Michael Mizrachi – 2010 WSOP Main Event Fifth Place Finisher
When one first hears of Michael Mizrachi’s nickname, “The Grinder,” they don’t really expect him to be one of the richest poker players in the world. After all, most people think of a poker grinder as someone who typically puts a lot of hours into the lower limits of the game in a job-like fashion. The last thing they’d expect is for Mizrachi to make a magical run in the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, finishing in fifth place for $2,332,992. He also captured his first bracelet that year in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Player’s Championship, eliminating his brother Robert at the final table.
Mizrachi had a rowdy rail throughout the final day of the 2010 WSOP Main Event and gave his supporters something to cheer about as the 2010 WSOP November Nine approached. Mizrachi called the all-in of Brandon Steven holding A-8 of spades on a flop of 8-J-6 with one spade for middle pair and a backdoor flush draw. Steven, meanwhile showed Q-J of clubs for top pair. A running 6-K sealed Steven’s double up, although he ultimately bowed out of the November Nine race in 10th place.
Mizrachi quickly righted the ship, spiking trips on the river in a hand against Matthew Jarvis to regain a portion of his lost stack. “The Grinder” had an entourage of supporters when the final table resumed in a scene that was reminiscent of Phil Ivey’s cheering section in 2009.
But long before Michael Mizrachi began earning this type of money, he was learning poker at the kitchen table from his older brother (and fellow pro poker player) Robert in Miami, Florida. This is where he was born in 1981 and also where he first honed his game against Robert and his mother, who would organize the games. Michael also played chess quite often with his brothers, including his twin Eric and younger sibling Daniel.
However, poker or chess weren’t Mizrachi’s first ambitions – he hoped to be a doctor and began pursuing this dream by going to school. But eventually Michael decided that poker might be a better career choice for him – especially when he saw the success that his older brother Robert was having.
Michael didn’t start his poker career in live tournament play like many other famous players though, choosing instead to jump into the online scene. Here he began in $10 No-Limit games before moving up to $40 contests and then, ultimately, $100/$200 games. It is here where Michael became “The Grinder” as his play was so steady and meticulous that a hand was never wasted. If Mizrachi did lose a big hand, he would spend hours analyzing the reasons.
Eventually Michael Mizrachi decided to make the jump into live tournaments and pretty much started over in the lower levels. But with all of the online experience that Mizrachi had, it wouldn’t be long before he decided to step his game up into the tourneys with the higher buy-ins. This would lead Mizrachi into the World Poker Tour where he began making a name for himself almost immediately.
He was able to take 5th place in the WPT World Poker Open – which put him on the map – and he followed that up with a win in the L.A. Poker Classic. This netted him over $1.8 million and also gave him a victory in one of the most prestigious poker tournaments on the planet. 2006 saw Mizrachi get another big win at the WPT Borgata Open and he also went on to win Card Player Magazine’s Player of the Year honors.
Since that time, Michael Mizrachi has gone on to finish quite well in numerous other tournaments which has his bankroll approaching $7 million. His wife, Aidilyi, is also a good poker player and has earned the nickname of “Miss Grinder”. One of her big accomplishments was finishing second place in the WPT Ladies Night event. Aidilyi and Mizrachi have two children together and live in both Florida and Las Vegas throughout the year.