Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi Bests Joe Hachem in Heads-Up Showdown
A heads-up battle between two of poker's biggest names went to Michael Mizrachi in dominating fashion as the four-time bracelet winner bested former World Series of Poker Main Event winner Joe Hachem in a 2-0 sweep over the weekend in Australia.
For his win, Mizrachi claimed a small A$5,000 prize and, more importantly, bragging rights over his buddy.
However, the Hachem family didn't walk away from the Australian Poker Tour Grand Final entirely winless. That's because Daniel Hachem shipped the A$1,150 Super High Roller.
Hachem vs. Mizrachi
Heads-up matches in poker have a long and storied history. Sometimes they're born out of beef and serve as a way to settle grudges, like when Cate Hall crushed Mike Dentale in their $50,000 match. Other times, they're simply a test of skill between two players who expect to win money from the other, such as with the ill-fated "durrrr Challenge."
This time, the match was mainly promotional in nature between two friendly rivals, serving to help generate buzz for the Australia Poker Tour Grand Final.
"It’s all about growing and supporting the game we love," Hachem told PokerNews. "We hope the fans will watch, learn and enjoy."
Hachem went into the event confident, saying he tried to lay down some cash with local bookmakers who had installed him as about a 2-1 underdog. Fans on PokerNews agreed, picking Mizrachi to win by a 4-1 margin of votes.
Better for Hachem that he wasn't able to get that extra dough down, as things went poorly from jump street for the home country favorite, literally starting with the first hand on the cards-up stream. A raising war kicked things off with Mizrachi making it 300, Hachem going to 1,300, Mizrachi coming back with 5,300 and Hachem shoving all in for 20,000.
It was a classic flip with the of Mizrachi against the of Hachem. A king appeared right on the flop and Mizrachi celebrated.
"U.S.A., baby!" he said.
The two shared a laugh afterward, joking that nobody would believe it wasn't set up.
"All skill," Mizrachi said.
Rather than wait until the next day to play again, as originally planned, the two agreed to run the second match. This time, things went longer. Mizrachi grabbed the lead early by making a straight with king-queen against sevens. Hachem battled back and took a slight lead.
Eventually, the blinds went up and the players switched to pot-limit Omaha. "Grinder" began living up to his nickname and whittling Hachem down, opening up a 2-1 lead by the time they went back to no-limit hold'em on the next round of blinds.
At 200/400, Hachem defended his big blind with and Grinder flopped top pair with . Hachem check-called 1,400 on and came out betting on the with 2,500. Mizrachi set him in for 7,400 more and the Aussie couldn't find a fold.
A slightly frustrated Hachem flicked in his holding and missed the river.
For completion's sake, they played out the third match. This time, it lasted about half an hour. Hachem opened up a big lead in PLO when he won a three-bet pot with , making the nut flush on the river on a paired board. The next hand, all the money went in on a board of .
Mizrachi had the goods with for the nuts, but Hachem had a pile of outs with for a wrap plus a flush draw.
"Is that too many outs?" he asked with a laugh.
Not so, as the gave him a better straight.
"Yes!" he said. "We got one for Australia, boys."
He embraced Mizrachi and grabbed some cash on the table that the two had ostensibly put up to make things interesting with the best-of-three already decided. It was only a consolation prize though, as Mizrachi took the match 2-1.
Another Hachem Prevails
It wasn't all disappointment for the Hachem family though. Grinder may have gotten the best of pops, but Daniel made sure the family saved some face by grabbing a trophy in the A$1,150 Super High Roller.
With dad, uncle Tony Hachem and Mizrachi sweating, Daniel got through a field of 120 runners and made a deal with his heads-up opponent before prevailing to add A$2,900 to the A$26,000 they'd already agreed upon. The A$28,900 (~$20,500) that the younger Hachem won is his best live score, adding onto the $32,712 for which he's already cashed.
Despite the win, Daniel's still got a ways to go to grab bragging rights at family dinners:
Hachem Family Live Poker Rankings
|Rank||Name||Live Cashes||Overall Australia Rank|
Data courtesy of Hendon Mob
*Based on exchange rate estimate of latest cash
Daniel Hachem photo courtesy of Australian Poker Tour
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