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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Mark Seif

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

A few days ago I wrote a “Where Are They Now” story on Scott Fischman, in which I mentioned he was referred to by a poker magazine as “The Hardest Working Man in Poker.”  I have no idea what the short-list of nominees for that award looked like, but I would imagine that Mark Seif was in the discussion.  His tournament poker career is a relatively short one, spanning just over ten years, but starting in 2002 there has seemingly not been a poker tournament that has gone past that didn’t have Seif on the tournament entry list.  Not only is he usually on the tournament entry list, but he is usually on the in the money list as well. 

Mark Seif
was born in California on October 4, 1967, and was introduced to poker shortly thereafter.  His father held a weekly poker game since before his birth, but his father thought it was better for his young son Mark to wait until the advanced age of six before letting him join the games.  Seif enjoyed playing in the games, and playing poker with friends throughout his childhood, but he was more focused on gaining an education.  He displayed signs of being a brilliant student, as evidenced by a number of elite schools offering him education scholarships.  Before heading to college though, he attended LaSalle High School, a college preparatory school in Pasadena, CA.

The University of California Los Angeles was his choice for college, and he excelled, earning an economics degree in 1991.  After a few years spent deciding what he wanted to do with his life, he chose to go to law school, deciding on Loyola Law School.  Because of his high grades, including being at the top of his class, he was selected to participate in a program where he would be under the guidance of many of the area’s top attorneys.  While in school one of the cases he was selected to assist on was the famous OJ Simpson trial.

Upon graduation in 1997, Seif quickly became known as one of California’s top District Attorneys, specializing in working with big companies at first, and then later in serious felony cases.  In the poker world it seems that a ton of people that have specialized in another field have an easier time transitioning to poker, when they decide to make the move full-time.  It should be no surprise to learn, that despite a relatively short law career that ended in 2001, Seif finished his law career with an undefeated record.

In 2001, much to the surprise of the law world, Seif decided to retire from his job as rising DA, and turn his attention full-time to poker.  Throughout college and law school he played in a number of tournaments before turning professional between 1998 and 2001.  However, most of these were with smaller buy-ins.  Still, he still showed signs of what was to come by winning three five-figure scores.  When he switched to full-time poker the buy-ins and prize pools both got much bigger.

Not long after turning professional, Seif finished 1st at the 2002 $300 dollar No Limit Hold’em event at the 2002 Legends of Poker.  While the win was an important one for Seif, it wasn’t until a couple years later that he made his appearance on a bigger stage in poker.  In the mean time, he cashed in his first WSOP event in 2003, finishing ninth in a tournament that featured a final table including Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel.  In 2004 Seif again won an event at the Legends of Poker Tournament, only this event had a buy-in of $1,500 and the first place prize was a $137,805.  Still, the best was yet to come.

Seif generated huge press in the poker world when he won two WSOP bracelets in a week’s time in 2005.  On June 16 he won the $1,500 Shootout event for $181,330.  On the 22nd he won $611,145, by defeating everyone else in the popular $1,500 No Limit Event.  His 2005 continued to go well for him, with his win in the 7 Card Stud event at the United States Poker Championships.

Seif hasn’t been without controversy though.  In 2007, Seif was both the face and part-owner of the online room Absolute Poker.  In the fall of that year a cheating scandal was unveiled by a number of poker bloggers and members in online poker forums.  A number of people had posted hand history of the high stakes cash games where about six different players had appeared, and dominated the game at a too perfect rate.  Almost everyone who saw these HH’s and had heard about the results felt that these people must have had some kind of “SuperUser” ability.  Some people went as far as accusing Seif of being aware of these cheaters.  By most accounts Seif has been found innocent of that allegation, but what also upset the online community is that for quite a while he denied the allegations of these “SuperUsers,” despite all evidence pointing otherwise.  It’s natural for someone to not want to believe that something they are associated with could possibly be accused of such shattering accusations, but at some point people believe he had to accept the responsibility that went along with being a part-owner of the website.  Additionally, some people felt less sorry for Seif because of his aggressive, and sometimes arrogant attitude at the poker table.  In other words, people felt he “had it coming.”  Seif eventually stepped down from his positions at Absolute Poker, and for the most part has been able to move forward from the scandal.  

Seif has bounced back in the form of nearly $3,000,000 dollars in his tournament career.  In the last few years the positive results have continued to pour in.  In September of 2008 Seif cashed 5th at the World Poker Tour’s $9,600 No Limit Hold’em Borgata Open Event, earning $287,500.  Most recently he finished 24th in October at the WPT Fiesta al Lago $15,000 Buy-in event, earning $23,855.

Seif also provides commentary to the Professional Poker Tour, which is aired on the Travel Channel.  He is also a regular at the number of charity poker tournaments that are in the Las Vegas area, where he now resides.  His webpage can be found at www.MarkSeif.com.

*Read Billy Monroe’s Blog*

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