Sorel Mizzi: Exclusive Interview

Sorel Mizzi Feature

01 May 2008

Bluff Europe loves playing poker. We like giving stuff away, too. That’s why we’re delighted to combine the two and bring you all the chance to play with two of the best young players in the world on May 20th at 8pm BST at the exclusive Bluff Europe freeroll.

Sorel Mizzi will be joined by Annette Obrestad in a $2,000 freeroll we’re holding in conjunction with Betfair Poker. Of course, these guys know how to play poker, so we caught up with Sorel to ask for a few hints and tips, as well as asking what it will be like to be the hunted, not the hunter as we try gun him down for the $250 bounty on his head.

Tournament play and cash games are very different. What do you think are the most important skills needed to be a good tournament poker player?

I think the ability to play different stack sizes effectively is one of the most if not the most important skill to master as a tournament player. Confidence and the ability to go with your initial reads in different situations are also very important.

Come May 20th you'll be taking on some Bluff Europe readers in a freeroll. Without helping them too much, what advice can you give to our readers about how to tackle the tournament?

Poker tournaments are marathons. Take your time, pick your spots carefully and don't try to steal my blinds!

More importantly, what kind of advice would you give for players who want to bust Annette?

Two words: Check/Call... All day, all the way.

Do you enjoy having a bounty on your head, and how will it affect the way you play the game?

Yes I enjoy it... I'm use to having people gun for me online so this will give them more of a reason to do so. This means I'll probably be exposed to more bad beats, but I'll also get paid off when I hit a hand. All in all it's worth it.

What's your finest moment in poker so far? What aims do you have for the next few years?

Live- Chopping the Irish open in 2007. Online: Winning 2 FTOPS events. I’m looking to take down a few bracelets at the series this year, too.

If time and money was no object, who would you like to see join yourself and Miss Obrestad in Team Betfair?

Daniel Negreanu

When you started out playing poker, you've said you weren't a winning player from the beginning. What advice/encouragement would you give to players in the same situation now?

Play within your bankroll. Keep detailed statistics of what games you're making most money from and focus playing what you're best at. Find a mentor whose game you respect and that IS where you want to BE.

Are there any particular hands you've played which made you especially proud/want to tear your hair out?

Doubling up with 99 in the 25k WPT championship vs. Phil Hellmuth. Phil Hellmuth had been constantly mocking me about being just another overaggressive internet player which made the hand so much sweeter.

He seems to be getting irritated about my raise and re-raise frequency. Blinds were 6k/12k, Phil Hellmuth raised from early position to 32k I just called from the SB with my 99 not wanting to play a big pot with a great player out of position. The Flop came down As-9c-4d. I did something really tricky that I don't normally do, I lead out for 60k after flopping a set. He called my bet fairly quickly and when the ace fell on the turn I was quite confident that I would be doubling up completely. I fired out another bet of 180k to which he said 'Why so much? I think I need a Jack to beat you' and made the call. The river was a jack, which I was quite scared of having seen Phil Hellmuth on TV and noting that he's usually weirdly honest about the strength of his hand. I thought about it for some time and figured okay, if he does have AJ then he's going to put me all in for 300k more anyway and I'm going to have to call, so I might as well shove all in myself and get full value for my hand. I did and he showed an ace and mucked, later admitting in his blog that he had A-6.

Lots of players out there get to a time when they decide to 'take a shot'. What does that mean to you, and how was it when you took your 'shot'?

I was fortunate enough to be successful when taking shots early on in my poker career but things could have easily gone the other way. The best way to build a bankroll and keep it is by working your way up slow and steady and resisting the urge to take shots outside of your bankroll. You could be the best player in the world but if you don't practice good bankroll management then it will be so easy to go broke.

If there was no poker, what would Sorel Mizzi be doing around now?

Wow, that's a tough one... I honestly don't see myself doing anything BUT playing poker, hard to imagine my life without poker. But, if poker didn't exist I'd probably have a career in real estate or law.