February 26, 2008 8:37 PM
It’s the ultimate test of one-on-one poker – a chess match where each player must outwit the other and it also happens to be one of the highest rated poker shows on television. Two players face each other – the winner goes forward into the next round, the loser goes home. It’s as simple as that. It’s the NBC National Heads-up Championship.
64 of the best poker players the world has ever seen will face off across the baize surrounded by railbirds galore, the poker glitterati and television cameras ready to capture one of poker’s most eagerly anticipated events – there will be stories to tell.
One person who already has one of those stories is Alisha Kunze. Known on PokerStars as Ace-Race21$$ she will be among the exclusive list thanks to a certain freeroll on PokerStars earlier this month.
Alisha is now Vegas bound, or will be on Friday, from her home in Greensburg, Indiana, a town of 10,000 southwest of Indianapolis, where for a few days attention will turn from the local exports of brooms to the showcase world of Nevadan tournament poker, and naturally 23 year-old Alisha can’t wait.
"The experience is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity and the excitement is overcoming the nervousness," said Alisha. "I am just pleased to have the chance."
With Alisha’s ambition on full blast it's not out of question that come final day she might not be far off the an even bigger reward, with the buy in of $20,000 making it a rich tournament as well as a popular one.
Not content to let life drift idly by Alisha started out as a Production Scheduler before realising it didn’t become everything she wanted it to be. Undeterred Alisha headed back to school to study nursing.
Whilst her professional life made a few turns one of her biggest interests remained unchanged – poker. And when she saw that PokerStars had begun running a series of freeroll tournaments to the Heads-up championship she entered. You probably don’t need me to tell you what happened next.
Alisha’s experience of a lifetime starts with a red carpet pre-tournament soiree at the much talked about night spot Pure where along with the drinks and canapés the draw will be made for the first round. From then it will be on to the first match on Saturday.
So who will it be against? Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu perhaps? Joe Hachem maybe? Maybe even Barry Greenstein? Well, Alisha will have to wait until Friday to find out.
All that’s left to do is wish the best of luck to Alisha. PokerStars, the town of Greensburg and the world will be watching.