About Huck Seed
|Current Residence||Las Vegas Nev.|
In today's media-friendly poker industry where fans are subjected to Daniel Negreanu's rambling monologues on his preference in breakfast granola and televised weekly cries of "No fair!" from Phil Hellmuth, it's refreshing to find a player who's willing to sit back, shut up and let his game speak for itself.
Huck - or Huckleberry - Seed is just such a player. By all accounts, the World Champion and top No-Limit Hold'em player is quiet and unassuming - but simultaneously lethal on the felt.
Earlier in life, however, the Montana native had designs on becoming an electrical engineer, and put his natural math proficiency to the test at the California Institute of Technology upon graduating from high school. But like many a gambler before him, Seed wouldn't last in the hallowed halls of academia.
Instead, he opted for the decidedly less revered gambling halls of California and Nevada.
The pairing was near perfect. Seed won regularly, and on his first visit to the World Series of Poker in 1990, he placed fourth in Limit Hold'em and Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo events. Steadily, Seed cashed in tournament after tournament the following years, pocketing what would have been his annual salary as an engineer several times over.
Then came the 1994 World Series. The event would mark Seed's first gold bracelet in Pot-Limit Omaha and more than $240,000 in tournament winnings. If the 1995 series' Main Event was a disappointment - he placed 265th overall - then his performance at the 1996 championship more than made up for it.
That year, in honor of his $1 million Main Event win, Seed's picture joined those of poker's legends on Binion's Wall of Champions. Just 27 at the time, Seed brought years of professional poker experience, a composed demeanor and unforgiving card play to the final table where he defeated runner-up Bruce Van Horn.
In what would be the ultimate hand of the game, Van Horn raised pre-flop with a suited K-8; Seed said he'd be his Huckleberry and called with the 8-9 of diamonds. When the board came down 9-8-4 he bet, Van Horn re-raised and Seed pushed. With both men all-in, the turn brought a worrisome ace that added a flush draw to Van Horn's list of outs. A blank on the river, however, awarded Seed instant millionaire status and assured him a place in poker history.
At that time, the game didn't enjoy its current popularity and the win was a coup for Seed, who said poker players were just considered gamblers trying to make names for themselves.
"Back then you couldn't even tell people you were a professional poker player, because they would just give you a weird look and stop talking to you," Seed told PokerListings.com at the 2006 WSOP. "Now you're a giant celebrity, everyone's chasing you, and you're on TV."
Indeed, today it would be hard for him to remain incognito. In poker rooms filled with hard-earned pot bellies parked on laps, he stands a gangly 6'7" tall. Add to that an unusual name (he prefers to be called Huckleberry, thank you) paired with a furtive table presence and Seed makes for a distinctive player.
His eccentric and well-documented proposition bets with fellow poker players have only raised his profile.
Among the most lively is a wager Seed made with Phil Hellmuth. With $50,000 at stake, Seed bet he could stand in the ocean for 18 hours, but lasted only three. Other endeavors were more successful; Seed bet he could master a standing back flip within six months and, true to his word, he went backside over tea kettle half a year later.
He also cleaned up on a bet he couldn't break 100 on a desert golf course five times in one day using just a five iron, sand wedge and putter. Even though Seed had to complete the feat on a blistering 120 degree day, he won the bet after six rounds.
Less physically taxing was Seed's wager that he wouldn't shave his beard for a full year. But, approaching jungle-man proportions following several months without putting cheek to razor, one of Seed's relatives died, and he sheared the beard to look respectable for the funeral.
Though his presence on the tournament trail wasn't as dominating as it was earlier in his career, Seed still made a comfortable living at the poker table following his Main Event win. For taking first at the 1998 Carnivale of Poker in Las Vegas championship event he cashed $306,000. In 1999 he made more poker and prop bet money at the WSOP; Seed final tabled in the Main Event but busted out in sixth, earning $167,000. At the 2000 series, he won a third gold bracelet and $77,400 in the Razz event.
Despite his reputation for being one of the top No-Limit Hold'em players in the world, Seed's fourth bracelet once again came in the Razz event in 2003 - a year that saw Seed hunkered over five WSOP final tables.
In 2004, Seed earned his most recent notable first-place finish on the tournament circuit, a $135,000 win at Festa al Lago in Las Vegas. Though his profile is lower than those of his media-hungry counterparts, Seed has maintained a presence on the felt at World Series events where he regularly cashes, at high-stakes casino games in Vegas, and online at his sponsor site, Full Tilt Poker.
What gives him the edge? Well, if you ask him - and PokerListings.com did - he says it's because he's the Ice Man.
"I just rise to the occasion," he said. "The bigger the money, the more pressure, that's when I can focus the best and be more calm and relaxed. That's a good way to be in poker; the more pressure there is, the more you relax."
- 1996 World Series of Poker Main Event champion
- Holds four gold bracelets in three different game varieties
- Known for bizarre proposition bets with fellow pros