American legendary pro Erik Seidel is back in Manila, Philippines for the prestigious 2017 Triton Super High Roller Series running from February 17th-21st at Solaire Resort & Casino. Coming out strong, he finished one spot shy of victory at the HK$250,000 6-Max event, adding US$302,380 to his total live earnings.
With this cash, Seidel inched even closer to the #1 spot in the All Time Money List which he first held back in 2011. As it stands, Daniel Negreanu leads the figures by US$1.5M, but it seems that it is only a matter of time before Seidel surpasses him and retakes the top spot.
Just before the legendary pro dashed off for the night, Somuchpoker was able to have a brief chat on his quest for the top spot and on what keeps him motivated all these years.
According to Seidel, “I am enjoying the pursuit of it. I don’t think in the grand scheme of things that it matters a lot but I am a competitive person and I like the chase.”
Seidel goes from backgammon to poker
Looking back at Seidel’s career beginnings, in his mid-20s, he was a successful backgammon player frequenting New York’s famed card room, the Mayfair Club. During his trips to Las Vegas for backgammon tournaments, he began to take an interest in poker but it wasn’t until after he lost his job in Wall Street – due to the stock market crash in 1987 – that the New York native decided to spend most of his time playing poker at the Mayfair. And he seemed to be quite a natural.
In fact, Seidel was very successful at the cash games that several Mayfair regulars took notice and encouraged him to join them for the 1988 WSOP in Las Vegas. They even covered most of his buy-in to the US$10,000 Main Event, a gamble that paid off well with Seidel finishing in runner-up position to Johnny Chan, the defending champion claiming back-to-back titles.
From that moment onwards, Seidel was a familiar face at the WSOP, and soon claimed three WSOP bracelets in side events years 1992-1994. By 1995, Seidel felt it was time to leave the hustle and bustle of New York, and at the suggestion of his wife, Ruah, he relocated to Las Vegas with his family for a five-year experiment to see if he could make it as a poker player.
Fifteen years later, Seidel, nicknamed by many fans“Sly” and “Seiborg”, was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2010. He was recognized for his impressive achievements during the past 27 years in the game. This certainly was the ultimate honor; some may even retire and rest on their laurels after a long and successful career. However unbeknownst to all, and even to Seidel himself, this was just the beginning of more incredible years ahead.
Hottest streak for Seidel in 2011, claims #1 spot in the All Time Money List
Following his induction, Seidel got back on the felt and proceeded to record one of the most jaw-dropping streaks in 2011. He won four events, which included his biggest lifetime score of US$2,472,555 at the A$250,000 Super High Roller No Limit Hold’em. He banked over US$1M at another SHR event, collectively cashing in a total of 17 times. His outstanding performance earned him a massive US$6.53M in that year alone, catapulting him into the #1 spot in the All Time Money List. Fans were in such awe that a song called “Selborg” was written inspired by his phenomenal run.
Chasing 1st spot in the All Time Money List and his continued motivation
Crossing 30 years in the poker scene, Seidel is definitely one of the living greats. Seeing him consistently present at the tables after all his success clearly shows endless passion for the game. With US$1.5M separating him from the #1 spot in the All Time Money List, and with his consistent cashing, he will likely pass Negreanu in no time.
Through the years, Seidel’s enthusiasm for the game has never diminished. When asked what keeps him continuously motivated, Seidel commented,
“I love to play. To get to sit at a table with these young kids who are the best in the world, and get to see what they do and try to keep up with them. It’s really fascinating for me.”
Being competitive against the young generation
With the super high roller events attracting many young pros all around the globe, the game has no doubt changed from Seidel’s Mayfair days. It has become the most competitive circuit with highly lucrative prize pools drawing in both live and online players to the tables.
On remaining competitive against the young breed, Seidel stated, “I kinda feel like I do what I have always done, which is just try to make my way through positions and try to think of what’s going on at the table but it’s a constant challenge coz these kids are getting better and better and I am trying to hang in there.”
Seidel will surely be at many more events, chasing the #1 spot, chasing more wins, and enjoying the challenge from the new breed of players.
He shared, “I love playing the super high rollers and these kids are brilliant. They are brilliant players, they are thoughtful, and they make great plays. They keep you on your toes. They are finely tuned machines, that’s for sure.”
Article and Interview by Triccia David