Erik Seidel's at the Final Table and We Talked to Him

Erik Seidel
Erik Seidel, 2008 Aussie Millions - Day 2.

Erik Seidel is a poker player who needs no introduction - or does he? The Las Vegas-based pro and graduate of New York's Mayfair Club is possibly the quietest eight-WSOP-bracelet winner you ever did see, and despite his $7.1 million in total tournament earnings just doesn't quite seem to get the proper recognition when the names of the greats of the game are being bandied around.

Recognition or no recognition, Seidel is a hell of a poker player. The Full Tilt pro solidified his claim to a spot amongst the game's elite with a win in the No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event at the 2007 World Series of Poker, a victory which placed him fourth among all-time WSOP bracelet winners.

Now Seidel has turned his attention to the 2008 Aussie Millions, where he sits fourth out of seven in chips at the final table of the $10,000 Main Event. PokerListings.com talked to The Gentle Giant at the end of the tournament's penultimate day.

Alright, Erik, how did your day go today?

I think it went OK. You know, you're just trying to hang on and hope you catch breaks here and there. Nothing huge happened, but I feel lucky that I'm still alive and that I can have a shot to contend tomorrow. I'm one of the low stacks.

You've played most of the past two days with a stack below the chip average. How does that affect your style of play?

I mean, I think that you're still trying to make the best decision every hand. I'm not at the point where I have to do anything crazy, so I'm just trying to figure out what to do each hand. It's tough, but I was happy with the way I was thinking today. I think my reads were good.

What are your impressions of the players whom you'll face at the final table?

Some really, really great players left. And I think we just eliminated one; I thought [Nico Behring] played really well. The Russian kid, Alex, is excellent. I played with him in the $100,000 event or maybe it was earlier in this tournament - whatever it was, he played really well. I expect I might end up matching up with him at some point.

Erik Seidel
You are good but I am better.

And then the other guys, some of them, because they came from downstairs, I don't really know all that well, but there are a couple of super-dangerous players at the table, really great players, and the other guys, we'll see. Everyone's capable of playing well.

You were upstairs for most of the day so we didn't get as good a look at your table as the others. Were there any key hands for you?

Not that I would talk about! (Laughs) No, actually, there weren't really any key hands. The biggest hand I had was a hand I lost, but it wasn't really anything. Nothing really happened.

I guess, actually, the big key hand happened when I got low in chips and I had a pair of sevens on a 7-6-6-Q board. That was the most difficult decision I had all day, for all of my chips. I really felt like the guy was bluffing but I had to go through it every which way to make sure, you know? I wouldn't have been surprised if it had turned out that I was fooled.

Erik Seidel
King of the lowball.

So that was really a relief when I pushed the chips in and he had to actually think about it.

I talked to Kenna James after Day 2 in this event and he told me playing out of position with you was "like having Hannibal Lecter on your left all day." Care to respond?

Yeah, I think I played with him on Day 2. I think I played OK that day. (Laughs) But yeah, that's nice to hear. I think a lot of Kenna as a player. I think he's a great tournament player.

What have your impressions been of the caliber of play overall in this event?

I've seen some really great play here, especially from some of the young kids. There are just a lot of really, really sharp kids who are just on top of everything. I mean, we didn't have to contend with this years ago, but now you just have kids that really, really have a finely tuned game. They're really sharp and just don't miss a beat, and it makes it extra-challenging to try and get through these fields.

What do you think of the structure of the event?

Love the structure. Really good structure. We've had play the entire time. Even when you get sort of low in chips, you still have plenty of decisions. It's a really great structure and it's not like one of those WPT all-in fests. They really structured it for the players.

Terrific Trio
Honestly - wombats, guys. Get on it.

They really do things right here. They treat the players very well and they structure their tournament so that they'll have a tough final table. They're going to have a very good final table. There are going to be some interesting hands.

Finally, what's with the little animal that you've got guarding your chips?

It's actually kind of funny - we went to see the penguins, and on the way to the penguins we stopped at this little kind of petting zoo. And there was this little wombat there and it was apparently not a grown-up wombat, and it was just the sweetest little animal that I've ever seen. I was petting it and it rolled over and was nibbling on my hand and then it was standing up and playing with me and it was unbelievably cute, like it was a little puppy dog or something.

So I really fell in love with this animal, and then it turned out yesterday I was playing with a guy and he had this little stuffed wombat on his chips. And then when he got knocked out he gave it to me, which was really nice. So I'm happy to have it along - I think they're really the greatest little creatures.

It's definitely a unique card protector. Here's hoping it brings you good luck tomorrow.

Thanks.

After six days in Australia, PokerListings.com can corroborate: wombats are, in fact, the cutest of animals. We can also say that, Seidel's glowing assessment of his competitors notwithstanding, we'd rather be the guy with the wombat on his chips tomorrow than the guy trying to take those chips away.

Final table coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Melbourne time and can be viewed by clicking on this link here.

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