When Michael Mizrachi won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship two years ago, it was a defining moment in his career. Beyond simply representing his first bracelet in a prestigious event, the victory was a return to form for Mizrachi, who burst on the scene with such a flourish in 2005 and 2006, only to struggle to maintain such a high level of success. Then, Mizrachi won the Poker Players Championship. He followed that up with numerous other final table appearances, including being a part of the 2010 November Nine. Last fall, Mizrachi made it bracelet number two with a win in WSOP Europe.
Mizrachi has a chance to win his third bracelet on Thursday. He has an opportunity to do more than that though. He could make history as the first two-time Poker Players Champion. In a field of the most elite players poker has to offer, Mizrachi is on the precipice of having topped them all--twice. He begins the final table as chip leader, but the road to a third bracelet and an unprecedented feat will not be easy. The final table line-up is a tough one, and includes two other guys who know what it is like to be heads-up for the prestigious gold bracelet. Andy Bloch came up short against Chip Reese in this inaugural event in 2006, but he will have a chance to improve upon that finish today. He starts just behind Mizrachi in the count. The 2007 runner-up, Bruno Fitoussi will have a tougher battle, as he begins play as the table short stack with just under two big bets.
These three have experience in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship on their side, but the rest of the final table is far from amateurish. The line-up is, as usual stacked, with two British pros in the brash Luke Schwartz and the accomplished Stephen Chidwick, and three East Coast grinders, Bill Chen, Roland Israelashvili, and Chris Klodnicki. The mix is an interesting one with a range of young and old, online and live, and US and international players that is guaranteed to include some top notch card playing.
These eight players survived Day 4 action, which began with 26 players hoping to at least make the money by finishing in the top sixteen. The Phils, Ivey and Hellmuth, both came up short of the money, as did Joe Cassidy, Robert Mizrachi, and John Monnette. The dubious honor of bubble boy went to Benjamin Yu, whose elimination in 17th place burst the $91,549 bubble.
With the bubble burst, the action started picking up at a rapid clip. Viktor Blom, who began the day as chip leader and was the driving force behind some of the fast paced Day 3 play, struggled on Day 4 and chipped his way down to a 14th place finish. A short while later, Jeff Lisandro, John Hennigan, and Daniel Alaei joined Blom on the rail, all busting within minutes of one another. The day wrapped up with the exits of David "ODB" Baker and the final table bubble boy, David Oppenheim.
It has been a long four days, but there is one more to go before the new Poker Players Champion is crowned. The final table action is set to get underway at 2pm PT and will be livestreamed on WSOP.com with commentary. When play resumes, action will be on Level 20, with the limit games playing at 50,000/100,000 betting limits and No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha playing at 12,000/24,000 blinds.
Here are the chip counts and seat assignments for the final table:
Seat 1: Bill Chen - 1,293,000
Seat 2: Luke Schwartz - 1,494,000
Seat 3: Andy Bloch - 3,598,000
Seat 4: Stephen Chidwick - 2,026,000
Seat 5: Michael Mizrachi - 3,648,000
Seat 6: Chris Klodnicki - 3,276,000
Seat 7: Bruno Fitoussi - 188,000
Seat 8: Roland Israelashvili - 694,000
Here are the eliminated players from the Day 4 action:
9. David Oppenheim - $142,197
10. David "ODB" Baker - $142,197
11. Daniel Alaei - $120,994
12. John Hennigan - $120,994
13. Jeff Lisandro - $105,235
14. Viktor Blom - $105,235
15. Mike Wattel - $91,549
16. Brett Richey - $91,549
17. Benjamin Yu
18. John Monnette
19. Phil Ivey
20. Joe Cassidy
21. Robert Mizrachi
22. Lyle Berman
23. David Chiu
24. Michael Glick
25. Phil Hellmuth
26. Antony Lellouche