The main event of the World Series of Poker Paradise is currently underway in the Bahamas, but Saturday's excitement is what people around the Atlantis are still buzzing about. Event #7, the $50,000 Super High Roller tournament, saw Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel take victory in an extremely difficult final table. By winning more than $1.7 million, Seidel also stamped his name on an exclusive club – players who have won more than ten WSOP bracelets in their careers.
The worlds best. Compete in the Caribbean
Seidel was among seventeen men remaining in the biggest tournament yet at WSOP Paradise 2023. Seth Gottlieb led the day two celebrations with 5.25 million chips, but Seidel was just a million chips behind (4.265 million). The rest of the field was gathered close behind them, but that field also included players like Jonathan Jaffe, Chris Brewer, Adrian Mateos and Orpen Kisacikoglu (among others).
Just 30 minutes into the second day of play, Daniel Dvoress ended up on the rail through Gottlieb after miraculously flopping a full house with his KQ against Dvoress' AQ. However, Gottlieb was unable to maintain his success, clearing the way for Seidel to move up the leaderboard after eliminating Ivan Luca in twelfth place. Seidel also broke the ten million chip mark and took the table to the unofficial final nine with the elimination of Mike Watson.
Adrian Mateos was able to bring Seidel back down to earth a bit, winning a race against the nine-time WSOP bracelet winner when Mateos' AK caught a king on the flop against Seidel's pocket queens. That was enough to give Gottlieb a chance to get back on top after he doubled through Mateos and Seidel. Seidel decided to sit back for a while, but Mateos stayed on the attack, which resulted in him being eliminated by Gottlieb in eighth place.
Seidel re-established himself by quickly eliminating Jaffe from the tournament. After Seidel opened the bet, Jaffe took the opportunity to push his stack out to fight. Seidel made the call and with the cards face up, Jaffe had the minimum live with his hand:
Seidel (button): A♠ 5♠
Jaffe (small blind): KQ
The flop eliminated any drama by reaching 10♠ 6♠ J♠, giving Seidel the nut flush and Jaffe killing the draw. After the turn and the river (a queen and an ace to give Jaffe a cruel straight), Seidel was back over the ten million chip mark and the battle between him and Gottlieb raged on.
There can only be one…
Seidel and Gottlieb seemed destined to meet each other in the end. The Poker Hall of Famer improved his stack by eliminating Alex Foxen from the tournament in sixth place and, aside from Kisacikoglu's victory over fourth-place Jason Koon and fifth-place Koichi Chiba, was on course for elimination in each Responsible for winning the championship. Gottlieb tried to keep up, but after Seidel beat Kisacikoglu in third place (Seidel's K-10 played against Kisacikoglu's K-9 on a 3-J-7-2-A board), Seidel went in with a 26 Heads-up play Millions to R15 million.
It only took three hands for the decision to be made. Seidel made a crucial call on a 7-10-3-2-7 board, his 10-8 bringing in two pair against Gottlieb's bluffing 8-6 and extending his lead to nearly 4-1. Although Gottlieb would double the next hand, Seidel saw a straight on the river in the final hand that eclipsed Gottlieb's flopped two pair and further expanded his legend in poker history.
1. Erik Seidel, $1,704,400
2. Seth Gottlieb, $1,052,800
3. Orpen Kisacikoglu, $778,300
4. Jason Koon, $582,100
5. Koichi Chiba, $440,500
6. Alex Foxen, $337,300
7. Jonathan Jaffe, $261,400
8. Adrian Mateos, $205,000
With the win, Seidel rewrites a lot of what he has already done in the poker world. Seidel moves into fifth place on the US all-time leaderboard and seventh overall in poker's illustrious history. Perhaps even more important to Seidel was the fact that he joined an exclusive club of only four other men – Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan and the legendary Doyle Brunson – who had won ten (or more, in Hellmuth's case) World Series Poker bracelets. Whether in Las Vegas, online (in 2021, Seidel won a high roller for nearly a million dollars on GGPoker) or in paradise, Erik Seidel has continued to strengthen his influence on the poker world.