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Poker Legends: Erik Seidel

Written by Ben Blaschke

For a man immortalized in the cult poker film Rounders – and not in a positive way – Erik Seidel has a lot to feel good about. The veteran tournament professional produced a remarkable performance to finish second at the 1988 World Series of Poker Main Event in his first live major but to this day he is haunted by the memory of the final hand in which Johnny Chan flopped the nut straight and induced Seidel to shove with top pair.

The hand is shown repeatedly in Rounders and has become one of the most memorable moments in poker history as a result, yet despite him being unfairly portrayed as Chan’s bitch Seidel has gone on to become one of the greatest players this world has seen.

The former backgammon champion boasts eight WSOP bracelets across a range of disciplines – placing him sixth on the all-time list. He also has a WPT title won at Foxwoods in 2008.

Most impressive though is Seidel’s record in High Roller events, an area he has come to specialize in over the past few years. His run began in January 2011 when he pocketed just under US$300,000 for a fourth-place finish at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Soon after he traveled to Australia for the Aussie Millions and finished third in the AU$100,000 Challenge for around US$620,000 before winning the Super High Roller just a few days later for US$2.5 million.

Incredibly, inside the following three months, he won another High Roller event at the LA Poker Classic and yet another at the WPT World Championship – not to mention his victory in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship.

He currently sits third on the all-time money-winners’ list and is one of just three players with more than US$20 million in career winnings. For the record, that’s about US$14 million more than Chan.