Poker Skill Game

The Run of a Lifetime by Mark Seif

The 2005 World Series of Poker was certainly a breakthrough for me. I had spent several years basically striking out at the World Series. I had only made one final table and I was feeling a little snakebit.

I played in a few 2005 events, nothing great. Then I had the limit hold'em shootout. I hadn't played a limit hold'em tournament for two years. I decided to play this one because it was a shootout format and, of course, because it's the World Series. I ended up being at the first table with this one guy. It was clear that he was a young Internet specialist. At any rate, it got down to this young guy and myself to move on to the next round.

I drew a 4-6 and the flop came down A-3-5. He had pocket aces, it turns out. I rivered the straight and this was a jammed pot. The guy goes absolutely apeshit, and he yells "F*ck!" By this time we've actually been playing for two hours heads up. I said, "Dealer, did you hear that?" He said, "Yes, I did."

The floorman is called over and asks what's going on. The dealer basically waffled. He said, "Mark says this guy said the F-word." Wait a minute. What do you mean Mark says? In the meantime, this young Internet guy from Canada was being very adamant, saying. "I didn't say a word, you're lying."

I ended up bringing in one supervisor after another because the floorman is just looking at me saying, "I don't know if there's anything I can do." It looks like a big fight is going to break out because people supporting me are saying "He absolutely said it, you guys are liars." Meanwhile, his supporters are saying, "No, we didn't hear anything." After I had just cussed out two floormen said "You guys have no balls, just get out of here," a third floorman walks up to the other guy. He says, "Based on everything that I'm hearing here, I know you said this. Do you want to do the right thing or are you going to continue to deny it?" My opponent still says, "I didn't say a word." The floorman finally says, "I know you did, and I know you're lying, but there's nothing I can do about it. I wanted to give you a chance to do the right thing." And before he can finish his sentence, I say, "That's so fucked up." So now I'm in trouble.

Needless to say, I was seething. This guy got away with one, that's fine. But I knew that he had some bad karma working for him. I ended up beating him. I got to the final table, and now I have Kathy Leibert, the defending champ, to my right. I started whispering to myself, "I am going to win, I am going to win." Kathy Liebert is sitting right next to me, we've been friends for many years and finally she goes, "Mark, shut up." I said, "I'm sorry, I can't. I just have to keep my mind focused and stay positive." I'm starting to lose my chips but the entire time I am whispering "I am going to win." She finally reaches over, smacks me, and says, "Shut up, you are not going to win." At any rate, I had a very good table, and I went on to win it. I started at 2 p.m., ended at 6 a.m., so for 16 straight hours I kept whispering to myself "I am going to win," and I did end up winning.

I had to get on a plane to go to Miami. I got on that plane 45 minutes after my win and basically slept for three days in Miami. I got back into Vegas around 1 a.m., played in the next event, which was at noon, the $1,500 no-limit event. At the end of day one, I had $268,000 in chips. I felt great, I was playing great, and I was extremely aggressive. The monkey was off my back. I had won my first bracelet, the only title that had really eluded me throughout my career. I ended day one the monster chip leader. I ended day two only in fifth chip position, but I was thrilled to be at back-to-back final tables. That event went pretty well, too.

After my back-to-back wins, the people on the fringes of the game went nuts. I was doing radio interviews, TV commercials, boot camps, book offers and I have two bobble-heads now.

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