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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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Mizrachi claims WSOP Poker Players Championship, $1.5 million prize

2 Jun 2010

By Aaron Todd
Just three weeks after the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel wrote a story about Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi's tax troubles, the well-known professional poker player captured one of the most coveted titles in poker and claimed a prize of more than $1.5 million.

Mizrachi defeated a final table that included his brother Robert as well as established pros John Juanda and Daniel Alaei to claim the World Series of Poker's Poker Players Championship, a $50,000 buy-in event that attracted 116 of the best players in the world.

The tournament ran over five days, with most of the pro-laden field eliminated over the first four days when the tournament was played with eight games in the rotation. When the eight-player final table convened on Tuesday just before 4 p.m. PT, the only game dealt was No Limit Hold'em.

Mizrachi eliminated five of the seven other players at the final table, including his brother. Robert Mizrachi finished fifth when his Ace-10 fell short against Queen-Jack when a Jack came on the turn. He won $341,429.

The duo made history as the best combined sibling finish in a WSOP event. Annie Duke and Howard Lederer previously held the record with sixth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively, in a Pot Limit Hold'em event in 1995. (By comparison, Duke and Lederer's combined take in that event was less than $20,000. The Mizrachi brothers combined to take home more than $1.9 million.)
Michael Mizrachi celebrates his $1.5 million score

Michael Mizrachi celebrates his $1.5 million score (photo by GreasieWheels)

Mizrachi held a 3-2 chip lead going into the heads-up battle with Vladimir Shchmelev of St. Petersburg, Russia. The heads-up battle lasted about three hours and the Russian had the better of the play early on. In fact, the tournament would have gone the other way had Mizrachi not rivered a flush against Shchmelev's straight to even the chip stacks an hour and a half into heads-up play. After that hand, Mizrachi lived up to his nickname, grinding away at Shchmelev's chip stack until he finally won the title more than 12 hours after final table play began. Shchmelev won $963,375 for his second-place finish.

Mizrachi's recent financial troubles were detailed in the Sun Sentinel on May 12, which reported that he had been issued a $339,711 lien from the Internal Revenue Service, and that a condo he owned with his brother Robert had been foreclosed and sold on an online auction. Mizrachi has amassed more than $8.6 million in total tournament winnings according to the poker database The Hendon Mob.

Other WSOP notes
  • The Mizrachis aren't the only family raking it in the early going at the WSOP. Irving Rice, at age 82, finished 10th in the first $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Event of the year (Event #3), while his son, Richard, enters final table play eighth in chips. The event drew a field of 4,345 players. The elder Rice took home $40,121, while his progeny is guaranteed at least $51,735, and would win $625,872 with a win. The final table is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. PT today.

  • Michael Chow became the third player to win a WSOP bracelet this year, claiming the title in a $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better tournament (Event #4) early this morning. Chow took home $237,140 after outlasting bracelet winner Dan Heimiller, who finished second, and third-place finisher Ylon Schwartz, who made the final table in the Main Event in 2008.

  • The first player to win a bracelet was Hoai Pham, who won the $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold'em title to take home $71,424.
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