The National Heads-Up Poker Championship has become a casualty of the government’s crackdown on Internet Poker.

NBC confirmed the event, held at Caesars Palace in the spring, is not on the television network’s weekend sports calendar for next year.

The poker blog, Wicked Chops, first reported the cancellation Thursday.

NBC Sports Senior Director of Communications Adam Freifeld told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the tournament, which matches 64 poker professionals and celebrities in heads-up format of no limit hold’em, might return in 2013.

“We will continue to evaluate our poker programming,” Freifeld said.

Telecasts of this year’s event began on the weekend following the U.S. Justice Department indictment of the operators of three of the world’s largest online poker companies. Federal prosecutors charged 11 individuals with money laundering, bank fraud and operating illegal gambling businesses.

The indictments shut down PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, which were the primary advertisers and sponsors for the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Players, who were sponsored by the websites, wore shirts and hats with company’s logos for the telecasts.

Last year, eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel won the Heads-Up title, defeating 2003 World Series of Poker Champion Chris Moneymaker.


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