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Tournament Trail POY Q and A -- Erik Seidel

A Conversation with a Poker Legend


Erik SeidelErik Seidel won his first World Poker Tour title in 2008. He defeated a field of 346 players to walk away with $992,890, the largest win of his career at the Foxwoods Poker Classic. The second largest single cash of Seidel’s storied career also came in 2008, when he finished runner-up to Alexander Kostritsyn at the main event of the Aussie Millions and took home $880,000. Seidel ended his 2008 Card Player Player of the Year campaign with 4,754 points, and he held the lead for quite some time from April until August, when John Phan passed him by winning the WPT Legends of Poker. Seidel now has won $9,351,580 in career tournament winnings, eight World Series of Poker gold bracelets, and one WPT title in his illustrious career.

Ryan Lucchesi:
How did it feel to add a WPT title in 2008 to all of the bracelets you have accumulated during your career?

Erik Seidel: It was a nice win for me, I really felt like I was underperforming on the WPT so it felt nice to finish one off…I was starting to wonder what was wrong. I’ve been playing since the beginning and hadn’t won one. It was something I really wanted to do.

RL: What are some of the ways that the WPT tournaments have changed since the beginning of the tour?

ES: I think the WPT has really added a lot of inexperienced players to the mix, which is nice. It’s been nice to have so many of these $10,000 tournaments. Obviously the fields have gotten bigger during the last six years.

RL: What are the biggest changes you’ve made in your poker strategy to adjust to the large fields?

I think I probably play more hands now then I used to. I guess there are times when I’m playing less too, depending on the mix of players at my table.

Would you say that there is more variance in tournament poker these days?

ES: I think there is for sure. Look at last year, Bill Edler had an amazing year and this year he hasn’t cashed, that’s unbelievable.

RL: How many major tournaments would you say you played in 2008?

ES: If I were to guess I would say maybe around 50.

Do you ever burnout during that busy schedule? Or do you see other players who burn themselves out trying to play too many tournaments?

ES: There are some people who seem to be able to do it. I don’t know how they motivate themselves, but some of those guys also haven’t been around as long as I have. I’ve been around for enough years that for me it’s a little too much to play that many tournaments, but I can see how for other people they still might have the energy for it. Also, I’m old, and a lot of these guys are young.

RL: You’re one of those players that have accumulated a lot of titles and accolades for a sustained period of time. Do you value your overall body of work the most, or is there one individual title that really stands out during the course of your career?

I wouldn’t say that there is one particular result that is extra special. Every time you win a major it’s a special thing. I wouldn’t say that there is one that is significantly different than the others. I’m happy that I’m still surviving and still managing to make money at it. The environment has changed a lot since I first started playing so its good to feel that I’m still competitive and keeping up.