

If Phil is able to get by Don Cheadle, he could go a long way.

David Williams over Brad Booth

I have another "feeling" here and I think David is bound to get some luck going his way.

Todd Brunson over Yosh Nakano

Todd is a very good heads up player and I think he should be favored over Yosh.


Erik Lindgren over Jeff Madsen

Revenge will be on the mind in this match, as the last time these two faced off Jeff won a WSOP bracelet and kept Erick from getting his first.

Huck Seed over Marco Traniello

The fairy tale ends here for Marco. Huck has the perfect style to hamper Marco's unorthodox approach. Huck will keep the pots small and allow Marco to lead the betting. Playing possum all the way, waiting for Marco to bluff at the wrong pot.

Tuan Le over Eli Elezra

This could be a wild one! Both aggressive player, but I'm giving the nod to Tuan.

Ted Forrest over Nam Le

Nam is a great player, but Ted is better heads up in my opinion. More experience, he's been there before, and I think he'll come out on top.

John Juanda over Jennifer Harman

I think John has an edge in no limit hold'em and he may end up having a good read on Jennifer.

Johnny Chan over Jamie Gold

Student doesn't beat teacher on the big stage. Johnny might use the following line, "Kid, I taught you everything that YOU know, but I didn't teach you everything that I know!"

Phil Ivey over Kristi Gazes

Kristi can be extremely confident right now, but that's not going to scare Ivey.

David Williams over Todd Brunson

Todd is a better player in my opinion, but his game doesn't match up well with a player like David I don't think. I could see David busting Todd here, where Todd takes some kind of sick beat, lol.


Erick Lindgren over Huck Seed

Revenge from last year when Huck beat Erick

Ted Forrest over Tuan Le

First he takes out Nam, then he deals with Tuan.

John Juanda over Johnny Chan

Juanda has the perfect game to give Chan fits. He won't allow Chan to control the pace of the game.

David Williams over Phil Ivey

Like I said, I have a feeling about David. I think he will go into the match knowing that he'll need to press the action to beat Phil. That's going to force Phil to pick up a hand, and then have it hold up.


Erick Lindgren over Ted Forrest

How many matches in a row can you win? Ted has to lose eventually, I'm picking the semi finals for him to exit.

John Juanda over David Williams

This is a tough match for David to win. John's approach works well against David and I think John will win.


Erick Lindgren over John Juanda

Expect it to go down to the wire with lots of bad beats in both directions. In the end, E-DOG wins....


Ok, so things didn't exactly go as planned, LOL. Here is how I see things going after two complete rounds:

Barry Greenstein over Shannon Elizabeth
Huck Seed over Humberto Brenes
Paul Wasicka over TJ Cloutier
Ted Forrest over Nam Le

Mike Matusow over Andy Bloch
Gavin Smith over Phil Gordon
Scott Fischman over Kristi Gazes
Brad Booth over Chad Brown


Huck Seed over Barry Greenstein
Ted Forrest over Paul Wasicka
Gavin Smith over Mike Matusow
Brad Booth over Scott Fischman


Huck Seed over Ted Forrest
Brad Booth over Gavin Smith


Huck Seed over Brad Booth


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