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Seidel Keeps “Winning”

By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer

Erik Seidel NBC Heads-Up Champion

First off it would be far too easy to somehow incorporate a Charlie Sheen “Winning” joke here, but that is sooooo 6 days ago, and we here on the Rakeback.com News Staff are usually only 3-4 days behind on the latest trends. Even we are over it. No “Tiger Blood” jokes here. You’re welcome.

Casual poker fans probably know Full Tilt Poker Pro Erik Seidel best from his pseudo-cameo appearance in Rounders, as a television in the background repeatedly plays the moment he’s defeated by Johnny Chan in the 1988 World Series of Poker Main Event.

Of course everyone in the poker community knows that despite that moment of film infamy, Seidel has proven to be one of the best tournament players in the world year-in and year-out. Seidel shows no sign of slowing down in 2011 either, booking $3.6 million in winnings through February as a result of big cashes in the PCA, Aussie Millions and L.A. Poker Classic.

So when the brackets for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship were revealed Thursday night, it’s a good bet that 62 players let out a huge sigh of relief when they found out they wouldn’t be facing the red-hot Seidel in the first round.

It’s also a good bet that Seidel’s first round opponent, fellow Full Tilt Poker Pro Allen Cunningham, was hoping that and end was in site for Seidel’s sick run.

Sorry Allen… not today. Apologies also are in order for Jennifer Harman, Phil Gordon, Vanessa Selbst, Andrew Robl and Chris Moneymaker, all of whom were left in the wake of Seidel’s dominance over the field en-route to victory.

In last year’s NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, Seidel won his way to the finals only to be beaten by Annie Duke in memorable fashion. This year there would be no runner-up repeat though as Seidel defeated Moneymaker 2-0 in the final match and added the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship trophy to the 2011 section of his display case, which might be in need of an expansion at this rate.

Seidel won the first game in the best of three final against Chris “PokerBoomPosterChild” Moneymaker quite easily. The second match was more of a see-saw battle that saw the Team PokerStars Pro holding a massive lead at one point. In a key moment Seidel sniffed out a jack-high Moneymaker bluff and took over from that point on, eventually winning the tournament when he flopped trip fives and Moneymakers king-high hand didn’t improve. With the win Seidel improved his match record to 11-1 over the last two years in the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship.

The $750,000 payday for first place brings Seidel’s 2011 winnings to nearly $4.4 million just over two months into the year. That total would place him fourth on the 2010 winnings list according to The Hendon Mob Database.  Of course the top two spots from 2010 belong to the World Series of Poker Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel and runner-up John Racener. 

Moneymaker, Seidel’s latest victim on his impressive run, earned $300,000 for his runner-up finish.

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