Veteran Erik Seidel proved once again that he’s more than a match for the new generation of poker player when he took down the $100k EPT Grand Final Super High Roller in Monte Carlo over the weekend.
Seidel outlasted 71 of the world’s best tournament players, and added â‚¬2,015,000 to his lifetime tournament earnings in the process, allowing him to leapfrog Phil Ivey and Daniel Colman on the World All-time Money List.
And best of all, he did it wielding a short stack for most of the tournament, which lead to him proclaiming this victory to be one of the best of his career.
It’s a career that has spanned almost 30 years and $24,065,941 in gross earnings, and Seidel’s ability to adapt to the game along the way has been almost unique.
For many years he dwelt in Johnny Chan’s shadow; he was the runner-up at the 1988 WSOP Main Event, the “also ran” that Chan skillfully trapped into losing all his chips, a scene revisited for a new generation in the movie Rounders.
And yet, while Seidel has developed into a high-buy-in, small-field specialist, the ultimate modern live poker player, Chan has apparently lost his hunger for tournament poker, these days playing just a smattering of events a year.
Having grinded his way into contention in Monte Carlo, Seidel faced a fierce heads-up opponent in Poland’s Dzmitry Urbanovich. Urbanovich had arrived in Monaco fresh from an extraordinary run at the EPT’s previous stop, in Malta.
There he had cashed in six events, made six final tables, won four, and finished second once, for a combined haul of $776,457. With a 3:1 chiplead, the young Pole was looking to make it five wins in seven EPT events.Â
But it wasn’t to be. Seidel was down to just 12.5 big blinds when he found a double up, with A-K against Urbanovich’s K-3 shove, and from there he clawed his way back.
And he won a big hand shortly after, when he made a flush with Qh7h on a 6h3h7dQsKh board, when his opponent held A-Q.
After four hours of intense heads-up play, the final hand came when Urbanovich open-shoved for 17 BBs with K-9 and Seidel called with pocket tens, which held.
“I think he was very tough,” said Seidel of his opponent. “You can see why he won four tournaments. He’s an amazing young player and I’m sure this is just the beginning for him. It was interesting watching him. Obviously he’s a tremendously talented kid and he’s going to be a star on the circuit for sure.”
He was also asked whether he’d now be ready for a rematch with Johnny Chan. “Johnny Chan’s a great player. I wouldn’t make any predictions,” he said.
“I think I’m a better player than I was back then,” he added thoughtfully, “but then I think Johnny is too.”