It’s little wonder that Erik Seidel is ranked the winningest American player of all time: he already has close to $30 million in live tournament cashes and eight WSOP bracelets. These include the € 2,015,000 he won at the EPT11 Grand Final when he took down the €100k Super High Roller, beating Polish wunderkind Dzmity Urbanovich heads-up. That was the third biggest cash of his life but he has another two of over $2 million, and a further 10 of more $500k.
Born in New York City in 1959, Seidel always had a gifted mind for games of all kinds. He took up backgammon while in college and soon dropped out to pursue a professional career playing the game. New York’s famous Mayfair Club was like a second home to Seidel. There he was able to hone his skills against some of the best players around.
Seidel traveled around playing backgammon tournaments for about eight years before making some forays into the stock market. With more and more people indulging in poker at the Mayfair Club, Seidel decided to give it a shot. Poker wasn’t his only source of income though, as Seidel took up a regular job as a stockbroker with much more of a secure income. The security of a regular paycheck went out the window though in 1987 when the stock market crashed and Seidel lost his job. Luckily, he still had poker.
Seidel was soon one of the top players at the Mayfair Club and decided to take a shot in Vegas at the 1988 World Series where he ended up placing second in the Main Event to the world renowned Johnny Chan - the final hand was featured in the movie Rounders. He won his first WSOP bracelet in 1992 and made the Main Event final again in 1999, finishing in 4th place. He shows no signs of letting up either. At last season’s EPT Grand Final, he left Monaco with more than €150k, his cashes including runner-up in the €10k NL Turbo, and headed back home to Vegas for yet another highly profitable summer. His cashes there included third in the SHR Bowl in Vegas for over $2 million and runner-up in the Aria High Roller for $264,000. Seidel was inducted in to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2010.
You can follow Erik on Twitter at @erik_seidel.