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Huckleberry Seed

If Huckleberry Seed isn’t an all-time great name for a poker player, we don’t know what is.

The 1996 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Seed has been a fixture – and a very noticeable one at that, given his height – in the poker world for well on 25 years now.

While he’s always been an upbeat and refreshingly funny guy at the tables, he’s also been content to sit back, shut up and let his game speak for itself. But it might be in his extraordinary prop bets where he really lets his personality shine the most.

Natural Mathlete

Earlier in life, however, the Montana native had designs on becoming an electrical engineer, and put his natural math proficiency to the test at the California Institute of Technology upon graduating from high school.

But like many a gambler before him Seed knew he wouldn’t last in the hallowed halls of academia. So he opted for the decidedly less revered gambling halls of California and Nevada.

The pairing was near perfect. Seed won regularly and on his first visit to the World Series of Poker in 1990 he placed fourth in Limit Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo events.

Steadily, Seed cashed in tournament after tournament the following years and pocketed what would have been his annual salary as an engineer several times over.

Then Came the WSOP

Then came the 1994 World Series. The event would mark Seed’s first gold bracelet in Pot-Limit Omaha and more than $240,000 in tournament winnings. If the 1995 WSOP Main Event was a disappointment – he placed 265th overall – then his performance at the 1996 championship more than made up for it.

That year, in honor of his $1 million Main Event win, Seed’s picture joined those of poker’s legends on Binion’s Wall of Champions. Just 27 at the time, Seed brought years of professional poker experience, a composed demeanor and unforgiving card play to the final table where he defeated runner-up Bruce Van Horn.

In what would be the ultimate hand Van Horn raised pre-flop with a suited K-8; Seed said he’d be his Huckleberry and called with the 8-9 of diamonds. When the board came down 9-8-4 he bet, Van Horn re-raised and Seed pushed.

With both men all-in, the turn brought a worrisome ace that added a flush draw to Van Horn’s list of outs. A blank on the river, however, awarded Seed instant millionaire status and assured him a place in poker history.

At that time, the game didn’t enjoy its current popularity and the win was a coup for Seed, who said poker players were just considered gamblers trying to make names for themselves.

“Back then you couldn’t even tell people you were a professional poker player, because they would just give you a weird look and stop talking to you,” Seed told PokerListings.com at the 2006 WSOP.

“Now you’re a giant celebrity, everyone’s chasing you, and you’re on TV.”

Huck Seed: The King of Prop Bets

Indeed, today it would be hard for him to remain incognito. In poker rooms filled with hard-earned pot bellies parked on laps, he stands a gangly 6’7″ tall.

Add to that an unusual name (he prefers to be called Huckleberry, thank you) paired with a furtive table presence and Seed makes for a distinctive player.

His eccentric and well-documented proposition bets with fellow poker players have only raised his profile.

Among the most famed of Seed prop bets is a wager with Phil Hellmuth. With $50,000 at stake Seed bet he could stand in the ocean (in a wetsuit ofc.) for 18 hours. He lasted only three.

Other prop bets were more successful, though; Seed bet he could master a standing back flip within six months and, true to his word, he pulled it off half a year later.

He also cleaned up on a bet he couldn’t break 100 on a desert golf course five times in one day using just a five iron, sand wedge and putter. Even though Seed had to complete the feat on a blistering 120 degree day, he won the bet after six rounds.

Less physically taxing was Seed’s wager that he wouldn’t shave his beard for a full year. But, approaching jungle-man proportions following several months without putting cheek to razor, one of Seed’s relatives died, and he sheared the beard to look respectable for the funeral.

He’s continued to make plenty of notable prop bets over the years, not the least of which include:

  • Running a mile in under 4:40 (he ran 4:47)
  • Running a mile backwards in under 10 minutes
  • Bet $5,000 he wouldn’t shave until he won another WSOP bracelet

He was rumored to have wanted to participate in a $1m prop bet where he lived in a dark bathroom for a month but we’re fairly certain it never came to fruition. Still, we’d hesitate to bet against Huck Seed in any prop bet.

Perpetual Favorite & Potential Hall of Famer

Though his presence on the tournament trail isn’t as dominating as it was earlier in his career, Seed still makes a comfortable living at the poker table.

He has cashes at every WSOP up to 2016 (he’s played 27 years in total) and 4 total career bracelets. All told has $7.6m in career tournament earnings in the WSOP and beyond – and impressive number beyond his first big $1m score in 1996.

Despite his reputation for being one of the top No-Limit Hold’em players in the world, Seed’s fourth bracelet came in the Razz event in 2003 – a year that saw Seed hunkered over five WSOP final tables.

In recent years Seed has spent more time milking the lucrative cash games in Vegas around the WSOP but don’t be surprised if he pops up in the Main Event and more any year. Don’t be surprised if he wins another bracelet, either.

Will he be voted into the Poker Hall of Fame (he was nominated in 2018) for his career exploits? We wouldn’t bet against that either.

What gives Seed his perpetual edge at the poker table or in heart-stopping prop bets? Well, if you ask him, it’s because he’s the Ice Man.

“I just rise to the occasion,” he said. “The bigger the money, the more pressure, that’s when I can focus the best and be more calm and relaxed.

“That’s a good way to be in poker; the more pressure there is, the more you relax.”

If Huckleberry Seed isn't an all-time great name for a poker player, we don't know what is. But it might be his extreme prop bets that will ultimately earn Huck his place in history.

Huck Seed: The King of Prop Bets

A former high school and college basketball player turned American poker pro, Huck Seed is also an insane prop better.

Early life

Seed—born Huckleberry Seed in Santa Clara, California—was, incidentally, featured in the 2006 documentary Quantum Hoops that chronicled Cal Tech’s quest to end a 21-year losing streak. This makes sense since Seed is six-foot-six—or six-foot-seven depending on where you’re getting your information—tall.

He has been playing poker since 1989 and has done quite well. As a four-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, Seed’s best finish in 1996 when he won the Main Event and a cool $1 million. While he did, in fact, make the final table of the 1999 WSOP main event, Seed finished a respectable sixth. He also won the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions freeroll and a hefty $500,000.

Thus far, Seed’s total live tournament winnings—which include 40 cashes at the WSOP—total nearly $6 million.

There is more to this interesting 49-year-old guy. Much more. You see, Huck Seed has a propensity—some would say an addiction—to prop bets.

What is a prop bet?

A prop (proposition) bet—also known as a side or novelty bet—is a bet made during a game—usually gambling-related—that is neither related to the game itself nor affects the game’s final outcome. These types of bets are quite common in sports books and are unrelated to the more “normal” types of wagers.

Examples of sports-related prop bets include how many strikes or balls a pitcher will throw in a game, which team will score first, whether a particular player will score a certain number of points (usually put forth as an over/under wager), which cards will comprise a Hold ‘Em flop, and so forth.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get our free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop. Download now!

Huck Seed: Prop bet Hall of Fame

As would be expected with high-stakes poker players who are constantly seeking “action,” prop bets are quite common, and Huck Seed is the reigning king. Take a look.

The infamous back flip

Perhaps one of Seed’s most well-known prop bets was the standing back flip one he made with Howard Lederer. As mentioned, Huck Seed stands six-foot-six, give or take an inch. Anyway, the fact remains that he is quite tall, and a standing back flip would be no easy feat for the lanky fellow. With $10,000 at stake, Seed had only two days to learn how to do one.

Well, unbeknownst to Lederer, Seed’s uncle was a former acrobat who taught his nephew by rigging a harness over a swimming pool. 48 hours later, Seed’s perfect back flip made him $10,000 richer. What makes this story even more fantastic is that Seed was allegedly intoxicated when he did it. Either way, I’m impressed.

One-legged race

Prior to the back flip bet, Seed claimed he could beat Lederer in a 50-yard dash. Oh yeah, and by hopping on one leg. After watching Lederer complete an impressive preliminary run, the athletic Seed bowed out and paid off the $5,000 bet.

Seed versus the sea

Another time, Huck Seed claimed that he could stand in any body of water—submerged to his shoulders—for 18 hours. Well, “Poker Brat” Phil Hellmuth took him up on it, and the two wagered $50,000. Seed—clad in a wetsuit—attempted to live up to his self-hype; however, after only three hours, Seed went ashore and paid Hellmuth off.

Razor? Pshaw.

One time, Seed wagered that he could go an entire year without shaving. He almost made it until an unexpected death in the family and upcoming funeral forced him to shave.

Now, this one is pretty impressive. Seed wagered that he could break 100 on a Las Vegas golf course. This doesn’t sound too impossible, does it? Oh wait, he had to do it four times in one day with only three clubs—a putter, sand wedge, and five iron—in 120-degree heat, and without a golf cart. Impressively, he won the bet after six rounds.

In fact, soon thereafter, Erick Lindgren replicated this feat and won a total of $340,000 from Gavin Smith, Peter Feldman, Chris Bell, and Phil Ivey.

Trading places

In another crazy prop bet, backgammon pro Mike Svobodny bet Huck Seed and Howard Lederer $50,000 each that they couldn’t “cross weights” by the next year. With Lederer over 300 pounds at the time and Seed under 200, needless to say Seed and Lederer both lost this bet.

Run Huckleberry run

Seed once bet Doyle Brunson that he could run a mile in under four-minutes, 40-seconds (Seed, not Brunson even though Brunson was a track star in his day.) To Seed’s credit, he managed to do it in four minutes, 47 seconds but lost the bet.

Razor? Pshaw: The sequel

Most recently, at the 2015 WSOP, Seed bet Eli Elezra—and others—$5,000 apiece that he would not get a haircut or shave until he wins another bracelet—either domestically or internationally. If he fails to win one within two years, he has to pay up.

Seed would also win the bet if he wins two World Poker Tour (WPT) events—something he has never done. And like every good contract, Seed managed to get an extension for several years and an addendum that if he wins his bracelet, those who took him up on the offer must pay back not only the initial bet but also the money he wins.

But wait, there’s more

Among Seed’s other, shall we say, interesting prop bets included that he could:

  • Run a mile backward in under ten minutes
  • Get down to a lean five percent body fat (similarly, Seed bet Bryn Kenney $10,000 that Kenney couldn’t get down to 15 percent body fat, which Kenney failed to do)
  • Maintain 185 pounds for 36 months with $10,000 monthly weigh-ins

When asked about his “seemingly uncanny skills as a prop bettor,” Seed replied, “People think I win a lot more of these proposition bets than I really do.”

Do you know of any other of Seed’s prop bet antics? Or have you engaged in any Huck Seed worthy ones yourself? Please share below.

Until next time.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get our free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop. Download now!

Basketball star turned poker pro Huck Seed has an affinity, or addiction, to prop bets. Over the years he has made several interesting ones.