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Seif has been in the poker industry for as long as I can remember. When I was a cocktail waitress at Commerce Casino, the two of us would have brief
conversations (even though he didn't order drinks when playing). Once I started playing poker seriously in 2003, our brief conversations turned into
long ones and before long he became one of my best friends.
There are several reasons why I value our friendship so much. He is a great conversationalist, and more importantly a great listener. We can spend hours
talking and then do it again the next day and never get bored of what the other has to say. He is also one of the few friends that have been by my side
through thick and thin. When I battled breast cancer, Mark was one of the main people that helped me get through it. He just has a way of knowing the
right thing to say or do at the right time. If laughter was what I needed, then he would be there to oblige, usually by harassing me about something.
When I needed an ear, he provided that too. I will forever be grateful to him for helping me through the most difficult part of my life.
I know a lot of people will have a hard time believing what I just said. On television, Mark can sometimes comes across aggressive, mean, and even angry.
I think a large reason for him appearing that way is that he is passionate in what he believes. He will fight to the end if he believes he is right and
I appreciate people like that. Do I agree with him all the time? Hell no! But I have to respect him for standing up for what believes in. The main thing
that people fail to understand about Mark is that he not only argues about what he thinks is right, he also will try to do what's right. A couple years ago,
Mark told me, "I don't like some poker players because they don't understand the difference between being deceptive or sneaky at the poker table and being
that way in real life." He feels that while playing poker those things are fine, but away from the table there is no place for those characteristics.
Mark has a "no holds barred"
attitude on poker and expresses that when he discusses it. We have talked about me being a woman in the poker industry and he asked if I use that when I am
at the table. I answered, "of course". I am going to use anything I can to get an extra bet. He could not believe that I answered him like that.
I explained that my poker ability and intelligence do well for me, but once in awhile, the woman thing comes into play. He stated that it would never work
on him. He would find a way to actually reverse the situation. He would use the woman thing against me. I respected this about him. I always enjoy when I
am up against a challenge. If a guy is going to try and play harder against me, let him try. I have learned some of my best poker lessons at times like these.
Mark also said he plays against his friends in a similar fashion. He plays his friends harder than he would another opponent. He is able to use the fact that
they are friends against them. He finds that his friends will make bigger laydowns than other players because they know his style and cannot put him on a hand.
Mark used to work for the
district attorney as a prosecuting attorney which he said was really rewarding. He then worked for a prominent law firm defending clients accused of
sexual harassment. He had mixed feelings about that job. He liked when he was able to help a client that he knew wasn't guilty, but found that was not
always the case. I asked him if he did better financially as a poker player. He said that he used to make great money as a lawyer, but makes more
playing poker. Of course, I wouldn't recommend to all lawyers to give up their law career,
but it has worked for him. Mark's aggressive style has helped him achieve this.
At the 2005 World Series of Poker, Mark won two bracelets, one in the Limit Holdem Shootout and the other in the $1500 No Limit event.
He has had great success in his favorite game, No Limit Holdem. He also has first place finishes in Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Hold'em and Stud.
One of the games he doesn't have any wins in is Omaha High Low. He might try and use the woman thing against me, but in this particular game,
I do not need the extra bet from him as I am certain that I can get his chips anyway. :)