Formerly an accomplished backgammon player at the Mayfair Club in New York, Erik Seidel turned to trading options on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) – now known as the NYSE American – before the stock market crash of October, 1987, a.k.a. ‘Black Monday’, forced him to seek new opportunities. He started playing poker at the Mayfair Club and, in 1988, encouraged by professional poker players Dan Harrington and Howard Lederer, headed to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
Remarkably, Seidel finished runner-up to Johnny Chan on that occasion and, later the same year, won the 4th Annual Jim Brady event in Los Angeles. However, worries about supporting his family by playing poker alone led him back to Wall Street until, in 1995, with the encouragement of his wife, he moved away from New York for the first time and settled in Las Vegas.
Fast forward two decades or so and Seidel, who turns 60 in November, 2019, has won eight WSOP bracelets and one World Poker Tour (WPT) championship title. He currently lies third in the all-time money list, with $35.7 million in live earnings alone and, in 2010, was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Seidel enjoyed his biggest payout to date, $2,472,555, in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne in 2011, but he has collected seven-figure sums on three other occasions, most recently when finishing third in the Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas in 2016.