Erik Seidel and Full Tilt Pros Accused of Collusion
Erik Seidel has had an epic 2011. Since the beginning of the year, he has taken down two major high-roller events and the NBC National Heads-Up Championship to take over the all-time money list lead.
However, there are now allegations arising that are beginning to cast doubt as to whether these wins were indeed legitimate.
It all started with a post on the TwoPlusTwo forums a couple of weeks ago when poster "CrownWatchdog186" posted that the fix was in for both the $100,000 Challenge match and the $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller event.
The user alleged that anyone associated with Full Tilt was clearly soft playing Seidel in certain situations, allowing him to hold onto chips and letting him negotiate through the fields. Some non-sponsored players were suspected to be among those colluding, but to quote the poster "it did not seem as blatant as the Full Tilt pros, so I cannot claim if they were really colluding or just playing badly."
The monkey wrench in the Aussie Millions events seemed to be Sam Trickett. According to the poster "they really wanted to see Trickett out of there."Â Apparently Trickett had made it clear that he could not be bribed out of the events and that he was the only real threat at the tables.
Trickett went on to win the $100,000 Challenge and according to the posts, those in on the fix nearly "shit themselves" when Benyamine went out in third in the $250,000 high roller. Seidel was able to come back and take the match in the end, which the poster claimed was the only "legit part of his final table."
CrownWatchdog186 stated "It seemed that Full Tilt wanted to take maximum advantage of Seidel making the Hall of Fame last year. So it looked like they wanted to set him up for an epic run. They had a good chunk of the field sponsored and bought off anyone else they could, or so it seemed. Trickett is my hero."
Less than a day later, a poster by the name of "TurtleCat48" stated that he was on the crew filming the NBC National Heads-Up Championship and it appeared that the fix was in on the NBC National Heads-Up finals as well. Seidel faced Full Tilt pros in the first three rounds and based on the film they collected "something was not right."
According to TurtleCat48, "I'm not saying they were passing signals, but his opponents folded everything but the nuts, and of course, they won the minimum."
The Vanessa Selbst match seemed on the up and up to the poster as he said "there was only one hand where you might question, but it was such a small pot, it was obvious to me that the match with Selbst was legit." However, the Robl match had him convinced the fix was in.
"Robl played too differently from when he started the event. Either something was up, or he got stupid against Seidel. He didn't get stupid."
The final match seemed legit to the poster until the 2nd match. "Things looked pretty normal in the first match. The second match, not so much.Â Moneymaker played too good to make the two bluff plays he made, especially that shove into the trips. They probably set it up to make it "look good" but in the end, it was clear it was fixed."
The thread went mostly unnoticed with a few posters claiming BS when the thread was eventually locked and then deleted from the servers without any explanation. However, this did not stop the posters. A copy of the initial thread was sent to Gary Wise of ESPN, whom then contacted Full Tilt Poker.
According to a representative with the site "Full Tilt Poker takes pride in upholding the integrity of the game and it's players. We would never condone such an action, but you can be assured that we will investigate this fully."
Wise tried to reach Seidel for comment but was instead contacted by Seidel's legal team who stated "It is in our clients best interest to refrain from speaking publicly on this matter. Rest assured that Mr. Seidel has no knowledge of any improper actions by those in any of the events in question."
Reaction to the news was harsh by some of Seidel's closest friends and supporters. Phil Ivey stated, "I've known Erik for decades now and there is no way I can see him doing what they claim." Jennifer Harman stated "Any of you that think this man is a cheater, you come play him heads-up and see what you get."
Annie Duke was the most vocal, "How dare some pricks come out and accuse Erik of such a thing. He is one of the most honest, respectable people in the entire game. You clearly don't know anything about him or poker. I wholeheartedly support him and challenge anyone to come speak to me about his character."
If this story proves true, it will hang a dark cloud over not only Seidel but all those involved with any event Seidel has played in since the beginning of the year. Believe it or not, the above was a "brief summary" of the incidents.Â To find out more about this story and see more reactions from players, friends, and fans, check out the following link.