"Grinder! Grinder! Grinder!"
Not for the first time, the chants of Michael Mizrachi's rail echoed around the Amazon room here in Event #27: $1,500 Stud Hi-Lo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino as he captured bracelet number five, becoming the most successful bracelet-winner of the decade. Mizrachi topped a field of 460 and defeated Robert Gray heads-up to secure the title, nine years after his first back in 2010.
And with the Poker Players Championship still to come this year, the Grinder could yet add bracelet number six in an event he's won three times before.
Here are the final payouts:
|1||Michael Mizrachi||United States||$142,801|
|2||Robert Gray||United States||$88,254|
|3||Michael Sopko||United States||$60,330|
|4||Elias Hourani||United States||$42,014|
|5||Jan Stein||United States||$29,818|
"It's an amazing accomplishment," Mizrachi told PokerNews shortly after his victory, "But I'm going to give it all to these beads."
He gestured to some beads hanging around his neck.
"I didn't have them on for the whole World Series so far. So I said I'd look for them, and I found them. I had them on last Series and of course I did great, so in this tournament, I had them on from the start and I ended up winning so I can't take them off!
"It was a tough table but I think the experience helped me out a little bit from, you know, a lot of tournament experience. I feel like I had a pretty good edge on the players in certain spots where they probably wouldn't play hands. I played those hands where I know they're going to fold and that way I can win a lot of antes and bring-ins."
Mizrachi praised his friends and family that were on his rail for most of his final table.
"I couldn't do it without them. You have to have fun when you play poker so you always have to have a good time. Especially at a final table where you know you're going to get a big payout and you have a chance for the gold bracelet."
Final Day Recap
Jan Stein crept into the final day as the short stack, but chipped up through Jose Paz-Gutierrez early on to leave his opponent short, and the Bolivian would become the first elimination of the day at the hands of Michael Sopko.
Sopko made aces up on sixth street, and Paz-Gutierrez needed a low card to chop but could only muster up an inferior two pair to bust in sixth.
He was soon followed out the door by Stein, who ran into the full house of Robert Gray to bust in fifth. This moved Gray into the chip lead and he would extend it after making a flush against Elias Hourani.
Left with just over two big bets, Hourani could have folded but battled back as start-of-day chip leader Michael Mizrachi headed in the other direction. Sopko moved into the lead, but not for long as Gray came back to lead at the first break.
Hourani was eliminated shortly after the resumption of play, and so began an extended period of three-handed play. Gray held the lead from Mizrachi, with Sopko following closely behind. But with the limits at 50,000/100,000, all it took was a couple of pots or a scoop or two to make a dent in a player’s stack.
For example, Sopko was scooped twice and was almost all in against Mizrachi only for the Grinder to fold seventh street to allow his opponent to survive. Mizrachi then moved into a commanding chip lead with over half the chips in play but less than half an hour later the trio were almost even again.
Eventually Sopko moved back to the bottom of the counts, and although he doubled through Mizrachi and Gray, he failed to make any concerted inroads into the two chip leaders and was eliminated in third place
Heads-Up for the Bracelet
Heads-up was a fascinating affair with Mizrachi starting as a slight chip leader. The stacks evened out but back came Mizrachi to open up a 2:1 lead. Both players were buoyed by boisterous rails, and once Mizrachi got his opponent below a million in chips, you felt it was a matter of when, not if, Mizrachi got his hands on the bracelet.
And although Gray doubled twice later on, it wasn't enough as Mizrachi held on for bracelet number five.