Playing in the NBC Heads Up Championship isn’t easy. Almost all of the seats are by invite only, but it is possible to win your way in to the tournament. In the future, as there was in 2011, there will probably be a tournament held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas which allows one player to win a seat. There have been online qualifiers in the past as well, though with the state of online poker in the United States there may not be any online qualifiers for 2012 unless things change.

If you can’t win your way in, then you’ll need a sponsor’s exemption from GoDaddy or another major sponsor, then you’ll need to win a seat by being one of the following automatic qualifiers.

  • The previous five NBC Heads Up winners
  • Runners up from the last two years
  • Semi-finalists from last year
  • The last three winners of the Main Event at the World Series of Poker
  • Last year’s Main Event Runner Up
  • Winner of last year’s World Series of Poker Heads Up Championship
  • Last year’s WSoP Player of the Year
  • Defending World Series of Poker Europe main event winner
  • World Poker Tour Player of the Year
  • Monte Carlo European Poker Tour Grand Final Champion
  • Card Player magazine Player of the Year
  • Bluff magazine Player of the Year
  • ALL IN magazine Player of the Year
Many of these will overlap, and extra seats are typically awarded by sponsor invites or qualifier tournaments live or online.