Seven players with Florida ties are among the 64 who will begin play Friday in this year’s NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship in Las Vegas:
<strong>Jonathan Little:</strong> The pro from Pensacola is the reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year.
<strong>Nicholas Joy:</strong> A member of the Florida National Guard, he’s on active duty in the Washington, D.C., area and won his seat through an online qualifier.
<strong>Glen Chorny:</strong> The reigning EPT Grand Final champion lives in Sarasota and plays at One-Eyed Jacks at Sarasota Kennel Club.
<strong>Vanessa Rousso:</strong> The PokerStars.Com pro attended the University of Miami, and her family still lives in Hobe Island. She’s planning a series of appearances, boot camps and tournaments across Florida starting this month.
<strong>Gavin Smith: </strong>The so-called "People’s Champion" has become something of a regular at One-Eyed Jacks at Sarasota Kennel Club lately.
<strong>Chad Brown: </strong>"Downtown," the accomplished pro who is engaged to Rousso, listed Margate as his hometown during last year’s World Series of Poker.
<strong>Clonie Gowen:</strong> One of the best-known female players in the world was born in Tampa and lived there for a few years as a child.