Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi won his second $50k Poker Players Championship in three years yesterday as he overcame over 100 of the worlds best players to scoop the bracelet and the impressive $1.45m first prize.
It has to be said that throughout the final table Mizrachi ran extraordinarily well hitting almost everything he could, although this shouldn't detract from his performance as he had worked hard over the previous four days to go into the final table as chip leader against very stiff opposition.
Mizrachi started strong, taking out two players within the first three hands as he eliminated both the short stack Bruno Fitoussi and Bill Chen during the same NLHE hand. Fitoussi shoved his last 170k, Chen put his remaining 1.2m on the line and Mizrachi couldn't believe his luck (which he had by the bucketful yesterday) as he turned over AA to take the pot and two early scalps. Within the hour Mizrachi had also seen off Stephen Chidwick, firstly three quartering him during the O8 round (set of Q's and nut low vs nut low) and then finishing off his last 300k flopping a full house on an 882 board to beat Chidwicks KK in a game of PLO.
By this time "The Grinder" had around half the chips in play. It took over an hour to see out next elimination as satellite qualifier Roland Israelashvili became dangerously short and was finally laid to rest by Andy Bloch in the 2-7 TD round as his J8 low couldn't better Bloch's 87. Israelashvili can be very proud of his 5th place finish and $318k prize money, having satellite'd in for just $2,250.
Next out was mouthy Brit Luke "__FullFlush1__" Schwartz in 4th place for $407k. Schwartz never really caught a break during the final table although he played very patiently and seemed to be comfortably matching his opponents play in the 8 game, despite being known as a predominantly NLHE cash game specialist (although having recently taken down the $5k PLO tournament at this years SCOOP's he is obviously no slouch at that discipline either). The end of Schwartz's tournament pretty much summed up his day as he was all in preflop in a seven figure pot against Chris Klodnicki with his A9 miles ahead of his opponents A6. A 6 on the river however sent Schwartz to the rail cursing his misfortune.
Next to fall was Andy Bloch, runner up in this event in 2006 to the late Chip Reese. Once again it was the extreme good fortune of Mizrachi that lead to Bloch's demise as he was able to extract maximum value from his top full house as Bloch had unfortunately turned the 2nd full house on a K Q 2 2 10 board (Mizrachi KK, Bloch QQ) in a c.6.5 million pot. A short stacked Bloch was soon after eliminated shoving with Qh4h and seeing the AJ of Klodnicki send him packing in 3rd.
Heads up began with Mizrachi holding close to a 2-1 chip lead (10.5m to 5.7m) and lasted a little over an hour. Klodnicki didn't really get a look in as his stack took a pounding from the relentlessly aggressive Mizrachi. The end came when once more Mizrachi found the little bit of luck he needed to outdraw Klodnicki - his Q J 9 8 turning a straight on a 10 10 7 6 A board against Klodnicki's A J 9 2 handing the final seven figure pot and with it the coveted title, bracelet and $1.45m prize money to Mizrachi. Congrats to you sir!
In other news, Steven Loube was victorious in Event 47 ($1.5k PLO8) outplaying a 978 strong field, packed with big name pros to take the bracelet and the $267k first prize. Loube went into heads up play against Tim Finne with a 3-1 chip lead and took just a few hands to end Finne's campaign as all the money went in with Finne holding top pair and an open ender against Loube's nut flush draw with low outs (Finne had no low hand). The turn increased Finne's odds, the Q giving him K's & Q's for two pair (and eliminating the possibility of a low hand) but the 9h gave Loube the nut flush and with that the lawyer from Georgia scooped gold in his first ever WSOP event. Well played to you Mr. Loube.
A third WSOP champ was named last night as Kenny Siung took his 8th total WSOP cash (and his first bracelet) after defeating Robert Hwang heads up in the $3k LHE event. Play started with 20 players still in contention, including big names; Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, Jonathan Duhamel, Chad Brown and Dwyte Pilgrim. Only Pilgrim was to make much impact however (he finished in 5th for $43k and is worthy of a mention as he had been down to as little as one big blind on Day 2 and actually took the chip lead at one point during the final day) as Bonomo and Duhamel fell in 19th, 17th and 14th respectively. Overnight chip leader battled through to 4th place but couldn't last the distance as the final three were John Virtue, Hwang and Hsiung. After Hsiung dispatched a short stacked Virtue in 3rd he went into heads up with a 3.5-1 chip lead but as we have seen these past few weeks that can often count for very little in heads up play with high blinds and sure enough play swung back and forth for the next two hours with both players assuming the chip lead on multiple occasions. Finally Hsuing was able to gather a little momentum then sealed the deal in a pretty forgettable hand, winning the bracelet with just K high as Hwang committed his final chips with a open ended straight draw on the turn only to see the board pair on the river and hand the title and the $165k first prize to Kenny Hsiung.
Day 2 saw the final table set in event 49 ($1.5k NLHE Ante's Only) as 110 players came back to play down to 9. There are still a fair few recognizable names in the field as high stakes cash pro Justin Schwartz (6th), Mike Sowers (2nd), 2010PokerStars PCA Winner Harrison Gimbel (5th) and Mike "Timex" McDonald (8th) are still in contention. The current chip leader however is Zimbabwean player Eugene Du Plessis with a touch under 1 million chips. The event will conclude this evening.
The $5k NLHE event started yesterday as a pretty large field of 1,001 took their seats and played down to 303 by the days end. With a relatively high buy in and a huge starting field the tables were packed with big time players, far too many to recount here. Some who came and went include; Jason Mercier, Antonio Esfandiari, Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, Justin Bonomo, Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu, Chris Moorman, and Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton. Faring a little better and making it through to day 2 we see; Phil Ivey, Stephen Chidwick, Jackie Glazier, Brock Parker, Randy "nanonoko" Lew, Brian "$tinger88" Hastings, Dutch Boyd, Galen Hall and many, many more! Out of the aforementioned big names, Galen Hall has the healthiest stack with 130k chips (average 50k) with current chip leader Nick Maimone on 196.6k.