Erik Seidel

Name: Erik Seidel
Nickname: Sly
Birth Date: November 6, 1959
Birth Place: New York, USA
Current Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Poker Room: Full Tilt Poker

Erik Seidel was born in New York City. During his childhood, he loved games and already showed interest in competing. In the 1970’s, when he was attending Brooklyn College he took up backgammon and saw the opportunity in the game, dropped out of school and tried it out professionally. He spent eight years on the backgammon tournament circuit and then moved on to the stock market.

Erik traded on Wall Street and started playing poker on the side. His favourite venue was the Mayfair Club, a New York card room meant for backgammon and bridge players. He gave up his job, trying to succeed as backgammon pro. This lasted for almost eight years together with his tournament commitments around the U.S.

However, everything has its end and Seidel started looking for a regular office job that would give him a standard pay check so in 1985 he started working as a stockbroker. Nevertheless, he still added onto his salary with some winnings from the evening poker games at the Mayfair. The latter was becoming more and more of a poker venue and Seidel was one of them playing some Hold’em.

The day job did not last too long as the stock market crashed in 1987 and he was out of a job. This made him focus on the poker games at the Mayfair, where by now, big names such as Howard Lederer and Dan Harrington were regulars. This is when Seidel really joined in. His poker skills caught up fast and by 1988 he was ready for a bigger table. He asked friends to sponsor him for his first World Series of Poker. With their support, he signed up for the 10 tournaments and ended at the final table facing Johnny Chan, the defending champion in a heads-up.

At the final hand of the game, Seidel found himself in the big blind with a relative short stack and Johnny Chan made a series of calls. Seidel pushed all-in and lost. Being a novice at the time, Seidel was up against someone too strong without the necessary knowledge and he remembers the experience as surreal. Through all his achievements and successful tournaments fanatics still regret this loss to Chan. The footage was also used for the poker film Rounders and people still bring it up till now.

He then placed second at the 1991 WSOP, in the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event, but placed first in 1992 $2,500 Limit Hold’em event and first in the 1993 $2,500 Omaha Eight-or-Better. Later on, when he played in the World Series of Poker Championship Event, he finished second.

By 1994, Seidel was sure of his game – Hold’em and competed in the $5,000 Limit event and won his first bracelet. He had confirmed his goal to become a poker pro and moved with his wife to Vegas in 1995.
The next WSOP win was in 1998 at the $5,000 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw and then a fourth place the year after for nearly $280,000. He classified 4th at the final table of the Championship Event in 1999 and then another bracelet in the 2001 WSOP $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. He also won $258,020. For the 2nd place atThe Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica, Miss.

He followed up 2nd and 3rd at the 2003 WSOP, in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha and $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em events respectively, together with a 2nd place in the United States Poker Championship $9,800 No-Limit Hold’em event.

2005 saw Seidel’s seventh gold bracelet win in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, which earned him $611,795 and then the eighth bracelet in 2007. This is a total he shares with the legendary Johnny Moss.
In 2008 he classified second for $880,000 in prize money at the Aussie Millions Main Event. In the same year, he won his first World Poker Tour Championship and nearly $993,000 at the Foxwoods Poker Classic. At the 2008 WSOP he made two final tables and claiming fifth place in the $10K World Championship and fourth place in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament. Through the years, his best Game became No-Limit Hold’em tournaments and his weakness the Seven-Card Stud and its variations.

In his free time, Erik plays tennis, loves music and plays poker online at He is married with children.

Erik Seidel’s other achievements

• 11 cash wins

• 8 WSOP bracelets and 9 first place finishes

• $5, 846, 761 in winnings and 39 cashes

• Over $9.2 Million in Career Tournament Earnings

• Top 10 All-Time Money List for WSOP

• Only WSOP player to win titles in 3 consecutive years

• Former professional backgammon player

• 1st in the 2007 WSOP Foxwoods Poker Classic

• 2nd in the 2008 Aussie Millions Special

• 1st in the 1998 WSOP Deuce to Seven

• 1st in the 2001 WSOP No Limit Hold’em

• 1st in the 1992 WSOP Even t 4

• 1st in the 2005 WSOP Event 9

• 3rd in the 2003 WSOP Event 32

Starting out as a relatively novice poker player against Chan, one of the world’s best pros, Erik Seidel started doing incredibly well immediately. He claimed eight WSOP bracelets and earned many poker stripes from years of tournaments and cash-game play.

His inherent gaming skills led him to great success and rewards, such as the sponsorship with Full Tilt Poker and appearing in a series of television advertisements. He is a great thinker who does not like to share his insights and has a talent of playing well with a diverse set of opponents. Erik was once a successful side game player, but he has dedicated himself to becoming a top tournament player now.

He is a very down-to-earth person, and probably one of the top five No-Limit Hold’em tournament players in the world.