If Erik Seidel makes up ground on PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu on the all-time tournament winnings list while here at PokerStars Championship Panama, it won't come from the $50,000 Super High Roller.
Early on Day 2, Seidel busted out of the event for the second time when he got the last of his chips in with deuces. Steve O'Dwyer the steamroller picked up sevens and held up when both players hit sets.
Nonetheless, the chase remains. As things stand at the time of writing, Negreanu holds a bit over a $1.3 million lead on Seidel for the top spot on the list — $32,887,949 to $31,513,654. Given that Seidel recently tweeted a couple of times in reference to the race, one might think it's on his mind, something he's actively pursuing.
Seidel, though, said that's not the case at all when PokerNews caught up with him after he bagged a stack to end Day 1 of the Super High Roller. While he allowed that it's "a fun goal" to have, he wouldn't give the idea any more weight than that.
"I'm not gonna change my schedule," he said. "I'm kind of set in what I want to play. I'm not going around playing everything."
However, Seidel didn't totally poo-poo the idea of the race. He fully understands its relevance, acknowledging that it's a great way for poker fans to keep track of things and stay engaged in the ever-moving tournament poker scene.
While many have their eyes fixated on Seidel and Negreanu in those top two spots, the New Yorker was quick to point out that it's far from a two-horse race. The two Poker Hall of Famers have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field, but Daniel Colman lurks less than $4 million back of Seidel at $27,963,503. Given Colman's propensity for posting massive scores — he has five cashes over $1 million and another just under that mark — it's not implausible that he could be the live tournament cashes king in the near future.
In fact, Colman recently one-upped Seidel when the two reached heads-up play in the Triton Super High Roller Series HK$250,000 Six-Max in Manila. Colman took down the event for approximately $470,000 while Seidel settled for about $300,000.
"I think it's great for poker," Seidel said of the subplot of the three tournament titans trying to best each other. "You've got three people who have had a good amount of success in tournaments. It makes [the tournaments] a little more interesting, I think."
At the end of the day, though, the famously soft-spoken Seidel has a characteristically self-reflective outlook on where his accomplishments place him in poker history. He may have once jangled his eight bracelets to puff out his chest in an amusing TV spot, but comparing himself to others isn't his style.
"I don't rank myself compared to other people because I just think there's no way to possibly do it," he said. "I'm happy with the way my career's gone, but I don't really look at it versus other people necessarily."
There are myriad reasons why comparisons between players can be difficult, if not impossible. For example, only cashes are tracked on HendonMob, without regard to entry fees. For another, the landscape of tournament poker has changed drastically with the advent of high roller events.
Then, there's the fact that inflation means a cash in 2017 for a given amount has less relative value than a cash in 1970 for the same amount. For example, Seidel's famous first cash, when he came runner-up to Johnny Chan in the 1988 World Series of Poker Main Event, earned him $280,000. In today's dollars, that would be worth about $575,000.
Seidel allowed that he has never considered that angle on things but pointed out that his longevity gives him a pure volume edge over younger players like Colman.
The one adjustment Seidel would like to see on the list?
"What I'd like to do is just take out the top win," he said. "I think that skews things a lot."
Certainly, it would reward longevity and consistency, two of Seidel's hallmarks. His biggest cash, about $2.5 million at Aussie Millions, is little more than a chunk in his storied career, whereas players who binked monster eight-figure scores like Colman and Antonio Esfandiari would lose massive amounts from their totals.
Seidel could see a day in the future where he dials back his volume and loses some of his ability to keep stacking up the cashes that keep him near the top of the list. But, for now, the plan is to keep doing what he's doing.
"I'm enjoying it a lot now, as much as I ever have," he said. "I like the challenge of it. I find it endlessly interesting. I certainly feel like the last few years, I've held my own."
"Who knows why that is, but that's encouraging," he said with a smile.