Professional Poker Tour Selects Veteran Poker Pro and Hollywood Personality as Hosts
With Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, the WORLD POKER TOUR (WPT) captured lightning in a bottle. The chemistry between these two personalities - one veteran poker pro and one Hollywood personality with a passion for poker - has been a major factor in the Travel Channel show's success. Now WPT Enterprises, Inc. creator of the WPT, is looking to use the same formula to help ignite its newest venture, the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), slated to debut on the same network Wednesday, July 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Leading poker pro, WPT Finalist and two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Mark Seif joins personable actor and poker aficionado Matt Corboy behind the mic for commentary on the exciting new series, that will feature a host of new innovations in televised poker.
The action-packed PPT series will showcase poker's 250 leading stars in a new and exciting format, destined to ratchet up televised poker to a whole new level. The PPT will bring to TV viewers the cream of the crop -- 250 of the world's top poker players, culled from thousands who aspire to the first rank. With its PPT Qualification System, the PROFESSIONAL POKER TOUR has ensured the highest level of play at each and every tournament. The first season of jam-packed action will stretch over 24 weeks, spotlighting a stellar lineup of poker's All-Stars - champions from the WPT, The World Series of Poker, and European poker tournaments.
"We think poker fans will love the interplay between these two commentators," said Steve Lipscomb, CEO and founder of WPT Enterprises. "Mark's strategic insight combined with Matt's magnetic personality provide for great entertainment and an easy way to pick up pointers on improving one's game. Analyzing the differing styles and the psychological warfare between poker's leading stars will give them plenty to work with."
Here's a look at the two PPT hosts:
As the commentator, Mark Seif comes to his position with a bona fide poker championship background. He won two World Series of Poker bracelets in 2005: the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em for $611,145 and the $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout for $181,330-the only player to win dual bracelets last year.
Seif was a well respected and well-paid lawyer who quit law to play professional poker. And while this talented prosecutor did well at the bar, he has truly made his mark-and his bankroll-at the poker table. Playing professionally for the past five years, he has won well over two million dollars.
His numerous other tournament victories and Final Table finishes includes a collection of titles: the Bicycle Casino's Legends of Poker, the World Poker Open (Tunica), World Poker Finals (Foxwoods), Borgata Open, Festa al Lago (Bellagio) and Sport of Kings (Hollywood Park). In 2003, he was ranked 12th in CardPlayer Magazine's Player-of-the-Year standings.
Even though it is the first time that Seif will serve as a host for the PPT, he is no stranger to the WPT, having scored a fourth place, $38,700-victory in the WORLD POKER TOUR's inaugural stop at the Bicycle Casino. He currently has winnings of $104,853 on the WPT, having been in the money on four occasions
A poker player since he was six, Seif showed such a natural inclination that his father barred him from the family poker games at 10, when he won a particularly large pot. He did not play again until he was 19, while working as a waiter during college. One of his fellow restaurant workers staged a home game and then it was a toss up for Seif-hit the cards or the books!
The books won out-at least for the time being. Seif attended UCLA and graduated with high honors in 1991 with a degree in Economics. He then went on to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class in 1997, receiving numerous American Jurisprudence Awards (among them honors for achieving the highest grade in his class). While in law school, he clerked for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, prosecuting more than 200 felony preliminary hearings and trials under a special program that let law students perform as prosecutors under the direction of other more experienced attorneys. The most high profile case to which he contributed was the O.J. Simpson trial.
He left the DA's office to join a Newport Beach firm -- Fisher & Phillips, a national law firm specializing in employment and labor law. Subsequently, he was appointed Chief Counsel of America's biggest leasing company in 2000 and moved to Lake Tahoe, NV, where he began commuting to Las Vegas and Los Angeles each weekend to play poker. That continued even after he left that prestigious position to become a professional poker player in May 2001. In 2004 Seif, who now lives in Las Vegas, was picked to do commentary for the PPT.
For fun, Seif indulges his interest in saltwater reef aquariums and entertains his new baby daughter.
Most poker players learn to "act" by perfecting their bluffing skills. Matt Corboy learned to play quality poker by virtue of his acting skills. Corboy was tutored in Texas Hold 'em by Jennifer Harman and Scotty Nyugen while filming the poker movie, The Big Blind, in 1999, in which he played Jennifer's brother. The actor/TV-show-host has now parlayed his interest in the game and his telegenic personality into a roll as one of the two hosts for WPT Enterprises' Professional Poker Tour.
As a teenager, Corboy and his friends would gather at his grandparent's house in Honolulu, Hawaii every Wednesday night to play poker. That lasted until he went off to college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Though he graduated with a business degree, Corboy decided to pass up that world to give acting a try first.
Since 1996, he has built a successful career, acting in films, TV, commercials and as a host for television or web-based shows. Most notable, was his three-year stint as the villainous police officer Ray Carlson on The Shield. He's also had guest roles on The West Wing, Cold Case, The Loop, Threshold, JAG, Malcolm in the Middle and Spin City. Additionally,he is a regular at the Los Angeles Improv Olympic, doing improvisational comedy. When not in front of an audience or camera, Corboy plays poker whenever he can find a good home game in Los Angeles.
An avid player who watches each of the WPT episodes multiple times to pick up playing tips, Corboy admits that doing the color commentary on the PPT and watching the professionals has substantially elevated his own game.
Corboy surfs, mountain bikes and competes in triathlons in his spare time. He's also personally doing the renovation of his house, while enjoying being the father of a newborn.
WPT Enterprises, Inc. is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes.