Poker Guy: Seif nurtures maniacal table image
CHAMPIONSHIP PRO Mark Seif has a reputation as a loose-aggressive player. Wild. A maniac sometimes. That image is so important that he's willing to risk chips to establish it, as in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2009.
CHAMPIONSHIP PRO Mark Seif has a reputation as a loose-aggressive player. Wild. A maniac sometimes.
That image is so important that he's willing to risk chips to establish it, as in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2009.
With blinds at $50-$100, action folded to the button, who raised to $350. In the small blind, Seif drew the 10-8 of diamonds.
"The reason I called was I felt like I had a lack of clarity in my table image," said Seif, winner of two World Series of Poker bracelets.
"I'd shown a couple of hands and they were big hands. I felt like I was getting a lot of respect, so I wanted to re-establish that I was nuts so I could get called more often when I had a big hand.
"If I get to show a hand calling a raise out of the small blind with 8-10 of diamonds, that would do it."
The big blind also played, so three players took a flop of 10-9-5, rainbow, giving Seif top pair and some backdoor draws.
"I like this hand, but I wanted to pounce on anyone who bets the flop," said Seif, but his plan to check-raise failed when everyone checked.
The turn came the 9 of hearts. Seif bet out $700. The big blind raised to $2,200. The button folded.
"If everyone's playing the way they're supposed to be playing, they should have something like an ace-jack, maybe king-queen, ace-10," Seif said.
"He might have a 9, but it's now less likely that he has one in his hand. I'm still not willing to give up on the hand at this point, so I called."
The river came the 3 of spades.
"It's unlikely the 3 hit him," said Seif, an instructor for the WSOP Academy.
"Could he have flopped a set on me? Of course. Could he have hit the 9? Of course. All those things suggested I need to check and call if it's reasonable."
The big blind made it $2,800.
"It looks like a value bet," Seif said, "but I determined that if he's playing snug, he should be in the range of ace-jack, ace-queen, maybe king-queen, and there's a chance he would try to run over me.
"But I'm also playing this hand to show it. I gain value by paying to show it and get my image back to where I want it to be, which is that I'm looser and goofier than they've seen."
So Seif called and took the pot with 10s and 9s when his opponent showed K-Q offsuit.
"If my mind-set is to come in here and run over my table, one of the things that I have to do is get them to fold at times," Seif said.
"But I need them to pay me off when I have it. I have to keep them guessing."
Backdoor draw: Needing the turn and river cards to complete a straight or a flush.
Steve Rosenbloom is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the author of the book "The Best Hand I Ever Played." He can be reached at