Huck Seed Wins 2010 Tournament of Champions
Huck Seed Wins 2010 Tournament of Champions

1996 World Champion Achieves Memorable Victory in Poker’s All-Star Game
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Poker’s version of the All-Star game concluded late tonight, with four-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Huck Seed winning the equivalent of a championship victory and a Most Valuable Player award.  Seed overcame one of the toughest fields ever assembled in any poker competition and collected a whopping $500,000 first-prize freeroll in the 2010 Tournament of Champions (TOC). 
Seed won his victory in a tournament that was played -- off and on -- over a week’s time, the most grueling stage of which was the marathon 16-hour final day, which was played over the Fourth of July holiday.  

Seed is best known for winning the 1996 WSOP Main Event championship.  He holds a total of four WSOP titles.  His last gold bracelet win came in 2003.  However, Seed has since won the NBC Heads-Up poker championship held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and finished high in a number of other major events, as well.

Following his victory at the Rio in Las Vegas, Seed was both gracious and thankful for the opportunity to compete among such a stellar field of fellow superstars.  “I felt like this was a team thing – me and everyone who voted for me,” Seed said.  “There were a lot of great players in this event.  It was fun to compete.  It was like a reunion of the old school players.”

Indeed, this year’s TOC brought together many of the world’s best and most popular poker players in an event that was designed to be a made-for-TV spectacle.  The tournament was filmed for later broadcast by ESPN.  Many of the 27 total seats were determined by a public vote.  More than 350,000 votes were cast prior to the start of the tournament.  In all, 20 seats were filled by popular vote.  Other seats were automatically filled by the reigning WSOP and WSOP Europe Main Event champions, as well as by three former TOC winners.

Oddly enough, Huck Seed ranked 13th in the voting out of the 20 players who made the final cut.  But there was nothing superstitious about his methodical approach to the tournament, during which he overcame several chip disadvantages en route to an ultimately satisfying victory.

The end of Day One chip leader was Mike Matusow.  The end of Day Two chip leader was Daniel Negreanu.  But Seed ended up with all the chips at the conclusion of Day Three, raking in half of the $1 million prize pool, posted by Harrah’s and the WSOP.   

“I’m not much of a self-promoter,” Seed said when questioned about his typical low-key approach to the game.  “I just love to play poker.  Sometimes, when you love to do something it shows and it produces results.”  

The runner up was Howard “the Professor” Lederer, a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner.  Lederer battled Seed and the third-place finisher Johnny Chan for nearly 90 minutes before losing on the final hand of the night to Seed’s pair of aces.  Lederer collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $250,000.

“I’m thrilled with the way I played, but I’m very disappointed I did not win,” Lederer said afterward.  “Huck is underrated in terms of poker history.  He’s playing as well as anyone in the world right now, that’s not named ‘Ivey.”

Others who cashed included:  Johnny Chan (3rd for $100,000), Joe Hachem (4th for $25,000), Barry Greenstein (5th for $25,000), Daniel Negreanu (6th for $25,000), Jennifer Harman (7th for $25,000), Annie Duke (8th for $25,000), and T.J. Cloutier (9th for $25,000).
The idea for holding a Tournament of Champions originated in the late 1990s.  But it was not until 2004 that the WSOP first held a TOC, which was won by Annie Duke.  The following year, Mike Matusow won the championship.  In 2006, Mike Sexton won the TOC.  The tournament then took a two-year hiatus before returning to this year’s WSOP schedule.