Mark Seif Is Due

Mark Seif
Mark Seif, the winner of the 2005 WSOP Event 15 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout tournament.

The 2005 World Series of Poker was Mark Seif's year. The former attorney won two No-Limit Hold'em events and took home nearly $800,000. This year has seen Mark flying under the radar a little bit. With two cashes and only $10,305 in WSOP winnings, it's been easy to forget about the dynamic 39-year-old who garnered such explosive results just a year ago. Despite this relative lack of success, Mark has maintained his positive attitude and approachable demeanor and has to be considered a shot to contend in the last seven events at the WSOP - all No-Limit Hold'em tournaments. I caught up with Mark during the dinner break at the Main Event, and we talked about his play so far and his impressions of the World Series as a whole.

How are you playing today?

I got off to a rocky start. I got knocked down to about $5,500 and had to make a couple of laydowns where I had pretty decent hands but not enough to call big raises, so I laid them down. But since then I've come back. I'm at $13,000 now, and I feel real good.

How do you like your chances in terms of cashing, making the final table, winning the bracelet, and so on?

Mark Seif

(Laughs) My chances are still very slim, obviously, because there's just a ton of people, and, you know, at this point in the game it's so early that I'm still an underdog to make it to a final table. But, you know, you go one table at a time, you play nine opponents, and do the best you can, and hopefully by the end of the day you get up to - I'd like to be up to, you know, $30-40,000, that'd be fine. $100,000 would not be bad, but $30-$40,000 is okay. (Laughs)

And then you've got to work Day 2. Day 2 is probably more of a chip accumulating day, and certainly Day 3 will be a big chip accumulating day. So today is, you know, avoid the landmines, play good, and just stay focused.

How would you rate the caliber of the opponents you've faced so far today?

My table's pretty tough. No big names - in fact, nobody that I recognized at all - but they are playing pretty good, and we're seeing moves. I'm seeing moves from them, seeing value betting, seeing some pretty tricky moves. So overall, I'm pretty impressed, and that's the thing about today. You can have total strangers at your table, and because they can get so experienced on the Internet and do so much in terms of development on the Internet, you never really know what you're up against. So I'm being cautious with my table, to be honest with you.

How do you feel the 2006 World Series compares to 2005, where you won two bracelets and pretty much took the field by storm?

Mark Seif

Nowhere near as good. 2005 rocked, man. (Laughs) No, this is a great World Series again. I mean, these are huge numbers, a huge undertaking that [the organizers] have to do, and they're pulling it off. I'm very impressed, you know.

I hope they continue to keep the buy-in [for the Main Event] at $10,000. There's talk that they're going to increase the buy-in, and I think that would be a mistake. I think we need to make it accessible. I think every person should be able to buy in, and if they make it $25,000 it's going to cut a lot of people out. And, quite frankly, there's only a few hundred good players in the world as it is, so whether it's 10,000 people in it or 20,000, it's not that much harder.

Do you think the H.O.R.S.E. tournament will eclipse this tournament as the World Championship event?

Never. I don't think it will. The H.O.R.S.E. tournament is a good tournament, but it's a pro's tournament. It's kind of like the Professional Poker Tour. If you want to play with rock-solid pros and you want to have, you know, deep stacks in the different games, that's a great tournament. But there's so many people that have fallen in love with No-Limit Hold'em out there, and this is their game, this is what they want to play. This has always been the format for the World Championship, and I don't see it changing.

Okay, well thanks very much, Mark. Enjoy your dinner.

Thank you.

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