Understanding Mark "the Shark" Seif


Mark Seif

I first met Mark Seif at a poker function which featured some of the poker industry's giant names like Phil Hellmuth, TJ Cloutier, Antonio Esfandiari, and more. While one might guess that it might be easy to be overlooked among such an array of stars, in reality it seemed that it was Seif who was the star shining the brightest. His supreme intelligence, smooth manner, and welcoming character combined to make him a hit with the fans and media hounds that attended.

With the way that he created his sentences and held the attention of those listening in, it almost seemed as if Mark could have been a lawyer, or a TV commentator, as much as a poker player. In fact, Seif is all three of these: pro poker player, TV poker analyst, and a licensed lawyer.

Mark was born in Cairo in the mid-60's, but soon moved to California with his family. Mark Seif says that he began his poker "career" at the age of 7 years old in a home game with his parents. He often jokes that his father would scold him when, at 7 years old, Mark could bluff him out of a pot. He started playing high stakes poker at the age of 18 at the Commerce.

the Shark

Since he looked older than his actual age, he was able to get into many games that he was actually too young to legally play. He kept playing as he attended and graduated from UCLA. He then got his law degree from Loyola. He became a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office in Los Angeles soon thereafter. Although he found his work very rewarding, he moved onto a more lucrative job with a firm. With a nice salary fueling his poker bankroll, Mark was able to play increasingly higher levels in cash game poker. Soon he found that he was making as much money at the poker room as in the courtroom. His zest for law had faded, and Mark made the difficult decision to pursue poker more seriously. Like many pros, Mark experienced heartbreak and disappointment when poor streaks had him go broke on two separate occasions. Each time Mark showed the drive and determination to come back, though.

Even though he's been a major player on the poker scene for a long time, many casual fans of poker did not know much about Seif until his 4th place cash at the WPT's 1st season event at the Bicycle Casino. Seif went on to solidify his position as a major star in poker with his amazing back-to-back bracelet wins in the 2005 WSOP (Limit Hold 'Em and No Limit Hold 'Em). Many more fans will become familiar with Seif as the popularity of the Professional Poker Tour grows. Organized by the same individuals who are behind the World Poker Tour, the PPT is focused on highlighting the proven stars of the game rather than having a myriad of new faces and online qualifiers each week. Many in the poker industry think that this is a recipe for certain success. If so, Seif's stock is sure to grow.

Seif is aligned with Absolute Poker. He has never been married and has no children, but he is engaged to his long time girlfriend named Jen.

Mark Seif: Play Profile & Prediction

PLAY PROFILE: His nickname of "the Shark" was not bestowed upon him simply because it rhymes with Mark. The shark symbolizes his attacking, ruthless style of play. Most in the poker community know that Mark is one of the most fearless bluffers in the game today. At any sign of weakness in his opponents, Seif is more than willing to dump a huge amount of chips into the pot in an attempt to steal the money. In most cases he is successful. His propensity to toss in such bold bluffs makes him an intimidating figure at any table. While Mark admits that Hold 'Em is his best game, he is also an accomplished player in Stud (won US Stud Championship in 2005 and several Stud cashes in major events). Seif is experienced enough to not allow tilt to overtake him easily, but he is known to steam a bit if he takes a tough beat or is beaten by a poor starting hand. Seif must be pleased that much of the poker world focuses on his best game (tournament-style NLHE).

PREDICTIONS: As commentator for the PPT, Mark Seif will join the visibility ranks of Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, and Phil Gordon. This will launch him into a higher echelon of marketing power. His charismatic style is sure to attract deals, as well. With that in mind, Seif is certain to see more action in advertisements, promotions, and instructional DVD's. With his sharp intellect and educational background, a book is probably not far away as well. With his legal background and his natural charisma, Seif may be leaned upon by fellow pros to be a leader in the poker community. He could be a natural pick as we search for an intelligent, informed leader to unify poker and clarify issues on player's & endorser's rights.

At the tables, Seif will continue to be a true force. His goal in poker is to win the "Big One," the WSOP main event. That lofty goal is probably impossible with the outrageous number of skilled entrants. Seif may be a great bet to win a few more WSOP bracelets in earlier events, though. Seif was very active on the tournament trail in 2005. If he continues to play such a heavy schedule, it is likely that we will see him at many televised final tables. He's done very well at WPT events, World poker Open events, and the US Open Poker Championships in recent years. This success, and this busy schedule, will assure Mark some wins over the course of the next few years.

 

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Antonio Esfandiari
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Greg Raymer
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Howard Lederer
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Jennifer Harman
Johnny Chan
Mark Seif
Mike Matusow
Phil Gordon
Phil Hellmuth
Phil Ivey
Phil Laak
Poker Hotties
Sam Farha
TJ Cloutier

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