Photo Caption: The Grinder enjoys the thrill of victory number three. Michael Mizrachi (pictured) enjoys the moment of triumph, capturing his second Poker Players Championship victory in just three years. Mizrachi defeated Chris Klodnicki heads up and collected nearly $1.5 million in prize money for first place. This was the third WSOP gold ring victory of Mizrachi’s storied career (Photo by Neil Stoddart/PokerNews/WSOP).
To see more photos from the 2012 WSOP, please visit the official WSOP PHOTO BLOG.
Michael Mizrachi wins 2012 Poker Players Championship
“The Grinder” Becomes First Player in History to Win Chip Reese Memorial Trophy Two Times
Just Another Thursday at the WSOP – Putting Some Attendance Figures Into Perspective
Georgian Steven Loube Wins Gold Bracelet in First WSOP Cash
Kenny Hsiung Enjoys Breakthrough Victory in Final Limit Hold'em Event of the Year (Event #48)
Ladies World Championship on Friday – Another Big Turnout Expected
Editorial: Does Limit Hold’em Have a Future?
MICHAEL MIZRACHI WINS $50,000 BUY-IN POKER PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (EVENT #45)
From the many, many thousands of participants who have attended the World Series of Poker in recent years, if one single poker player were to be chosen for the “Best Overall Performance,” Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi would probably be the unanimous winner.
Consider his WSOP accomplishments over just the past two years:
May 28, 2010 – Won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, for $1,559,046.
June 3, 2010 – Sixth place in the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud World Championship.
June 15, 2010 – Eighth place in the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em World Championship.
November 9, 2010 – Fifth place in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship, which paid $2,332,992.
June 27, 2011 – Second place in the $2,500 buy-in Mixed-Split Omaha/Seven-Card Stud event.
October 12, 2011 – Won his second gold bracelet in the 10,400 Euro buy-in Split-Format event at WSOP Europe, good for 336,008 euros (about $420,000).
May 29, 2011 – Fifth place in the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event.
June 15, 2012 – Fourth place in the $1,500 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball event.
June 28, 2012 – Won his third gold bracelet in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, for $1,451,527.
In case anyone’s keeping track – that’s three gold bracelet victories, nine final table appearances, a deep run into the Main Event as one of the “November Nine,” and about $5 million in prize money earned....all within about a two-year span.
Oh, and he just won one of the game’s most prestigious titles for the second time in three years.
Indeed, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi rose to yet a higher plateau in the plethora of poker greats on this night, when he triumphed in this year’s Poker Players Championship. The ultra-prestigious competition is played in the name of the late great Chip Reese, who won the inaugural in 2006. The event trophy is named in Reese’s name.
Now, the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy has Mizrachi’s name in duplicate. Two years following a monumental personal and professional breakthrough victory in this same event played back in 2010, the poker player known as “the Grinder” pretty much turned everyone’s dreams to dust. He dominated the final two sessions of the five-day marathon, holding the chip lead most of the way.
His final table included a tough lineup. Alas, just about every seat in this tournament of 108 starters was a superstar or known player on the brink of taking the next step towards the game’s most elite class. Mizrachi overcame former gold bracelet winners Bill Chen and Andy Bloch. He also defeated the highly-respected Chris Klodnicki in heads-up play, who is still in search of his first WSOP victory.
The stacked tournament concluded on Thursday night on the ESPN Main Stage, in front of a large crowd and a worldwide viewing audience following final table action the WSOP.com live stream broadcast.
Perhaps just as remarkable was the manner in which the victory took place -- in a lightening quick five hours, well under the marathon times posted for this event over each of the past six years. Unlike previous finales, which dragged out at 12, 13, 14, and (once, back in 2009) 16 hours, Mizrachi acted as though he had 8 pm dinner reservations.
No doubt, plenty of fluted glasses will be raised to the sky to salute Mizrachi's repeat victory in this incredible night, including a symbolic hoist from everyone in poker who realizes what a remarkable talent we are witnessing.
JUST ANOTHER THURSDAY: BIG NUMBERS CONTINUE
Ho hum……another 1,000-plus player field for a $5K buy-in Event. Sigh. Just another Thursday at the WSOP. While any tournament of this size would have been lucky to draw anywhere close to 1,000 players, the WSOP is on an entirely different planet.
Consider for a moment that the largest poker tournament held in Europe (of this size) last season was 889 players. Well, the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em (Event #51) outdrew that by more than ten percent.
Of course, there were no bold headlines nor pronouncements (okay, except for this one) about how big many WSOP events are this year. It’s become the norm to expect everything WSOP-related to have plenty of zeros attached – whether that’s attendance or prize pools.
The number continue to bear out what just about every poker already knows – that nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the WSOP, it’s extraordinarily diverse menu of tournaments, or the prestige of winning the game’s highest honor – the gold bracelet.
STEVEN LOUBE WINS POT-LIMIT OMAHA HIGH-LOW SPLIT EVENT
Steven Loube won Event #47, which concluded late Thursday night. The victory paid $267,345 in prize money.
Loube is a 34-year-old attorney from Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to making this trip to Las Vegas, his largest in-the-money finish came when he was awarded $50 at a home game.
In addition to the cool quarter million in prize money, Loube will be wearing the most coveted trophy in all of poker -- the World Series of Poker gold bracelet.
Event #47 was a $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better tournament. The field drew 978 entrants and the prize pool eclipsed $1.2 million.
KENNY HSIUNG WINS $3,000 BUY-IN LIMIT HOLD'EM (EVENT #48)
DOES LIMIT HOLD’EM HAVE A FUTURE? (EDITORIAL)
Typing these words would have been utterly unthinkable just five or ten years ago. Before the modern poker boom, Limit Hold’em was the dominant form of poker player in public cardrooms and casinos. Its decline and potential demise would have been a blasphemous supposition.
Kenny Hsiung won the most recent championship event at the 2012 World Series of Poker. The 29-year-old poker player -- now residing in Henderson, NV by way of his hometown of Cincinnati, OH -- won the $3,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em tournament, which is classified as Event #48. Hsiung not only received the game’s most coveted prize, the gold bracelet, but $165,205 in prize money, as well.
The three-day competition drew a modest-sized field. The tournament began with 247 entrants on Tuesday, and concluded on Thursday night at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Hsiung is no stranger to making deep runs at the WSOP and finishing in the money. This marked his eighth time to cash. His first showing on the WSOP radar screen was back in 2006.
The runner up was a longtime poker grinder, Robert Hwang, from Barnegat, N.J. He is known within the poker world as "Action Bob," for his aggressive playing style.
Now, the numbers are starting to bear out Limit Hold’em’s highly-questionable future as a game on par with the far more popular forms of poker, including No-Limit, Pot-Limit, and Split games. No doubt, Limit Hold’em will continue to be spread in some places. It will also likely remain as part of the WSOP schedule for many years to come. That said, the era of holding many Limit Hold’em events is likely going to be a serious concern based on the turnouts for these tournaments, even at the 2012 WSOP – which is enjoying another big year.
First some context: During the 1990s, Limit Hold’em tournaments always attracted the largest fields of any tournaments in the world -- both at the WSOP and elsewhere. For many years, the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold’em tournament had twice number of entrants as the Main Event. It was traditionally the first open event held during the first weekend of the WSOP.
Indeed, Limit Hold’em was once king, except in the American northeast where Seven-Card Stud was the most dominant form of poker that was played. In fact, finding a No-Limit Hold'em game was nearly impossible.
The start of Limit Hold’em’s popularity can be traced back to California’s legalization of flop games (including Hold’em) in 1988. Prior to the late 1980s, Limit Hold’em was spread in only a few small Las Vegas casinos and underground games, located mostly in the American South.
Limit Hold’em first made its debut at the 1983 WSOP. The first Limit Hold’em world champion was Tom McEvoy. He went on to win the Main Event that same year.
In 2003, things began to change. No-Limit Hold'em gradually became the most popular form of poker played not only in the United States, but abroad.
Most recently, attendance for this form of poker has been declining. While attendance for most other games has increased in 2012, Limit Hold’em events have experienced the greatest percentage decrease this year.
WSOP TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE DAY
Question of the Day: Name each of the casinos where a WSOP gold bracelet has been awarded over the past 43 years. Hint: There are five different casinos where a gold bracelet has been won and awarded.
Answer coming in tomorrow’s WSOP Daily Shuffle.
Yesterday’s Question of the Day: Poker fans likely know Tony Cousineau, a.k.a. “Top Cat” as the player with the most WSOP cashes (52) without a gold bracelet victory. Which player ranks second in this category?
Answer: Tom McCormick, a.k.a. “The Shamrock Kid” has 40 cashes over the course of his WSOP career, since his first in-the-money finish back in 1992. The Fargo, North Dakota tournament veteran has also appeared at ten final tables -- with no wins. McCormick is the all-time leader in this category. So much for the shamrock being a symbol of luck.
DAY 34: THE WSOP TODAY – FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012
Today’s first tournament is a $75 buy-in TURBO MEGA-SATELLITE.
EVENT #51, the $1,000 buy-in LADIES NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP tournament, begins with the play of Day One. Registration will be available up through the completion of four levels, plus two breaks, which is estimated to be about 4:40 pm. Action takes place inside Brasilia. This is a three-day event. Last year’s tournament drew 1,055 entrants.
EVENT #51 UPDATES can be followed at WSOP.com. Coverage includes chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at PokerNews.com.
The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #51 can be viewed HERE.
EVENT #49, the $1,500 buy-in ANTE ONLY NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament, continues with Day Three – including the final table. There are 9 players remaining from the starting field of 939. Eugene du Plessis is the current chip leader with Mike Sowers close behind. Chip counts from the end of the second day of play can be found HERE.
EVENT #50, the $5,000 buy-in NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament, continues with Day Two. There are 303 players remaining from the starting field of 1,001. Nick Maimone is the current chip leader. Chip counts from the end of the first day of play can be found HERE.
The first DAILY DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins. The entry fee is $235. Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 4:20 pm.
Two players will be honored at the official gold bracelet ceremony today. Joey Weissman, winner of Event #46 and Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi, winner of Event #45 will be the honorees. The anthem of the United States will be played in commemoration of their victories.
The first MEGA-SATELLITE begins. The entry fee is $330
EVENT #52, the $2,500 buy-in SIX-HANDED TEN-GAME MIX tournament, begins with the play of Day One. Registration will be available up through the completion of four levels, plus two breaks, which is estimated to be about 9:40 pm. Action takes place inside Brasilia. This is a three-day event. Last year’s tournament drew 453 entrants.
EVENT #52 UPDATES can be followed at WSOP.com. Coverage includes chip counts as well as written updates supplied from the tournament floor by our friends at PokerNews.com.
The official Structure Sheet for EVENT #52 can be viewed HERE.
The second DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins. The entry fee is $185. Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 8:20 pm.
7:00 PM – SPECIAL EVENT
The BIG ONE FOR ONE DROP ($1 MILLION BUY-IN) tournament is holding a mega-satellite, which costs $1,570 to enter. This nationally televised (near-live, on 15-minute delay) and historic gold bracelet tournament begins on July 1st.
The second MEGA-SATELLITE of the day begins. The game is No-Limit Hold’em, which feeds into Event #50 (Note: This event regularly features different games – so be sure and check the schedule in advance). The entry fee is $550.
The third and final DEEP STACK NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM tournament begins at 10 pm. The entry fee is $135. Registration is open for four (30 minute) levels, plus one break – which means until about 12:20 am.
All WSOP gold bracelet tournaments end for the night.
* Please note that all listed times are estimates and subject to change
-- by Nolan Dalla