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Erik Seidel Biography

Erik Seidel Biography
by Chad Holloway of

Erik Seidel was born on November 6, 1959 in New York City. At the young age of 12, Seidel appeared on the television show "To Tell the Truth." In the 1970s, he spent eight years traveling the backgammon circuit and participating in a variety of tournaments. Eventually, Seidel became involved in the stock market and supplemented his income playing poker at the legendary Mayfair Club alongside the likes of Dan Harrington, Howard Lederer, Mickey Appleman, and Steve Zolotow. When the stock market crashed in 1987, Seidel was out of work and decided to take a shot at the World Series of Poker in Vegas. In the 1988 W.S.O.P. Main Event Seidel finished second to Johnny Chan in a hand immortalized in the film Rounders. In the final hand, Seidel was dealt Q-7 and the flop fell Q-10-8. Chan slow-played his nut straight with the J-9 as both the turn and river blanked and Seidel then pushed all-in. The rest is history.

Seidel's second place finish, for which he earned $280,000, did not deter him and he has went on to win an astounding eight W.S.O.P. bracelets: 1992 $2,500 Limit Hold'em ($168,000), 1993 $2,500 Omaha Eight-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), and 2007 World Championship No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball w/rebuys ($538,835). Seidel's other poker accomplishments include placing fourth at the 1999 W.S.O.P. Main Event ($279,500), placing second in the 2007 Aussie Millions $100k Event ($550,000 AUD), second in the 2008 Aussie Millions $10k Main Event ($880,000 AUD), and winning the World Poker Tour's 2008 Foxwoods Poker Classic ($992,890). Barry Greenstein commented on Seidel's 1994 bracelet win: "I remember back in 1994 when he won the $5,000 Limit Hold'em event at the World Series of Poker. I congratulated him on his win and with typical humility he said, 'Actually, with the cards I held, it would have been embarrassing not to win."

Since moving to Las Vegas in 1995, Seidel has found much poker success. He currently has over $9.2 million in tournament winnings and is a member of Team Full Tilt. In his spare time he enjoys playing tennis, playing online poker at, and listening to music (he has posted a large list of his favorite albums and playlists on his official website) for which he has said, "I'm something of a music obsessive (Howard [Lederer] jokes it's my part time job). Since I have very little interest in writing about poker, I thought it would be more fun to have a section devoted to music." He is sometimes referred to by his nickname, "Sly." One other interesting fact about Seidel is explained by Greenstein: "Erik is very protective of his hole cards. Even at a final table with hole card cameras, he has occasionally hidden his cards. Most people assume he doesn't want to reveal his strategy. But maybe he doesn't want to show what good cards he catches!"


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