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It was indeed a sight at the Amazon poker room of the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino that became the stage for Event #33: $50,000 Poker Players Championship (PPC) at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP). As the six contestants returned to the final table, a big crowd started to chant “Grinder”, the moniker of the legendary Michael Mizrachi (cover image). And as Mizrachi sat on the table with a stack of 8,865,000, the highest among the remaining fielders, the tournament just rolled out in his favor and he conquered the event for an unprecedented third time to pocket $1,239,126 in prize money!
Prior to this, Mizrachi had won the PPC title in 2010 and 2012. Overall, this is Mizrachi’s fourth WSOP bracelet.
“It’s quite an accomplishment. To win the first one was amazing. The second one was great. The third one is unheard of,” Mizrachi said after his victory.
This time, despite having a poor day on the inaugural run and showing up late on Day 2, Mizrachi turned things around to his advantage and began to dominate the field. Down to only 11 players, the event had multiple bracelet winners in the running including the likes of Phil Ivey, Brian Rast, and the 2014 PPC winner John Hennigan.
And unlike many pros who prefer to catch up on sleep before entering such a star-studded field or read up and assess their opponents’ playing styles, Mizrachi just took it easy, getting only a few hours of sleep and even hit the gym before the final day’s play!
“I never had big swings this whole tournament,” he admitted. “All the cards went my way. I hit a bunch of hands. Everything went my way. I just won every pot.”
The event drew a total of 87 players and 42 players advanced to Day 3. By the time the play halted, only 12 among them were left in the running. Among the many notables who were busted were defending champions Elior Sion (23rd place), Daniel Negreanu (26th place) and Jason Mercier (28th place). Former WSOP champion Mike Gorodinsky bubbled the event after his kings lost to Leah’saces in an NLHE game.
Overall, 14 players made it in the money, with Yehuda Buchalter (14th for $72,500) and Randy Ohel (13th for $72,500) busting out before the day’s play came to a close.
On Day 4, Jean Robert Bellande (12th for $88,627) was the first player to be eliminated followed by Christopher Vitch (11th for $88,627) and Shaun Deeb (10th for $111,447). After Ivey (9th for $111,447) and Rast (8th for $144,049) were knocked out, action began on the unofficial seven-handed final table.
The elimination of Greg Mueller (7th for $144,049) set the ball rolling for the six-handed final table.
Final Table Recap
Action on the final table began with Hennigan winning a pot against Mizrachi. Leah then nearly doubled up on a hand, with his stack going up to 2,200,000. However, in very next hand Leah lost a good number of chips to Benny Glaser.
Aaron Katz was the first player to get busted from the final table. In a Limit Hold ‘em game, Katz raised on the button and Glaser defended his big blind. Both players moved all-in on the flop . Katz tabled while Glaser showed . The and brought about a backdoor flush for Glaser to send Katz packing in sixth place.
Right after he eliminated Katz, Benny Glaser lost a pot to Leah, and then another to Hennigan. Though he won one hand against Mizrachi, his stack had stumbled irrecoverably. In a 2-7 Triple Draw game, Glaser lost to Leah and busted out in fifth place.
Mizrachi went on to win two hands against Mike Leah who was then ousted in a hand of Pot-Limit Omaha. Mizrachi had opened to 165,000 on the button and Leah announced “pot” from the small blind, making it 575,000. Action returned to Mizrachi who called. Leah moved all in on the flop , and Mizrachi didn’t hesitate before calling. Leah tabled and Mizrachi showed . Mirzachi held a pair of fives and a gutshot straight draw but Leah had some outs with his over cards. When the peeled on the turn and came on the river, Mizrachi made a straight that eliminated Leah in fourth place.
Dan Smith then took down a pot to climb up to second place in chip counts. He also won a subsequent pot against Mizrachi in a game of Stud Hi-Lo but a few hands later; Mizrachi won a huge pot in a hand of 2-7 triple Draw. The action then went back and forth before Hennigan dented Smith’s stack, who never quite recovered. In a Limit Hold ‘em game, Hennigan raised from the small blind and Smith called from big blind. On the flop, Hennigan bet and Smith raised all in for 365,000, Hennigan called tabling and Smith turned over the . Hennigan’s open-ended straight draw was leading and the rundown brought no relief for Smith, who was relegated to the rail in third place.
The heads-up play came down to John Hennigan and Mizrachi and the final hand saw the duo playing a hand of No-Limit Hold ‘em. Mizrachi raised to 225,000 from the button and Hennigan 3-bet to 750,000 from the big blind. Mizrachi made the call to see the flop open . Hennigan continued for 700,000, Mizrachi raised to 2,000,000 and retaliating to this, Hennigan re-raised all-in for 5,300,000. Mizrachi called with for a pair of nines and a flush draw while Hennigan tabled for an open-ended straight draw. Mizrachi needed a heart to win the bracelet and it did! The turn brought him a winning flush and a third WSOP PPC title!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Michael Mizrachi – $1,239,126
2. John Hennigan – $765,837
3. Dan Smith – $521,782
4. Mike Leah – $364,197
5. Benny Glaser – $260,578
6. Aaron Katz – $191,234
Content & image courtesy WSOP.com
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