Erik Seidel

erik-seidelFormerly 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.

Martin Jacobson

martin-jacobsonStockholm-born Martin Jacobson, who currently lives in London, ranks thirty-fourth on the all-time money list, with $16.8 million in live earnings. Far and away his biggest payout was the $10 million he collected for winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) World Championship in 2014, having previously finished in sixth place – worth $807,247 – in the WSOP One Drop High Roller event, also held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the previous year.

In his formative years, Jacobson attended a culinary school, before working a chef in a Stockholm seafood restaurant and, when he turned 18, in the Swedish Navy during military service. He originally played online poker as a hobby but, remarkably, won a seat at the WSOP Main Event in 2008. Having turned 21 just three days before the start of the tournament, Jacobson travelled to Las Vegas alone and was eliminated after just three hands. Sensing revenge, rather than discouragement, Jacobson continued to gather momentum as a poker player on his return to Sweden and, later the same year, cashed for $89,000 when finishing second in the PokersStars Sunday Million, having risked the last $200 in his account.

The Swedish professional joined Gibraltar-based online poker network 888poker as a brand ambassador in late 2017. Prior to ‘Bros Vs Pros II’ – a tournament in which qualifiers take on well-known, professional players – at the Aspers Casino in Stratford, East London in early 2019, Tom Mason, one of the latest ‘Bros’, genuinely asked Jacobson what his biggest live cash was!