Erik Seidel is the leading all-time live tournament money winner and was a member of Team Full Tilt, but until now he’s remained silent on the events leading up to Black Friday.
Seidel is in Monte Carlo playing the PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event and took a few minutes to talk about Full Tilt Poker and one of the greatest tournament heaters in the history of poker.
Seidel: Still Just Trying to Figure Game Out
The interview ended with Seidel addressing the matter of Full Tilt Poker but for the sake of convenience those questions and answers have been moved to the beginning.
PokerListings.com: Can you comment on your reaction to learning about everything that was happening internally at Full Tilt leading up to Black Friday?
Erik Seidel: Like a lot of people I was pretty disgusted about how things were run and what happened.
Hopefully everything gets resolved but it still doesn’t make up for a year of stress that so many people have been put through. It was a huge financial stress and upset and such a hard year for so many people.
What’s your reaction to the recent talk that PokerStars will be acquiring Full Tilt and players might finally get paid back?
ES: I’m very excited about it. I certainly hope everything goes through without any problems. It’s fantastic for all of us.
PL.com: You’ve had an unbelievable couple of years in tournaments. Is there anything you can point to, to explain your success?
"Hopefully everything gets resolved but it still doesn’t make up for a year of stress that so many people have been put through"
ES: I really have no explanation for it. I think to a certain extent it was just an aberration. If you stick around long enough you’re going to have a good run.
I like to think I was making some good decisions and I was playing okay but it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on when you have a streak like that.
PL: Is that really how you think about it, as a “good run”, given the frequency and the magnitude of the results you’ve been posting?
ES: I do look at it as a good run. Every time I sit down and play I’m still just trying to figure the game out. I certainly don’t feel like I know exactly how to play or I have some special understanding.
PL: So many of the results you’ve had have come in High Roller events and there’s certainly more of those now than in the past. Do you excel in those events or is just good luck that your good run came in huge events?
ES: I think it helped a lot that I played a few of the early ones last year and got a good feeling for the structures should be played. I think my focus was good last year and really I just enjoy those events more, so when I sit down for a $100k I’m really excited about playing.
I really love being there and I don’t feel that way about events that have hundreds and hundreds of players because you know the parlay of luck it takes to get there, whereas you have so much more control over a high buy-in event with less people, because you don’t have to make it through a thousand players.
PL: You mentioned understanding the structure really well. Do you think there are talented players who enter these events and don’t fully understand them, or don’t have the experience you have?
ES: I think that is true. I think there are some players who are really great players but they haven’t necessarily adjusted to the difference in play that High Roller structures dictate.
PL.com: You’ve been around and you’ve played high before so how do you feel when you put down $100k, or $250k or even $1 million like you will this summer at the WSOP Big One?
ES: I find it really exciting. When I played the one here, I’m just so happy to be here and be in the game and to be able to play and make decisions that matter.
I think that has a lot to do with the enthusiasm because you know every decision you make could be a very big swing. But when you’re playing against 800 people, certainly the decisions matter but there’s just so much more luck needed to get through it.
What are you looking forward to about the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop at the WSOP this summer?
ES: I’m very excited about that event. It’s a historic event and only someone like Guy (Laliberte) could put this together. A good percentage of the field are not going to be professional poker players so I think it’s going to be an amazing event and I think everyone’s going to be really excited about it.
PL: I heard you talking about possibly moving away from Las Vegas. Is that true?
ES: Yeah I’m thinking about it very seriously. I’ve lived in Vegas since ’95 and you know, I certainly like it there but I don’t do as much compared to when I’m in New York.
When I’m in New York I’m doing something every day. There’s always something going on. There’s music and theater, or just walking around. I feel like I’m in love whenever I’m in New York.