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PokerNews Interview: Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi Talks 2011 WSOP

Michael Mizrachi

He may not have earned the most money and he may not have won the 2010 World Series of Poker Player-of-the-Year distinction, but make no mistake - Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi was "the man" at the 2010 World Series of Poker. It began by winning the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship. No offense to runner-up Vladimir Shchemelev, but except for a few friends lending support at the final table, the rest of the Amazon Room was in Mizrachi's corner. Feeding off the energy and buzz from family, friends, and the electric atmosphere, Mizrachi overcame a 3:1 chip disadvantage during heads-up play to rally and win his first WSOP bracelet.

While many people quickly jump to Mizrachi's amazing run in the Main Event next, it's easy to forget that he made two more final tables shortly after winning his first bracelet. It was a summer that served as a reminder to everybody in the poker community that Mizrachi is one of the best.

Michael Mizrachi 2010 WSOP Final Table Results

$50,000 Poker Player's 8-Game Championship1st$1,559,046
$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship6th$68,949
$10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship8th$49,732
$10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship Main Event5th$2,332,992

Earlier this month, he and his family were featured at the 7th Annual Hillel Charity Texas Hold'em Tournament at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale, Florida. We quickly got a chance to catch up with "The Grinder" as he prepares for another Las Vegas summer.

How are you feeling heading into the WSOP?

Well, so far this year I haven't played many tournaments. I've been teaching a lot of camps at Deepstacks University, enjoying the training, a lot of breaks, and filmed some shows for Full Tilt. It's similar to last year when I only played four tournaments, but this year I've played about six or seven – NBC Heads-Up, LAPC, and Bay 101 to name a few - but I plan on having a great World Series. I plan on playing 40-50 events like I did last year and hopefully I can repeat what I did in 2010.

Are you feeling pressure to live up to your performance last year?

There's no pressure at all. I mean, if you feel like there is pressure, that's when some bad things happen. You want to go there and have fun, enjoy yourself, and good things happen when you least expect.

Last year you made four final tables and won your first bracelet. What are your goals for this year?

Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully, it won't be like my 2009 Series. 2010 made up for that, and in 2011, hopefully, I'll keep crushing. Just hoping I can make another great appearance in The Player's Championship, another good run in the Main Event, and a few other final tables and I'll definitely be happy with that.

Speaking of your 2010 WSOP, which of your feats did you find more challenging? Winning the 116-entrant Player's Championship or final tabling the 7,319-player Main Event?

Well, believe it or not, I felt like I put more work in the 8-game. Your brain is always moving, playing eight different games of poker and you're playing against the best players in the world. It's a much bigger buy-in, and even though first-place is much bigger in the Main Event, the field is a lot softer. In the stud games you've always got to be aware of what cards are live. There's just a lot more thinking to do and you never take your eyes off the game. In no-limit, you can mess around. You don't have to concentrate as much as you have to in the 8-game, but once you make that deep run in the Main Event, then you've got to always be focused. It's just a lot more work when it's eight games against the best players.

What do you think is your strongest and weakest game in 8-game?

I'd say out of those games, I've got the most experience in seven-card stud. As for my weakest game, well that's for you to find out.

After no cashes at the 2009 WSOP, Mizrachi gave us a WSOP for the ages in 2010. How will he fare in 2011? We'll find out shortly.

Remember, PokerNews is the official live reporting team for the 2011 WSOP. To be sure you get all of our latest news, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook

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