Modest and unassuming, Erik Seidel is a professional poker player, one of the world’s best. In fact, he is one of a very select few players who have won multiple World Series of Poker Bracelets, (he has won seven WSOP Bracelets as of this writing). Erik is the only WSOP tournament player in the past twenty-five years to win three consecutive years running:
* 1992 – $2500 Limit Hold ’em – $168,000
* 1993 – $2500 – Omaha 8 or Better – $94,000
* 1994 – $5000 – No-Limit Hold ’em – $210,000
Seidel is additionally ranked among the top ten money makers in World Series of Poker Tournament play, his standing kept intact by his $611,795 victory in the 2005 WSOP Tounament, in which he outlasted and overcame 1,402 competitors.
Although Erik is held in high regard in the world of professional tournament poker, poker, his first love now, was not his first love thirty-five years ago, when in 1970 he left college to pursue a career as a professional backgammon player.
Playing backgammon at New York’s legendary Mayfair Club, Erik entered a backgammon tournament in Las Vegas, where playing a few games of low-limit poker peaked a new interest in the game. Back at the Mayfair, Erik and a number of fellow backgammon players, Paul Magriel, Jason Lester, Steve Zotolow and Howard Lederer among them, began a regular series of poker games, eventually leading the boy’s into professional poker tournament competition.
During this time Erik worked as a trader on Wall Street to supplement an erratic income from Backgammon. Eventually, backed by friends, Erik felt confident enough to enter a World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas.
Erik’s initial foray into the WSOP was discouraging, to say the least. Entering one-table satellite play for the Main Event, Erik lost every one, nine in all. Not deterred by his losses, Erik bought into the Main Event, and his skillful play enabled him to finish second only to the winner, the famed Johnny Chan.
As it so happened, a movie about poker was being filmed at the time of the tournament called ” Rounders.” The film starred Matt Damon, and it was about a reformed gambler who returned to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off threatening loan sharks. The movie’s director, John Dahl thought it would be interesting film the playoff between Chan and Seidel. The final hand brought a measure of movie fame to Erik and Johnny Chan as it was included in the film – much to Seidel’s embarrassment, he lost, (pair of queens to a straight).
* Only four players in all of WSOP Tournament competition have won more bracelets than Erik Seidel.
* 2005 WSOP Event #9 – No-Limit Hold ’em – 1st place – $611,795
* 1999 WSOP Main Event – 4th place – $279,500
* 1998 WSOP Main Event – 2nd place – $280,000
* World Poker Tour – Season #3 – Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship – 4th place – $165,000
Erik currently lives in Henderson, Nevada, (just outside of Las Vegas proper), with his wife and daughter. His favorite ways to relax are listening to music and playing tennis.
By Kenneth Bateman
Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit XL Poker.