It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again. Erik Seidel is the best tournament player alive. Although there are some that may disagree in theory, it’s tough to disagree with results. Seidel has posted enough victories this year to place himself at the top of the all-time tournament earnings list, and he’s done so with over $5.4 million in overall winnings in 2011.
Seidel continues his run-good by finishing first for a $1,092,000 cash in the Bellagio’s first-ever $100K Super High Roller event. Although the field was small, the group of 29 players was headlined with some of the toughest players on the planet, including noteworthy young stars Vivek Rajkumar, Justin Bonomo, Sam Trickett, and the man who’s now currently behind him in 2nd on the all-time earnings list, Daniel Negreanu.
Let’s also mention, that Seidel’s final opponent during heads-up play was none other the Erick Lindgren. Lindgren, who’s also having a very successful year both at the live felt and in the virtual realm, has still kept his success alive, even in spite of the recent exclusion of U.S. players on Full Tilt Poker, Lindgren’s sponsor.
With a field of players this select, it’s unfortunate that only five places could be paid. With several pros aching for their first big win of 2011, play between the final nine players was particularly intense. Players such as Bonomo and Negreanu traded blows back and forth for hours, until Bonomo eventually finished in fifth with $224,160 in earnings after he was eliminated by Lindgren.
Although Lindgren was usually atop the chip counts on the final day of play, his encounter with Rajkumar, who was also amongst the chip leaders — supplanted him as the top dog as play was whittling down. He got into a big hand with the fellow Full Tilt sponsored player in which he held against Rajkumar’s pocket aces, but was lucky enough to eliminate Rajkumar in dramatic fashion as he turned a nine and rivered a jack to send him home in fourth place with $336,240.
With three players remaining, it was Seidel, Lindgren and Negreanu who ended up vying for the highest payouts. Despite being dramatically short-stacked in comparison to his peers, Negreanu scratched and clawed his way back into contention, only to lose a pivotal pot with pocket fours to the A-6 suited of Lindgren, who now appeared to be stamping his mark on the tournament title.
It was Seidel who proved to be his toughest adversary however. With multiple tournament wins under his belt already this year, including a heads-up title at the NBC Championship event, you could be certain he would put up a tremendous battle going into one-on-one play.
Heading into the final two with the chip lead, many expected Seidel to gain an early advantage quickly. He led 7.12 million to 4.48 million on the start of the extended third day of the event, but Lindgren ended up taking a monstrous portion of Seidel’s stack early when he doubled up with against the of Seidel.
At 40,000/80,000 blinds with a 10,000 ante, Lindgren opened to 200,000 and was called by Seidel. The flop of likely appeared to be the end of the tournament for Lindgren, but was quickly able to turn the odds against his opponent after the peeled on fourth street. The river card was meaningless, and this hand saw Seidel’s chip stack diminish all they way to 2.575 million.
While most would be prepared to head for the exits after such a roller-coaster ride, Seidel was able to fight his way back into the contest with a crucial double-up with pocket queens against the A-10 of Lindgren. This brought the chip counts to nearly even, with a battle of patience and will being the two biggest traits standing in between them and the title.
The final hand saw Lindgren re-raise all-in with on a flop of after Seidel led out for 125,000 with . Seidel was able to make the correct call, and this time, the cards held up in his favor as he secured the first place prize and gave Lindgren $700,500 for second place.
Seidel is easily the hottest player on the tournament circuit, and by winning the biggest-ever World Poker Tour buy-in event, he’s earned the attention of every pro and poker admirer out there. Seidel has typically flown under the radar, but he will be hard to ignore for the remainder of 2011.
The World Series of Poker is starting very soon, and Seidel will undoubtedly be amongst the favorites heading in to the event.
Here are the final results for payouts at the 2011 WPT Super High Roller:
- Erik Seidel — $1,092,000
- Erick Lindgren — $700,500
- Daniel Negreanu — $448,320
- Vivek Rajkumar — $336,240
- Justin Bonomo — $224,160