Mike Gorodinsky Overcomes 8-1 Heads-Up Deficit and Earns First WSOP Victory

San Diego poker pro wins split-games title

Mike Gorodinsky won the $2,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split/Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split, held at the 2013 World Series of Poker.

Gorodinsky appeared destined for a second-place finish late in the tournament when, on the third and final day, he was heads-up with an 8 to 1 deficit versus Kristopher Tong, from Dallas, TX.  However, all the late breaks went Gorodinsky's way and he ended up with his first WSOP victory.  His best previous showing was a sixth-place showing last year in the ten-game event.  

First place paid $216,988 in prize money.  However, Gorodinsky appeared just as motivated by some personal side wagers he made on himself with other poker pros.  

Gorodinksy has an interesting back story.  Born 27 years ago in St. Petersburg, Russia, the youngster stayed behind in Russia with his mother for a time while his father immigrated to Israel.  Gorodinsy eventually left Russia as well, and the family reunited in Israel for six months.  He later came to the United States with the rest of his family when he was five years old.

Gorodinsky graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned his degree in business.  However, Gorodinsky knew at the time that he wanted to give poker a try.  He even admitted to making a fair amount of money playing online while attending college full time.

He's pretty much been playing poker ever since, and plans to continue learning and playing – and hopefully winning.


Name:  Mike Gorodinsky
Birthplace:  St. Petersburg, Russia
Previous Residences:  Israel, St. Louis, MO (USA)
Current Residence:  San Diego, CA (USA)
Age:  27
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Profession:  Professional Poker Player
Education:  College graduate (Washington University in St. Louis) with a degree in psychology
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  5
First WSOP Cash (year):  2009
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  2
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
First-place prize:  $216,988

WSOP:  How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Gorodinsky:  What can I say?  This feels great.  It's awesome.

WSOP:  You fought back from a chip deficit a number of times.  What do you remember about that?
Gorodinsky:   I had a pretty good read on how my opponent was playing, so I just needed some momentum to swing my way.

WSOP:  You were born overseas and have quite an interesting story.  What is it about poker that attracted you?
Gorodinsky:  I like competing.  Anything where there is a winner and a loser, I like to do it.  When Moneymaker was one TV and won, we all watched it and I was no exception.  I found I was winning in the games and pretty much everyone my age plays poker.  When I started playing online, I found out there was big money in it and stuck with the game.

WSOP:  Was it a surprise to win a gold bracelet played split games?
Gorodinsky:  Well, I do play a lot of mixed games.  I'm not going to say these are my best games, but I play them well enough.

WSOP:  Anyone out there you want to thank?
Gorodinsky:  I want to shout out to all my friends.  All of them care here to support me.  We played for a long time today, so it was great that they stuck with me.


Owais Ahmed won the same event in 2011.  This year he finished in fourth place.

Julie Schneider finished in 8th place.  Had she won this event, she would have joined husband Tom Schneider as the only husband-wife team in WSOP history to win the same event.  

Chris Bjorin's cash in this event gives him 66 for his storied career.  This puts him into a fourth place tie on the all-time cashes list.