– General Information –
Born on November 6, 1959 in New York City, Erik Seidel has won nine WSOP bracelets and a World Poker Tour title. However, in spite of his successful poker career, he remains a quiet and down-to-earth guy, enjoying spending his free time with his wife, Ruah, and two daughters, Elian and Jamesin.
Nicknamed “Sly” and “Seiborg” by his fans, Seidel plays a cagey tournament game, often even hiding his hole cards from the television cameras. He claims this aspect of his game has nothing to do with strategy, but that he’s simply embarrassed by the number of good cards he’s dealt.
The best bio of Seidel, however, is the music video “Seiborg” made by one of his fans:
– Key Career Dates –
- 1988: He finishes 2nd in the WSOP Main Event for $280,000. He loses the heads-up battle for the title to defending champion Johnny Chan.
- 1992: He wins his first WSOP gold bracelet after finishing first in the $2,500 Limit Hold’em event for $168,000.
- 2007: He wins his 8th WSOP gold bracelet after finishing first in the $5,000 World Championship No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw event for $538,835.
- 2010: He gets inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
- 2011: He wins the A$250,000 Super High Roller No Limit Hold’em event at the Aussie Millions for $2.473 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
- 2021: He wins his 9th WSOP gold bracelet after finishing first in the $10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller online event on Natural8-GGNetwork for $977,842.
– Erik Seidel’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Seidel’s love of games and his competitive nature were ignited as a child. So much so that when he was 12 years old, he even appeared on the TV game show “To Tell the Truth” (no longer airing). As a college student in the 70’s, Seidel started playing backgammon, and as soon as he realized his potential, he dropped out of school and began to play professionally.
Indeed, for about eight years in his early- to mid-20’s Seidel was a successful professional backgammon player. When he wasn’t traveling the country to attend tournaments, he could often be found at New York’s famous card room, the Mayfair Club. While traveling to Las Vegas for backgammon tournaments, he developed an interest in poker.
However, as the gaming life began to wear him down, he decided to transition to a more traditional 9-5 job with a regular schedule and steady paycheck. So, he became a stockbroker in 1985. This short-lived move ended in 1987, when the stock market crash caused many stock brokers to lose their jobs, Seidel included. As the economy crashed and those steady 9-5 jobs became hard to find, Seidel went back to playing at the Mayfair. However, this time he turned to poker instead of backgammon, and, as it turns out, he was quite the natural.
Indeed, he was so good at the Mayfair cash games that a few of the regulars took notice. They invited him to join them at the 1988 WSOP in Las Vegas. Even though they had to cover most of his buy-in for the $10k Main Event, it turned out to be well worth it when Seidel finished as the runner-up to Johnny Chan, the back-to-back defending champion. Following that WSOP, Seidel returned to New York, went back to work on Wall Street, and continued playing in the local tournament scene.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Few players have achieved greater WSOP success than Seidel. Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Phil Ivey, and Chan are the only players who currently hold more bracelets than him; while Johnny Moss has him tied in bracelets.
Thus far, he has nine WSOP bracelets and 36 final tables in his WSOP career. Additionally, he’s currently 17th in WSOP cashes with 130 in-the-money finishes. He won one bracelet a year at the World Series for three years in a row (1992-1994).
Erik Seidel’s WSOP victories:
|1992||$2,500 Limit Hold’em||$168,000|
|1993||$2,500 Omaha 8 or Better||$94,000|
|1994||$5,000 Limit Hold’em||$210,000|
|1998||$5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw||$132,700|
|2001||$3,000 No Limit Hold’em||$411,300|
|2003||$1,500 Pot Limit Omaha||$146,100|
|2005||$2,000 No Limit Hold’em||$611,795|
|2007||$5,000 World Championship No-LimitDeuce to Seven Draw Lowball w/rebuys||$538,835|
|2019||$10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller Online||$977,842|
→ World Poker Tour ←
Seidel has been in the money 20 times at the WPT. He has made 5 final WPT tables and won 1 WPT Title. In April 2008, he took down the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic for $992,890.
Most recently, he came in 2nd at the WPT Tournament of Champions in 2017.
→ Other Tournaments ←
Most notable cashes of the last 10 years, not including WPT and WSOP:
- In January, 2nd place at the A$ 10,000 + 500 No Limit Hold’em – Main Event
2008 Aussie Millions Poker Championship for $879,028
- In January, 1st place at the A$ 10,000 + 500 Pot Limit Omaha
2010 Aussie Millions Poker Championship for $110,755
- In January, 1st place at the A$ 250,000 Super High Roller No Limit Hold’em
2011 for $2,472,555 and 3rd place at the A$ 100,000 + 500 No Limit Hold’em -Aussie Millions Poker Championship for $618,139
- In February, 1st place at the $ 25,100 High Roller Event 2011 L.A. Poker Classic for $144,570
- In March, 1st place at the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em NBC National Heads-Up Championship 2011 for $750,000
- In April, 2nd place at the $9,600 + 400 No Limit Hold’em – Main Event Hollywood Poker Open for $155,103
- In May, 1st place at the $100,000 Super High Roller Event – No Limit Hold’em Ninth Annual Five Star World Poker Classic for $1,092,780
- In August, 2nd place at the $ 20,000 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed – League Main Event 2011-12 Epic Poker League for $604,330.
In 2011, his tremendous performance brought in US$6.53M:
- In February, 3rd place at the A$ 25,000 No Limit Hold’em – $25,000 Challenge 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championship for $131,962
- In August, 2nd place at the €48,000 + 2,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller EPT for $745,224
- In December, 2nd place at the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $650,100
- In February, 3rd place at the A$ 100,000 No Limit Hold’em – $100,000 Challenge 2014 Aussie Millions Poker Championship for $963,691
- In February, 1st place at the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller Aria High Roller 4 for $159,230
- In April, 1st place at the €98,000 + 2,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller at the EPT, for $2,222,222
- In May, 2nd place at the $24,000 + 1,000 No Limit Hold’em, Aria High Roller 9, Las Vegas, for $354,000
- In October, 3rd place at the $24,000 + 1,000 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller, Aria High Roller 15, for $57,600
- In February, 3rd place at the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller A
Aria High Roller for $296,800
- In May, 2nd place at the €10,000 + 200 No Limit Hold’em – Turbo 6-Max #79
EPT – 12 – FPS – 6 – Grand Final, Monte Carlo for $ 158,479. Also 3rd place at the $ 300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl with 888poker, Las Vegas for $2,400,000
- In July, 2nd at the Aria High Roller, Las Vegas for $264,000
- In October, 2nd and 3rd place in two events at the Aria High Roller, Las Vegas, for $293,125 and $127,680
- In February, 2nd place at the Triton Super High Roller Series, for $302,380
- In April, 3rd place at the €50,000 No Limit Hold’em PokerStars Championship, for $461,570
- In September, 2nd place at the $50,000 No Limit Hold’em – Event #3 2017 Poker Masters, Las Vegas for $576,000
- January, 4th place at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $50K High Roller, $260,260
- March, Macau Billionaire Poker Super High Roller Bowl
- April, 3rd place at the PartyPoker MILLIONS Grand Final Barcelona 25K SHR $367,706 (plus a 6th place at the 100K SHR for $295,098)
- May, two 3rd places on the European Poker Tour (EPT), for $84,229 and $210,650
- In November, he finished 4th in the $250,000 NLHE Super High Roller at the partypoker MILLIONS World Bahamas for $1.275 million
- In January, he came in 2nd in the A$25,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the Australian Poker Open for A$258,500 ($174,610)
→ Online Poker ←
Seidel doesn’t play much online poker. He had a brief stint on FullTilt, from January 2007 to April 2009, but during that time he lost a total of $350,762 in high stakes cash games.
Also, as we wrote earlier, he won his historic 9th bracelet in an online World Series event on Natural8-GGNetwork.
→ Sponsorship Deals ←
While Seidel’s primary poker interest has always been tournaments, he was an early embracer of the internet poker revolution, joining Howard Lederer as an integral member of Full Tilt’s initial design team. As a critical member of the site’s conception, he also appeared in a series of TV ads for the site. However, he became disgusted with the site’s management and has not been involved with online poker since. Full Tilt appears to still owe him about $5 million.
→ Business ←
In June 2020, New York Times bestselling author and New Yorker contributor Maria Konnikova released a book about poker titled “The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win“, which is billed as the account of her “year long immersion in the high stakes world of professional poker, apprenticed to one of game’s greatest and most reclusive champions”. She is referring to Seidel, who mentored Konnikova throughout her high stakes poker journey.
A huge day for @mkonnikova and @Erik_Seidel as pupil and master both chase major #PCA2018 titles. More about their fascinating book project: https://t.co/MEqSbkHp2x pic.twitter.com/9FhFCVehli
— PokerStars Blog (@PokerStarsBlog) January 9, 2018
→ Scandals ←
Ali Fezeli’s Ponzi scheme
Erik Seidel, John Juanda, and Zachary Clark were scammed by Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, a poker player charged with orchestrating a roughly 18-month-long sports ticket scheme to fund high roller poker buy-ins at the Aria Casino in 2016.
According to the complaint filed in Clark County District Court, Fazeli and his company, Summit Entertainment Group, got $1.3 million from Seidel, Juanda, and Clark in order to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and resell them at a substantial profit using the online ticketing site onlinetickets.com. They were supposed to share the profits 50-50, but that never happened. The lawsuit refers to his business as a Ponzi scheme.
His Venmo account hacked
Seidel, along with fellow poker legend Daniel Negreanu, had his Venmo account hacked in November 2020.
Venmo is a payment processor and e-wallet app, a subsidiary of Paypal’s. Seidel sadly had thousands of dollars stolen from him. He took to Twitter to complain about how difficult it was to reach an actual person in Venmo’s customer service.
– Erik Seidel’s Private Life –
→ Love Life ←
A dedicated family man, Seidel is known for spending most of his free time with his wife, Ruah, and there two daughters, Jamesin and Elian. WSOP Champion Jennifer Harman has even commented on Seidel’s relationship with his family, saying that he talks about his kids a lot and it’s clear just how important they are two him.
Their family life changed significantly when they decided to move from New York to Las Vegas in 1995 to see if Seidel could make it as a full-time poker player. That was a risk that clearly paid off.
Erik and his Family | Pokerography: The Story of Erik Seidel |…
“Erik talks a lot about his kids.” On a day celebrating love, watch the life story of a poker pro who is all about family—his wife and two daughters. Pokerography: The Story of Erik Seidel is playing at 6 p.m. ET only on Poker Central.
Posted by Poker Central on Sunday, 14 February 2016
→ Net Worth ←
According to therichest.com , Erik Seidel is worth $41,900,000.
→ Hobbies & Personal Life ←
Seidel’s hobbies include tennis and taking in a good art show or independent film. He is a self-reported music fanatic and also enjoys solving math problems.
He also travels a lot and shares photos from his trips on his Instagram account. Some places he’s shared photos from include Beijing, London, NYC, Barcelona, Galapagos, Monaco, Melbourne, Berlin, and Stockholm.
Unlike on Instagram, he’s much more political on Twitter.
Before Trump was elected, he shared the following tweet, which was heavily commentated on:
"if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization" https://t.co/oEZXcwLlhY
— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) July 18, 2016
– Erik Seidel on Social Media –