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After finishing runner-up in 2005 and 2006 , Chris Ferguson made it third time lucky in this year’s 2008 NBC National Heads-up Poker Championships. Ferguson defeated Andy Bloch in the final, winning by two matches to one at Caesars Palace on Sunday to take home the title.

With a strong field of 64 players, Ferguson was the last man standing, beating the likes of Phil Ivey along the way.

On the final hand of the tournament, Ferguson held pocket Jacks, against Bloch’s 10-4 of spades. The board showed 10 – 7 -3 – 7 with two spades, giving Ferguson an overpair and Bloch top pair with a flush draw. Ferguson pushed all-in, having Bloch covered. Bloch eventually called after mulling over his decision. The river was a 7, which gave Bloch a Fullhouse, but giving Ferguson a higher Fullhouse which ultimately handed the Championship to Ferguson, and a cheque for $500,000 with Bloch receiving $250,000 for second place. This brought Ferguson’s total winnings in the National Heads-Up Championship to a cool $1 million after his previous second place finishes.

A lot of modern poker literature often emphasizes that aggression is key to successful heads-up play, however, Ferguson’s vast success in these championships, just demonstrates how a methodical and mathematical approach to the game can also be used to very good effect in a heads-up battle.

Ferguson said “I’m ecstatic to finish first after the two second-place finishes… This is a very meaningful victory for me. I feel blessed to have had so much success in this tournament.”