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1996 WSOP Main Event Champion Huck Seed Inducted Into The Poker Hall Of Fame

by Steve Schult |  Published: Feb 10, 2021

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Shortly before the new year, the World Series of Poker announced that veteran poker pro Huck Seed has become the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame.

The 51-year-old Seed, whose first recorded tournament score came back in 1990, has racked up nearly $7.65 million in live tournament earnings over the course of his three-decade career, including a $1 million payday for his victory in the 1996 WSOP main event.

Along with the WSOP gold he won from his breakthrough score in 1996, Seed also won bracelets in the 1994 $2,500 pot-limit Omaha event, the 2000 $1,500 razz event, and the 2003 $5,000 razz event. He also made the main event final table again, finishing sixth in 1999. Seed continued to prove his well-rounded poker abilities by cashing in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship three times as well.

Outside of his success at the summer series, Seed has also won a handful of high-stakes invitational events. He took down the NBC National Heads-Up Championship in 2009 and the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions for $500,000 each, and also won the Poker After Dark Big Heat for $600,000 and the Full Tilt Doubles Championship for another $500,000.

Before transitioning to poker, the 6’7” Montana native was a basketball standout. Seed was named to the 1987 Montana All-State basketball team before continuing his basketball career as an electrical engineering major at the California Institute of Technology. He found the poker table in 1989, took a leave of absence from school and never went back, having found his calling.

During the 90’s, Seed found himself quickly ascending the cash game ranks. His prowess in live games was one of the main reasons fellow Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel tweeted his support for Seed’s induction just a couple weeks before he was formally announced as the sole inductee of 2020.

“Huck is my top HOF pick,” wrote Seidel. “[He was the] first player to break Chip and Doyle’s 30-year hegemony in cash games.”

Seidel clarified that before Seed starting grinding, Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese were the proverbial end bosses in the high-stakes cash game world. But when Seed showed up, he “took on all comers and crushed souls on a daily basis.”

Seidel even went as far as to call Huck the “OG Ivey,” and brought up the fact that he was the inspiration for the main character in the movie Lucky You. (Eric Bana starred in the lead role as Huck Cheever.)

Aside from Seed’s prowess at the poker table, he also earned a reputation as one of the best prop bettors in the game. There wasn’t much that he wasn’t willing to bet on.

He reportedly lost a five-figure sum to Phil Hellmuth and Konstantin Othmer when he claimed he could float in the ocean for 24 hours, and won $10,000 from Howard Lederer when he learned to do a standing backflip in two days. He also wagered six-figures that he could break 100 on a desert golf course four times in one day while using just a five iron, sand wedge, and putter.

And those are just the bets that had someone willing to take the action. In 2018, poker pro Rich Alati booked a $100,000 prop bet against Rory Young that he could live in a completely dark bathroom for 30 days.

According to a tweet from Len Ashby, Seed got wind of the bet and one-upped it, claiming he would “stay in there for 60 days, eat nothing but cockroaches, and run a six-minute mile” after he was done for $100,000.

In previous years, there had been two inductees voted on by both a panel of poker media members and the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame. This year, however, just one person was voted in, and only the living Poker Hall of Famers were able to weigh in. In 2019, both Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim were inducted. The last time just one person was inducted was in 2009, when Mike Sexton was the only player to receive enough votes.

In order to be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame, a candidate must be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination. They also have to have played high-stakes poker against acknowledged top competition, playing consistently well and standing the test of time, while also gaining the respect of their peers. Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game, with indelible positive and lasting results.

One voting member abstained, leaving the remaining 30 members with 10 votes each to dole out however they pleased. Seed received 76 votes to best a field of nominees that also featured veteran tournament director Matt Savage, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, WSOP commentating duo Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, and poker pros Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Patrik Antonius, and Chris Ferguson.

The honor was a long time coming for Seed, who was first nominated for the Hall of Fame back in 2011. He was subsequently nominated every year after except for 2012, 2015, and 2016.

Savage finished second with 51 votes, followed by Scheinberg with 45, and Elezra with 30. Ferguson, who has drawn ire from the poker community for his involvement in the Full Tilt scandal, yet has remained active at the WSOP, finished with just three votes. ♠