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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Catching up with Mark Seif

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KL: What have you been up to lately?

I've been very busy lately; I have been on the tour every stop, every tournament. I played Biloxi and then went home for a couple days, then went to Atlantic City, Borgata and then from there I went home for a day, then went to Turks and Caicos, and then took a chartered flight to Aruba. So, as you can tell from that it's just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. When I'm not doing that, I'm at home with my wife and daughter, just enjoying them. That keeps me busy, having an 18 month old. That's enough work for my wife and I, big time.

KL: You mentioned to me that you had to buy your 18 month old daughter a $1000 ticket to get down to Aruba with your wife, besides silly incidentals, how hard is it to be a new dad on the tour?

Mark: It is hard, I won't kid you. The biggest factor that I've encountered is the sleep factor. I want Jennifer and Sarah on the road with me because that definitely helps with the loneliness factor and I miss them when they aren't around. Having them around means that I also have to change a diaper and deal with a baby that sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and needs something. In this case right now Sarah is pretty sick, she has a cold. She is whiney and needy so she is always going to take precedence over any poker tournament, sleep, or anything else. It's going to affect my game a little bit, well hopefully just a little bit!

KL: When you play cash games what stakes do you play?

I don't know if you know this but cash games we play as high as the sky. Last night we were playing $1000/$2000 limit online. The swings online are much higher than they are in brick and mortar casinos. In a $1000/$2000 limit game short handed you can easily win or lose $200,000 in a session and you can imagine what that is like if you run really good or you run really bad.

KL: Who were you playing with?

Well, *laughs* if I tell you they are going to know my identity online and that's kind of a big question right now. I will say this, at one point Daniel Negreanu jumped into the game with us. At that point we were playing $500/$1000 limit hold'em. Later on we played even higher than that.

KL: What do you have coming up?

You know, I don't know! I just do what I'm told now. I know we have a really busy schedule coming up for the latter part of the year. A lot to do with WPT boot camps and I also do the World Series of Poker Academy's. I just have different commitments, so I don't do my schedule anymore. Jennifer from Absolute is in charge of that and she basically tells me where I need to be, how I'm going to get there and what I'm going to do.

KL: You were recently in Aruba, how was that?

I like Aruba, I first went there like 7 years ago for one of the first Aruba Poker Classic's and I had a blast. I remember going to Carlos and Charlie's with Scotty Nguyen and partying all night baby! It was a lot of fun but it was nowhere near as nice as it is now. Aruba has really developed quite a bit in the last five or six years.
The Radisson hotel where it is held is probably one of the nicest ones around. The Holiday Inn, where it used to be held is a piece of crap compared to the Radisson. The suite I stayed in was beautiful, the amenities were really nice, the beach was gorgeous and the staff is really friendly. Everything is dirt cheap; I can't believe how inexpensive room service was or the stores. It's very different from the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos where it's like three times the price. I really, really enjoyed it and my wife loved it. It's just a fun place.

KL: The Aruba tournament had a lot more internet qualifiers vs. big name pros; does your game strategy change at all? Are there any different strategic moves?

Absolutely, I take out about 75% of my bluffs out of my game. I'm never trying to put any real difficult decision on a really good player who is capable of making a big lay down. I am looking to play small pots and chop away. If I am going to play a big pot, I am going to have a really big hand; I'm not going to make any big plays without a hand. They are just so willing to call and I have a reputation of being a loose aggressive player and I hear the same thing over and over again, ‘if you knock me out I have a story to tell.'
That mentality is tough for my game, because so much of my game is about pushing people off hands in spots where they don't really have a hand and people can identify that and use that against me. These guys are willing to call me down with 3rd pair sometimes. My fold equity is so low that a bluff just doesn't make sense anymore.

KL: Everyone's been talking about it. Tell me about the Turks and Caicos prop bet.

There was a guy, Matt Gianetti, who made a bet with several people that he could stay 12 continuous hours in the pool so I came in on the tail end of this bet to see how he was doing. The guy was miserable and he was clearly in pain, clearly uncomfortable. I think he wanted to buy out, I was told, a few hours before the bet was going to expire. Sean McCabe was there and he pops off saying, ‘I could do 24 hours in the ocean.' So I'm thinking this is 12 hours in an enclosed pool and McCabe is going to do twice that in the ocean. I said the rules would be he could only have cold water to drink, no food and you have to be in shoulder deep for 24 hours and he said ok. I said I would bet $100,000 on it and Nenad Medic immediately wanted to take that bet on Sean.

So we had a bet, I'm saying he can't do it, Nenad is saying he can. We had to work out some of the finer points, like if his life was in danger we needed to have a doctor on duty to make sure that he is ok. Obviously no amount of money is worth a friend suffering some serious injury or death.

The problem that came up was the fact that Sean and I are friends, and Nenad's point was Sean could throw the bet and Nenad would lose $100,000. Of course Sean would never do that and I would never do that, but I understand Nenad's point.

We had to make sure that Sean had enough incentive to stay in and we were going to work out those details and do it the next day but then there was almost a hurricane in Turks that night. I would have won that bet within a couple hours. It would have been extremely dangerous to stay in that ocean with the thunder and lightning coming down. I am sad I didn't make that bet, but I'm happy I didn't make it because he could have died!

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