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Erik Seidel wins Event #9 at the 2005 World Series of Poker

Even Erik Seidel's wife didn't think he could win his 7th bracelet. "I never thought he'd make another final table ever again with so many more people playing," she said a few minutes after he won the $2,000 No Limit event where he outlasted 1402 other players. She honestly thought he would never win another bracelet due to the record number of players entering events at the World Series of Poker.

"This is a very special win," he added, "It's been an incredible journey. Seems impossible to win with so many players. Every year it gets harder and harder to win."

Indeed, Erik Seidel made history. He snagged his 7th bracelet which put him in an elite group. Only four other players have won more WSOP bracelets.

The WSOP Event #9 NL started Friday with 1403 players competing for a prize pool of $2,581,520. At the end of the first day, >Perry Friedman was the chipleader with Cyndy Violette not far behind. By the time play was suspended late Saturday, Morgan Machina amassed a monster stack with over $1 million. Here are the final table seat assignments and chip counts:

Seat 1: Chris Wunderlich $110K (Higley, AZ)... in his career, he cashed in 3 WSOP events.
Seat 2: Cyndy Violette $305K (Atlantic City, NJ)... is seeking her second bracelet.
Seat 3: Erik Seidel $354K (Las Vegas, NV)... is a 6 time WSOP bracelet winner and the 1987 main event runner-up.
Seat 4: Soulier Fabrice $224K (Paris, France)... is a television director who won several tournaments in Europe.
Seat 5: Perry Friedman $219K (San Marcos, CA)... has one WSOP bracelet (2002) and made 4 final tables.
Seat 6: Morgan Machina $1.05M (Mission Viejo, CA)... is at second WSOP final table.
Seat 7: Paul Sexton $362K (San Diego, CA)... student at University of San Diego.
Seat 8: Bill Blanda $46K (Houston, TX)... is at his first WSOP final table.
Seat 9: Harry Demetriou $184K (London, England)... reached his second final table in the past week.

Bill Blanda was the first one eliminated. He ran into Perry Friedman's pocket nines and won $51,630 for ninth place. Chris Wunderlich went out next when he moved all in preflop with AK and Paul "The Hammer" Sexton called with JJ. Chris was bounced in 8th place when Paul Sexton flopped a full house. Chris Wunderlich won $77,445.

Soulier Fabrice raised and Perry Friedman went over the top of the Frenchman. Fabrice looked like he knew he was behind but called anyway. Perry's A-J dominated his A-10 and Fabrice went out in 7th place. He won $103,260 for his efforts. Perry had little faces drawn on his hands, which he would talk to from time to time in addition to having them talking to the hole cameras. Perry is a character for sure and Erik Seidel once bet him $1,000 that he could not stop talking for five minutes. Perry refused to accept that bet.

Cyndy Violette was short stack for most of the day until she made a run. Perry Friedman raised preflop and Cyndy and moved all in with KK. Perry called with 55 and doubled her up. Harry Demetriou made a move and pushed all in preflop with QJ. Perry Friedman called with AK and knocked Harry out in 6th place. Harry won $123,915 for his efforts.

Cyndy Violette found pocket kings again. She reraised all in and since Morgan Machina had a monster stack, he called with A8. His hand did not improve and Cyndy doubled up. Her run continued when she pushed all in preflop with 10d-8d. Morgan called with KT. She doubled up when an 8 spiked on the river and the pro-Cyndy crowd went a little crazy. On the very next hand, she moved all in with AQ. Paul Sexton called with K9. She flopped an ace and doubled up again.

After the dinner break, Cyndy Violette moved all in with JJ and Morgan Machina called with Big Slick. Cyndy won the race and doubled up again! Perry Friedman was on a roll as well. His pocket tens cracked Paul Sexton's pocket rockets. Perry flopped a ten and began the chiplead.

Erik Seidel knocked out Paul Sexton who moved all in preflop with the shortstack. Erik called with 33 and hit a set on the flop to take down Paul's K9s. Paul Sexton won $147,145. A few hands later, Cyndy Violette called Morgan Machina's all in bet. Morgan showed K8 and Cyndy had AQ. Morgan flopped a King but Cyndy caught an Ace in the turn. She promptly knocked out Morgan in 4th place. Morgan won $170,380. That pot made Cyndy the chipleader for the first time at the final table. She made an amazing comeback after being on the brink of elimination.

With the action three-way, Perry Friedman found the Hilton Sisters and pushed all in preflop. Erik Seidel quickly called with pocket aces. Phil Gordon, who was playing in the Pot-Limit event at a table nearby yelled out, "Come on Perry! Suckout!" Seidel's aces held up and Perry took third place. He won $196,455.

Erik had almost a 2 to 1 chip lead over Cyndy and they played an intense heads up match for over two hours. Cyndy impressed me with her play. She executed excellent poker for three long grueling days and hung on with a short stack for most of the final table. Maybe it was her collection of rocks and lucky charms that she brought with her to the table that helped her pull off a major comeback?

The winning hand occurred when Cyndy pushed all in preflop with pocket nines. Erik thought about calling for a while with pocket 8s. He put her on a middle pair. He said, "88 is a tough hand to throw away there." He called and caught a good flop: 5-5-8. Erik Seidel's hand held up and he knocked out Cyndy who left with $295,970 for second place. She got her money in the pot when she had the best hand. Unfortunately, she was outdrawn.

Erik Seidel won $611,795 and his 7th WSOP bracelet. Since he began playing professionally, only Phil Hellmuth has won more bracelets. Congrats again to Erik on adding a major accomplishment to his already stellar career.

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