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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

NBC Heads-Up broadacast features PokerStars, Full Tilt

18 April 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- NBC began its weekly broadcasts Sunday of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship that were filmed at Caesars Palace last month.

Was it just coincidence the event began its seven-week broadcast schedule the same weekend of what has become known through the poker world as “Black Friday?”

Eleven individuals, including the founders of the world’s three largest Internet poker websites, were charged by federal prosecutors with bank fraud, money laundering and operating illegal gambling businesses in a nine-count indictment unsealed in New York.

The U.S. government also filed a civil lawsuit seeking $3 billion in money laundering penalties from the operators of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker.

The U.S. Department of Justice seized and shut down the companies’ for-play Internet websites. However, the still-operating free-play websites for two of the companies — PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker — were prominently displayed during Sunday’s telecast. even had several television advertisements during the broadcast.

Most of the players wore logos showing their sponsorship by the different poker websites.

In one of the featured heads-up matches, poker professional David Williams faced off against NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.

Williams began play wearing a replica of Smith’s No. 22 Dallas Cowboys jersey — affixed with a logo. Smith wore a baseball cap and polo shirt with the logos of FullTilt.

Many professional poker players are sponsored by the two websites.
NBC Heads-Up broadacast features PokerStars, Full Tilt is republished from