Before the 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final began, one of the things we hyped was that the €100,000 Super High Roller field could be the largest ever. With 71 entries, our prediction was spot on.
One thing we didn't focus on, though, was the chance at a big, superstar winner. The thing is, there was probably somewhere around a 95-percent chance that this event was going to be won by one of poker's biggest names. That, or a talented, new young gun was going to walk away with the title. When the final river card fell, we had the former with Erik Seidel hoisting the trophy, but his win is much more than we hoped for.
In poker, when the term "G.O.A.T." is thrown around (meaning greatest of all time), the list of names is short, often containing the select bunch of Phil Ivey, Chip Reese, and Daniel Negreanu. But, Seidel has shown us time and time again that he deserves to be in the argument as the greatest. Now, with this premier €2 million win, the case has never been stronger.
It's really no secret that this writer considers Ivey the greatest poker player of all time, but I'm starting to have a bit of a change of heart because what Seidel continues to do is nothing short of amazing. He even leapfrogged Ivey (and Daniel Colman) on poker's all-time money list with his latest victory and now ranks third all time.
For argument's sake, if you throw out the World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop, Seidel is poker's top all-time money earner, and Ivey is second. Both have well over $20 million in live tournament earnings, but failed to score a results-inflating payday from the One Drop event.
Side by side, let's see how these two stack up across several important categories:
|Player||Total $ Won||All-TIme Rank||Total Cashes||Open Wins||Bracelets||WSOP Cashes||WPT Titles||$1M+ Scores||$1M+ Years|
As you can see, the two have their fair share of wins in a particular category. While Ivey is widely considered the game's greatest, Seidel has certainly done his part to close the gap.
Looking deeper at those numbers, Ivey has the edge in average earnings per cash result, win percentage when cashing, and WSOP gold bracelets. Seidel has won more all time, both money and open events, has more cashes all time, and he's been doing it for longer. His tournament cashes date back to 1988 versus Ivey's first that came 10 years later in 1998. Over the last 30 years, it is without a doubt that no player has stood the test of time in a more impressive fashion.
Seidel is also a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2010 alongside Dan Harrington. In the years since his induction, Seidel has earned over $13.7 million, or nearly 57 percent of his total live tournament earnings. Ivey has yet to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, but that will likely come in 2016 when he will turn 40 on Feb. 1 to meet the minimum age requirement.
Talking to many players around the tournament circuit, especially those in the game's younger generation, Seidel's no-limit hold'em tournament game ranks better than Ivey's, and that's the format all of the biggest events are played these days.
With this victory, Seidel gave us, the poker media and audience, another piece of evidence that he should be right up there when talking about who is poker's G.O.A.T. At 55 years old, he is poker's elder statesman, and no matter how many new young guns storm onto the scene, he continues to showcase timeless talent and enthusiasm.