‘Grinder’ Chews up Opponents to Win $50k Players Championship, Again

by , Jun 29, 2012 | 2:11 pm

Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi of Miami became the first two-time winner of the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship on Thursday night at the Rio in the World Series of Poker, dominating the field to earn $1.45 million.

Mizrachi, 31, who won the event in 2010, collected his third career World Series of Poker individual event championship bracelet, and ran his career earnings at the tournament to almost $7 million over 29 in-the-money finishes.

The event, considered the tournament’s second-most coveted title after the Main Event, drew a field of 108 competitors. Mizrachi became the first person to have his name engraved twice on the Chip Reese Trophy, named for the late winner of the inaugural event in 2006.

Chris Klodnicki of Philadelphia finished second and earned $896,935.

Mizrachi took a little more than five hours to claim the title, a remarkable feat for a final table that has been known to last up to 15 hours. He came into Thursday’s final table of eight players leading in chips and quickly dispatched two players on the opening hand to get the table down to six.

Within three hours, the table was three-handed. An hour later, Las Vegas resident Andy Bloch finished third and won $561,738.

Mizrachi had twice the number of chips than Klodnicki when heads-up play began, and it only took about an hour to whittle down the stack.

“It’s an amazing night,” Mizrachi said. “To win the 50K twice is a dream come true. I was just running really, really well. It’s the best you could run on a final table.”

The event requires participants to play a rotation of eight poker variations: Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better, Seven Card Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split 8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball.

Mizrachi was sitting in better position at the final table Thursday than in 2010, when he entered in fifth place.

Klodnicki was seeking his first World Series of Poker bracelet. The win was his 19th in-the-money finish at the tournament, and his career earnings now top more than $2.3 million. Klodnicki has a victory on the tournament’s Circuit Tour in 2010.

“It’s disappointing, but he was having a great run,” Klodnicki said.

Bloch was in second behind Mizrachi going into play Thursday. Bloch won his first career World Series of Poker bracelet earlier this month after an 18-year quest.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal .com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.
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