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Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi went from chip leader five-handed to out the door in fifth place shortly before 1:00am PT at the Rio in Las Vegas in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table. Mizrachi’s chips went into the middle with Q-8 on a flop of Q-5-4 and found himself up against Jonathan Duhamel’s pocket aces for an overpair. “The Grinder” sought comfort during his sweat with poker pros J.C. Tran and former November Nine member David “Chino” Rheem and the turn was a jack. Mizrachi needed an eight or queen on the river to survive, but a river king sealed his exit in fifth place for $2.3 million.

“The Grinder” hugged his family in attendance and a parade of poker pros that included Mike Matusow exited the Penn and Teller Theater stage. Meanwhile, Duhamel’s contingent went bananas at the Canadian’s chip lead. He was all-in with A-9 against Mizrachi’s pocket threes and on the brink of elimination earlier in the night, but found trip nines to stay alive. The hand marked his second double up and Duhamel maintained his presence at the Main Event final table after entering as its chip leader.

“The Grinder” told the media following his elimination that he was content with fifth place. As a result, Frank Kassela, who took down two bracelets at the 2010 WSOP, was crowned the Player of the Year. “The Grinder” had to win the Main Event in order to claim a share of the Player of the Year honors despite also taking down the $50,000 Player’s Championship. Kassela won Razz and Seven Card Stud High-Low tournaments for his two bracelets this year and a combined $660,000. He was on-hand during this evening’s festivities to watch his fate unfold.

Following Mizrachi’s elimination, Filippo Candio pushed his chips into the center with K-Q suited to diamonds and found himself up against Cheong’s A-3 of clubs. The flop came A-7-2 and a five on the turn left Candio drawing dead to the river. The two eliminations were separated by about 30 minutes and Candio walked away with a $3.1 million consolation prize for fourth place. Candio never seemed to gain any traction following the dinner break and was largely quiet.

We’re down to just three players left in the 2010 WSOP Main Event and one more elimination will end play for the evening. Then, we’ll return to the Rio at 8:00pm PT on Monday night to determine a champion.

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