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The PokerNews Profile: Huckleberry Seed

The PokerNews Profile: Huckleberry Seed 0001

Not only has Huckleberry Seed won the WSOP Main Event, four gold bracelets, and over $4.5 million in poker tournaments, he is regarded as one of the greatest proposition gamblers of all time. Seed has taken on challenges to do a standing back flip (successful), float in the ocean for a 24-hour period (unsuccessful), and break 100 on a Las Vegas golf course four times in one day using only three clubs (successful — and he did it in 100-degree heat). Standing a lanky 6'7" tall, Seed is a quiet, introspective presence at the table, preferring to let his skills do the talking rather than running off at the mouth. Though he'll never be the showiest player in the room or actively seek the spotlight like many of his peers, Seed is still at the top of his game, only last month taking top honors at the 2009 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.

Huckleberry Seed was born on January 15, 1969 and grew up in California and in Corvallis, Montana. Seed was a top athlete in high school, making the 1987 Montana All-State basketball team. Also an excellent student with an aptitude for math and science, Seed was accepted at the California Institute of Technology and played on the university's basketball team while studying to become an electrical engineer. On one trip home from college, Seed stopped in Las Vegas and ended up making $1,000 in a $10/20 limit hold'em game. Soon afterwards, he cut his college career short, taking a leave of absence in 1989 and never returning to school. He opted instead for life as a professional poker player after discovering the plethora of games available in Southern California. Seed, then 21, took his first shot at the World Series of Poker in 1990 and ended up making two final tables—finishing fourth in the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event and fourth in the $1,500 Limit Omaha event. After returning home, he continued playing successfully in local tournaments in L.A. and Vegas, making five more final tables that year alone.

Seed hit his first six-figure tournament score in 1991, earning $118,750 for his runner-up finish at the Four Queens Classic. He continued to flourish at the WSOP, finally winning his first bracelet in 1994 in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. Though he was one of the first players eliminated from the Main Event in 1995 (he finished 265th of 273), Seed took down the whole shebang only one year later, defeating Bruce Van Horn heads-up to win the 1996 WSOP Main Event and its $1,000,000 first-place prize. Three years later, Seed again made the final table in the Main Event, but lost out on the 1999 title to Noel Furlong, ultimately finishing sixth. To date, Seed has cashed 35 times at the WSOP and has made 20 final tables in nearly every poker discipline, from Omaha 8or-better to deuce-to-seven draw and razz. In fact, two of Seed's four bracelets came in razz—he won the WSOP's razz event in 2000 and again in 2003.

In the post-Moneymaker era, Seed kept a quieter profile than most of his peers, but was still able to cash in on the poker boom. Seed signed with Full Tilt Poker as a sponsored pro and regularly plays high-stakes cash games and tournaments on the site. He also appeared on Fox Sports' "Poker Superstars Invitational" and has made several showings on NBC's "Poker After Dark." He cashed at the WSOP four times in 2006 and notched a 17th-place finish in the WPT Legends of Poker immediately afterwards. Seed was also selected to compete in the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and ended up finishing tied for ninth place. He was invited back in '08 and improved to a third-place finish — defeating David Benyamine in the quarterfinals but falling to Andy Bloch in the semis. His finish earned him a return ticket in 2009 and the third time proved to be the charm for Seed, who defeated Jonathan Little, Gus Hansen, Glen Chorny, David Oppenheim, Sam Farha, and won a best-of-three battle with finalist Vanessa Rousso on his way to capturing the title and the $500,000 first-place prize. Seed now holds an astonishing record of 18-4 in heads-up matches over three years in this prestigious event.

Huckleberry Seed can still be found playing in the biggest cash games and tournaments in the world (only a few days ago he was spotted playing a $3,000/6,000 mixed game at Bellagio with Farha and Benyamine) and as he has for many years, calls Las Vegas home.

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