South Florida poker pro scores fourth bracelet and third PPC title
Las Vegas, NV (June 19, 2018) - On Tuesday evening, Michael Mizrachi made World Series of Poker history.
The poker pro from South Florida won one of the most coveted trophies in all of poker, the Chip Reese Memorial trophy, for a record-setting third time.
Before Tuesday, only Mizrachi and Brian Rast had won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship more than once, with Mizrachi taking the title in 2010 and 2012. Now, Mizrachi sits alone as the only player to have his name etched on the trophy for a third time.
He defeated John Hennigan heads-up, another former winner of the event, to top the field of 87 of the game’s greatest players and add another $1,239,126 to a poker resume that now features four WSOP bracelets and over $9 million in WSOP earnings alone.
“When I won the first one, it was amazing,” said Mizrachi. “The second one, it was great. I mean, the third one is so unheard of.”
Aside from the unprecedented feat of his third PPC, Mizrachi went just about wire-to-wire with the chip lead. He finished Day 2, 3 and 4 with the chip lead and never gave it up at the final table. The turning point of Mizrachi’s tournament was a mishap that didn’t involve anything poker related.
“I don’t think I ever ran this good in a tournament,” said Mizrachi. “Everything changed the day, I think it was Day 2. I was short and I spilled coffee on the table. It was a seven-minute delay and we had to move tables. After that, everything turned around. It was a good move by me.”
Mizrachi is known by many in the poker world as a very aggressive player. He’s constantly pushing the action and pushing his edges. In this tournament, however, the swings were minimal.
“All the cards went my way, don’t get me wrong. I hit a bunch of hands,” said Mizrachi. “I was just waiting for that one big rush and it actually happened in Omaha hi-lo and everything went my way. I just won every pot and before you know it, I think I went from eight to 13 or 14 million. That’s the rush I waiting for.”
When Mizrachi burst onto the poker scene with several major titles and seven-figure scores in the first few years after the Moneymaker boom, he was known mostly as a no-limit hold’em player. Over the course of his career, however, he became more well-rounded and became a force in all the other games as well.
“I’ve always played all the games,” said Mizrachi. “I played a lot of stud. Stud was my best game and I played a lot at the Commerce Casino in their $100/$200 limit game. I played online all the mixed games. You know, I learned the 2-7 back I the day, the badugi when it came out. Every time something comes out I like to learn something new.”
Even currently, having achieved one of the greatest poker accomplishments in the history of the game, he’s still learning and trying to improve.
“Now, I like the super stud hi-lo” said Mizrachi. “Next year, maybe we can get the super studs in there. Add a few more games in there.”
Dan Harrington’s back-to-back runs to WSOP Main Event final tables in 2003 and 2004 has been widely regarded as one of the most impressive feats in poker, with third and fourth place finishes, respectively. With Mizrachi’s earning a third PPC title to his resume, this is in the running as one of the most impressive feats in the history of the game.
Mizrachi would rather let his resume speak for itself and let other people figure out where this falls on that list.
“We’ll let everyone else decide that,” said Mizrachi. “This is quite an accomplishment and this is definitely my event. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Michael isn’t even close to the only talented poker player in the family. Before he won the PPC for a third time, he didn’t even have the most bracelets in the family. With his record-setting win, he is now tied with his brother Robert for the family lead with four.
“I wasn’t even thinking, but Rob has four bracelets and I have four good ones as well,” said Mizrachi. “I can’t complain. It’s pretty crazy that I won the $50K three times and I have three bracelets in that one and a $10K, but now Rob is in trouble. I’m going to overcome him. I’m going to play every event just to get the fifth one.”
The final table kicked off at 2 p.m. on Tuesday with Mizrachi leading the way, having nearly double the amount of chips as his closest competitor, Dan Smith.
Mike Leah came in as the short stack, but it was Aaron Katz that was the first player to bust. In limit hold’em, Katz got the last of his stack in the middle on a nine-high flop with top pair against Benny Glaser’s bottom pair.
The turn gave Glaser a flush draw, which he hit on the river. That sent Katz home in sixth about an hour into the day.
During five-handed play, John Hennigan quietly ascended the chip counts, and nearly took over the chip lead. While he was chipping up, the only non-American was trending in the other direction.
Glaser scored the first knockout of the day, but that was about the last hand that went his way. Over the next level and change, his stack was on a steady trend downward. He busted to Mike Leah in 2-7 triple draw. He was all in before the first draw and drew one the whole way. Leah bet after subsequent draw to win a side pot uncontested.
They tabled their hands before the final draw with Leah’s 8-7-6-5-2 up against Glaser’s 8-4-3-2 draw. Glaser paired his deuce and was gone in fifth.
Leah, who came in as the short stack, outlasted two players before hitting the rail in fourth. In pot-limit Omaha, Leah moved all in on a and got action from Mizrachi. Leah showed and needed to improve against Mizrachi’s .
Mizrachi spiked his gutshot on the turn to leave Leah drawing dead to an irrelevant river card.
At the outset of three-handed play, Mizrachi continued to hold his massive chip lead. But as they battled for over just over two hours, there was one point where Mizrachi, Smith and Hennigan was close to even in chips.
Eventually, it was Mizrachi and Hennigan who pulled away from Smith and Smith was eliminated in third. He got all in on the flop in limit hold’em with an open-ended straight draw against Hennigan’s ace-king high.
Smith couldn’t make a pair or a straight draw and he was eliminated in third place, leaving Hennigan at a slight chip disadvantage against Mizrachi.
The heads-up battle didn’t last long. About 20 minutes into heads-up play, Mizrachi won the tournament in arguably his best game. In no-limit hold’em, Mizrachi got the last of Hennigan’s chips into the middle with his middle pair and a flush draw against Hennigan’s open-ended straight.
“I knew with John [Hennigan] heads-up, I had more experience in the no-limit one,” said Mizrachi. “And I knew he was going to try and play a big pot and try to double up through there. I picked the right spot and I thought it was a good hand selection with position and the eight-nine of hearts. I was shocked to see that hand. I was happy to see I was in good shape.”
The turn filled Mizrachi’s flush draw and left Hennigan drawing dead to the river. Hennigan finished just shy of his second PPC title and his sixth career WSOP bracelet. All coming just a week after taking down the $10,000 HORSE Championship.
Hennigan becomes one of the front runners in the WSOP Player of the Year race, but Tuesday night was all about the man known as ‘The Grinder.’
Final Table Results:
1st: Michael Mizrachi - $1,239,126
2nd: John Hennigan - $765,837
3rd: Dan Smith - $521,782
4th: Mike Leah - $364,197
5th: Benny Glaser - $260,578
6th: Aaron Katz - $191,234
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