Poker News Daily: You’re a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, a World Poker Tour (WPT) event winner, and have successfully played in some of the largest cash games around. In your opinion, what’s your biggest poker accomplishment?
Elezra: Over the last five years, I have been invited to all of the shows on GSN like “High Stakes Poker” and on NBC, like the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. I love poker, but it is not my main source of income. I have several big businesses in Las Vegas and my family runs a lot of them, so I give myself to poker. I played last night until 6:00am with Sammy Farha, Doyle Brunson, David Benyamine, and all of the big names. I love the action. It moves me every time. The WPT tournament was a big win and this year, I’m gong to try to win another WSOP bracelet.
PND: Barry Greenstein gave you 10:1 odds that you’d win a bracelet in 2007, which paid off. Talk about the bet.
Elezra: Chip Reese and I were playing at the Bellagio and someone asked what the odds of winning a bracelet were. We went back and forth making bets with Barry, Phil Ivey, and Doyle. It was ranging between 3.5:1 and 5:1. Barry said that he’d give me 10:1 odds and I grabbed it. The bet was for $25,000, so I won $250,000. That year, I was the only one of them who won a bracelet.
That win was also big because every place you go, they don’t necessarily know much about the WPT, but everybody asks how many bracelets you have. Finally, I can say I have one.
PND: Whose tournament game do you respect the most?
Elezra: Whoever plays No Limit Hold’em can tell you that the best player is Phil Hellmuth. As much as people don’t like him, he can play the game better than everyone else. Gus Hansen has improved his game so much it’s scary. He’s proven that he can compete in big tournaments. You also have to look at the accomplishments Daniel Negreanu has.
PND: What about the player with the best cash game? Is it still Hellmuth?
Elezra: Phil hardly plays with us anymore since he started playing online. In cash games, you have Jennifer Harman, who is really good. At 75 years-old, Doyle can still play like he’s 28. He plays much better now than when I played with him 15 years ago. David Benyamine is one of the biggest winners our cash game.
PND: Have you been able to travel back to Israel to play poker? Is the game booming there?
Elezra: I’ve never played in Israel. They tried to start a $10,000 buy-in tournament, but it didn’t work. Poker has become so popular there that I’m getting calls now. High Stakes Poker started airing in Israel eight months ago and now they know they have an Israeli boy on the show. I go almost every year to Israel and get a lot of requests to appear on shows or talk in schools.
PND: What advice do you have for newcomers in the game?
Elezra: Patience, patience, patience. Play tight and play online. When you play online, play very low-limit cash games. You have to spill a lot of blood in order to see the fruits of your labor. You’re going to lose a lot. When I started, I lost millions of dollars. Seven or eight years ago, I wasn’t a big winner. Of course, people coming up will see guys like Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, and Justin “BoostedJ” Smith, but no one knows about the tens of thousands of kids who didn’t make it. I used to tell people to go to college first, but the biggest suggestion I can give is to take your time and be patient.