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Erik Seidel

By Paul McGuire

Erik Seidel is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet in the poker world. He's become infamous for his scene in the popular poker film Rounders, when he was beat by Johnny Chan heads up at the 1988 World Series of Poker. But Erik Seidel has also proven that he's not only one of the best cash game players of all time, but that he's an excellent tournament player, too.

Erik Seidel
Erik Seidel - Source: Las Vegas & Poker

Barry Greenstein feels that excellent players like Erik Seidel often get overlooked by the media because of their calm and pensive demeanor at the tables. These days most TV producers are looking to exploit uncouth and rowdy behavior for ratings. That's something you'll never see from Erik Seidel. He's one of the most respectful players around and his expression is always the same whether he wins or loses a pot.

Erik Seidel was born in New York City and started out as a tournament backgammon player. He played for several years before he moved into the financial sector. He worked on Wall Street and traded stocks with Paine Webber. He also played poker on the side at the infamous Mayfair Club with Dan Harrington and Howard Lederer. He befriended both players and the three would often spend late nights at a local pub discussing their hands and other poker strategy. Eventually Seidel moved to Las Vegas to play poker full time. He still trades stocks on the side. Most recently, Seidel began focusing more on tournaments than on cash games.

Prior to 2005, Erik Seidel had been running not-so-good. After an excellent 2002-2003 season, he hit a dry spell like plenty of the top players often do. Seidel did not feel that he was playing badly, but the cards weren't coming his way. He maintained his discipline and persistence. He continued to play through his bad streak. His luck changed at the 2005 WSOP. He made four final tables (two each in No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha) and won his seventh bracelet in the $2K NL event when he beat out Cyndy Violette.

"I never expected to make another final table, let alone win another bracelet," the always humble Seidel said after he won the $2K NL event at the 2005 WSOP.

With the field of players larger than ever, Seidel honestly thought his chances of doing well were slim. Instead he went on to play excellent poker. His performance during the first five weeks of the WSOP made him a favorite in the main event. His best strength at the table is his ability to adapt to different games and various types of playing styles including against loose internet players. That's why Erik Seidel also one of the best all around players living in Las Vegas today.

Erik Seidel is 9th on the career WSOP money list. He was the runner up in the main event 1988. He's also won over $5 million in tournaments and probably millions more in cash games. He's made 25 final tables at the WSOP and won seven bracelets in Limit Hold'em (1992 & 1994), Omaha 8 (1993), Deuce to Seven Draw (1998), No Limit (2001 & 2005), and Pot Limit Omaha (2003). He’s also made the final table of a WPT event.

Erik Seidel has had run-ins with various production teams for televised poker events. He doesn't like giving away his strategy and sometimes will not reveal his cards. On more than one occasion, he has blocked the hole cameras with his chips in order to keep his hand a secret from the TV audience.

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