Neither has made much noise at the WSOP so far this year, but I was reminded of a time when they did. In fact, these two came together for one of the greatest moments in WSOP history.
It was 1988 and Johnny Chan was looking for his second WSOP Main Event win in as many years. Seidel, a former backgammon player schooled in poker at New York's famous Mayfair Club where consummate pros like Howard Lederer and Dan Harrington made their bones, was in his first major poker tournament heads-up for the title with the previous year's winner.
The final hand is the very same one immortalized in one of the best poker movies of all time - Rounders.
Chan limped holding J♣ 9♣ and Seidel checked with Q♣ 7♥. The flop of Q♠ 10♥ 8♦ gave Seidel top pair with a weak kicker, but Chan had flopped the nut straight.
Never one to slow play unless he thinks it might work, Chan bet out $40,000 and Seidel, thinking he might have the best hand, bumped it up another $50,000. Now this is why Johnny is, was and always will be one of the best poker players in the world - he flat called.
The turn was a blank, the 2♠ to be exact, and Seidel checked. Seeing his opportunity to trap, patiently, the Orient Express checked as well. When the river came the 6♦ Seidel pushed in and as Matt Damon will tell you, Chan had him. Johnny instacalled and masterfully took down his second WSOP Main Event championship in two years.
The surprised look on Seidel's face was priceless and ESPN caught it all - he didn't know what hit him.
Seidel recovered from the beat eventually, moving on to become one of the game's greats. He's won seven WSOP Gold Bracelets, the last time in 2005 in a $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event. This year at the WSOP he's already picked up small cashes in two events and it would be hard to say the game has passed him by as he finished second in the $100,000 Hold'em event at the Aussie Millions back in January.
Chan moved on to make thousands more great plays in one of the most storied poker careers around. He came in to the 2007 WSOP tied with Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson for the most WSOP wins of all time - 10.
In his race for number 11, Chan has cashed almost $28,000 so far and it would be tough to argue that Johnny has slipped at all.
However, like Seidel, Chan last won at the WSOP back in 2005.
Seeing their names in the Omaha event today and being reminded of the wonderful moment they gave the poker world, I began to wonder if both players weren't on the down side of their poker careers.
Seidel re-bought a number of times, but didn't even make the dinner break.
At the time I'm writing this, Chan was still hanging around with a mid-level stack. Odds are he'll make Day 2 and probably cash, but no one is seriously thinking this is his run for the eleventh bracelet.
Chan and Seidel are both quiet characters at the best of times. But you just don't see the passion guys like Hellmuth play with coming out of these two.
With so many Internet players, flavor of the week aggressive young guns and just turned 21-year-old kids fighting to make a name in the game, Seidel and Chan may need to refocus their energies.
Already millionaires many times over, I'm sure it's tough to find the motivation, but here's hoping they do. They gave us one of the greatest moments in WSOP history, I can't think of any good reason why they can't give us another.