Erik Seidel is winning lots of dollars in 2011. In fact, the eight-time bracelet winner is on one of the most unprecedented hot streaks in the history of live poker tournaments. Despite not even being in the top 10 when the year started, Seidel is now the #1 on the all-time poker winnings list in live tournaments. He currently has career earnings of $14.6 million, enough to put him a comfortable half a million dollars ahead of Daniel Negreanu. Let’s break down Seidel’s 2011.
In early January, Seidel joined hoards of other poker players in the Bahamas for the PCA. He logged his first cash of the year for $46,000 by finishing 3rd in a $5,000 6-max event that drew 64 entrants. Alright, not a bad start to the year.
Seidel invested most of his winnings from the 6-max event to join a staggering field of 151 players in the $25,000 High Roller event at PCA. He navigated through one of the toughest tournament fields imaginable to finish 4th for $295,000. Not a bad couple of days of work.
After the Bahamas, Seidel flew to Australia to participate in two of the largest buy-in poker tournaments ever held. First up? A $100,000 buy-in event that lured an impressive 38 players to the felt. Seidel would settle for third and notch a cool $618,000 to his career winnings. Not a bad month of poker so far.
A few days later, Seidel was one of 20 players to cough up $250,000 to play in one of the richest poker tournaments ever held. He would win the whole thing for $2.4 million, the largest cash of his career. January 2011 was good to Erik Seidel.
After a month of presumably rolling around in money and laughing maniacally, Seidel shows up at the L.A. Poker Classic for the $5,100 heads-up event. Just 48 players participate. Seidel is one of the money finishers in 5th place for $14,500.
A few days later, 18 players fork over $25,000 for the L.A. Poker Classic High Roller event. Another huge buy-in event against a tough field. Another win for Seidel. $144,000 pocketed.
By the time Seidel returned to Vegas for the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, he was already having one of the most impressive years on poker record despite it barely being March. So what did Seidel do to follow-up on his impressive start to the year? He won the entire NHUPC one year after finishing runner-up to Annie Duke. Ship the fame. Ship the TV exposure. Ship the $750,000. And ship #1 on the all-time poker winnings list.
Anyone who knows Seidel personally will tell you he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever encounter in poker. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame last fall and has won nearly five million dollars playing the game since then. If his accomplishments were packaged in a Hellmuthian personality, Seidel would probably be the most recognizable face in the game. But he’s not a jackass like Hellmuth. He is a humble guy who just shows up and plays the game the best he knows how which, evidentially, is better than just about anyone. Good for Seidel for not allowing his brief appearance on Rounders (seen below) in which he looks like the fool that Johnny Chan sweeps away to win a second straight WSOP Main Event not be the pinnacle of his poker career.